Bread Making Q and A ~ Mountain Mama

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bread Making Q and A

My oven is unreliable at best. Will tiles help?

Maybe, but the oven thermometer may help even more. I don't remember where I learned this, but self-cleaning ovens (the kind that burn all your spills to a small pile of ash that you wipe away) tend to be inaccurate. The first week I lived in CO I tried to cook a pan of brownies and 2 1/2 hours later they were still raw in the middle. I blamed the altitude. Several months later, I dusted off my thermometer and stuck it in the oven so I had more room in my gadget drawer. I noticed right away that my oven was off by 50-125 degrees.

The tiles are great for distributing, and maintaining heat. They take forever to preheat and forever to cool. If your recipe has lots of temp adjustments (cheesecake, roast beef, pie crust), you should pull the tiles out before you preheat.

Or, just blame the altitude.

I can never get bread to rise properly.

Define properly.

Is it too slow? Try turning your oven on for about 30 seconds and then turn it off. Let your dough rise in there. Does your dough have alcohol (usually beer) in it? That can slow things down (yeast don't like it much either). Is your yeast older? Did you proof it?

Even if your dough is slow, you might want to let it go at it's own pace. Some people keep their dough on the cooler side just so it takes longer to rise and develop good flavor.

Unexplainable: While I have had numerous instances of bread failing to rise, on two seperate occasions I have made bread that failed to rise AND later heard from other people that their dough failed to rise on THAT SAME DAY. Once was when I was at 8000 foot elevation and the other was at sea level. Wierd huh? I find the dough still makes decent pizza crust.

Can I use my bread machine?

I use a dishwasher, a treadmill, and premade piecrust and you're asking me if you can use a bread machine? Can I use your bread machine?


  1. 125 degrees off? Jesus, what's the point in setting a temp then?

    I'm going to have to invest in a thermometer. It might explain why I can't seem to cook the same cake twice.

    I've always understood that atmospheric conditions, like humidity and air pressure, played a role in bread rising. Were the other people whose bread failed when yours did in the same area? If so, maybe the weather accounts for it.

  2. Nice tips.

    I have also recommended the oven thermometer to people and it's always made a world of difference. And if you ever visit in Tucson, sure, you can use my bread maker! :P


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