High altitude sourdough bread recipe (2024)

High altitude sourdough bread recipe (1)

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Baking sourdough bread at high altitudes presents a unique set of challenges due to lower air pressure and drier conditions. However, with the right techniques and adjustments, you can achieve delicious, crusty loaves with airy crumb even at high elevations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the science behind high altitude baking and provide a step-by-step recipe for crafting the perfect high altitude sourdough bread.

High altitude sourdough bread recipe (2)

Understanding High Altitude Baking:

High altitude baking requires adjustments to compensate for reduced air pressure and moisture levels. At higher elevations, the lower atmospheric pressure affects several

High altitude sourdough bread recipe (3)

key factors in bread baking:

  • Yeast Activity: Yeast behaves differently at high altitudes due to lower air pressure. It becomes more active and ferments faster, which can lead to over-proofing if not managed properly.
  • Evaporation: With drier air at high altitudes, bread dough tends to lose moisture more quickly during fermentation and baking. This can result in dry or dense loaves if not addressed.
  • Rising Time: Dough rises faster at high altitudes due to reduced air pressure. As a result, it’s crucial to monitor the proofing process closely to prevent over-proofing.
High altitude sourdough bread recipe (4)

Adjustments for High Altitude Sourdough Bread:

To adapt your sourdough bread recipe for high altitudes, consider the following adjustments:

  1. Flour and Liquid Ratios: Increase the hydration level of your dough by adding slightly more water than usual. This helps counteract the faster evaporation rate at high altitudes and keeps the dough moist during fermentation.
  2. Yeast and Fermentation: Use less yeast or sourdough starter than you would at lower altitudes to slow down the fermentation process. This prevents the dough from over-proofing and maintains a balanced rise.
  3. Kneading and Dough Handling: Be gentle with your dough to avoid excessive degassing, which can lead to dense loaves. Use a light touch during shaping and shaping to preserve the air bubbles and structure.
  4. Baking Temperature and Time: Increase the baking temperature slightly to promote better oven spring and crust development. Keep a close eye on the bread while it bakes, as it may require less time in the oven due to faster evaporation.
High altitude sourdough bread recipe (5)

Now, let’s dive into a high altitude sourdough bread recipe:

High Altitude Sourdough Bread Recipe:

High altitude sourdough bread recipe (6)

High altitude sourdough bread recipe

Baking sourdough bread at high altitudes presents a unique set of challenges due to lower air pressure and drier conditions. However, with the right techniques and adjustments, you can achieve delicious, crusty loaves with airy crumb even at high elevations.

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Prep Time 40 minutes mins

Cook Time 50 minutes mins

Total Time 13 hours hrs 30 minutes mins


  • 400g bread flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 350g water (adjust as needed for hydration)
  • 100g active sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 10g salt


  • Mixing and Autolyse:

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, whole wheat flour, and water. Mix until all the flour is hydrated, but do not knead the dough.

    Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This autolyse period allows the flour to fully absorb the water and develop gluten naturally.

  • Adding Starter and Salt:

    After the autolyse, add the active sourdough starter to the dough. Use your hands or a dough scraper to incorporate the starter evenly.

    Sprinkle the salt over the dough and continue mixing until it is fully integrated.

  • Bulk Fermentation:

    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough ferment at room temperature (ideally 70-75°F or 21-24°C) for 4-6 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

    During bulk fermentation, perform a series of stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours. This strengthens the dough and redistributes the yeast activity.

  • Shaping:

    Once the dough has doubled in size, gently transfer it to a floured work surface. Divide the dough in half if making two loaves.

    Shape the dough into tight rounds or batards, being careful not to deflate the dough too much.

  • Proofing:

    Place the shaped loaves in floured proofing baskets or bowls, seam side up.

    Cover the loaves with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them proof at room temperature for 2-4 hours, or until they have visibly expanded and pass the finger dent test.

  • Preparing the Oven:

    About 30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C). Place a Dutch oven or baking stone on the middle rack to preheat along with the oven.

  • Baking:

    Once the oven is preheated, carefully transfer one loaf to the preheated Dutch oven or onto the preheated baking stone.

    Score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor blade to allow for expansion during baking.

    Cover the Dutch oven with its lid or create steam in the oven by spraying water with a spray bottle and quickly closing the oven door.

    Bake the loaf covered for 20-25 minutes, then remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

    Repeat the baking process with the second loaf if baking two loaves.

  • Cooling and Enjoying:

    Once baked, transfer the loaves to a wire rack and let them cool completely before slicing. This allows the interior crumb to set properly.

    Slice and enjoy your freshly baked high altitude sourdough bread with butter, olive oil, or your favorite toppings.


Keyword High altitude sourdough bread recipe

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  • Serving:1slice
  • Calories:157kcal
  • Carbohydrates:32g
  • Iron:1mg
  • Calcium:8mg
  • Sugar:1g
  • Fiber:1g
  • Potassium:53mg
  • Sodium:325mg
  • Fat:1g
  • Protein:5g
  • Saturated Fat:1g


Baking sourdough bread at high altitudes requires patience, experimentation, and a deep understanding of the baking process. By making thoughtful adjustments to your recipe and techniques, you can overcome the challenges posed by lower air pressure and drier conditions. With practice and perseverance, you’ll master the art of high altitude sourdough baking and enjoy delicious homemade bread that reflects the unique flavors of your environment.

  1. What constitutes high altitude for baking purposes?
    • High altitude generally refers to locations above 3,000 feet (about 900 meters) above sea level. However, adjustments may be needed even at lower elevations depending on local conditions.
  2. Why is baking sourdough bread challenging at high altitudes?
    • High altitudes have lower air pressure and drier air, which affect the behavior of yeast, dough rising, and moisture retention during baking.
  3. How does high altitude affect sourdough fermentation?
    • At high altitudes, sourdough ferments faster due to lower air pressure and increased yeast activity. This requires careful monitoring to prevent over-proofing.
  4. What adjustments should I make to my sourdough recipe for high altitude baking?
    • Adjustments include increasing hydration, reducing yeast or starter amounts, and adapting proofing and baking times to account for faster fermentation and evaporation.
  5. What is the role of hydration in high altitude sourdough bread?
    • Higher hydration levels help compensate for faster evaporation at high altitudes, keeping the dough moist and promoting better rise and texture.
  6. How can I tell if my sourdough bread is over-proofed at high altitudes?
    • Over-proofed dough may become slack and lose its structure. It may also have a sour smell and fail to rise properly during baking.
  7. Why is scoring important in high altitude sourdough baking?
    • Scoring allows the dough to expand properly during baking, preventing uneven rising and promoting a desirable oven spring.
  8. Should I adjust oven temperature for high altitude sourdough bread?
    • Slight adjustments to oven temperature may be necessary for high altitude baking to ensure proper crust formation and oven spring.
  9. How can I prevent my high altitude sourdough bread from becoming too dense?
    • Proper dough handling techniques, including gentle shaping and minimal degassing, help maintain air pockets in the dough, preventing density.
  10. What are some common pitfalls to avoid when baking sourdough bread at high altitudes?
    • Common pitfalls include over-proofing, inadequate hydration, insufficient gluten development, and underbaking due to faster evaporation.

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    5. High altitude sourdough bread recipe (9)

      Nisha Yadav

      13 February 2024 at 20:45


      High altitude sourdough bread recipe (10)
      Thank you so much for this recipe

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    High altitude sourdough bread recipe (2024)


    Does altitude affect sourdough bread? ›

    Baking sourdough bread at high altitude can cause a few issues with your bread. Depending on how far above sea level you live, you may have issues with wet, sticky dough or lack of oven spring.

    How do you adjust baking for high altitude? ›

    Raise the oven temperature by 15 to 25° F. Because goods will bake faster at a higher temperature, set your time for 5 to 8 minutes less per 30 minutes of baking time in the recipe. Increase your liquid. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons at 3000 feet and an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons for every additional 1000 feet of elevation.

    How do you get dough to rise in high altitude? ›

    At higher elevations, yeast can rise 25 to 50 percent faster, so reducing the amount of yeast and other leavening agents is key. Some bakers will also cool yeast by allowing it to rise in the refrigerator in a bread bowl first or punch it down twice to slow the expansion of gas in the dough.

    Does altitude affect dough hydration? ›

    Low air pressure has two main effects on baked goods: They will rise more easily, and lose moisture faster; liquids evaporate more quickly since water boils at lower temperatures at high altitude. As leavening occurs faster, gas bubbles tend to coalesce into large, irregular pockets in a batter or dough.

    Why won't my bread rise at high altitude? ›

    High Altitude Bread Baking

    Decrease yeast and use ice water with yeast to slow the reaction. Bake bread above a pan of boiling water to increase moisture, removing the water during the last 15 minutes of baking. Decrease proofing time; let loaf rise to 1.5 times its size rather than double.

    What ingredients should not be in sourdough bread? ›

    The inside of the bread should be bubbly and chewy and the bread should have a slightly tangy taste. Real sourdough bread does not contain additives like oil, milk, corn, and dough conditioners. It is made with whole grains and is generally more expensive than regular bread.

    How much flour do you add for high-altitude baking? ›

    For all altitudes, add up to 2 tablespoons of flour per cup. The gases in leavening agents, such as baking soda and baking powder, expand faster at higher altitudes, so that is one part of a recipe that will most often need to change. Since they expand faster, you will need a little less.

    What to do when baking bread in high-altitude? ›

    Real Quick: How to Adjust Bread Baking For High Altitude

    Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees over what the recipe calls for. Generally, increase baking time unless oven temperature increases. Generally, increase hydration. Sometimes a decrease, but not always.

    Do you need to bake longer at higher altitudes? ›

    Baking at High Altitudes

    Air pressure is lower, so foods take longer to bake. Temperatures and/or bake times may need to be increased. Liquids evaporate faster, so amounts of flour, sugar and liquids may need to be changed to prevent batter that is too moist, dry or gummy. Gases expand more, so doughs rise faster.

    How do I adjust my baking in Denver? ›

    Here are suggested adjustments: Colorado's climate is dry, so you'll need to increase liquids and eggs by 10 to 15 percent. That could mean substituting extra large eggs for large eggs. For each cup of liquid the recipe calls for, add 1-2 tablespoons of more liquid.

    Is Colorado considered high altitude for baking? ›

    Many Colorado bakers have experienced demoralizing baking disasters due to Denver's high altitude and dry climate: collapsed cakes, overflowing batters, and dry, flavorless pastries. It's no surprise, since many recipes are developed for sea-level baking and require special adjustments for Denver's lofty elevation.

    How to bake bread at 5000 feet? ›

    Adjustment for 5000 feet:
    1. Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
    2. Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
    3. Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
    4. Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.
    Apr 29, 2021

    How do you make sourdough bread fluffier? ›

    Here are some tips to help you make your sourdough bread less dense:
    1. Use a ripe sourdough starter. ...
    2. Knead the dough for the right amount of time. ...
    3. Proof the dough for the correct amount of time. ...
    4. Use the right type of flour. ...
    5. Add the right amount of water. ...
    6. Score the bread properly. ...
    7. Bake the bread at the correct temperature.
    Sep 9, 2023

    How long to bake sourdough bread at 450? ›

    Now it's time to bake!
    1. When your oven is at temperature, take your sourdough out of the fridge. ...
    2. Gently score your bread with a lame, clean razor blade or knife. ...
    3. Carefully take your dutch oven out of the oven. ...
    4. 30 Minutes with the lid on at 230C/450F plus.
    5. 10-15 Minutes with the lid off at 210C/410F.
    May 29, 2023

    What temperature do you bake sourdough bread at? ›

    While the bread is proofing, preheat your oven to 500°F (260°C) with a lidded cast-iron pan inside. (Note: your bread will bake better if you have a baking stone on the oven rack below your bread. It will act as a buffer against the heating elements in the bottom of your oven.)

    Does high altitude affect bread baking? ›

    At high altitudes: Air pressure is lower, so foods take longer to bake. Temperatures and/or bake times may need to be increased. Liquids evaporate faster, so amounts of flour, sugar and liquids may need to be changed to prevent batter that is too moist, dry or gummy.

    Why didn't my sourdough bread rise well? ›

    When sourdough bread dough doesn't rise, it's usually because the starter you used wasn't active enough. To remedy this problem, make sure you're using recently fed, active starter with lots of bubbles. Also, next time try using warm (not hot) water when you mix up the dough and rising it in a warmer location.

    What temperature is too high for sourdough? ›

    Yeast will die if exposed to temps of 60C or above (140F). It is very likely that your sourdough starter will actually die at temps lower than this. Anything above 120F (50C) would be considered too hot for a sourdough starter and will kill the wild yeast if exposed for long periods.

    What factors affect sourdough? ›

    If you are working on beginning a sourdough starter, it may help to better understand the factors that can affect the growth of microorganisms in your starter.
    • Flour. ...
    • Time. ...
    • Temperature. ...
    • Moisture. ...
    • Bacteria. ...
    • Yeast. ...
    • Unwanted Guests.
    Feb 20, 2024


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