I live in the Philippines. I learned how to bake at roughly sea level. Portions of the city are below sea level but since we were on the fourth floor of a building. The kitchen was air conditioned, roughly around 18-20 C if I remember right. Not sure about humidity.
Now I'm in my home town, which is about 5,000 ft or 1,500 m above sea level. Since its cooler here we don't really need air conditioning inside buildings. Average temperature of the kitchen is usually around 18-21 C as long as nothing is cooking on the stove top. The over doesn't really contribute much to the heat in the kitchen. Since air flows in from outside and isn't regulated by air conditioners and such, humidity changes depending on the whether but since I'm in a tropical country humidity is often high.
The first thing I did was try the recipes I've done already. Even though the altitude was different, I wanted to see how it would turn out so I know what needed to be adjusted. But the problem was that the dough/gluten never properly formed.
Even following the exact same procedures I did back when I was learning - I even have the same kind of mixer we used in school - the dough always remained sticky. Whether mixing with a machine or kneading by hand, I've never seen the gluten develop completely and the dough remains sticky. The only solution seemed to be adding more flour but with a recipe that calls for 500g of bread flour I ended up adding 70-80g of flour (in small increments) before the dough became easier to knead.
But even then, after kneading for a while, it starts to get sticky again until it starts sticking to my hands and the work surface. But if I stop kneading just when it's not very sticky, the gluten is only halfway developed, sometimes less. If I keep adding more flour I'll get a different kind of bread than what I was aiming for in the first place since I've already increased the original amount of flour by more than 10%.
When I ferment, proof, and eventually bake, everything goes more or less well. Though the end result is, as expected, different from what I wanted, both with and without the addition of the extra flour. I've done this almost ten times already and the results are always the same, with the dough remaining sticky. I've also tried other bread recipes and the results are the same.
Does anyone know what's causing this? Thank you.