The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dull and Flavorless

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flournwater's picture
flournwater

Dull and Flavorless

I've come to the point where my bread has the texture I had hoped to achieve and also meets just about every other measure of success I had hoped for; except for flavor.  I have tried increasing the salt/sugar, adjusting the yeast, adjusting the amount of rise time for both the preferment and the finished bread dough, adjusting the ratio of preferment to other ingredients, and adjusting the baking time.  Bread flavor, what there is, doesn't change.  Any ideas?

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

What kind of flour are you using?

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Bread flour, primarily.  Although I have used AP flour from time to time.  Doesn't seem to  make any difference.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Try substituting 1o to 15 percent of your bread flour with rye.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

try fresh yeast,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, also butter. qahtan

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

if you post the recipe, others will be better able to help you

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Try a recipe that uses overnight bulk-fermentation. There is some almost magical about the long ferment and what it does for increased flavor.


--Pamela

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Maybe start off by describing the process you use *now*?  What type of flour do you use?  What % salt and sugar?  What are the build steps?  How long for fermentation?  etc, etc.  Without that information, it's hard to identify possible areas of improvement.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

what sort of flavor are you hoping to achieve?  How does your current bread miss your intended mark?

flournwater's picture
flournwater

(Hope I don't leave anything out)


In response to the questions from those kind folks who so generously offered to help, here's the process for the one I have most recently been working with.  It's simply a white country bread.


Preferment = 227 grams bread flour; 170 grams spring water; 2 grams active dry yeast.  Allowed to rise, covered, 12 - 14 hours.


Dough = preferment + 255 grams bread flour; 71 grams whole wheat flour; 227 grams spring water; 3 grams active dry yeast, 5 grams salt.


`````````````````````````````````````````````````````


Flour total = 553 grams


Water = 397 grams


Yeast = 5 grams


Salt = 8 grams


```````````````````````````````


100% flour


72% water


1% yeast


1.5% salt


```````````````````````````````


Mixed to combine, kneaded with dough hook 10 minutes.


Rise 2 hours in lightly oiled covered bowl


Deflate; repeat rise 1 hour


Shape on lightly floured parchment paper (on peel) cover and let rise until double; about 45 minutes


Bake (preheated stone) 400 degree oven

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

You might try another poster's suggestion to substitute some rye flour for part of the white flour.  Other than that, I'm not sure what to suggest for your current regime.  The ingredients and process you posted should result in a tasty loaf.


If you are willing to abandon your present process, you could start over with a levain.  That means building/begging/buying a starter if you don't alread have one.  I'm at the point now where breads made with commercial yeast, while good, just don't seem to be all that they could be.  It's because I've made and eaten enough levain/sourdough breads that my expectations about flavor have been reset.  Maybe that elusive "something" that you are looking for in your bread's flavor could be satisfied with a naturally yeasted approach. 


If you aren't ready to take the sourdough plunge, you might also consider working with enriched, rather than lean, doughs.  The addition of fats and sugars, even in very small amounts, can affect both flavor and texture considerably. 


Keep plugging.  You will eventually find something that makes your tastebuds sing.


Paul

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Looks like a pretty standard recipe, so it's unclear to me where you might be having problems.  About the only obvious change is to go to 2% salt (11-12g) instead of 1.5%.



Other than that, perhaps a different recipe is in order?  It may simply be that what you're expecting is not, in fact, what your average same-day french bread will deliver (yeah, I know you're using a preferment, but that's still same-day to me :). 


Personally, I would strongly suggest a pain a'la ancienne-style recipe.  There are a few variations, but the common feature among them is a long (12-14 hour), cold overnight bulk fermentation of the entire bread dough.  The resulting bread tends to have a very well developed flavour, much more so than a standard french bread (I've made both prefermented same-day french bread and overnight fermented french bread, and the latter is by far the more flavourful of the two).

xaipete's picture
xaipete

You could up the salt in the recipe. 1.5% is on the low side; try increasing it to 2%.


--Pamela

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a Tablespoon of poppy seeds per 300g flour


a Tablespoon of roasted flour per 300g flour


roll the dough in sasame seed, poppy seed, flax seed, pumpkin seed, millet, oat meal, or steel cut oats


a cooked potato including the water, mashed and used as liquid


grate a lightly cooked carrot into the bread


try starting a sourdough starter to later replace instant yeast


red chilies or dried onions or herbs or black pepper or garlic powder


add nut flour or roasted nuts or grated nuts


Caraway, Fennel, Anise, Dill or Coriander seeds, as toppings or in the dough


add sprouted or fermented seeds or grains


add cooked corn, beans or legumes to the dough 


wrap the dough in cabbage leaves before baking  or Banana leaves


...


 


 


 

Pjacobs's picture
Pjacobs

Greetings, The only suggestion that might help that I can think of is to combine a couple of different flours in a preferment and let stand covered on the counter 18-24 hours. I use a couple of flours for the poolish and a different High Gluten flour for a thrid flour. My process is to combine 50 percent of the flour and 80 percent of the water in the preferment or poolish. I let that sit on the counter at room temperature anywhere from 5 hours to 24 hours. This will improve the flavor of your bread.


Phil Jacobs

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

Dull usually means salt. Follow the previous suggestion and up your salt.  My rule of thumb is one teaspoon per lb of dough. If your loaf does not brown very much (get dark) this is another indicator of lack of salt. Also, make sure that your loaf does get nice and dark. Lots of the flavor is in the crust (maillard reactions). 


One other suggestion that I use for a "richer" dough flavor is to substitute 30-40 % of the white flour with durham flour. It makes a slightly creamy colored crumb and gives the crumb what wine folks call in Chardonnay a buttery or oaky flavor .


And ... lose the idea of sugar unless you are making a sweet dough. You want the flavor from the wheat.

Pjacobs's picture
Pjacobs

I could be wrong but it has always been my impreesion that sugar created the browner crust along with higer oven tempratures. In my case, my recipie calls for 40 oz of flour and 24 ouces of water (60 percent hydration). To that I add three tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of salt. Using and oven temperature of 450 degrees,, my bread is done and brown in about 30-35 minutes. Seems to work so I stay with it.


Good baking,


Phil Jacobs

SulaBlue's picture
SulaBlue

There's plenty of carbohydrates in the flour, which will begin to caramelize on its own at 350F.