The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I think bread hates me

  • Pin It
furbie's picture
furbie

I think bread hates me

hi all, this is my 1st post & I can bake cookies & cakes & even a pretty mean pie crust......but bread seems to be out of my league...I have most of the books on bread (reinhart, beard etc)...even the calvel videos...but it always comes out BAD....this is really embarrassing & I do so hate to ask but all I want is a plain ol decent loaf of bread.


Does anyone have a step by step easy direction w/the overnite mixture & then just baking the next day...I have KA flour, AP & Bread...even some white whole wheat (not really my cup o tea tho)...SAF instant yeast....all very fresh ingredients...oven seems to be at the correct temp...water is decent....maybe I just have a poxie on me??? I grew up in NY & on bread from Arthur Ave in the Bronx...outrageous stuff...not that I will even presume to get to that stage...just a nice decent loaf for sammies or toast.....I'm in the Arizona mountains now & the food leaves alot to be desired so I'm hoping some of you will take pity on me.


here is my email if anyone would like to yell at me or scold me...in private if you please...I do tend to cry easily...or send me some sage advice...anything will be appreciated...thank you....Pat


weebstears@yahoo.com


 

KenK's picture
KenK

Try the King Arthur "guaranteed" recipes and get scales to weigh the flour and water. EzPz.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Do you have a scale that will weight in grams?  I have a very nearly fool proof formula I'd ve happy to send you but all of my formulas are weight based.


Do you have a mixer with a dough hook or do you knead by hand?

will slick's picture
will slick

Learn from your mistakes. Keep notes so you remember what worked for you. Keep in mind you live in a dry climate so you may have to add a touch more water. But that's for you to decide. Get a feel for the dough then you'll know when its right. I am now firmly in the camp of wetter is better. better to leave the dough just a little sticky then use only as much four as you need, to kneed the dough. You to can bake bread like this in a jiffy. I started baking these at 9:00A.M. Today they were both out of the oven at 3:00P.M.



 

furbie's picture
furbie

you are my bread idol, for sure!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Furbie.  First, welcome to TFL.


(I used to have two Furbies that talked incessently to each other.  I finally gave them to my Mother.)


The suggestion to scale your ingredients is an excellent one, but what do you mean by "bad" bread?  Does it not rise?  Are  you baking something that looks like a frisbee when it comes out of the oven?  Which recipes from Reinhart have you attempted?


You ask about an "overnight" mixture.  If you are looking for the Lahey no-knead recipe, you can find it here.  Just don't add 1 5/8 cups of water - go with 1 1/2.


Reinhart gives step-by-step instructions in his BBA, so perhaps if you can give more details about the precise problems you are having, we could better assist you.  


Goodness, we've all certainly had our share of duds, so why would anyone "scold" you?  

CeraMom's picture
CeraMom

Just keep baking. I promise it gets easier.


 

furbie's picture
furbie

thank you all for your quick & very helpful replies...and thanks to those that replied privately also!!!!


I do have a scale so if you have any tried & true recipes I'd love to experiment!! even in grams or whatever!!!


my bread was pretty tasteless, to be honest...I didn't worry so much about the way it looked but no taste is kind of important....I even tried some of the no-kneads in my dutch oven...I really think it might be me not understanding what I'm reading...why bread does that when I'm perfectly capable in other areas of life is beyond me but....


I don't think I ever met a real "furbie" in person but I'll bet they're worth a ton of money nowadays....wow, my type just got big...sorry bout that!
rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

This might get me shouted down, but the no-knead recipes don't really have much taste to me. I haven't tried the 5 minutes a day recipes that have you ferment the dough much longer in the fridge potentially though.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I wouldn't shout you down, just offer a suggestion.  When your bread lacks the flavor you had hoped it to have, check the amount of salt you're using in the formula.  Most of the "lack of taste" issues I've investigated for other new bread makers has resulted in discovering that they hadn't used enough salt in the formula. resulting in a rather flat tasting product.  The second most common issue has been lack of sufficient fermentation time.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Maybe you haven't used any preferments and are mixing yeast, wheat flour, salt and water, and baking it the same day.  If so, I agree that stuff is pretty tasteless.


A preferment and/or using a percentage of rye or whole wheat changes the entire profile of the bread.  Of course, so does sourdough.


Which book by Peter Reinhart do you have?

Patf's picture
Patf

What do you mean? Flat? or tasteless? or soggy? or burnt? or what?


There are so many variants in breadmaking, it's more trial and error than other baking.


I envy you being able to make good pie crust - mine is BAD!


Another Pat.

will slick's picture
will slick

whenever i attempt a pie crust.

furbie's picture
furbie

I have every single Peter Reinhart book cept for the very new ones...I have the BBA sitting here w/me as I type...I started another no knead last night...measured on my fancy scale ta boot! this morning it has gotten a tad bigger, has a nice yeasty smell too so by this evening I should have some results.


I watched a Barefoot Contessa video on the Food Network site & finally "got" the piecrust...it only took about 20 yrs! I still roll it out ugly but the filling always covers up my mess!


taste is usually my biggest problem w/bread....I can stand just about anything from burnt to funny looking but taste is what has me stumped...yes, I have let it sit for many hours...sometimes on the counter, sometimes in my fridge...& all my ingredients are fresh....I'll bet now w/all this fussing over me, this bread that sitting is gonna come out wonderful & then I'll look silly...a risk I'm willing to take thought!!! LOL!!!

Marni's picture
Marni

and welcome!  Just wanted to through in my support for hanging in there, to say that I too have generally given up on pie crusts.  (I excuse myself by saying they are too high in fat!)


Can't wait to hear about today's loaf, Furbie.  (BTW- what is a furbie?)


Marni

Barngodess's picture
Barngodess

If yu want, taste, then try that recipe on the first page of this forum, for Wild Rice and Onion bread,,,,,,   that is to die for !! 

StephenJ's picture
StephenJ

First, fuggetabout the Arthur Ave bread. NY bread is taste unto itself. It's not the


water which is a myth.


Norm, a well known contributor to the forums is a professional baker from the Bx.


If you come across his postings read them for their valuable info. You may want to


try a book that is not as technical as Reinhart at first. If you are near Tucson the Hot


Bagel Bakery may still be in business and they make great bagels.


Good luck, it's worth the effort.


 

furbie's picture
furbie

yep, I miss alot of the food back in ny...so I try to cook it myself! I'll keep an eye on postings from Norm...I think I'll make him my new best friend!


I'm up in Prescott but if I do get out to Tucson I'll stop there for sure...I love bagels. bialys too!


I just took my loaf out of the oven & it looks good....it's cooling & i have some keilbasa cooking to make myself a yummy sandwich...any minute now...any minute....

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I feel your pain.  I am German and geez, not much yet comes close - albeit mostly due to my inadequacy, I am sure.  However !! I use my coffee bean grinder and pulverize (or close to it) a heaping tablespoon of caraway seeds to put into the dough and usually increase the salt requirements by at least 1/2 teaspoon if not more. Try that.  :)


Good luck!


 

furbie's picture
furbie

anna, you reminded me of a rye I made years ago when i was back in NY...it had saurkraut in it & it was the 1 loaf that actually was wonderful!!! like the bread my dad's mom would make...she was german too!

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

uuhh that would be good, and remember - it has caraway seeds too, hehe


 

furbie's picture
furbie

I'm basically going for plain ol good bread taste, not necessarily flavorings. 


 I just cut a piece of the bread I made last night that sat for over 24 hr supposedly building all kinds of wonderful flavors...nothing....nice wholes, lovely crispy crust, but no taste....so now i'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, my own taste buds have gone away?! could it be?? I seem to be able to smell & taste other things tho.....ok, I'll try another recipe & see how it goes.

Patf's picture
Patf

If lack of taste is the problem give a rich flavour to wholemeal bread by adding some black treacle to your warm liquid. Just a spoonful to a pound of flour.


 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

thank you.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treacle


"The most common forms of Treacle are the pale syrup that is also known as golden syrup and the darker syrup that is usually referred to as dark treacle or black treacle. Dark treacle has a distinctively strong flavour, slightly bitter, and a richer colour than golden syrup, yet not as dark as molasses. Golden syrup is the main sweetener in the Treacle Tart."

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

you, dwight.