The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fermentation has little effect? (beginner seeks advice)

goren's picture

Fermentation has little effect? (beginner seeks advice)

I've recently started trying to bake bread. I've tried a few plain breads from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and I feel like I'm getting bland bread. I find the bread even lacking in that nice yeasty flavour. I've done overnight fermentations in the fridge as well as out. 


Can anyone advise on what I might be doing wrong?


Thanks so much!

flournwater's picture

The amount of salt you use can influence flavor.  Too little salt makes a bland bread.  A well developed starter will give you greater flavor than a poolish that ferments overnight and a fortified "short time" fermented bread will produce more flavor than one that is not.

scientistbaker's picture

I've been experiencing the same problems (you can read about it here:  I suspect it's either because my dough wasn't properly hydrated or because I didn't knead it enough.  Did your dough pass the windowpane test when you made it?  Did you weigh out the flour or use the number of cups?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"I've tried a few plain breads...   ... I'm getting bland bread."

Now try something different!  What about a new flour or spices or butter or berries!

Something other than Wheat?  Additions of rye, buckwheat, corn, spelt, potatoes, seeds, oils, herbs, sourdough, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, toasted flours, toasted oils, dried vegitables, nuts...  getting any ideas yet?

LindyD's picture

Don't know which breads you are baking from the BBA, but I find that any bread made without a preferment, using just water, salt, wheat flour and instant yeast is pretty much tasteless.

The only exception I've found is the Ancienne baguettes - but on the other hand, it could be said that the dough is one giant preferment given its lengthy retardation.

If you don't want to do a lot of experimentation, try replacing 10 or 15 percent of the wheat flour with rye or wholewheat.  Seeds, especially toasted seeds, always add some depth.  

For an easy and delicious loaf, go for the Reinhart wild rice and onion bread featured at the top of TFL's page.  You can substitute a mix of brown and wild rice instead of pure wild rice, given its cost.  That's one tasty bread!

You're not making any mistakes - you just have discriminating taste buds!

And welcome to TFL!

jennyloh's picture

I started baking about 3 months ago and I had the same experience as you....bread is bland, as I wanted to try those white soft bread.   I tried different types of flour and that didn't work except when I tried using Japanese flour.  What I found interesting is when I started using milk in some of the recipes,  or olive oil instead of the standard water, four, yeast, salt.  The other thing that adds to the taste for plain bread that have the standard 4 ingredients I found is when you use a starter or long rising time - that makes the bread naturally sweet.  Try different methods or ingredients,  that might help...

goren's picture

Thank you all for your warm welcome and comments. I am certainly a lover of busy breads with seeds, fruits etc. I was simply curious how to further get that yeasty taste that creates a complex base with which to work.


Thank you all for your advice. I'll get kneading right away!