The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Enhancing flavor naturally?

RudyH's picture

Enhancing flavor naturally?

Will you share some tricks you have for improving the flavor of your breads? I'm assuming that we're all doing things like preferments, and other things similar to the techniques in Peter Reinhart's books. What interests me is special tricks beyond that.

For example, I just tried diastatic malt powder for the first time and I can't say that it really helped. I have used the non-diastatic malt syrup to add a bit of sweetness to some breads and it is a good substitute for sugar. It gives a noticeable pleasant flavor to the bread.

Have you found a good application for diastatic malt powder? I've got a pound of it to use up and I'd like to apply it well.

I tried some of the King Arthur deli rye flavoring once. Some may like it, but my rye bread tastes better without it.

It seems like the biggest flavor variable for me is using good flour and managing when I add salt to the process. For example, I'll only add the salt in the final mixing before the first rise.

Last week I made some bread with semolina in it. That gave it an interesting and good flavor. I'll try it with durum wheat too.

Falsehat's picture

Last week I read a note where she remarked that she added Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme to flavour her bread.

I asked for the recipe, especially the quantities used. I recieved no reply.

I wandered aroud the Internet and determined the quantities to start as:

Rosemary 1 Tablespoon,

Sage 1 Tablespoon,

Thyme 1/2 teaspoon,

for a 1 1/2 pound loaf.

using Cooks no need recipe.

Noon tomorrow (3/13/10) the taste buds pass judgment. Friday, 13. Hmmmm

karol59's picture

I have been using dried basil and some shortening just to make it super soft, the basil is so good.

copyu's picture

is good for one thing only (as far as I know) and  that is to 'speed things up' a little bit—more sugar becomes available more quickly to your yeast. It's used in such tiny quantities that it shouldn't affect the taste of your loaves at all.

I use it, very rarely, if I want to feed my starter twice in a very limited time, or if I've neglected my starter in the fridge and really need to bake the same day. A starter that takes 4-6 hours to rise in its home jar will sometimes rise in half that time. I bought two 50g sachets [approx 3oz total] and I keep it in a brown-glass medicine/vitamin bottle. To use, I just rub my finger along the top edge of the container and add a literal 'pinch' of the stuff.

Quinoa, amaranth, rye flour, millet, durum semolina, oat bran, wheat bran, WW, white or blue poppyseeds, etc, can be added for extra flavour to white breads without becoming over-powering. I've used black brewed coffee in rye breads with tremendous success and I want to experiment with caramel powder and black cocoa powder, but plan to do that only in Euro-style rye loaves.



subfuscpersona's picture

...the fresher the better.

Home millers on TFL tend to agree that the best flavor in breads that incorporate some whole grain flour comes when that flour is used within 12 hours of milling.

Unfortunately, if you want really fresh whole grain flour from wheat / rye / spelt / kamut (etc.), you need to invest in a high end (eg - expensive) grain mill.

This is definitely a way to enhance the flavor of breads "naturally", though I suspect you were looking for less expensive suggestions :)


charbono's picture

Freshly milled wheat flavor and aroma seem to be maximized in bread made with young dough. However, developing the dough over a period of many hours, including the use of sourdough or other techniques, brings other positive organoleptic and textural qualities. The deep, complex flavors and aromas in breads made with these older doughs seem to obscure fresh wheat. With time, freshness seems to diminish even in a non-yeasted flour soaker.

I like both sets of flavors and aromas, but one can’t have it all. Is there a good compromise?

copyu's picture

How about some flaxseeds? They work well in almost any loaf..they're also pretty healthy, reputedly (omega-3 fatty acids and all that...)



clazar123's picture

Different flours can make different undertones.I used WHITE whole wheat on a breadkfast bread with cardamom-craisins-walnuts that I usually made with RED WW. I discovered that the undertones of RED WW flavor reeally supported the other flavors and the bread was really Blah without it.

Freshness does make a difference.If the berries are old, the flour does not have that fresh-mown grass scent and flavor.If the flour is old, well, it's just bad.

Kamut and spelt can make a flavor tone difference,as well as rye. They will affect the texture and absorbancy.

Long fermenting will affect the alcoholy after flavors of a loaf.=-sometimes good and sometimes off.

So experiment.Try using wine as a liquid instead of water.Do cold dough retards and sourdough.

copyu's picture

so who are we talking to?

I've made loaves which were complete and utter 'technical' failures, but they all tasted great.

I was going to suggest something like molasses for a flavor burst, but I've yet to try the stuff I bought a month or two ago...

To whom are we talking, once again? The OP seems to have gone away...

Best to all respondents,