The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No-Taste Bread

livingdog's picture
livingdog

No-Taste Bread

hi all,


 


I have baked bread that looks pretty beautiful, but tastes completely bland. Following the NYT "No-Knead" bread recipe (3 cups, 1/4 tsp active yeast, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 cup water, sit for 18 hours, fold, sit for 2 hours, bake at 500) it comes out bland. It tastes nothing like the Italian bread I remember, nor does it even taste like white bread.


I found a CI recipe that calls for a mild Pilsner and some vinegar but haven't tried it yet since I haven't given up on the above recipe.


Is there a magical chemical called "flavor" which suddenly turns the flour+water mixture into delicious tasting bread, or perhaps I need to join a super-secret society of bread makers to discover the secret of getting flavor injected into my bread?


E.g. the last two loaves were bland (I only used 3/4 tsp salt instead of 1 1/4 as the recipe calls for) and salty-bland (I used the 1 1/4 tsp salt as the recipe calls for) - but the look? ce' magnifique!


 


OT: how do I post images of my great looking bland tasting bread??


Thanks in advance for any help you may give this newbie wanna-be home baker.

-ld

Mebake's picture
Mebake

What brand and type of flour do you use? How old is it? Old / inferior flours can taste bland.


FLavor comes from using a perferment. Try prefermenting half of the recipe flours and add them next day to the mix. Flavor should be just fine.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

One more thing, how cold is your oven when you retard the no knead dough? if its too cold, then the fermentation takes too much time to be completed, and you won't have enough flavor. If its not cold enough, then you are risking overfermenting ther dough, which leads to inferior bread.

leucadian's picture
leucadian

Whole grains will boost your flavor. Rye is my favorite, but whole wheat is good too. Freshness really pays in the flavor department. You might try to find someone to give you some home-milled flour.


We look forward to your pictures.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

What do you expect your bread to taste like?

livingdog's picture
livingdog

-1-


Mebake said:


 



  1. What brand and type of flour do you use?

  2. How old is it? Old / inferior flours can taste bland.

  3. Flavor comes from using a perferment. Try prefermenting half of the recipe flours and add them next day to the mix. Flavor should be just fine.

  4. One more thing, how cold is your oven when you retard the no knead dough? If it is too cold, then the fermentation takes too much time to be completed, and you won't have enough flavor. If it's not cold enough, then you are risking overfermenting the dough, which leads to inferior bread.



ld: I had a mix, both old, both unbleached white: about 1/4 Gold Medal Harvest King and about 3/4 Heckers All-Purpose.

The recipe didn't call for a preferment. The recipe can be found at NYT video for "The Minimalist." Look under "No-Knead Bread"

The oven was preheated to 550 degF and left there. (As you may have guessed I did burn the bottom of the bread. I will have to _nail-down_ the temperature of my oven.) What's a "cold" oven??


 


-2-


leucadian said:

Whole grains will boost your flavor. Rye is my favorite, but whole wheat is good too. Freshness really pays in the flavor department. You might try to find someone to give you some home-milled flour.

We look forward to your pictures.


 


ld: I really just want a typical white bread loaf. Then I want to move on to Italian - maybe try semolina. Then move on to rye.

Here they are:



  • Crust 1

  • Crust 2

  • Crumb

  • Bottom (burned)



I figure that I am running the oven too hot. I get 550+ and do not need a second, uncovered, cooking time. The crumb seems spongy which may also be due to cooking too hot. The crust gets done too early and the crumb doesn't completely cook through - thus a spongy feel. I read that 500 is the starting temp and then the oven is lowered to 450 with the cloche covered for 30 mins, and <u>then</u> uncovered for another 10 to 20.

Update: yesterday afternoon this tasted "salty-bland", but when I shared it with someone this morning at 8:30 AM it tasted "ok" - i.e. not "salty-bland." Weird.


 


-3-


PaddyL said:

What do you expect your bread to taste like?


 


ld: That's hard to describe in words since it only exists in my memory. But I will know it when I find it.


 


 


THANKS to all for the helpful replies!


 


-joe

EvaB's picture
EvaB

but if you are using your oven to retard the loaf, it should be as cold as your fridge, around 38 degrees, and you then need to warm the bread up before baking usually.


As to oven temps if you are working with an old recipe the temps are in things like slow oven, quick etc, Which translate to Slow oven = 250 -350 F; Moderate = 350 - 400F; Quick or hot oven = 400 -450F; and finally very hot = 450- 550F.


My mother who learned to bake with a wood stove in the 20's and 30's said they didn't have thermometers on the stoves, they simply fired up the stove and when decideing on how hot the oven was, put their hand inside to guage the heat. She siad after awhile you got to where you knew the stove, and how hot it was and when to fire it up a bit more or let it die down!


So consider yourself lucky to have stoves with temp controls at all!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Hi Joe,


If you want to paste in HTML you can either turn off the rich text editor (click the link below the comment field) or click the "HTML" button in the far right of the toolbar and paste the HTML in there.  Please don't include <html>, <body>, </body> and </html> tags though, because closing out the document before it is done could cause rendering issues in some browsers.

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

there are a couple of no-knead recipes/techniques - but the bottom line to them is minimal effort - mix it and forget it.


NKB has achieved fame because it does produce a pretty good loaf - without so much as needing to ask what the heck is "<insert bread jargon here>"


it typically bakes (roughly) half the time covered - this helps with the crust and oven spring and half the time uncovered allowing it to dry a bit.   the oven is "overheated" in the preheat stage so the container is hot-hot-hot and I don't believe I've seen any nkb recipe that does not call for turning the temp back when the dough goes in - so the first pass at 550' the full bake was likely an error.  I pre-heat to 500', turn back to 450' - 15 covered 20 uncovered.  I usually do a round one, looks like



a number of your observations like 'crust is done inside is not' are probably due to the high fast bake.


fresh ingredients are really a must - not sure what you consider "old" is for flour, but I'd put it at about 4-5 months.  I do know folks that have flour in the pantry with "best by" dates of several years ago....  this is not good.


crust 2 is not so bad looking - double check the oven temp routine, do follow the directions - they should work, if not at least there's a place to start troubleshooting. 


situations where people say "well I used this recipe but I substituted this but I ran out of this so I used that and didn't have time to do that exactly right so I . . . " are pretty difficult to sort out.

livingdog's picture
livingdog

This is a loaf of 100% whole wheat (dusted with cornmeal and put into the cloche upside-down, since I am an idiot. The cornmeal is caked on the surface.) using the same exact recipe as the NKB from NYT videos mentioned above in my first post.


The suggestion of LOWERING the temp to 450 worked to solve the burned bottom crust. Thanks Dilbert (et. al.)


These images are 3 MB and take a short while to load (<10 secs each).


Whole Wheat bread:


In the cloche: http://img163.imageshack.us/i/kdk0571.jpg/


Crust 1: http://img20.imageshack.us/i/kdk0572.jpg/


Crust 2: http://img43.imageshack.us/i/kdk0573.jpg/


Bottom (unburnt! :) http://img258.imageshack.us/i/kdk0574.jpg/

No Crumb image, nor taste test, yet since it just came out of the oven a half-hour ago. I am very happy with this result. I hope it tastes good.


1.5 hours later: the taste was not bland. The crumb struck me as well developed. The thickness, and overall appearence, of the crust is a testament to the improvement in baking technique. I did lower the temperature to 450 and baked it for 30 covered and then 20 uncovered.


Here is the photo:


Uploaded with ImageShack.us


 


Next I am going to try this same recipe with: KEMACH High Gluten Unbleached Enriched Pre-Sifted flour, experation date: FEB 10. So it's "old" by some standards. Any suggestions / comments would be appreciated.


 


Once again, thanks to all.