The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian bread came out terrible

chetc's picture

Italian bread came out terrible

I recently made some bread and it was terrible, can't figure it out yet, it smelled ok but the taste was poor, I made a sandwich and thought the meat was bad, and it was the bread, I don't have the recipe in front me, but there was a sponge made in the morning 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 1 tsp of yeast, then it was 5 cups flour, 2 cups water,  1 tbl olive oil, 1/2 cup powdered milk, 2 tsp yeast, 1 tbl sugar, 1 tsp salt, I think I cover it, kneaded for 10 min, let it raise, punched down and formed loaves and rolls, I am not sure how old 'tthe powdered milk was, I used regular all purpose flour, when the bread cooled it it tasted like it was stale, laying for 2-4 days., can't seem to get my Italian bread down. baked at 400deg sprayed with water for the first few min. it had good oven spring ect. even the color of the crust did not look appealing.



Marty's picture

I'm no expert but I would find a recipe that uses flour, water, yeast and salt. No sugar, oil etc.. I suggest a trip to the library and find a book that is just about bread baking, not so much for recipes, but for instruction on how to make the bread. There is a lot to understand and basic knowledege will only enhance your efforts.

 Many great books are offered on this site, and in other places. My favorite is "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Don't give up. Your first good loaf will spur you on to a great loaf.

PaddyL's picture

Once, I made the mistake of using a vegetable oil that was stale and the bread tasted awful.  Now I sniff the oil before using it, just to make sure.  If the dry milk were off, that could have contributed to the bad taste.

HeidiH's picture

I agree with Marty; all you need for bread is flour, water, yeast and salt.  The stale taste could well be due to the ingredients themselves.  You said you were unsure of the age of the powdered milk and this could be at fault.  Is your flour fresh?  For me, the quality of the flour is key.  For starting out, you might want to get a bag of General Mills "Better for Bread," which is available in many supermarkets and has a good taste.  If you are going to use olive oil in your bread, make sure it is fresh and of good quality.

I'm not an expert either but thanks to this site, I've learned a lot.  I think you'll find that you will, too.  There are lots of folks sharing great advice.  There are also some great tutorials here that will help you starting out.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Tust a thought.


vtsteve's picture

That's a lot of yeast... it's probably not the source of the funky taste, but it could be a factor in your crust color. How much of a rise before you degassed the dough? If the sugars were depleted it could give you a pale crust. Try baking at 460F, after a good preheat. Opening the door to spray with water lets a lot of heat out, especially "for the first few minutes," and 400F is a little low to start with.

toddvp's picture

The salt seems a little low-- I usually use around twice as much as that. the milk, sugar and oil should be nice add-ins, so don't worry too much about that, but yeah if they're rancid or anything that's obviously an issue.

subfuscpersona's picture

The only ingredient in your recipe that might give an off taste to your bread is, IMHO, the powdered milk. Your recipe calls for 1/2 cup and you say in your original post "I am not sure how old the powdered milk was". Smell it or (better yet) taste it to make sure.

Do you keep your powdered milk in the 'frig (or, better yet, the freezer)? Could you venture a rough guess how old the powdered milk is?

Marty's picture

I really don't think milk, oil, or sugar are needed in Italian bread, which is the type in question. I believe they will change the texture of a true Italian loaf to a point that it becomes our American white. My 2 cents.