The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lacking that deep wheaty flavor

petercook's picture

Lacking that deep wheaty flavor

Hello all, I hope I'm in the right spot. My problem is this: I can not seem to get that wow factor in my various breads, specifically french style loaves and rolls. There is a local market that bakes thin crispy crust sandwich rolls which have that very "wheaty wow factor. But it eludes me with my home oven. Can it be possible that that certain special wow can come only from deck ovens? Ï use only unbleached flourand bottled water. I use an overnight sponge. I knead by hand. I don't add the salt to the dough until it has rested 20 minutes. My bulk ferment takes any where from 2-3 hrs depending on temp. So, I THINK that I am developing proper bacteria which should  yield a  great tasting loaf/roll. Coming out of the oven the interal temp of the rolls are 210-220 F. The color is spot on, the crust is thin and somewhat crispy/brittle upon cooling but at best the taste is only fair. What say you?

clazar123's picture

I'm at about the same place and a few months ago, I may have discovered something by accident to move my crust in the right direction. Maybe it will help you. I don't make french bread often so I haven't verified it.

Proofing so the dough develops a SLIGHT dryness and using a preheated stone in the oven seems to give me bread that sings. I used to keep the dough moist as it was proofing-in a humid box or spritz it with water but it seems when you keep a light dust of flour over it and have it on a well floured couche or in a basket, the crust turns out wonderful. You don't want it to have a thick skin or any hardness to it and  I still throw water in the oven bottom when I put it in the oven. But that dry,supple feeling is what you are going for.Try it and see what happens. 

CosmicChuck's picture

...doing that sponge for a couple hours at room temp followed by throwing it in the fridge overnight. The cold retardation can do wonders for flavor. Also, play around with the hydration of your sponge. You will tend to get better results with a drier, around 50%, sponge than with a wetter one.

Good luck!

jaywillie's picture

Put the salt in at the beginning. I just read that Raymond Calvel said that was important to producing flavor. Worth a try.

I've been doing it like you but Professor Calvel knew more about bread than I ever will, so I'm changing my habits.


Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hello Peter,

I'm not going down the technical side other than try about 8 hrs proofing and make 10% of your total flour weight wholemeal spelt flour. This will change your loaf to a nice deeper wheat flavour that you may be looking for. 

It is something that worked for me when I was in your position.........Cheers Aussie Pete