The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No Flavor!!

aytab's picture
aytab

No Flavor!!

Today my wife and I were out running errands and decided to stop into what is widely considered to be the best bakery in town. We got a "traditional" French Baguette and two "Regular" Baguettes. I was horribly disappointed. I don't know if it's because I am used to my breads or what but this stuff was really bad. I read a recent interview with the owners and they claim to use "the fermentation method" but I don't see how. The "Traditional" French Baguette looked wonderful and had amazing crumb, but zero and I mean ZERO flavor. It was like eating chewy air. How can you make a bread that literally tastes like nothing? It was the water of the bread world. So I decided to try the "Regular" baguette, this had a great crust but the crumb was rather dense and the only flavor it had was a kind of "moldy" aftertaste. This bakery claims to make 2000 baguettes a day for local restaurants, I'd like to know which ones so I can avoid eating their bread. And if this is the "best" in town, I need to pick up the pace on opening my own bakery.

Bread Breaddington's picture
Bread Breaddington

"The fermentation method"? I certainly hope so! What's the alternative, baking powder baguettes?

But I think this is a common phenomena for people who have become accustomed to carefully done homemade breads.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I don't know anything about the bakery in your town but I imagine that what is missing in their recipe is time.  If they made baguettes that take 18 hours from starting the dough to taking them out of the oven requires a lot of space for 2,000 baguettes so maybe they have some magic additive that reduces the process to a couple of hours, hurrying the process will cause flavour to suffer.

Gerhard

aytab's picture
aytab

It was a weird statement they made, "We make bread the right way using the fermentation method". 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

need a baker claiming to be artisan using a bread machine ;-)

aytab's picture
aytab

It ws very disappointing, because I had read so many great reviews of the place and people raving about how good it is. Then again if the only thing you have ever eaten is Wonder Bread and re-baked "fresh baked" grocery store bread, then it probably is great. But I had no idea that you could bake a loaf of bread that literally had no flavor.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I once changed flour to a lower cost alternative.  Everything in the recipe went fine with a phenomenal oven spring.  I was all aglow with anticipation thinking that I'd out foxed the high price of my organic supplier.  Sliced into pieces the day after the bake it tasted lifeless - bleached cardboard dust would have had more taste. I gave a small slice to my dog Hanna - she just took ahold of the piece took a small sniff and then tossed it over her shoulder without missing a wag looked at me and with the way dogs communicate asked "so what was that and where's the real bread?".  Needless to say I couldn't get back to the my low cost organic flour fast enough. I tell this story because it happens and your bakery may have just saved themselves enough money to put themselves out of business given enough time...,

Wild-Yeast

BakerSam's picture
BakerSam

Here in Australia we are getting a lot of people mentioning low sodium in bread (I think in the UK too).  Perhaps they are already on the bandwagon?  I don't mean to say that regular bread tastes of salt, more that salt enhances flavour if added in the correct quantity, a little more than the anti-salt brigade would like. 

Then again you might be talking about the taste aquired from fermentation.  Gerhard is most likely right that they will include a bread impover of sorts but 18 hours should be long enough without it.  I have been to different bakeries of the same franchise in my area and tasted their sourdough with some really different tastes, just to prove that not all bakeries can keep their starter in good condition. It could be they havn't looked after their starter well?

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I guess I was not as clear as I should have been, I meant he may have an 18 hour recipe and was reducing the time to 2 hours with the help of additives as a result flavours naturally built during the long fermentation would not be there.

Gerhard

BakerSam's picture
BakerSam

Yes, adding a bread improver will reduce the hours I didn't realise you mean they probably only take the 2 hours to make the bread instead of a more traditional long ferment.  Adding improver will not increase the yeast activity to ferment any faster than is naturally possible giving the bread a great aroma.  But as aytab desribed the loaf as having a good crumb and chewy texture I would think they would have a long ferment as a chemical processed dough usually won't have those characteristics.

If the bakery is making bread for local restaurants maybe they are making them low salt so the fillings can have more of a front seat?  Personally I like my bread salty and plain but I have had requests for low salt bread before.  Maybe if aytab could give a more detailed desciption of the aroma and taste, I have had sourdough that has had a mouldy taste to it and sometimes I can be traced back to an apprentice cleaning the bowl with detergent or some other contaminant.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

would love to ban salt in bread since it accounts for the vast majority of salt intake by humans in the USA - if you can still call us humans if they take the salt out of bread - We can't all be Tuscans but don't tell that to Bloombergerg who probably owns TuscaNY:-).

aytab's picture
aytab

Why are people going after salt, did you know that only 10% of the population has a blood pressure sensitivity to salt. So, 90% of us can eat all the salt we want and it would make no difference in our blood pressure. 

 

Anyway, I have given you the best descriptions of taste as I can, one literally tasted like chewy air, I mean no flavor at all and the other one had no initial flavor but did have a "Moldy" note to it after chewing and especially aftertaste. I do recall neither loaf having much aroma or it would have stuck with me, I always "taste" my breads with my nose before I do with my tongue. I am starting to think that a lack of salt is the answer to the lack of flavor. As for the moldy note I don't know what caused that other than mold.

 

It is a good thing that I have 14 and 16 year old boys, otherwise the bread would have gone to waste but these two will eat anything that doesn't eat them first. As for me I just could stomach them and happily cut into one of my boules of sourdough while the boys ate the "bakery" suff. 

BakerSam's picture
BakerSam

No problems with salt from me (atleast without consulting the local doctor!).  If there was no aroma then I would think that Gerhard is right in that they use a bread improver to cut out the fermentation.  Makes great looking bread that 95% of people like, it's just that if you want the real home style stuff it takes time!  No or low salt will give it a soapy taste.  As for the mould it sounds like their might be contaminates or incorect measurements with the recipe.  Very much doubt that they would sell mouldy bread if they have a high turn over.  Glad to hear you had some sourdough waiting for you!