The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

need more flavor in refrigerator bread

gaaah's picture

need more flavor in refrigerator bread

I've been tinkering with the Hertzberg/Francois recipe and finally am able to consistently get the large crumb that I like. I'm at 77% hydration. I weigh my flour AND my water. I found the boule shape puts too much gravity on the center of the loaf. I start with a boule but then elongate it as well as score it, to get the crumb I want. The loaf looks hopelessly wet and flat when it goes in the oven but I'm getting a really good oven spring. I also feel that a whole tablespoon of yeast in a recipe for a single loaf is not terribly economical so I use one teaspoon let the dough rise overnight.

The loaf looks beautiful and the crust is good.  Because of the water content slices are almost impossible to toast, but that doesn't bother me.  The one thing left for me to solve is the flavor --namely the lack of it. I want a more of a bready, malty note but don't know how to get it. I've tried a tablespoon of barley malt flour (which is more like a sugar) but that amount diluted in a loaf does not make any difference.  More just makes the dough sweet.  My current recipe uses just White Lily bread flour, salt, yeast and water.

So should just accept that this is the trade-off one makes when using a refrigerator bread recipe or are there other tweaks I could try?

Yerffej's picture

What flour are you using?

Stevo's picture

For a malty flavour try using beer instead of water any beer (other than a bland lager type) is good, stouts are particularly nice. Tinkering with different flours may help rye, wholemeal, malted wheat. Dare I suggest a bit more yeast may add flavour.

golgi70's picture

Maybe a different flour that is malted like King Arthur but you may need to use there AP flour as their bread flour is pretty strong.  

I'm not familiar with the formula so I'll ask a few questions.  Is there a pre-ferment?  Is there an autolyse?  

If those tactics are already in play then there is using a natural levain to increase the depth of flavor.  



dabrownman's picture

whole flour won.t give you much flavor.  But it can be slightly better by using just a a pinch of yeast to make a smaller sized poolish and let that ripen for 12 hours and then refrigerate it for 12 hours.  Then use it to make your refrigerated bread.  Adding a total of 15% whole rye, whole spelt and whole wheat flour will help the flavor even more.  After that you need sourdough. 

AZ Chuck's picture
AZ Chuck

I get my best flavor with a slow, warmer fermentation. I don't seem to get it in the refrigerator. I would do everything the same.but use a lot less yeast to slow thing down in a warmer place. 

clazar123's picture

Natural levain gives the best flavor (in my opinion) and mine never tastes sour so I refuse to call it sourdough. Using some form of preferment-whether it is from a natural levain or  the pinch of yeast variety dabrowman suggests, will boost your flavor a lot.

Worth trying.

gaaah's picture

God, I'm surprised by all the replies.  I was prepared to be flamed by a bunch of snobs, especially since I'm using a no-knead recipe, but you proved me wrong!

I think I'll try the beer idea first.   That sounds like exactly the flavor I'm missing.   Thanks.

clazar123's picture

It may or may not give you the flavor you are looking for. If the beer is very bitter, I have found it can transmit that to the bread. I had a case of 12 year old cans of beer-midrange quality-left from a party. Stored in the basement but still old. It made great bread.

Boron Elgar's picture
Boron Elgar

Deeper flavor, even with AP flour, comes from longer ferment times. I often develop doughs that start either with natural (sourdough) starter, or a small amount of commercial yeast. If I am going to bake on the weekend, I'll start a ferment on Thursday night, create another one on Friday, combine them into the dough on Saturday, let it bulk ferment overnight in the fridge, and shape, rise and bake on Sunday.

If you do not have the time or inclination to do that, then think of combining different flours into your dough...add some whole wheat or rye or semolina or other flours or a bit of oatmeal or rough cornmeal or other grains.

No matter whether you pre-ferment or alter your flours, you can still use your weights to achieve a similar hydration. It won't be perfect the first time if you are changing out flours, as each one has its own liquid absorption profile, but you should easily be able to adjust on the fly by looking at and feeling the dough towards the end or the mix and before the first bulk ferment.

clearlyanidiot's picture

No-knead isn't really my specialty, but I'd agree with Dabrownman. Try builds and see if that gives you the flavour you aren't getting. My 2 cents would be trying to isolate if it's the lack of yeast that's the missing flavour. Basically try a batch with the full yeast called for, and if that solves your problem you can find a different way to fix it.

Aside from that, maybe look at the nutritional info of the breads you're comparing it too. Some commercial stuff can be absurdly high in fat/sugar/salt, even if it doesn't taste like it.