The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Bread doesnt smell?

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Calisiacia's picture
Calisiacia

My Bread doesnt smell?

I am a beginner at breadmaking, this is my 3rd attempt at making my own bread by hand, but somehow during the baking process in the oven till when its complete, i do not get the smell of fresh bread aroma.  I find this very strange as everyone seems to say their bread smells around the home, and i wonder whether it is to do with the flour i am using.  

 

Also, the outcome of my bread has a very hard crust and the inside of the bread is not light and fluffy (which i want to achieve), but quite tight with very small holes.  After a day, the bread goes rock hard and puts me off eating it.

 

Any comments on the smell of the bread and how to make the crust not too hard but just right and the insides soft is much appreciated!!

 

 

TableBread's picture
TableBread

Hi Calisiacia and welcome to the wonderfully frustrating and ultimately satisfying world of bread making! Let me see if I can offer you a little comfort and help with this one.

Let's start from the inside and work our way out.

To understand why your bread has a very dense texture we first have to examine where those little holes come from in the first place. When you knead dough and set it in a bowl (or other proofing device) and let it rise you are giving the yeast time to activate. When yeast activates this means it starts to consume the sugars around it. Guess what. Yeast are some very un-social beings! When they eat they belch. Guess what they belch. Carbon monoxide gas! All those little buggers start chowing down and belching away! Usually most recipes require a second rise. This allows for more chowing down and more belching! See where this is going? So with all this eating and belching going on those gases have to go somewhere. That is where those little holes come from.

Whew! That was a mouthful! So by now you may be asking, 'Well, that doesn't explain why my bread is so dense!' and you would be right to say that. This is one of the main reasons why people end up with dense bread: "ROUGH HANDLING" all bread should come with a warning lable: "Caution: I'm very sensitive handle with care!" When you are transferring the dough from the proofing container try not to degass the dough in any way. If you do then you will have to let the dough rise again in the loaf pan or on the stone, if you don't let it re-rise and just bake it as it is then you will end up with a brick. See why? All those little yeasties never had a chance to eat more and let out more gas thus causing bigger holes!

Ok, on to the crust. Now, there have been many a tome written about how to achieve good crust. I am actually going to refer you to an outside source on this one. Richard Bertinet's 'Crust' is an excellent source of information and one of the techiniques that I use comes from Peter Reinhart's 'The Bread Bakers Apprentice' which involves steaming your oven. Steaming is basically squirting water into your oven at the beginning of the baking process to create steam. There really isn't much of a short answer to do that technique justice so if nothing else pop over to the book store and read that section alone.

 

Now, about that smell...there have been plenty of times where I have baked bread with not a single smell. I find the most aromatic part of the process is when the dough is rising. When all of our little yeasties are chowing down and doing their thing is when the house starts to take on that "fresh baked bread" smell that everyone is so fond of. I would worry so much about the smell. Some breads will smell your house up for a month and others won't even make a dent in the kitchen. Worry about the tast, not the smell.

 

Well, I hope I didn't drone on too long and that I somewhat answered your question. If you have any other questions feel free to post here or come over for a cup of coffee at the Table.

 

Cheers,

TableBread

 

Calisiacia's picture
Calisiacia

Hi

 

Thanks very much for the advice, i will try that out and see how it goes!! Your probably right i didnt prove much. i shaped it after the 1st rise, i gave it a punch and did some more kneading (would that be too much or not necessary at all?), then i let it rise for 2nd time for another hour and popped it straight in the oven.  Would i need to give it a 2nd punch and let it prove before i pop it into the oven? 

 Also, i read some recipes that say adding milk instead of water, or part water/part milk will make the bread more soft inside, would that be true? I am planning to give that a go!

 

Thanks!! 

 

TableBread's picture
TableBread

Usually (and I say usually as a disclaimer but I rarely ever) do a second kneading.  This is probably where you are losing all of your texture.  When you 'punch' or 'degass' a dough you do just that.  Punch with a fist in the center of the dough AND THAT'S IT!  Be sure to let us know how it goes!

 

TableBread

browndog's picture
browndog

I have been baking bread for years, but after reading this post I will never look at a blob of dough the same way again. (Belching?! A bowlful of teenage boys?!=>0))

 

Calisiacia, it is true that adding milk to your dough, assuming things go well otherwise, will give you a more tender loaf.

And I agree with TableBread, lose that second kneading.

lelboy's picture
lelboy

Hmm, Have you discovered a dough that does away with us getting poisoned by a defective gas heater?

Surely you meant CO2 (carbon dioxide) and not CO (carbon Monoxide) as the gas given off by fermentation?

Just curious! Cheers, Les.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

After baking herb bread last night, I disappeared into the back room.  A couple hours later I emerged and smelled the wonderful herb aromas.  I hadn't noticed them earlier.  I think that we are fooled by the subtle emergence of the smell.

Rosalie

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

Good day, I was wondering, what Bread recipe were you trying to make?

Lesson One: Your First Loaf

This was the first bread I ever made.  Floyd put very clear instructions on this site.  And this is still a tried and true I continue to make today.

Keep your head up, you'll be crankin out great bread in no time.

Have a great day.

Tattooed Tonka

TT's Other Breads

Calisiacia's picture
Calisiacia

I made white bread, and yesterday i tried it again, this time taking the advice everyone has given me.  This time, the crust was much better and the bread was soft, but somehow the bread inside looked like the texture of cake, like crumbs rather than fluffy bread.  Im not sure if its because i added milk instead of water or i had not kneaded enough (afraid the crust will go very hard if i over do it).  And also it smelt of beer.

 

After the kneading i put it into a loaf tin and let it raise for an hour, then gave it a punch and instantly it deflated into the shape of my fist.  Recipes usually just tell you to give it a punch, but i am wondering if i should give it several punches, as it says i need to release the air bubbles. I am afriad to interfere with the dough too much thinking the bread will turn out hard.  Anyways after the 1 punch I let it stand for another hour, but it didnt raise as much as the 1st time and still had my indented fist shape, and so i delicately took it out, reshaped it and put it back into the loaf tin and waited for another half hour.

 

About the beer smell, i suspect its either too much yeast or i left it too long 2.5hrs before putting it into the oven.

 

Anyways, any advise on what ive done would be great thanks!!! :) 

browndog's picture
browndog

Calisiacia, it wasn't the milk that affected your crumb to that degree. And you're correct that the beer smell goes along with dough that is past its prime and over-fermented. Harmless, but over-fermenting affects the texture, rise and taste of the final product.

You will absolutely not over-knead your bread if you are doing it by hand. People here have talked about hand-kneading for as much as half an hour and not achieving 'windowpane', a mark of very well-developed gluten. (see the third post down in the linked thread.)

I am afriad to interfere with the dough too much thinking the bread will turn out hard.

Bread dough is nothing like pie crust or cake batter, unless you are making something like a high-hydration ciabatta where you want a very open, holey crumb. In that case you treat your dough as delicately as possible. A sandwich loaf doesn't need any such caution.

Think of degassing rather than attacking your dough, and give it a good thorough pat-down. Count up to 27 'punches' to give you an idea of timing.

A second rising before shaping can be helpful but since you are still getting used to working dough, you might simplify and go with one rise, shape, rise again in pans and bake. Since your dough didn't recover much after you punched it down the first time, that tells me you didn't degas it thoroughly and that it was over-risen (hence your beer odor.)

Do you mean it rose 2.5 hours in the pans? That is a long proof, if this is a yeast bread and not a sourdough. A simple white yeast sandwich bread could easily be ready to bake in 45 minutes, if it's rising in a warm spot.

You sound like you're thinking and heading down the right path.

Calisiacia's picture
Calisiacia

Thanks everyone for all the advice!

 I think ive finally got the hang of it.  I made buns this time instead of a loaf, which i havnt finished yet from yesterday.  The outside crust was just right, and the inside was soft and fluffy.  I patted down the dough gently to rid off the bubbles after 1st rise, then left it to prove another half hour before i put it into the oven.  

 

Finally we have some eatable bread for dinner tonight :)

 

I have a tin of dried active yeast which i put into the freezer yesterday, and when i used it today, it didnt seem to froth up as i put it into warm water.  I think i have killed them :(  and so i had to use the instant ones which i luckily had aswell!  I heard that you could put yeast in the freezer, how comes mine died off?  Or should i let them warm up to room temperature before i could use it? I am thinking to throw it away! :( 

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Calisiacia, your yeast is probably fine.  Mine doesn't particularly froth either.  When you put active dry yeast in warm water (not too hot, I'm assuming, because that will kill it), it's not to "proof" it but to wake it up.

I keep mine in the freezer.  It shouldn't be a problem.

Rosalie