The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Taste (lack of)

Warbaby's picture
Warbaby

Taste (lack of)

i have only been baking bread for a few months.  I bought a breadmaker, but thought the bread it made was pretty tasteless, so I started handmaking.  I started with sourdough, but however many different methods I try it often fails to rise enough, so I switched to yeast as the raising agent.  The bread comes out ok, with a good crumb, but is often as tasteless as in the breadmaker, particularly white bread (although ‘cheating’ by adding a little yeasr to the sourdough starter often works). Brown, with added malt is probably the tastiest, but my husband doesn’t care for it.  Straight wholemeal and ‘seedy’ loaves are plain dull.  What do commercial bakers do to make bread taste?  I don’t want to add artificial flavourings, just make tasty bread.

David R's picture
David R

If you went to a really good bakery (anywhere you like, the plane ticket is free 😁), what type of great-tasting bread would you hope to buy?

Warbaby's picture
Warbaby

Thanks for responding DavidR.  I suppose something with a deep, maybe almost yeasty flavour and a nice deep crisp crust.  A friend gets it with her sourdough rye bread but I can’t get that to rise enough.

 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

If so, you never need to bake.  Just barter watercolors for bread. 

I'll offer a miche.

Tom

Warbaby's picture
Warbaby

Thanks Our Crumb!  Pretty rubbishy really - you’re welcome to it!  I couldn’t think what photo to put on as my signature as my bread is rarely worth photographing.  What is a miche, BTW?

 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

If you want to bake better by participating in the Fresh Loaf community, don’t be shy about posting photos of your good, bad or ugly loaves. We can’t evaluate flavor online yet so pix are all we have to troubleshoot from. 

A miche is any big boule. Mine are 2kg. 

If you painted that, be thankful for your gifts. It’s wonderful.   I love detailed watercolored realism. Landscapes, botanicals, still lifes. 👍👍👍

Tom

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I couldn’t agree with Tom more, don’t be shy about posting photos of your good, bad or ugly loaves”. I can guarantee you this. Every single one of us (the greats included), have baked more than our share of flops. And the great thing about flops, is that they teach a whole lot more than our successes!

The Fresh Loaf is a community of friends, the world over who are passionate about bread.

Danny

David R's picture
David R

Miche is the casual/informal/slang French word for a butt cheek. It's also the name of a large rounded loaf of bread. I wonder why. 😃

ds99303's picture
ds99303

What do you mean the bread has no taste?  Even bread that tastes like cardboard has flavor.  It tastes like cardboard.  I used to work with a woman who said vanilla ice cream had no flavor.  It does too have flavor.  It's vanilla.  Anyway, how much salt are you using?  Even the best bread recipe will taste pretty bland without enough salt.  Also, how long are you letting the dough ferment?  Anyone can mix up a dough.  Let it rise for an hour.  Punch it down and shape it.  Let it rise for another hour and then bake it.  You'll have bread but it won't have the depth of flavor produced by a bread that's allowed to slowly ferment and proof over several hours.

Warbaby's picture
Warbaby

OK - not completely tasteless, but too bland.  I put in 1 tsp salt per 500gms flour.  Maybe not enough?  When you say ferment, does that mean the first rise?  That’s usually about 2 hours in a warm(ish) cupboard.  If it means something other than that, I don’t think I do ferment in that case!  Maybe I should keep trying with sourdough.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Based on your own taste buds too, salt is based on flour content.  Salt % usually runs up to 1% for desserts and closer to 2% for average breads.  Salt content can go up to 3% if potatoes and squash type roots are included.  but most adjust for their own taste.  I like 1.6 to 1.8 % myself and consider that low salt.  I will also adjust salt depending on how I serve the bread.  Try 2% and adjust up or down. Not enough salt the bread will taste "flat."

For comparison reasons, one teaspoon in my kitchen holds level about 5g heavy table salt (or 5 ml or grams water.) So it stands to reason that one teaspoon of heavy table salt is about 1% for 500g flour.  I teaspoon is rather low. Two teaspoons or 10g would be about 2% for 500g flour.  Sea salt has flakes and will weigh differently, lighter, then it's handy to have a small scale.  Love my spoon scale and it can accurately measure small amounts of salt, yeast and spices.  Don't forget to add the flour from the starter to the dough flour when figuring salt.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I completely relate to your post. IMO, exceptional tasting bread is most often a result of long fermentation. Shortcuts just don’t “cut it”. Commercial yeast generally promotes quick rises. Although a preferment, such as a poolish can do wonders for flavor. BUT sourdough, IMO, can’t be beat. It promotes slow fermentation and supplies flavors and aromas that won’t be found elsewhere.

If you choose to go the sourdough route let us know. We’ll want to make sure your starter is ready for the task. We are here to help and will provide as much assistance as we can.

Dan

Warbaby's picture
Warbaby

Thanks DanAyo.    Maybe I should  keep trying to get sourdough right?  I always have 2 sourdough starters on the go, of different ages.  They seem to smell right, have lots of small bubbles, but are not erupting like a volcano.  Sorry - I am a novice - what’s a poolish and a preferment?  I’ve read about sponges too, but it all seems very technical - percentages of hydration etc so I panic and switch off!

David R's picture
David R

This sounds to me like your best most-likely option for getting what you want.

Poolish, pre-ferment, and sponge, all are slightly different methods of combining your sourdough starter with some of the flour, then letting it sit and work for a while, before you incorporate it into the dough.

Percentage: Here's just what you need to know, but no more:

  1. The percentages exist so that you can easily make your recipe bigger or smaller. Anyone can double a recipe, of course - but with percentages you can quickly and easily make it one-third smaller, seven and a half times bigger, whatever you want, and it will just work.
  2. Percentages also help you to understand a recipe quickly; if you see 12% salt or 160% water, you immediately know something is not right.
  3. Percentages work by weight only. No cups allowed, no teaspoons either.
  4. The total amount of flour in the whole recipe is called 100% - everything else relates to that.
David R's picture
David R

In addition, each of us has learned a little differently - "What is the taste of good bread?"

Since there are many different opinions on this, and since those opinions can be hard to explain, it will probably help if you give more information - ANY kind of information - about what you want.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to grind spices and seeds to minute tiny little tasty additions.  To those who don't like seeds, it's usually mouth feel and that can be easily remedied.  I wish sometimes I could find bread boring but it calls back to me.  Crust colour and flavour (I prefer the drawn out words as well, those with extra letters) risen with variety, texture begging to be smelled, eaten and bit into -- every bite enjoyed.  Nothing like a sun warmed bun and a little crunch to greet the day.  

Today, by the way, is absolutely gorgeous!  Linz got 5cm of rain over three days and the windows (and car) have been washed by Mother Nature.  My rain barrels are full, garden is full bloom!  Peach tree is loaded with tiny peaches, apple with apples. Herbs are fresh and lovely and sage is budding up to bloom.  It is warm enough to wander barefoot in the cool green grass. A dustless cloudless sky kissing everyone's cheek anointing each with radiance and appetite. Couldn't be a better day. And it's a holiday!  A personal favourite.

Have a joyful day!

Mini   :)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

What a gorgeous scene you painted with words. My day is even better after reading that.

I’d bet you would make an outstanding author. You are witty beyond description, ingenious, and down right nice! If you should decide to write a book, put me down for a copy.

Danny

Warbaby's picture
Warbaby

This is to thank everyone for their help and encouragement and to post a picture of yesterday’s loaf (a milk loaf, using yeast).  I did add more salt, as suggested and it was a better flavour, but didn’t rise well, despite 3 provings over 36 hours, as can be seen.  But the texture was good.  (I thought I had posted this already, but can’t see it, so apologies if it’s a repeat, appearing somwwhere else)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

How much extra salt. Too much salt will slow the fermentation