The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread lacks flavor

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Bread lacks flavor

I am hoping to get some pointers.  I just made Hamelman’s hazelnut and currant whole wheat bread.

I THINK the crumb is good but it lacks flavor. 
I’ve made it before and I didn’t get a great rise but it tasted wonderful. This one, not so much.

Last time I used King Arthur flour and this time I used Bob’s redmill. Last time I mixed it in a Bosch Universal. This time I used my new Famag 5s spiral mixer.   This time I got a much better rise because I think I had better gluten development. 

It came off the mixer at 79F and I was aiming for 75F. I put it in the fridge for the first 20 minutes or so of bulk fermentation till it came down to 75F.  I took it out of the fridge and it stayed at 75F for the rest of the time till I put it in the oven.

Any suggestions about what’s gone awry with the flavor?

 Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Still on a steep learning curve!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Have you considered the possibility of over mixing? I know from experience that over mixing can oxidize the dough too much, causing a lose of flavor.

Was this crumb much whiter than the one that tasted so good?

Do you see this as a possibility? Maybe the flour?

Danny

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Actually, this one does look a bit lighter.   I thought I might be mixing a bit too long but it took a bit  longer to get a moderate gluten window!   I guess I could have done a second fold instead. 

Also, gonna go back to KAF and see if that makes a difference.

Thanks so much

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I have had excellent results with the following. It takes a little patience but it is well worth the effort. Rest your dough... Just like an autolyse does miracles for your dough, so does resting it between any manipulations. In the mixer - knead a while, then cover and rest 20 minutes or so. When you start kneading again you will see a huge difference. The less the can handle the dough, while still accomplishing the goal, the better. That’s why the dough is rested between preshape and shaping. If your are stretching and fold, for example, and the dough starts to resist you, don’t force. Don’t ever force your dough. If you are instructed to do 4 stretches and folds (1 from each direction) and at some point the dough resist, either stop the S&F or rest the dough before continuing.

Your dough will be happy and so will you. Always be mindful of damaging your dough.

Your Famag is a super fine piece of equipment and is super efficient. I would own one if it didn’t take up so much counter space. A TFL user Lance, aka “Albacore” is an owner and big time fan of the Famag. It will knead much more efficiently than the KitchenAide. Mix a little, then rest, and mix again. The rest will allow the gluten to relax. As it becomes relaxed it will readily accept additional kneading.

Danny

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

The Famag is really wonderful.  Mass improvements in my oven spring.

Thanks so much for the information. Never occurred to me to rest the dough in the mixer.  That just turned on a light.  As a matter if fact, your entire post did.

 

Super helpful!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

like it might taste a little burnt on the bottom crust.  If the oven was too hot, some of the flavour may have been driven off in the heat.  I kid you not.

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

The bottom was burned - oven too hot.

 

I had no idea that would impact flavor!  I was trying for more oven spring with the heat!

Thanks so much for the insight. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

A couple of observations

  1. I don’t think the temperature of your oven is the main culprit. Even though the bottom is burnt, the top looks very nice. You may need to tweak the shelf position. Raise it higher to remove the bottom from any excess heat.
  2. As always, Mini is very astute. Heat driving off flavor is a new one for me. I learn many new things each day.  But if your bread tasted bland, I don’t think that is a characteristic of burnt crust. 

My best guess remains either over oxidation (too much mixing) or the change of flour. Bob’s Red Mill has a great reputation. If it turns out to be the flour, it is probably due to a bad or expired batch. But my first guess is over mixing. I know from experience, because I’ve done it myself (more than once) :-(

Dan

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Expiration date on the flour is 6/20/2020.

I agree with you -I think it was overmixing.

I’m using an Emile Henry dutch oven.  It’s down on a lower shelf. 

Lot’s of very helpful adjustments to make here.

Thanks foe this!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

”I’m using an Emile Henry dutch oven.  It’s down on a lower shelf.“

Just raise it up. Raise it higher than half way and see if the top gets darker than the bottom. Move shelves until you hit the sweet spot.

Danny

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Less mixing - more resting 

Pay attention to what the dough is doing - and adjust how I handle it

Put the DO on a higher shelf

I just learned ALOT!!

Thank you

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Even if you reduce the heat, if you continue baking with the exact setup, you will sacrifice the top crust. In other words if you succeed in getting the bottom right, the top will not bake as dark. 

You need to adjust your shelf height, or maybe some other variable. Are you using a stone, dutch oven or what?

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

Lower shelf, no stone when I use the Emile Henry 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Interesting, Mini! What is your ideal internal temp? Does it vary for different breads?

King Arthur recently published an article that stated that in many cases 190F internal is sufficient. I started testing that but didn’t take time to complete.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and heat.  It's in the archives somewhere here but I got interested when I stumbled upon garbage incineration.  The higher the temp, the greater the reduction in odors and aromas.  Then I did a few bread experiments on my own. :)

Have you ever noticed that a smoldering fire stinks more than a good burning one? :)

...and while we're at it... burnt crust ... my tip ... cool with the burnt side up so the aroma and burnt flavours don't rise thru the bread.  When cool, over the sink or outside with a good scrubbing on a box grater to remove burnt crust. :)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Mini, I’ve spent some time searching for “Aromas and Flavors” but came up empty. If you come across the link, please send it.

Have you tried searching thefreshloaf by putting this in your web browser’s address bar? It will search everything after the “ “ (space) that is before ...com

site:thefreshloaf.com aromas and flavors

Thanks

Danny

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I did not know that too high a temperature could make bread less flavorful, but I have read that over baking can. Usually when I read that there is not flavor, I turn to salt content. Even though you can get used to the flavor of less salt I find that it can make a big difference in flavor. Measuring salt on a larger scale can be inaccurate. You might try adding a little more salt next time.

One other thought... How long did it cool? I bet it tastes better the  next day.

Lmw4's picture
Lmw4

You know, I also wondered about the salt. I have. Micro scale for measuring yeast but measures the salt using my big scale this time.  I had this nagging thought that the amount of salt looked leas than usual.  I also used sea salt and I usually use KAF bread salt. 

 

Haven’t had a piece yet today but will later. Maybe it’ll have more flavor!