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Can't get it right (home made bread)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all.  I am new to making bread, I have made probably about a dozen loaves so far.  These are just basic white bread recipe that you would find in a conventional cookbook.  I have eaten homemade bread before, so I pretty much know how it should taste (should taste great! lol), but out of these 12 loaves, I have only been satisfied with two of them.  I am not sure what I am doing wrong as they have been from the same recipe.  The rest of the other loaves have been ok at best.  They taste kinda bland, not much flavor at all.  The dough rises like it should and I have not really noticed anything different that I have been doing wrong.  Does anyone have an idea of what I could be doing wrong? 

 

Thanks!

 

post #2 of 8

 

Taste problems usually come from the recipe.  For instance, a very common problem is not enough salt.  Since you've made the recipe twelve times, and the taste has only been good two of them, a bunk recipe seems more likely still. 

 

Unfortunately, you neither posted the recipe nor a description of your technique.  When you do describe what you're doing, don't forget to say how many times and how long each time you allow the bread to rise, as rise time helps develop flavor.

 

BDL

post #3 of 8

Yes, please do post the recipe and your proceedure, as that is the only way we can provide useful help.

 

What escapes me is this: If you're using the same recipe and procedure each time, then, in theory you haven't made 12 loaves. You've made one loaf 12 times---and they should taste the same. So something has changed along the way.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yes.  Sorry I didn't post the recipe.  Here it is:

 

I scaled down the recipe for a loaf, but here is a link:

 

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Homemade-Bread/Detail.aspx

 

I read about kneading the bread and I think my technique is good.  I basically fold it over, punch it down to flatten it out and fold it again and continue.  I didn't have shortening, so I used butter.  But I used butter with every loaf.  I basically followed that recipe.  I bought new yeast at one point because I was using some old yeast from my parents, but that didn't seem to help at all.  The recipe seems to have good reviews so I figured it would have to be something that I was doing wrong.

 

Thanks for all your help!

 

post #5 of 8

A couple of possibilities suggest themselves.

 

First off, the ingredients are given in volume measurements in the original recipe. If you scaled them down by volume you may have impacted their relationship. That's one of the reasons serious bread-bakers use weight rather than volume. I say "may have" because I haven't bothered doing the math.

 

Second, in terms of flavor, BDL is definately right (scary how often he is, aint it). I don't think there's enough salt in that recipe.

 

Third, don't overdue it with that punching down nonesense. You don't want to abuse the dough. But that would have affected the mechanics of loaf formation, rather than flavor per se.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 8

I bake bread almost daily since the first of the year when my son and I decided to only eat from scratch stuff for a year. In my opinion, you need more salt and make sure you are using sea sslt not the iodated "table" salt.

 

I always proof my yeast in warm sugar water or start with a bread "sponge." depending on the type of loaf I need.

 

I should point out that I DO NOT knead my dough but use either the bread machine on dough setting, the food processor, or the Kitchenaid with a dough hook.

 

For sandwich bread, bread that can be sliced thin enough for sandwiches, I use the following recipe...

 

Perfect Sandwich Bread

 

1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups warm water, depending on the time of year (more in the winter, less in the summer)
1 heaping tablespoon honey or sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk granules
2 tablespoons real butter
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 cups good unbleached AP flour, I use King Arthur's
 

sandwichbread.jpg

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great pointers. I will definately try to use a little more salt and use sea salt instead of regular table salt next weekend. I will also try that sandwich bread recipe :)
post #8 of 8

Question for mrsbushaxe:

Why "make sure [to use only] sea salt?"  Why not "iodated [sic] 'table' salt?"  Or kosher salt?  Or non-iodized table salt?  Or...?  Curious what your thinking is. 

 

Some thoughts for patm:

If you're going to use any salt other than the kind called for by your recipe -- which in absence of other specific instructions is generally meant to be table salt -- you may have to adjust your amounts accordingly.

 

Fwiw, it really doesn't matter a great deal whether you use butter or shortening to grease your loaf.  For that matter you can use almost any sort of vegetable oil; most American "Euro-artisan style" bakers use extra virgin olive oil for that little bit of extra flavor.   
 

Note that mrsbushxe's recipe includes milk.  If I might be allowed to adjust your recipe a little, let me suggest replacing about 1/3 of the water with buttermilk and bumping the salt by between 1/3 or 1/2 -- whatever will get you even in your measuring spoon.

 

BDL 


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/18/10 at 12:45pm
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