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Old 02-22-2010, 04:41 PM   #1
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Bread tasted flat

Yesterday I decided to have my daughter help me bake a loaf of bread from scratch. I figured it would be a fun activity to do on a lazy Sunday. We made a loaf of French bread. The recipe called for an 1/8 teaspoon of salt. We did not measure the salt though. I showed DD how to pinch salt with 3 fingers so she put a little in and then I added to it. Like I said, I did not measure, but I am sure we put in more than an 1/8 teaspoon.

The bread never browned like the instructions said it would, but it was obvious to me it was done so I pulled it out anyway. After we let it cool we broke into it. We did not let it cool enough (center was still a little under baked), but that is to be expected for the first loaf

The problem is that the flavor was very flat. Now my first guess would have been salt, but I know we put in at least as much as was called for. Should I have used more? Did the recipe not call for enough to begin with? Could there be another cause? I would post the recipe, but I did not save it.

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Old 02-22-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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Salt would be my first guess too. 1/8 doesn't sound like a lot, but that depends on how much flour you used.

Slow proofing also enhances flavor. If it rose quickly, flavor does not have time to develop.

Since you didn't save the recipe, you have the freedom to select another and try again.

PS, a flour fight before clean-up is a good way to end a baking lesson.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:03 PM   #3
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I am guessing we used at least a half a teaspoon. Next time maybe I will measure just to be sure.

It rose for 2 hours and then there was a second rise for about an hour.

Yes, next time we will try a different recipe. I would like to work my way up to sourdough. I think that would be a lot of fun.

I will consider (and probably have) the flour fight, but when my lovely wife has a conniption then I will start chanting your name Andy
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
...I will consider (and probably have) the flour fight, but when my lovely wife has a conniption then I will start chanting your name Andy
I'll take the blame as long as you take the clean-up. After all, it's your kitchen.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:21 PM   #5
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GB,
I'd add more salt and when you put it in the oven if possible remember to spray the inside of the oven with water, 10 min later do it again.It will give your bread a nice crisp crust..If it didn't brown as you like try brushing it with 1/2 tea of cornstarch mixed with 1/2c. boiling water you've let cool. bake at 400 about 10 min then lower the heat and continue baking til done. If you want your bread to have a little more of a sour flavor, try my trick of a very long slow rise. I put if in my pantry which stay's very cool and just leave it, sometime it goes all day but the flavor is outstanding.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:57 PM   #6
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Looking into my bread recipes, salt works out to be about 1/2 tsp. per 1-1/2 cups of flour. (ie. 4-1/2 cups of flour = 1-1/2 tsp. of salt)

I brush the top with milk. Milk gives me a good visual clue as to the state of the bread while baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, rotate 180 degrees and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes. (Internal temp should be 185-190).

Cool for a minimum of 1 hour on a wire rack.

All of this will work with most bread loaf recipes. (Baguettes require a different baking time.) But regular white, wheat, artisan, Challah, etc. are included.

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I strongly recommend getting "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" - Peter Reinhart, Hard Cover, $35.00, isbn 13: 978-1-58008-268-6
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:27 PM   #7
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Thats a deal Andy.

CJ, great advice as always. I did not have a spray bottle handy so I opened the oven door quickly a few times and after dipping my fingers in a bowl water I sprinkled it on the oven walls real fast. Not ideal, but I do not think it hurt. The crust was excellent.

Selkie, what kind of visual clues does the milk give? I will have to try that. I will also have to try my best to let the bread cool completely. I decided yesterday that next time we make break we will bake two loaves so that we can destroy the first one shortly after it comes out of the oven, but we will be able to let the real loaf cool and enjoy that one for real.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:07 PM   #8
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The visual clue is the amount of browning the milk adds, with a warm, almost chocolate color being the ideal. It's most likely just a coincidence that the color corresponds to the "doneness" of the bread, but coincidence or not, it works.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:16 PM   #9
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Cool.
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