Tasteless raisin bread
Posted: 04 December 2007 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I made the cinnamon raisin bread from the Bread Bible, and it’s turned out….bleh.  not bad tasting, just tasteless.  A good description would be “watery tasting”, if that conjures up anything. 

It was a distracted baking effort on saturday, but some details from the baking…..I used soy milk powder instead of regular milk powder, and the initial rise was overlong, about twice as long as called in the recipe.  As well, the final rise was shortened a bit.  Flour itself was fairly fresh, unbleached AP flour (Canadian AP flour)

I’ve had this “tasteless” bread problem in the past before, and I’d like to troubleshoot a bit, if anyone has any suggestions.

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Posted: 04 December 2007 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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an extra long rise…? do you mean that you let it rise for twice as long, OR that it took twice as long to rise?? .... have you made this bread before?? is it a “seasonal” issue…heats on now, weather is dryer, indoor climates are different than summer??  other than that… too much salt would hamper a dough, but the taste would reveal that… not enough sugar, might as well.. hmmm ok, so if the sugar and yeast ratio were some how skewed, that would affect the rise… what about the texture?? perhaps it’s s gluten issue?  I’d steer clear of any AP flour for bread, just because I’ve had such good result, with other, unbleached, bread type flours… worth the extra money…
any other “clues”?  what about the “bite”, the crust, etc…

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Posted: 04 December 2007 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Normally, when bread lacks flavor it is because the bread was rushed.  Time = flavor with bread.  Although you say your first rise was twice as long, how long did you allow the sponge to develop?  That is where the real flavor comes from.  I always use the overnight option specified at the end of the recipe and it makes a difference, but even 4 hours should have worked well.  It is hard to imagine this bread being tasteless simply because of the cinnamon.  Watery seems like a texture term to me, so I’m not sure how to translate that to a taste, but perhaps you could offer more detail.  I think if you extend your sponge, that should solve the problem.

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Posted: 04 December 2007 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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First, as to the recipe, this is the cinnamon swirl bread, except I made it without the cinnamon filling.  It’s a sandwich-type bread.

The sponge sat for about 45 mins at room temp.  If I remember, recipe called for an hour or so at room temp, with a refrigerator option.

Bread was mixed in a stand mixer as per recipe.  I’m pretty sure I remembered the salt.

First rise was supposed to be an hour or so, and I was out of the house so it ended up being closer to four hours.

Second rise was an hour and a half.

Crumb was not ideal.  The bread pans were not filled, I think I could’ve let it rise longer.  Texture was not uniform, it was “squished” at the bottom, which I wonder was due to baking on a baking stone.

I can’t explain watery taste, but for some reason it’s the first thing that jumps to mind when I tasted the bread.  Essentially, there was no taste to the bread.

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Posted: 04 December 2007 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I would try an overnight sponge—that should give you the flavor you are looking for.  As for rising, the bread should already be well over the top of loaf pan before baking.  Also, if they are taking too long to rise, it sounds like your kitchen may be on the cool side.  I’ve made both of these recipes (cinnamon and non) at least seven times, and it always has a great flavor, so it would definitely be worth another try.

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Posted: 06 December 2007 11:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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squished at the bottom??? how soon after it was out of the oven did you slice it??? sounds as if it might have just over proofed, and started to settle??? without seein g it, it’s really hard…  a lack of salt, would / could make things a bit watery or tasteless, especially if there wasn’t the cinnamon swirl ( that’s what I initially couldn’t understand, how a cinnamon bread could be tasteless)... but a lack of salt would make the rise, faster, not slower….

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Posted: 13 December 2007 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Uh…hate to say it but the use of soy protein instead of milk powder is the problem. Milk contributes a great deal of taste to this bread, without it, it won’t taste right. I’ve always thought that soy protein gives baked goods a washed out taste. I’ve never liked using it. Also, I don’t completely know the chemistry behind milk powder, but the protein in it (whey) contributes to the rising of the bread. Breads with whey protein rise taller and fuller than those without.

If you are allergic to dairy or won’t use dairy for whatever reason, consider using almond milk (substitute it for the liquid in the dough) and use potato or tapioca starch instead of the soy protein (which will help to mimic the results of using whey protein. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will be somewhat close). Also add some vanilla or almond extract to the dough to help boost the flavor.

You can also search out or develop a recipe for cinn-raisin bread that uses sourdough starter, which will boost the flavor to the sky without having to add milk or other flavoring agents to it at all.

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Posted: 13 December 2007 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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whey, I think, would be more carbohydrate, than plain ole milk… not sure… gonna look it up…

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Posted: 14 December 2007 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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clement - 13 December 2007 10:03 PM

whey, I think, would be more carbohydrate, than plain ole milk… not sure… gonna look it up…


No, whey is a protein, not a carbohydrate. The carbohydrate in milk is lactose (milk sugar). Both components contribute to the flavor of the bread, but the protein acts as a dough conditioner and contributes to the structure of the bread and how it rises.

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Posted: 14 December 2007 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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thanks.. I was thinking that the extra ooomph was from more sugars, not so much the conditioner aspect… that’s my something new for today… now, on to work, to see what’s new there… usually, new, at work, is not wonderful… ya just never know…I know what my prep list is, but never sure what my chef has added to it… LOL

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Posted: 14 December 2007 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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just looked up the nutritional info on whey.. now I’m really confused…  have to look around some more when I get home.

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Posted: 21 December 2007 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Roxanne - 13 December 2007 05:45 PM

Uh…hate to say it but the use of soy protein instead of milk powder is the problem. Milk contributes a great deal of taste to this bread, without it, it won’t taste right. I’ve always thought that soy protein gives baked goods a washed out taste. I’ve never liked using it. Also, I don’t completely know the chemistry behind milk powder, but the protein in it (whey) contributes to the rising of the bread. Breads with whey protein rise taller and fuller than those without.

If you are allergic to dairy or won’t use dairy for whatever reason, consider using almond milk (substitute it for the liquid in the dough) and use potato or tapioca starch instead of the soy protein (which will help to mimic the results of using whey protein. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will be somewhat close). Also add some vanilla or almond extract to the dough to help boost the flavor.

You can also search out or develop a recipe for cinn-raisin bread that uses sourdough starter, which will boost the flavor to the sky without having to add milk or other flavoring agents to it at all.

thanks for this info, and “washed out taste” is an accurate descriptor for what I was experiencing.  I appreciate the other comments (and the reminder that for bread, time = flavour), but I really wasn’t sure that was where my problem lay.

I had the soy milk powder around from a period when my son had to go completely dairy free, we’re past that period now (thankfully).

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