A lot of things can go wrong when you make bread at home, and if you’ve got a loaf that tastes of yeast, you’re probably wondering what in the world happened.
A couple of different things can cause your bread to develop a yeasty flavor. One is making the dough rise too quickly, and the other is adding too much yeast to it. You can get rid of this sort of flavor by slowing down your proving process, and using less yeast overall.
Let’s find out more about how to bake a loaf of bread that doesn’t taste of yeast!
Why Does My Bread Taste Yeasty?
Excessive yeasty flavoring in bread is usually a result of either putting too much yeast in the dough, or proving it too quickly. Your dough needs time to develop its flavors, so if you rush the proving process, you’ll end up with a loaf that tastes unpleasant.
This is why most bakers do a long first proof. This gives the dough time to start developing its flavor, and break down the yeast so that its taste becomes less noticeable. The longer the first proof is, the less the dough will taste of yeast. It will also give the bread a better texture.
If you keep getting yeasty bread, the two things you need to check are:
- How much yeast are you adding to the dough?
- How long are you letting the dough prove for?
Correcting either or both of these should resolve the problem.
See Also: How To Keep Bread From Molding
How Can You Prevent Yeasty Flavoring?
There’s not much you can do to save your current loaf, because it has already been baked and its flavors are set. However, you can learn for next time. First, review your recipe and approach. If you know you gave the dough plenty of time to prove, you should be questioning whether you added too much yeast to it.
It’s worth checking this first, since it comes before the proving process. Consider reducing the yeast by ¼ or ½ a teaspoon next time, and see if this helps. You will probably have to leave the dough to rise for longer as a result, but as this can also help with flavor issues, it’s a good idea anyway.
Next, think about where you are putting your dough to rise. Many sites recommend placing it in a warm oven so that it can rise quickly and you can bake it sooner – but this can cause problems. It increases the speed with which the yeast activates and makes the dough puff up sooner, but the proving process isn’t just about volume.
The proving process is necessary for the flavors in your bread dough to develop. If you rush the process, you may still get a good texture, but the taste will be noticeably worse. There’s a lot of activity and change in the dough when it’s fermenting, and if you rush this, your bread simply won’t taste nice.
Some bakers therefore prefer to place their dough somewhere cool to increase the proving time. Allowing it more than the standard 60 minutes will allow more time for good flavors to develop, and will make your bread taste much better.
How Can You Slow Down The Fermentation Process?
Two things will make your bread prove more slowly: less yeast and colder temperatures. Most commercial recipes for bread call for a packet of dried yeast (around 7 grams), but surprisingly, the bread rarely needs this much.
The reason they call for such large amounts is that it makes the proving process faster. The recipe becomes more attractive because it’s relatively quick and easy. Some people even add more yeast in an attempt to make the bread prove even faster.
On the whole, less yeast is better (up to a point). Beginner bakers often steer away from recipes that call for more than 3 hours of proving time, not realizing that this will often provide bread with a significantly better flavor.
Amazingly, you can often reduce the amount of yeast a recipe calls for by as much as three quarters. Sometimes, you will need half in order to get light bread. Significantly cutting down the yeast massively reduces the risk of it having an unpleasant flavor.
Of course, this does mean that it will take far longer for the bread to rise – but that’s generally a good thing, as long as you’re aware of that and you can plan for it. You should experiment with reducing the amount of yeast and letting the dough rise for longer; you’ll be amazed by how much better the loaf tastes.
If you don’t want to reduce the yeast, you can still increase the proving time by putting the dough in the fridge overnight. In the colder temperatures, the yeast will activate much more slowly, and the flavors will have more time to develop.
If you’re putting too much yeast in, you’ll probably still get a somewhat yeasty flavor, but this should mitigate it. Don’t add more yeast, even if you’re slowing down your bread’s proving.
What Else Can You Do To Tackle Yeasty Bread?
Many people think that you must have commercial yeast to enjoy bread, because without it, you get flatbread. That isn’t strictly true, though. You can actually use other methods to get a light, fluffy loaf, and you should consider these if your bread keeps coming out too yeasty.
Many people have begun experimenting with sourdough bread, and this uses a starter instead of yeast to give the bread structure. It’s a great way to avoid yeasty-tasting loaves, although inexperienced bakers often feel daunted by it.
Sourdough bread does tend to involve more work, as you have to feed the starter regularly to keep it active and make sure it’s in a good condition to help your bread rise. It only takes a few minutes to feed a starter, and schedules vary – but be aware of this before you decide to give sourdough bread a try.
Starter works by developing its own yeast from wild yeasts in the air. These get into your flour and water mixture, and start to develop a colony there. Sourdough bread does still contain yeast, but it’s a more natural strain that may have a better flavor.
Sourdough bread does have significantly longer proving times, so bear this in mind if you want to have a go at this kind of loaf.
Use A Pre-Ferment
You can make a pre-ferment to use in your dough if you prefer. This is something you mix in advance. It uses flour, water, and a small quantity of yeast – so it does still contain yeast, but only a small amount.
These pre-ferments can be called a sponge, a poolish, or a biga. Try the different methods to see which one works best for you and produces a loaf you enjoy. You usually use these by mixing the ingredients together and leaving them to prove for hours before you mix them into a dough.
They can often massively improve both the structure and the flavor of a loaf of bread, so it’s well worth considering them if you’re struggling to get a good taste.
See Also: Why Your Bread is Burning On The Bottom
- If you are still struggling to reduce the yeasty flavor, try using a different raising agent, such as baking soda, for your bread.
- If you’re adding other flavors to the bread (e.g. rosemary), add them to the dough early on so they have time to interact with it.
- Aim for a proving time of around 5-6 hours, but be careful not to overproof your recipe, or you’ll get flat, tough bread.
Do you have to use yeast?
You do need a raising agent in bread (or you’ll get flat bread) and yeast tends to be the best. If you don’t like it, consider experimenting with baking soda.
How cold should you make your dough?
To do a cold-proof, you want your dough to be around 50 degrees F. Putting it in a fridge will work too.
How do I make my bread not taste or smell like yeasty flour?
Too much yeast in your dough will make the bread smell and taste yeasty.
Yeasty bread is usually the result of a rushed proving process or too much yeast in the recipe. To fix it, try halving your yeast and increasing your proving time by several hours.