Bagging changes flavor


Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
I'm making a loaf I really like using my bread machine and 6 parts K.A. white whole wheat flour to 1 part unbleached bread flour. (Fortunately, I had a good stock of K.A. flour before the baking frenzy began with the lockdowns.)

My question is this: If I put the bread in a plastic bag (after it's had time to cool, sometimes not till a day later), the flavor of the bread changes overnight. I find it a less attractive flavor. If I don't bag the bread, I love its flavor of the bread even when it's so crunch it scratches my mouth.

Are there any bread-chemistry experts out there who would know why and how this happens? I assume it has something to do with moisture being locked in. I would guess maybe fermentation, but that would mean the yeast would still be active after baking. So that would seem to leave either some straight chemical change going on--or some bacterial process?

  1. INGREDIENTS:​
    1. 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water (93˚ F)​
    2. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil​
    3. 3 tablespoons honey​
    4. 3 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour​
    5. ½ cup unbleached white bread flour – mix the flours well before adding to bread machine​
    6. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, rounded​
    7. 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, rounded​
  2. BM settings:​
    1. Medium crust setting​
    2. Whole wheat baking cycle setting​
    3. Stop machine after 8 minutes, rubber spatula down flour on sides of baking pan, restart BM (another 3:23)​
    4. Let bread cool out of pan but in the BM​
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
1,232
Yeast is a living organism and it’s extremely sensitive to changes in temperature. It’s killed at 125°F, so it’s not the yeast.



What you’re describing is the affects of aging bread, better known as stale bread. This is the degradation of flavor and aroma and crust and crumb quality due to starch retrogradation.



Wheat has two separate types of starch molecules, amylose and amylopectin. Each starch has its own unique long chain shape. The long chains are held together with hydrogen bonds.



During baking, the starch molecules in the wheat flour expand as starch absorbs more water. At a certain point they expand so much that the hydrogen bonds break apart. As more water replaces the hydrogen bonds, the long chain molecules of amylose and amylopectin begins to form a gel like mass. This is when the thickening property of starch begin to happen.



But as the starch cools, it forces the water out and the hydrogen bonds re-form. That process it is starch retrogradation.



So water is being forced out of the bread. But that is just one of many changes happening to the bread.



Volatile compounds and particular types of oxygen, furans that are responsible for the aroma and flavor of the bread decrease as well.



And it happens in everything with cooked starch, not just bread.



How bread is stored after it is baked, effects starch retrogradation. That in turn affects the flavor and texture of the bread. For this reason there’s an extraordinary amount of science that goes into bread packaging. There’s also an extraordinary amount of science that goes into bread dough



So the type of plastic will affect the flavor of your bread. You need to understand to the plastic gives off gases. So your bread is also absorbing the flavor of that plastic.





Explanation of starch retrogradation








 
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Thanks, Norcalbaker59. I figured you'd be out there somewhere. I have some follow-up questions, if you don't mind.

I read you as saying that bread changes flavor because of starch retrogradation and because it absorbs flavors from the plastic bag.

So bagged bread stays softer because less water can escape, less retrogradation can take place.

And I think you suggest two reasons why the flavor will be different than the same bread left in the open:
First, because the bagged bread has dried less. But I'm not clear why this would change the flavor from that of the fresh bread.

Second, because it has absorbed flavor from the plastic. If I understand your comment about the science of bread packaging, the flavor of the bagged bread would be better--more like the fresh bread--if I put it in a bag that commercial bread came in rather than in a freezer bag? But when I freeze half my loaf in the freezer bag, the flavor when I thaw it outside the bag doesn't seem to have changed as much as it changes after just one night in the bag when it's already thawed. So does the plastic bag not impart its flavor to the bread when frozen?
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
1,232
Starch retrogradation happens regardless.



It’s just the difference is when the bread is left out, the evaporation of moisture is happening in the air. As the water evaporates into the air the crust and the crumb dries out. Unless your home is extremely humid, you don’t have a lot of water on the surface of the bread, so the microbes are under control.



When you place the bread inside the bag and seal it, you create a micro biosphere. All those microscopic organisms, molds, yeast, etc., that landed on your bread while it sat out to cool use the the water pushed out of the bread to re-create life. There is no life without water.



When you place the bread in the freezer, the microbes will go dormant. But once the bread is thawed those little buggers come back to life.



Commercially produced bread is mixed with dough conditions, types of amylases enzymes, that due double duty. They increase volume, improve crumb, and retard staling. They also add preservatives that retard microbe growth. So commercial produce bread taste better and has a long shelf life, up to 30 days in the bag. The bread in the bag can be 10 - 15 days old by the time the consumers buys it.



The type of plastic used in bread package is also very specific in type and thickness depending on how long the bread is expected to be on the shelf.



If you make a lot of bread, you might want to consider getting a bread box.





https://morningchores.com/best-breadbox/
 
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Follow-up questions after studying the bread boxes you referred me to.
1. Some list vent holes, some don't. Not all the evals of bread boxes without vent holes indicate this as a con. Does a bread box need vent holes? The ceramic one on the page doesn't seem to have vent holes nor does the page list that as a con.

2. Some evals say "not good for storage in hot temperature." But I can't tell what makes them not good, or what counts as "hot." If it's 90˚ in the kitchen in July, is that too hot? This is also one of the cons of the ceramic model. I would think the ceramic would insulate against the heat--of course that same physical structure would hold heat longer.

I've got a ceramic cookie jar. No vents, of course, and a rubber seal around the lid. Would this be good or bad?
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
1,232
Give your ceramic cookie jar a try. If you can remove the rubber seal on the lid, I would recommend you do that so there is a bit of air flow in the jar.

With the push to eliminate plastic bags, manufacturers of food packaging have studied thinner bread bags and thinner flow through bags. Thinner bags are just as effective. Bread in flow through bags have a shorter shelf lift, but were still very effective. But keep in mind that commercially produced bread has mold inhibitors AND enzymes to delay staling. And commercially produced bread has a goal of keeping the bread 30 days. Yeah, I know. 30 day:eek: But we live in a world of 7.7 billion people. Getting food to market is no easy task.

I looked at several bread boxes a few years ago. I was leaning toward vents, but very small. And a metal box. But I have a medical condition, so I cannot eat gluten. Then my husband and I separated, so there was no reason for me to keep a bread box in my house since my gluten free bread is frozen.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
" And commercially produced bread has a goal of keeping the bread 30 days. Yeah, I know. 30 day"

When I was a kid (1957) and did a bakery route with my uncle (north NJ), he got fresh bread from Fischer's bakery everyday. https://glover320.blogspot.com/2009/02/1950s-fischer-baking-co.html

My mother went to the Wonder Bread outlet to buy "day-old" bread. I think back then "day old" meant day old, or maybe two days at most. We kept a huge freezer full of it and choc creme-filled cupcakes and Snowballs. Till his dying day my father preferred to eat cake frozen.

Thanks for the answers.
 

Top