I've made a lot of changes in the TF direction over the last few years. One of the hardest things for me so far has been bread. I live pretty much grain-free, but my kids can tolerate bread. I had been buying Nature's Pride whole grain bread, but it's no longer available anywhere around here, and nothing else on store shelves comes close to acceptable for me, so I'm back to baking my own bread for sandwiches. But I have bad wrists and can't do much kneading, so I broke down and bought a Breadman for half off on clearance. I just made my first loaf and it tastes like beer mixed with acetone! Blech.
Help me trouble shoot this! The ingredients were flour, water, butter, honey, salt, and yeast. I used the whole grain setting, which gives extra soak time. Never mind that the loaf came out like a brick, it tastes horrible. I haven't used a non-stick cooking surface in years, so could I just be unused to that? The yeast isn't expired, and it's been kept in the fridge. The flour may not be the freshest, but I've used much older flour before to make bread by hand and it never tasted like this.
Does bread machine bread just taste like fermented nail polish remover? I hope not because my next step was to start using sprouted flour...don't want to waste money on that if the machine will just wreck the bread!
I'm not very good with troubleshooting...but here's an alternate solution:
I hate kneading. Hate, hate, hate it. I've had good luck with the artisan bread in five minutes a day recipes. They have simple ingredients, and are super easy to make. No kneading or bread machine required. The books can be found at most libraries. Here's the website...
Also, the crock-pot version actually turns out really well too. I like the traditional oven method better, but the crock-pot works well when the oven is otherwise-occupied.
The five-minute artisan bread has been an awesome new development in my kitchen as well! I use both the white four and whole wheat flour recipes from Mother Earth News:
I just keep two glass bowls in my fridge of dough ready for anytime. The white doesn't last long though, because it also makes delicious pizza crust!!! It is honestly so much easier and more consistent than my bread machine.
We used a breadmaker for years and made great bread that didn't taste like acetone -- both white and wheat. We really only stopped when DH got a copy of the "Artisan Bread in 5" book, and has been hand-baking ever since (though he's graduated to sourdough and the stand mixer).
I agree with the others that the first thing I'd check is the wheat flour. "Bad" whole wheat flour doesn't taste rotten or stinky, it just has a bitter, "off" flavor.
Did you start with a recipe from the bread machine book? DId you follow it *exactly*? You cannot make any "oh, a little of this" changes to bread machine recipes, and until you know how yours works its not a good idea to try to adapt regular recipes for the machine. If you want a good collection of breads taht includes lots of whole grain and traditional loaves, you might look for Beth Hensperger's bread machine cookbook, which was VERY reliable, for us.
If your bread machine doesn't have a period where it warms the liquid, if you started with cold water you might wind up with an underbaked loaf.
A very dense, funny-tasting loaf is sometimes the result of various other failures: Did you put the ingredients into the machine in the exact order specified? Our machines always said to put the yeast in last so it didn't get wet until the ingredients were kneaded together. Was the room very cold, or overly warm? Was your bread flour in the fridge or freezer so it was very cold?
savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).