Reader question… “I’m not having very good results with making my own bread. It tastes too yeasty and has almost a sour flavor. The texture is also very coarse with big holes. Do you have any ideas about what I might be doing wrong?” –Jenni W.

Temperature is extremely important. Most recipes specify a rising temperature of around 80°F to 85°F, and this is really not very warm. If you put a heating pad under the bowl of dough or put it in a gas oven with a pilot light (like many people do), or use some other method to create a warm environment for the dough, it is possible that the rising temperature is just too high… and if the dough rises at too high a temperature, the bread WILL taste yeasty. This time of year I just let my bowl of dough rise on the kitchen counter. In the winter, if the room seems cold, I put the dough nearer a heat source, but I still let it rise pretty much just at room temperature.

Next, be very accurate when you measure the yeast and sugar. Too much sugar will make the yeast grow too fast or too much, and that (or just too much yeast) will result in a dough with an unpleasant, yeasty taste.

Too long a rising time can also cause a yeasty taste, so be aware of the rising time specified in your recipe and start checking the dough just before this time is up. The dough will tell you when it has risen enough and is ready to be shaped into loaves or baked.

Meadow hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)

Are you sure your problem isn’t your recipe? There are many recipes “out there” now that intentionally make a yeasty-tasting and coarse-textured bread with lots of big holes. It sounds like you want bread with a finer texture like the older recipes make (me too!), and for that you can almost always depend on a bread recipe from an older, reputable cookbook such as Betty Crocker, Bernard Clayton or Good Housekeeping. I would start with your recipe as a possible reason.

I would be glad to share the recipe I’m currently using if you are interested. It’s an oatmeal bread and the recipe makes two or three loaves.