The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sourdough alcohol

dwg302's picture

sourdough alcohol

i've noticed a strong alcohol smell with my sourdough recently.  i was a late feeding it and probably didn't scoop enough of the hooch off the top before feeding it, but that was a couple feedings ago and i can still smell it alot.   will this go away as i keep feeding it?  


rcornwall's picture

How did the bread come out? Was the flavor too strong? If it's a problem I would pour off half of your starter and feed it again. If the flavor isn't affected in a bad way then I wouldn't worry about it too much.


susanfnp's picture

Hi David,

How much flour and water are you feeding with, relative to the amount of starter? It sounds like you may need to feed more.


staff of life's picture
staff of life


In addition to feeding my starter more, I'm also making it thicker in this hot weather---it slows it down more.  But I'd definitely feed it more, maybe 1 or 2 T to a heaping cup of flour and 3/4 c water, depending on the temp of your house.


jimk's picture

What type of flour are you using to feed your starter.  I have  found the one that gives off a strong alcohol aroma is all purpose.  A much sweeter berry smell if you stick to bread, unbleached or wholewheat flours.  Also... was the hooch a different colour.  It might have turned, and if that's the case you will have to start over.

dwg302's picture

i've been feeding it with bread flour.  but yesterday i cleaned the crock out (which was long overdue) and i suspect that susan may be right and that i have been keeping too much sourdough in proportion to the amount i've been feeding it.    the bread i've baked it with comes out fine so i'll see what happens in a week.


abatardi's picture

mine used to do this after i wouldn't feed it for a while.  just pour off half and double feed it and it will get better.

- aba

rudolf's picture

I would be surprised if there wasn't a smell of alcohol, The natural consequence of fermenting the sugars in flour is the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol. The gas gives the bubbles to raise the bread and the alcohol is evaporated when the bread is baked. The more you add fermentables, ie flour, the more alcohol you will produce. I really do not see a problem

taylor1940's picture

The physical health effects associated with alcohol consumption may include cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, polyneuropathy, and death from many sources.



modenacart's picture

Alcohol in moderation is good for you.  If you like the flavor, I wouldn't worry about it.  Its such a small amount of alcohol.