The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough Smells Rancid

amylynnna's picture

Dough Smells Rancid

I make freshly ground wheat bread for my family, and it almost always comes out smelling and tasting fabulous.  The last couple of times, however, the dough has developed a rancid smell as it rises, before baking, and a hint of fermented (not bread-yeasty, but more like alcohol) taste remains after baking.  I have cleaned our grain mill - that's not the problem.  Is it possible to let it rise too long?

jcking's picture

Too much yeast will leaven dough quickly, but it will also exhaust the available sugars and create an alcohol aftertaste. As the yeast starves for sugar, it begins turning inward upon itself, causing the yeast to create a less desirable by-product,  glutathione, which creates an ammonia-like taste that adversely affects the dough.
"Peter Reinhart, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, pg 62"

Laurentius's picture

I think you would have detected an odor in the wheat flour itself if it was rancid, it sounds more of a chemical nature to me. 

Yerffej's picture

How old are your wheat berries?  Is this a new batch of berries?  How are they stored?  How does the freshly milled flour smell?

Rancid is rancid and I know of little else that smells like that.


amylynnna's picture

The flour smelled fine, and the wheat berries are from a pretty new bag.  I had no idea it was possible to let the yeast work in the dough too long.  I recently got a much larger rising bowl, and without fear of it overflowing, I left it to rise longer than normal.  This may have caused my problem.  I'll be sure to watch that in the future and see if it solves my problem.  Thank you!!

OOdles's picture

I've recently switched from Bobs RM to Guistos yeast. The difference in the size of the yeast beads is significant and I'm developing a rancid flavor after  2-3 days. I've never had this issue ever. The bread will mold before it taste rancid. 

 Can different yeast products have different potency? Thus, creating quick leavening as jcking stated?