The Fresh Loaf

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bread smelling boiled during baking

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nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

bread smelling boiled during baking

Recently my bread began to have a  boiled smell at a given point during baking. That smell disappears in 10 minutes (fortunately), but I'm curious about the reason of its appearence because this smell is only a recent evolution (or involution) of my breads.

My dough are always very wet, most of the times around 80% hydratation. I bet this  has something to do with the smell, but why this boiled effect didn't come out sooner, in previous bakes?

Did anyone observe the same smell?

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Does the "boiled smell" remind you of porridge, or something else?

Given the hydrations you work with, your guess seems very plausible.  If you are also steaming heavily in the early part of the bake, the crust may not have reached the temperatures that drive the Maillard reactions.  If so, there wouldn't be any of the odors that we would associate with baking; just those that we associate with boiling.  That's pure speculation on my part, so don't treat it as gospel.

Paul

MaxQ's picture
MaxQ

While we're speculating....

As to the timing. It could be that your oven door's seal is wearing out. You didn't smell it until now because it was a good seal, but now it's less good, so you smell it.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

This mini  oven isn't perfectly sealed like the other one, so yes there may be a steam loss.

Paul, I don't steam bread at all, I'm not in the conditions to make it safely and I want to avoid burnings:)

I never ate porridge in my life, but probably I can describe better this smell in a different way: it makes me think of microwaved bread! Terrible, isn't it?

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Like Paul, my first thoughts were of delayed browning.  Could it be from a reduced protein level in the flour, perhaps a seasonal variation in protein content?  With high hydration doughs, it seems like a small change in protein could tip the balance towards too much water very quickly, both because there is less protein to bind with the water (in forming gluten) and because there is less protein to brown in a Maillard reaction.  The water not taken up by gluten formation could keep the crust cooler, longer, so that there is more time to smell the pre-browning stage.

Could also be from a cooler oven, mine ran cool for a while just before it broke...  hope that isn't it!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Or use a steam iron? Is the steam similar? Maybe the water has changed. I love the rice steam aroma I get with my jasmine rice. Lovely! Worth making just to scent up the house!

My first thought was similar to Paul's, if you smell steam, you're probably not smelling browning Maillard reactions. Water vapor saturation has to drop around the loaf first. I suspect you haven't smelled steam before because you never paid particular attention to it before. You are more relaxed now, time has slowed down and you've "stopped to smell the roses" and have nothing to distract you from sitting down & watching the oven. Set a timer and come back when it normally starts to brown. Mini-ovens are notorious for wanting to be watched! :)

I pay more attention to what I don't want to smell coming from the oven; burning or hot electrical smells, melting plastic, something not right; thus steam would be low on my "needs attention" list. Thinking upon it, I prefer to walk quickly past the oven until it starts pouring out decent addictive aromas.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

than Mini:-) ?

Well, making some counts and considering the high hydratation and the high amount of rye present in the dough (at least 30%) the protein percentage is surely decreases respect to an ordinary white wheat loaf (that is extraordinary in my house... not very popular down here).

Now that you make me think of it it takes much longer time to feel the initial stages of Maillard reaction than when baking white (or durum) loaves, at least 40 minutes instead of 30, so yes you must be on the right track.

These loaves are problematic: too little baking and the crust will sog in half an hour, too  much and the crumb will feel dry. The probe thermometer doesn't help me a lot: even when the reading at the center is 97°C the crust softens.

On the other side with too little water the gluten doesn't develop as much as I need and the crumb comes out dry just after sliced. I'm afraid I'm a bit too picky with my requisites.

Laurentius's picture
Laurentius

Hi Nico,

You've never had a bowl of oatmeal or any other boiled grain or cereals? If so they are all losely called porridge.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Laurentius, sometimes I prepare some cereal soups with whole seeds (including oats), but it's mostly liquid. I don't know if it classifies as porridge.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Fresh from the Auraucarian Trees. Wow! big seeds I'm sprouting a dozen. I started roasting them in the oven and they smell like baking bread.  Now one just popped in there after 12 minutes at 200°. Oh ooh.... ... there goes another one.... I turned off the oven but I'm afraid to open the door!

I could throw a towel over the works and then remove them...  smell like boiled corn!

OK, this is not the way to go...  everything is safe now and I found the exploded nuts, more split than crumbed all over the oven.  Tasted not bad but not yet roasted.  Looks like I got to peel them first and finish toasting. Here's a picture with a large chicken egg.  The nuts inside are at least an inch long without these beautiful  hulls.  Pretty huh?   

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Mini, they are really huge pine nuts!

For toasting them there's a better method: micro+grill until you begin to hear the first pops. 20-30 more seconds, then turn off and let them cool for a couple of hours.

 

You make me wonder how a handful of toasted rye berries could flavor the bread... uhm, I must try it.

Laurentius's picture
Laurentius

Hi Mini,

When did you find those, in the wild or market? The look like cloves of garlic. I want a kilo.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

We were driving around on the back-roads Sunday and were looking for ancient cultures.  (We're kind of funny that way.)  Took in the native museum there and afterwards strolled into the market.  My husband had tried some boiled nuts at work and said the nuts had tasted similar to chestnuts.  I bent over and plunged both hands into an open bag of color, "like these?" with a big smile on my face.  So quickly bagged some up and drug them home with us.  The area is not far from where these trees grow in the wild.  Very interesting trees and when one stands in the midst of a forest of them, you can easily get this very paleolithic feeling a dinosaur will pop out of the bushes.  It is just so strange!  The nuts grow in a ball-like cone in female trees.  

Hey, while we were taking pictures a collared goat meandered up to us and climbed a car size rock nearby and called out,  "Maaaaa."   ...Instant Jurassic Park flashback!...  We laughed but I was ready to run for the truck should a T-Rex demand a photo opp.  I think the goats are keen on eating the nuts too!  I sure am glad the logging stopped when it did and the trees are more or less protected now.  It takes a long time to grow these trees to fruiting (40-50 yrs) so it is no wonder that no-one plants plantations of these although it would be great for future generations.  Interesting is how strait they grow and how the wind has no grip on their branches,  we were fighting the wind yet the trees hardly moved!  They are easy to spot at the top of volcanic mountain ridges where they stick up like dark green palms painted there by Dr. Seuss.  The English common name for Araucarian is Monkey Puzzle Tree and they are the national tree of Chile.

Indeed, the cooked nuts taste like chestnuts.  Raw, tastes squeaky green.  Mine are pretty much cooked and I spent all afternoon cutting thru the tough skins with a paring knife (and a movie) chomping a few but they do need a little toasting.  Charring the skins might have made that easier.  I knew I could count on good advice for toasting!  :) Thanks!

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

there aren't a lot of low-hanging fruits or seeds to pick there.  Just lay down, pretend to be Newton and wait:)