The Fresh Loaf

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bread tastes sour, like vinegar

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Patf's picture
Patf

bread tastes sour, like vinegar

Husband has started making bread now, and mostly it's good. Except one batch, Dove Farm wholemeal flour, turned out very heavy, solid, tasting sour, almost vinegary.

Seems to me it was something to do with the proofing of the yeast, which was our usual packet dried yeast. Maybe the water was too hot?

Can anyone suggest a reason, so he can avoid it next time.?

largeneal's picture
largeneal

...leads to alcohol.  Alcohol leads to vinegar.  Vinegar leads to the dark side.  

Fermentation directly produces alcohol.  In certain environments, bacteria are present which can convert that alcohol to vinegar.  If I had a guess, that bread was out for a rather long time.  Also, did the bread have salt?  Salt is pretty good for limiting the activity of those types of bacteria.  

ricothebaker's picture
ricothebaker

That is exactly the bread I'm looking for! What you all accomplished sounds like an excellent example of San Francisco Style bread. Congratulations! That isn't easy for most people to do especially with dry yeast instead of starter. As to why yours did it. As he used whole grain flour most likely he used more yeast than was needed as wild yeast grow rapidly in whole flour during the proofing process because the whole grains contain more nutrients and bacteria containing parts of the grain, or if there was sugar in your bread possibly to much of that. Sugars feed the yeast whether from the flour you use or the actual sugar added to some breads and an abundance of sugar in warm bread can make vinegar quickly. 

largeneal's picture
largeneal

...on a scale of 1-10 (10 being "most discerning," 1 being "everything tastes like chicken"), my palate rates about a 3.    While sourdough is not my favorite bread, I've never really thought of it as having a vinegar flavor.  To me vinegar is more bitter.  Am I just messing up b/c of my palate or is sourdough really supposed to have a vinegary flavor?

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

I think it was simply way over fermented, that explains the density and the off flavors.

Patf's picture
Patf

What you mean by over fermented - do you mean the yeast starter, or the complete unbaked dough?

bread is so complicated - I've been making it for years and never had this result.

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

I initially meant the entire dough, you hadn't mentioned that you where using a preferment. But I suppose if the preferment was brutally over fermented when you added it to the final dough it would do minimal leavening and impart all of its vinegary off flavors. But I sort of think that it was the entire dough that was over fermented, whole grain flours will ferment at a different speed then plain white flour will, maybe yer hubby wasn't counting on that and the normal time didn't work. Or I could be completely wrong and the problem is something else entirely.

ericreed's picture
ericreed

From the description, Patf, you were proofing active dry yeast in some warm water right? Not pre-fermenting a portion of the flour in the recipe? I think if the water were merely too hot it simply would kill the yeast and your bread wouldn't have risen or done much at all and WoodenSpoon was right that the whole dough probably over-fermented. How long did the dough rise?

Patf's picture
Patf

I don't really know as I wasn't making it. Yes he was using dried yeast.

It could have been something to do with the flour too,

Sounds like it was over-fermented, and the dough rose a bit then flopped in the tins.

Thanks to all for the replies.

Pat.

ricothebaker's picture
ricothebaker

I have come back to comment some more here as the conversation seems to be rather interesting! @ largeneal the "sour" flavor of San Francisco style breads is made with vinegar, however the vinegar is naturally occurring and created during the fermentation process of your starter. Some bakers, myself included, think that this is the ultimate sourdough bread. I think it tastes of malt vinegar myself not kitchen vinegar which I agree taste rather bitter. @ woodenspoon I don't see how a bread can be "over fermented" unless you meant let to proof too long which I agree could very well have been the issue. I also agree with the statement about which kind of flour was used, as not only will whole grain versus white rise faster but, buckwheat and rye tend to grow very fast as well in my experience.

Patf's picture
Patf

It would indeed be something new if someone accidentally made classic-tasting sourdough bread with dried yeast!

I've been trying for some time to produce a good starter to substitute for bought yeast, without success. My problem is that I prefer the traditional type of english bread, puffed up and not too dense. But not with holes, like french baguettes.

I don't know if husband could make this type of bread again - we've run out of the flour and won't have any more until May, then I'll get him to have another try.