The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


neilbaldwyn's picture

Something off mid feeding cycle of starter

February 6, 2013 - 1:14am -- neilbaldwyn



I've had my current starter for around 2 years and until recently it has performed perfectly, being used almost every day.


Around a month ago I began to notice a sulphuric smell mid feeding cycle. There is absolutely no smell upon feeding, then after around 6-8 hours the sulphur begins, but dies off as the starter grows in strength and acidity, so that it has completely gone 24 hours after feeding.


Urchina's picture

Ammonia smell in flour?

February 23, 2012 - 11:49pm -- Urchina

An odd question: The large plastic-ware container that I use for storing unbleached AP flour holds about 6 pounds of flour. I empty it completely and run it through the dishwasher twice a year or so, so I'm always fairly certain that there's no flour in it more than six months old. And I've stored the same bin in the same place for the last ten years, so no new variables have been introduced in storage. 

smoke signals's picture
smoke signals

Earlier this week I had a dream about ham & cheese on baguette. Since this was a dream that I could turn into reality, I took up the task of making some baguettes. So many dreams just stay dreams, when you have one within reach: grab it.

I turned to Jeffery Hamelman’s book, Bread, and to an old bakery formula I had from years ago working as a baguette mixer at Red Hen. Pretty strait forward, poolish recipe. But how awesome simple formulas can be! To my delight these baguettes crackled, and tasted like butter and nuts and wheat. It was hard to bake them long enough because I kept wanting to pull them out of and eat them in one, huge bite. 

Dear Baguette,

I am sorry we were apart for so long. I took you for granted. One day you just weren’t there anymore. Maybe the separation did us both some good. I’ve moved a couple of times, have a new boyfriend, in general, things are progressing. But maybe we could think about spending some time together again. I really love the way you smell.

Yours Truly, Smoke Signals  





sadears's picture

Odd smell

October 19, 2011 - 7:07pm -- sadears

I made some French bread dough and it was rising. It had a smell like fingernail polish remover. I tossed it and am starting from scratch. What might have caused it? And how do I prevent it?



jjainschigg's picture

Sourdough Starter goes 'Boozy?'

June 5, 2011 - 9:06pm -- jjainschigg

I started a new starter about seven days ago, using an 'offhand' method that's always worked reliably for me in the past to produce a starter with the classic yeasty/sour/yummy smell, stable and robust, with good rising characteristics. Now the same method has produced a starter that seems to rise very well and smells great, but more like someone took the top off a Calvados still: lushly, almost 'ether-y' fruity-sweet and clearly kicking out a (probably) flammable mix of ethanol and acetones.

marlnock's picture

Lovely taste but where's that smell??

October 5, 2010 - 7:03pm -- marlnock

Hi all, i've been baking on and off for about 2 months now and am really enjoying many of the recipes on this site.  I've mostly been making sourdoughs, ciabattas and my own everyday bread loaf i made up. 

The taste of the bread is great but my question is, Where's the smell?

You know the one I mean, that smell of freshly baked bread that you might remember from your Grandma's or from the local bakery.  For some reason my bread doesn't seem to want to give up a smell.

Any ideas?

Robinson's picture

Certain smell from bread after baking... Help!

September 2, 2010 - 8:29pm -- Robinson

After I have baked my bread, the smell of the bread (the inside) smells off... like sour.

I have made this bread before and it did not have the same smell, and it seems to be my yeast or flour.

i have a can of instant dried yeast (the one that looks like grains), I've opened it and it has a plastic cap, and I've closed it (obviously xD) and left it in a storage container under my table. Maybe I'm supposed to refridgerate it?

Sketti's picture

Cheesy smell

July 28, 2009 - 4:24am -- Sketti

Hi, newbie here :)

I started my first ever starter three days ago. I've been keeping it in my room and its been bubbling away since. I've been feeding it once a day. It looks fine, doesn't seem to have any mold and quite wet. I was wondering about the smell though. Yesterday it was a pleasant sort of bready smell but today it smells more like cheese or spoiled milk. It's kind of a sickening sort of smell. I was wondering if it was normal for it to be unpleasant at this stage. I tossed about half of it today and fed it as the instructions I'm following say to do.

afjagsp123's picture

Rye/Water starter - smell and taste??

July 30, 2008 - 7:21am -- afjagsp123

I have never had good luck with sourdough starters. When I lived in "Nearly Canada, North Dakota" my starters never developed any sour taste. I think it was just too cold in our home, even when I placed on our hot water heater. Then again, I only tried them in the winter.

Now I live in "Nearly Mexico, Arizona". Our home is a constant 74 degrees. This time I'm trying a rye and water starter with the 3 step method of 2 oz rye/2 oz spring water for 48 hours, 2 oz rye 4 oz spring water 18 hours, 4 ounces wheat flour, 4 ounces spring water.

Noche's picture

Test Drive your Starter

March 2, 2007 - 8:31pm -- Noche

I smelled my starter before I baked today. It was trying to tell me something.

In the begining, this starter was never very sour, but now at one month old it has changed and can be where ever I steer it. This one had been mildly neglected this week and got pretty powerful.

It told me it was going to be very sour and I don't like "very sour." I should have waited a day or two and washed the starter until it smelled like what I like to eat. 

Next time I crank up a starter to cook with in a day or two, I'll not only shoot for volume but also taste.

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