The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Alcoholic Smell in Soaker...Good or Bad?

celestica's picture

Alcoholic Smell in Soaker...Good or Bad?

First I'll say thanks to everyone for being so experienced and helpful.  I have a question.

When I soak whole grains/chops/flakes/coarse flour with water and a little yeast sometimes I get a boozy beer smell that reminds me of cleaning up after a busy night of bartending.  Stale beer.  It is rather pungent and I was wondering why this happens.  Is it normal or desirable?  Sometimes I use potato water or a little malt powder in the soaker with the yeast to give them something more to eat.

Also, how much does the yeast multiply over 1 day?  2 days?  3 days?  I once made a jewish rye with 20 cups of flour that used only a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast in a three day soaker.  The resulting leavening power was like Vesuvius! 


SulaBlue's picture

It's supposed to smell. That's the smell of fermentation. I can't answer your questions about how much the yeast multiplies.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The yeast feeds and multiplies creating by-products.  Yes, it is young beer.   If you want just a soaker, don't throw in any yeast.

I don't know how fast yeast multiplies but it does so exponentially.  Meaning if you started with 1 million, you soon have 2 million, then 4 million, 8 mil, 16 mil, 32 mil and all these beasts are eating and burping CO2 gasses, making alcohol and splitting into two.  This continues until all the food is consumed.