The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Smelly dough

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Mebake's picture
Mebake

Smelly dough

Hi,


Any chance to save a rotten-smelly 85% Wholewheat / 15% Rye dough that has turned slacky when it


has undergone natural fermentation in a cool oven for 4 days (no feeding, nothing, only a mixture


freshly milled grain and drinking water)??


 


Mebake

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Four days of room temperature fermentation with no feedings, plus rotten odor, doesn't sound like a good thing.


What was your original intent?


Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi PMcCool,


I intended to build a natural firm starter for my sourdough baking. BTW, i oiled the bowl, and the oil happened to settle onto the dough at rest, so i suspect that fermentation has turned the oil rancid and this has affected the dough smell. I don't know what could be done. I lost my gluten, and the dough smells mildly rotten with a hint of sourness.


How to avoid rotten results? I know that the overgrown bacteria is the culprit here, but i am eager to build a starter from scratch.


Anyone?

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Starter needs time.Lots of time.There is an excellent thread on this site about how to build a starter using pineapple juice to controll the pH to encourage a balanced colony of usable microorganisms. So take a deep breath and wait while it grows. Once you have it well established, then you can start experimenting.I'm talking weeks to become usable and months to become established.


You may not only learn how to bake bread-you may learn patience. That is an admirable trait to learn and required if you want to make good bread.


Good journey.


 

shellee888's picture
shellee888

I am totally new to this, and perhaps here in West Oakland, so near Boudin, I have the ideal weather conditions: 70% relative humidity (which is the humidity required for mold to thrive) and 67 degrees.  I have just started last Friday.  I made two starters: one just water and rye flour; one AP and yeast.  Both took off immediately and I'm making amazing sour sourdough loaves and delicious pancakes after just days.   I feel very lucky and am making more loaves right away to figure out what I'm doing wrong.  Perhaps I should send starter to people around the country and see if it comes out sour or as reliably elsewhere.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks clazar123,


Yesterday, i added some vinigar to kill off some bateria and lower the PH down to a level at which wild yeast could be activated. Today, i called my wife to peak on the dough. She said it smelled vinegary - yeasty and favoured that i pitched the dough. iam on day 6 (this is a firm starter), so am i venturing into an unchartered land here?


Does a starter needs to start off as a soup-like consistency?


Help is as always much anticipated..


Mebake


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

A regular TFL poster, Sourdolady, posted her directions for getting a starter up and running back in the early days of this site.  You can find her post here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/233/wild-yeast-sourdough-starter


It is about the closest thing to an idiot-proof method for beginning a sourdough starter that I know of.  And I'm living proof of that statement, having built my own starter following her directions.


Another poster, Debra Wink, has a very similar procedure, which you can find here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10359/discouraged-southeast#comment-54426


You will have to scroll about 1/2 way down through the thread until you get to a post titled "Sourdough Starter - Long Post".  The lady knows whereof she speaks, so you can follow her process with equal success, if you wish.  Or you can do a side-by-side comparison if you want.


Best of luck.


Paul

photojess's picture
photojess

I've gathered for the whole time it was in the oven, it didn't get fed or stirred though?  If that's the case, and it smells bad, I don't know if it's any good.  I wouldn't want to take a chance on some harmful stuff in there.


The culture needs to be fed or you'll be left with waste products.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Behold! it worked.. its alive!


PMcCool, thanks for the links, i happened to have read them hours before you posted your reply, but Debra's link should be helpful too.


Hi Photojess, umm, it actually did not smell bad enough as in being rotten, now that i have learnt much about sourdoughs from Sourdolady. All the dough needed (although now i wouldn't call it a dough, as it slacked and lost its gluten), was some patience (and some acid). It worked! Oh bless me.. i have a 6 day-old starter that is hungry and awaits to be fed.


Pictures as below:


Starter in Bulk:



Stored In a jar:



 


BTW, i fed it freshly milled rye, which helped boost the yeast.


Much Thanks to all!!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Mebake,


It looks like you have the makings of a healthy starter.  Congratulations!  Keep doing the discard/feed cycle for another week or so to get your starter strong and healthy and you will be ready to bake some bread.


You are about to enter a new realm of new flavors and a lot slower speeds, compared to baking with commercial yeast.  Enjoy the journey.


Paul

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

The smelly-ness in the beginning was absolutely normal. You just waited a little too long to feed it, but the loss of gluten showed that it was already acidic enough and ready to come to life. The vinegar didn't do anything for it---believe me, I've done the side-by-side experiments---but rather, it was the feeding and patience. With Mother Nature as the driving force, things often work in spite of what we do, not because of it :-)


-dw

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yes, i already am in the realm of sourdoughs.. i can feel a weird but sweet attachment to a creation that is taking part in my night dreams and morning wake-ups - the sourdough starter.. !


PMcCool, iam one of whom would favour using the excess starter for another batch of bread, i can't tolerate the idea of discarding anything in my kitchen. However, being experts, you might enlighten me as to the significance of discarding part of a starter.


Hey Debra Wink..you are right.. feeding did the trick.


I'll post new threads of my new breads-to come.


Much regards to all you guys, and to Floydm.


 


Mebake


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

just an avid reader and tinkerer.  While establishing a new starter, discarding half or more of the starter before feeding accomplishes a couple of things.  First, it keeps your starter at a manageable size over a series of repeated feedings.  A rule of thumb (not, you understand, a law of nature) is to feed the starter with an amount of flour that weighs twice as much as the flour already in the starter.  If, for instance, you weigh your infant starter and find you have 30 grams of it, discard 20 grams, leaving you with 10 grams.  Assuming that your starter is at 100% hydration (i.e., the weight of the water in the starter is equal to the weight of the flour in the starter), your 10 gram baby starter contains 5 grams of water and 5 grams of flour.  You would then feed it twice the amount of flour (2 x 5 = 10 grams), plus an equal weight of water (another 10 grams) to maintain its 100% hydration level.  And no, there's nothing magical about 100% hydration; a lot of people like to use that because it makes the math easy.  So, after refreshment, you have your initial 10 grams of starter, plus 10 grams of new flour, plus 10 grams of new water.  And now you're back to 30 grams of starter.  If you didn't do any discard, you would have had 90 grams of starter after refreshment, using the same process.  


The other reason for dumping part of the starter before refreshing is that the microflora inhabiting it have nothing resembling a sewage treatment system.  All they can do is sit there in their own waste products.  So, even though discarding part the starter reduces the population by the same proportion, you're also getting rid of material that can no longer nourish the colony.


The same rationale holds for doing refreshments between baking uses.  For example, I keep my starter in the refrigerator so that I'm not having to feed it every day during the 1-2 week stretches between uses.  When I take it out, I split it in two parts.  One part is refreshed, allowed to work for an hour or two, then goes back into the refrigerator for the next use.  The other is built, or elaborated, into the quantity that I need for the particular bread that I plan to make.  I have almost zero waste, especially since I maintain my storage starter in small amounts, typically in the 20-40 gram range, depending on how sloppy I am with my measurements.


You are certainly free to do whatever you want with the discarded material.  People use it for biscuits, bread, waffles, etc.  Can't say that I've heard of anyone using it as wallpaper paste, yet.


Best of luck,


Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks. I now uderstand the rational behind descarding part of a starter. Great Information.. Thanks again.


 

Alpine's picture
Alpine

I had a guy come into my sourdough bakery with a loaf of bread. He wanted me to taste his bread and tell him how to make it more sour. I tasted his bread, it was excellent, but not sourdough.


He said it must be sourdough because he captured the yeast himself. I explained unless a lactobacillus is present, it's simply a wild yeast culture. I gave him a batard of sourdough and said "sourdougth tastes like this", he said we put something in the dough to make it taste that way (he was right, we put sourdough starter in the dough). He finally left because I kept saying his problem was he didn't have a sourdough starter.


Two hours later he was back with his starter in hand. He said defiantly "now tell me this isn't sourdough starter"; it was a simple yeast culture, not sourdough. I told him so.


He said I couldn't possibly know this with just one sniff! I went back into the proofing room, grabbed a 5 gal bucket of starter, and invited him to smell. He stuck his whole face in the bucket and inhaled a huge lungfull, he spent the next minute or so coughing and trying to clear his watery eyes. He said what's in that? I said sourdough starter. He said it's awful! I said a lungfull of acidic and lactic acid vapors isn't much fun.


He finally said if his sourdough starter smelled like mine, he would consider it spoiled and throw it away...then he left.


There's probably a moral to this story, but it's hardly worth figuring out.


 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Is the moral of the story that if one allows their sourdough starter to overferment, the acetic acid becomes acidic acid?  :)


SteveB


http://www.breadcetera.com

Alpine's picture
Alpine

The acedic acid becomes acidic acid? What does the lactic acid become? Gummybears?


I use 1200 pounds of sourdough starter a month, I had no idea it can be "overfermented", please pass on your infinate wisdom!