The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Alcohol smell from bread 4 days old

alinehuey's picture

Alcohol smell from bread 4 days old

I have been baking bread for 30 years and have learned so much from everyone's posts on this site as well as all the "leads" to other places.

I switched to measuring the temperature of my WW breads and rolls to determine doneness (200 degrees) but I have noticed an alcohol smell if the bread has been in the bag after four days. There is no mold. I have wondered if some yeast is still active. The bread is very good and nicely browned. How high an internal temp could I go?

Normally when bread is several days old I toast it but the smell turns me off so I pitch it. I never had this problem before I started using the thermometer.

What do you think?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and haven't run across the alcohol problem.   Good points Dan!

alinehuey's picture

I use active dry yeast.

I have been experimenting with my old recipes at times, soaking my whole wheat flour with a fraction of a teaspoon of yeast for a couple hours then using the same amount of yeast as usual when I finish mixing up the bread. Maybe I am getting too much yeast.

The problem doesn't happen all the time and I don't get in a hurry to bag the bread. So I have something to watch for now.

I appreciate all the input. I know it gets said here all the time but I am so impressed by all the shared knowledge  and how much I have learned from this site.

Broc's picture

From my rather limited experience [compared to other] --

When I switched to higher hydration and stretch and fold [a-la-Reinhart], together with cold retardation-fermentation, the alcohol smell backed off immediately...

...until I kept the dough longer then four days in the fridge.  Four days -- max!

As for internal temp -- 200F to 205F is spiffy!  Remember, 210F-ish-212F and all the moisture is kaput...

I think that Dan's comments [above], you can take to the bank!

Happy Baking!

~ Broc




aaronjohn's picture

If you store your packed bread for few days you noticed that your stored packed bread smell like alcohol. 

There is a scientific reason behind this strong but weird smell of stored bread.

Let me explain you in the form of a chemical reaction–

Yeast + Starch (Carbohydrate present in flour) à Alcohol

Alcohol (acetobacter bacteria) à Acetic Acid (Vinegar)

This means that yeast (present in the making of bread) eats starch content to form alcohol and smells bad. In case, you are late to recognize then this chemical reaction will continue.

Now, there will be the growth of microorganisms such as acetobacter bacteria. It consumes alcohol and turns it into acetic acid.

At this point of time; if you open the pack, you will find sticky bread that smells like vinegar.

(Chemically, vinegar is acetic acid)

Anything beyond this, it makes bread to decompose. Just throw the pack in the dustbin as soon as possible.

If you want how to store your bread in an ideal way then you must check: