The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Certain smell from bread after baking... Help!

Robinson's picture

Certain smell from bread after baking... Help!

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?

My flour is in a large container, with a cap (I had bought flour that was inside this container, and reused the container). I bought new flour for the below recipe (I made it twice), I'm not sure if the time I used the new flour if it had the smell or not.

Also, what is the difference between the paste/liquid yeast and the grainy yeast?

What brand of flour is "the best" or most recommended for soft breads (fluffy mm..)/breads that aren't dense.

Should I refridgerate my dry yeast (grainy one)?

the recipe i have used is :


Also, I'm looking for an online friend / group of people that I can talk about baking to, preferably a beginner like me so that we can discuss new techniques, problems, solutions etc. :)  maybe around my age (16) but doesn't matter so we can talk about times we make bread and how it may affect it etc. etc. but if you have the time to be on MSN or skype or something to talk about bread, please tell me so I can talk to people about bread!


Thanks in advance!

Chuck's picture

...Maybe I'm supposed to refridgerate [instant dried yeast]?...

Refrigerating it would be a better idea, but leaving it out (so long as it doesn't get too hot and it stays dry) should work reasonably well anyway, and probably doesn't explain the smell. Whether refrigerated or not, it should certainly be in a container with an airtight seal.

The biggest problem with improperly stored yeast is the dough not rising because the yeast is dead (not off flavors and smells), which doesn't sound like it was an issue with your experience.

...reused the [flour] container...

Reusing the same flour container over and over risks propagating bugs. If one batch of flour is infested by flour beetles, their eggs will stick to the container and infect the next batch of flour too. So wash the container thoroughly with warm soapy water, then dry it thoroughly before putting the new flour in it. (Don't take any shortcuts on the drying; even a hint of moisture in the container will make a real mess when you add the new flour.)

what is the difference between the paste/liquid yeast and the grainy yeast

There are several differences, but so far as I know they don't affect flavor at all.

Often the biggest issue is that cake/fresh yeast is harder to obtain (unless your grocery store is big and thorough). Cake/fresh yeast also only keeps -even sealed  in your refrigerator- for a few weeks. Cake/fresh yeast should be a little "stronger". You can substitute either for the other (there are various conversions available). They often go into recipes at different times: the cake/fresh yeast at the tail end of kneading, but the active/instant dry yeast when you're initially measuring the dry ingredients.

What brand of flour is "the best" or most recommended for soft breads (fluffy mm..)/breads that aren't dense.

Any "unbleached, unbromated" flour should work just fine. King Arthur tends to be more consistent than most, but is significantly more expensive. What you use is largely dictated by what your store carries. IMHO, recipe and process make a much bigger difference in the fluffiness than does the kind of flour you use.

(Do watch gluten/protein content though. Above about 12.5% will be "chewy" (like a bagel) no matter what you do. Less than about 10.5% will be hard to get to come together and to rise no matter what you do.

The "nutrition label" on sacks of flour is useless to you, as the differences breadbakers are interested in are lost in the "rounding" and "serving size" malarkey that doesn't make a whole lot of sense for something like flour. Usually something with the marketing term "bread flour" will have more gluten within that brand, something with the marketing term "all purpose" has middling gluten content within that brand and is what you want, and something with the marketing term "cake flour" will have less gluten (probably not even enough to make bread) within that brand.)

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

I'm afraid my response to your key question is along the lines "I dunno". Both the yeast and the flour should have no problem being stored in your kitchen for a year so long as they stay dry.

I'd suspect other things too: something that was spoiling, such as an egg? left to rise uncovered in your fridge for several hours and absorbed some weird flavor from something else in your fridge?


Robinson's picture

Could it be something in the oven? or maybe over-rising? oh and

Should there be a certain order of ingredients when mixing? like all dry ingredients first?

and how should I mix it?

pmccool's picture

If it hasn't cooled all the way down to room temperature, any odors are likely to be more noticeable than they will when the bread is cooler.  Even that yeasty smell can be a bit off-putting when the bread is still hot.

Question: what kind of bread are you baking?  And what ingredients does it contain?

For instance, if you are using a whole grain flour, the oil in the germ in those flours can and will go rancid.  If the flour smells stale, or off, (and it can), so will the bread made from it.  Whole grain flours are best stored in the freezer if you can't use it all up within a couple of weeks.  And who knows how long it has been between the time it left the mill and the time you took it home? 


Robinson's picture

it is pretty warm when i smell it, it's probably that, but I haven't had that smell before

Daisy_A's picture

Hi Robinson,

Welcome to TFL. 

Good to hear that you are baking bread.

As far as the current bread goes, looking back at the link you give another baker seems to have had problems with the insides of the rolls. The original blogger suggests this can happen when the bread is over-proved - left to rise for too long before baking. Don't know if you did anything differently here?

As Paul suggests whole wheat flours can turn rancid and I have also noticed that my instant yeast smells less good when at the end of its run. However given that there is butter and egg in the recipe is there a chance that one of these was 'off', rather than the flour? Rancid butter would certainly make a bread taste off. 

Not sure about baking chat rooms. This has been asked about a few times on TFL but no one lead site comes up.

TFL itself has a number of younger bakers. If you do make contact you can pm through the TFL account system. Good thing about TFL also is that apart from having great archives it is an international membership so there is generally someone online 24/7. You can get answers to questions raised in the forums extremely quickly if not instantly.

Wishing you happy baking!  Daisy_A

Nikkito's picture

Hi Robinson!!


The temp in your kitchen, if over or under the 28-30'c (82-86'f) will change how your bread rises.  If it was a really warm day, it may have rose faster.  Also, if you added too much yeast or sugar, that could change the rise time too.  When a recipie calls for "2.5 times" rise, or something similar, some bakers will get a large, tall container to let the dough rise in, so that you can see where it started at, and where it should finish at. 

Also, if you keep any of your stuff in the fridge (butter, sugar, flour, yeast) and it is not sealed tight, it may aquire an off smell or taste from something around it.  Butter also expires, and developes an off smell and taste when past it's exp date.  So looking into something like that may help.  Someone also mentioned to check the date on your eggs.  Also, if you used a different water, or there was an issue with the water/pipes on a given day, that could change taste/smell too.  I live in a large city, and I know that sometimes the chlorine content in the tap water is higher than others.  Also if you are running dishes in the same area, and the makings for your bread are exposed to that, sometimes it can change the taste and smell of your finished product. 

I am also a new baker btw, although I am almost twice as old as you.  But if you have any questions, or just want to talk to another new baker, feel free to PM me.


msbreadbaker's picture

What does "PM me" mean?

Thanks, Jean P.

Chuck's picture

PM means Private Mail, in other words a direct user<->user electronic communication that does not clutter up the public forums. Just how to do such a thing is a little different everywhere.

To send such a message on TheFreshLoaf, first login, then click the user's name at the upper right of the post box, then when a new screen appears scroll all the way down, and click on "Send this user a message". Then fill in the subject and body you want, and click on the buttons at the bottom ( either [Preview] or [Send Message]).

To receive and read such a message on TheFreshLoaf, login, then in the upper part of the light brown sidebar at the left, find the search box you can type in, below which is the [search] button, below which is your username, and below that it says "Messages" and may also include a number. If there's a number there, something is waiting for you; to see it, click on "Messages".

Robinson's picture

Mm, I think it's my butter, I'll go get some butter sometime and check it out

Chuck's picture

When you sniff it, does the butter you used have an objectionable smell similar to your bread? While there are of course some exceptions, in many cases you should be able to identify the bad ingredient simply by sniffing, without having to buy anything or bake anything.

(If it just came out of the fridge though, warm it up before sniffing it - otherwise it may not have any smell at all.)

teojen77's picture

Hi, once my bread smell a bit sour and I think i put too much yeast. Not too sure if it is due to compacting the yeast in the spoon before adding to the ingredients though...