The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tiny black spots?

  • Pin It
Nicholas McRae's picture
Nicholas McRae

Tiny black spots?

During the first rise, my dough developed tiny black spots all over its surface (I have not cut in to see if it's on the interior as well)  It looks as if I'd kneeded a bit of finely ground black pepper into the dough, but this time (cutting corners) I didn't add any special ingredients.  Has anyone else seen this?  Is it hazardous? Mold?


 


I have a starter that's just about a year old now, and I decided this morning to get a couple of loaves put together.  I usually follow instructions pretty well and pretty much never deviate from what's worked in the past, but I was in a hurry this morning and tried to cut a couple corners.  I'd hate to bore everyone with a lengthy play-by-play, so I asked my question before I described the process.


Here's what was different about the process: 


The water (spring water) I added to the starter may have been a little hotter than usual (it was on the upper range of skin-comfortable).


My sponge was very sluggish, whereas my starter jumped right back to bubbling a nice froth on top.  The recipe I have suggested adding a tablespoon of sugar.. So I did.  Without thinking, I measured out the sugar, dumped it into the sponge and gave it a stir.  After about an hour, I saw new bubbles and more bulk to the sponge, so I added the rest of the four, the baking soda (the recipe called for it) and about 1,1/2 tsp of salt.


I kneeded the dough, and it felt a tiny bit stiffer than usual, but I just presumed that was on account of no herbs and special flavors.  Now, usually, I shape my loaves and bake them on a pizza stone on parchment paper, but this time, I oiled up a couple of those thin alluminum baking pans (the throw-away kind), divided my dough, and plopped it into the pans.  I turned the dough over so it was oiled on all sides (as I usually do) and covered the pans with plastic wrap.


That was 10 hours ago.


They flattened out a little bit, and maybe rose a tiny bit, but for the most part, they stayed the same size as they started.  So, on a lark, I pressed the plastic wrap down into the pan, so that it lay atop the oiled loaves, and now they are rising.  Problem is, they have the little black spots all over them.


So, Is it mold?  Some weird chemical reaction?  Should I just throw this dough out and start again?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with the plastic foil? 


Could it be that the roll was a little unrolled and the static electricity on the surface picked up pepper or some other spice or maybe dirt?  Sounds to me like something transferred from the plastic.  Check the plastic wrap if moisture is trapped inside the roll.  I don't believe Mold can grow that fast and make spores (the black?) in such a short time unless it was on the foil already.


Mini

Nicholas McRae's picture
Nicholas McRae

I had not thought about that!  I checked the roll and it was clean and dry, but there is a high likelyhood that the plastic wrap picked up some pepper, coffee powder or even tea powder (this looks like the most likely culprit).  The spots have not grown or changed in any way, so whatever it is, I'm pretty sure it's not alive.


Thanks for the input and fast response :) The loaves are on their final rise and they are getting big!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I've done the same thing more than once.  I have a good supply of those food grade plastic bags given out in the produce dept. of supermarkets and often use them for bread storage.  I reuse the bags to cover my dough while it's fermenting.  


The first time I saw tiny dark spots on my dough, I started to pick them out until I realized that they were small bread crumbs that didn't fall out of the bag when I shook it out.


Mini-altus...

Nicholas McRae's picture
Nicholas McRae

The dough ended up over-rising, so I had to take it out of the pans to rekneed and shape, so I took a moment to cut into the dough, and the specks had only formed on the surface.  I'm sure it was just static-cling transfer.  I'm very relieved to hear that someone else had a similar experience!

gingk's picture
gingk

I filter my water through a Brita water filter and sometimes tiny bits of charcoal from the filter get in the water.    If you use filtered water, that might possibly be the source of the specks.

Nicholas McRae's picture
Nicholas McRae

I use springwater that I buy in jugs, but now that I think about it, there are lots of sources of little black food particles around my kitchen.. It probably is somethint awefully simple.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You might have started a new idea for adding decoration to rising dough...


Mini (in S Korea)

Nicholas McRae's picture
Nicholas McRae

Oh my gosh, wouldn't that be fun?  I'll try it with today's loaves!