The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vinegar smell when Baking

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JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

Vinegar smell when Baking

My yeast breads while baking in the oven have a "Vinegar" smell.  the yeast is about 8 months old and always kept in the frig, the flour has not expired (according to the best used by date), the sugar and salt is relatively new and the final taste is always great.  But what of this Vinegar smell?  Anyone have an idea.  Thanks 

jcking's picture
jcking

Type of yeast? Did the loaf come out okay? Did the finished loaf smell/taste okay? What was baked in the oven before the loaf?

Jim

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

I'm using SAF yeast, I just ate a couple slices of the bread, it smells and tastes perfect.  Interesting you asked what was baked in the oven last.  This oven is used for mainly bread baking.  Occasionally I'll put an eggplant parmigiana in or Pizza, but generally it's some kind of bread.  I thought it was the flour but I have used various brands with no change.  It seems that the vinegar smell is mainly when making plain white bread.  I wonder if it's the olive oil I'm adding causing some kind of reaction in the overnight fermentation.  I just don't know.

jcking's picture
jcking

Jimmy,

If it's not flavoring the bread; Is the plain white bread baked in a pan? Type of pan, teflon or some other coating? Baking stone? Maybe the olive oil, some can be fruity. Extra Virgin is a finishing oil; use virgin or try leaving it out.

Jim

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

I've tried the white bread with and without the olive oil; seems like the evo adds much taste to the bread, and softness to the crumb.  I am baking the bread in an oversized store bought foil pan. 

 

jcking's picture
jcking

Maybe the foil pan is reacting to something in the dough. I'm wondering about any finish on the pan. Are the pans rated to go above 400°F. If the pan is made in China god knows what impurities it may contain, lead! It turns my tongue just thinking about it. Please get a nice loaf pan.

Jim

leanna's picture
leanna

I, too, have noticed a distinct vinegar smell when baking bread.  All of the possible reasons noted in responses have proved to NOT be the problem.  Sometimes I've baked in a pan, sometimes not; sometimes with olive oil, sometimes not; etc.  I would like to know what is causing it, but decided to not let it bother me much.  Thank you for all the suggestions.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That might be known to clean your oven and wipe it out with vinegar when finished?   

alittlesquirrely's picture
alittlesquirrely

The only time that happens to me is when I overproof the bread.  ie let it sit too long before baking and some ingredients (sugars??)  ferment into vinegar.

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

I'm doing a 1st day starter (lika Biga) and mixing the rest of the ingredients and baking on the 2nd day.  Not sure if that qualifies as overproofing, but I'm going to reduce the 2nd day proofing time.  Maybe you're on the right track, because there have been times when I haven't gotten any oven spring either.    

southern grits girl's picture
southern grits girl

I've had this vinegar smell before too, I think its over proofing maybe.

 

southern grits girl's picture
southern grits girl

Seems like every time I have left dough in the fridge over 2 days it will also ferment and smell like vinegar.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

I thought the overprooofing comment, the Link on Acidity, the foil pan or maybe even the sugar/yeast combo had some impact on the vinegar smell.  They all made sense to me.  This week I tried the French bread formula from the Bread Baker's Apprentice; using the Pate Fermentee in the frig overnight and baking bread the following day.  I didn't use hearth baking, but rather used a large plain bread pan and guess what, the ole vinegar smell was still there.  This is an electric oven and is spotless, I even have a mat at the bottom for anything that might spill.  I appreciate the comments but the Vinegar Elf still reigns.   this is a great recipe and an especially good tasting bread, I will make it again, vinegar smell (during baking only) and all.  Thanks to everyone for their comments.

alittlesquirrely's picture
alittlesquirrely

JimmyK, Just a thought, but could you be smelling chlorine from the water used in the dough? It could be that the heat from the baking is releasing/vaporizing it and you have a very sensative nose! I live in the mountains and they put an obscene amount of chlorine in our water. I had to get filters for everything. Do you use filtered water? If so, then I'm out of ideas! except to remind you that "fermentee" as in your Pate, does mean ferment and ferment means alcohol/vinegar smell. Carolynn

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

Carolynn, your chlorine comment "is" an interesting thought, and I'm going to try the filtered water and will let you know if that does the trick.  Thanks

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/225516.php

I was thinking that maybe your ability to sense acid, might be for a reason.  

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

Since my last comment, I have made bread with my formula (thought it was Biga, my mistake it's not), but tried the Biga preferment, there isn't any vinegar smell when using the Biga, ergo I must conclude that using sugar in my starter and letting it sit out at room temperature overnight (as opposed to the frig) causes some chemical reaction resulting in that vinegar smell.  Now, I'm going to use "My Formula", but put it in the frig overnight and see what happens smell wise when I bake in the am.  More to come.

JimmyK's picture
JimmyK

Since I stopped adding "Sugar" to "my pre formula" and started using the actual PR Biga preferment and putting that into the frig overnight, the Vinegar smell is gone.   I think between the sugar and not putting in frig overnight caused the vinegar smell to surface.   Thanks to everyone for your comments.  

jackew's picture
jackew

I always get a strong smell 15 or twenty minutes into the baking. It goes away in about 5 minutes. I have always asumed it was the alcohol from the starter and sponge burning off. It has never effected the end product.