The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A mystery - please help

drdudidu's picture
drdudidu

A mystery - please help

I am making Hamelman's sourdough seed bread according to the instructions on this website for almost a year - a wonderful bread. I am using a very successful starter that I started myself. Recently (about a month) the bread has a taste of soap ??? You take a bite, and first it is unnoticed. But after few seconds you cannot be mistaken - a sharp taste of soap. I discarded several loafs, and started from the beginning trying to improve anything I could: bought new flour (King Arthur), new flax seed, new sesame and sunflower seeds. I made sure no soap remnants in the tools I use - everything was washed and dried with a lot of water, including the kneading area. And today - 2 new loafs with the same taste.

Does anybody have an idea? is it any chemical reaction that creating that weird and bad taste?

 

drdudidu's picture
drdudidu

Thank you Mini. I read your comprehensive evaluation there - it felt like going to a good doctor. But none really apply to my bread. I don't use yeast - just a sourdough starter, no butter, no cinnamon. I followed each of your suggestions and checked my process - and couldn't find anything that can explain that new taste. I have a back-up of my starter from few months ago (which I actually made reading your suggestions) - I just thawed some and trying to work with it. Hope to solve that issue, as it is so frustrating working on a loaf for 3 days and then having to discard it! Can the starter goes wrong and produce that taste? When I open the starter jar after a week in the fridge and smell it immidiately after opening- it has an alcoholic/acidic smell which I assumed natural (but nothing like the soap taste of the bread).

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

all the time and have no soap taste either fresh, roasted or breaded so lets eliminate those (although it wouldn't hurt to chomp a few mixtures while thinking...  Hmmmm.  

Get a second opinion!  Get someone else to try the bread and give you an honest opinion.  Let the bread cool completely before tasting and in the case of heavily seeded breads wait a day for the flavours in crumb and crust to mingle before stamping the bread as soap or even metalic tasting.

Interesting that both threads (the link and this one) include KA flours...  what about dead yeast cells making the taste?  Yeast is in sourdough cultures, maybe if the starter is slack...  naw...  how fresh is the flour?  What happens if you make a simple pancake (crepe) with it without any leavening, just use an egg and some milk and a heaping tablespoon (really heaping) and a pinch of salt.  Oh, taste the salt to see if there are aftertastes!   I remember some sour milk did me in once, gave a soapy taste to my coffee.  It was just bad enough to be discusting but not bad enough to curdle in the coffee.  

I remember looking this up before... now for the fun questions...  (no need to answer)

Did you eat pine nuts recently?     Some people's taste buds react to pine nuts giving many foods afterwards a taste of soap and a little numbness.   It can last for weeks.   What happens if you chew on some seeds and then taste crackers?   Ideas...  change any part of personal habits like toothpaste?   Kiss a pine nut enthusiast or are taking or reducing medication?   What happens when you chew green cilantro or leafy green corriander?   Got any new fillings?  I would change my toothbrush for good measure.

All I can think of for now.   :)   

Mini

 

drdudidu's picture
drdudidu

sorry - i posted it in the general forum as well

thanks for helping me

I'll try all of those suggestions

 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I remember reading many people warning to avoid softeners when washing linen/cotton sheets: it seems to be responsible for soapy taste in bread and drained yogurth. Do you use a sheet to proof the dough in a basket?

drdudidu's picture
drdudidu

no, I don't. I cover it with plastic or a foil

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

from http://chestofbooks.com/food/science/Experimental-Cookery/Gluten-And-Dough-Continued.html

Since gluten proteins tend to imbibe water and disperse in a weakly alkaline medium, doughs with a slight alkaline reaction are sticky. With excess alkali they become yellow and develop a soapy taste.

I hope it helps, but now you should find out if your dough contains alkaline stuff (baking powder? self-rising flour?).

LisaAlissa's picture
LisaAlissa

I remember reading many people warning to avoid softeners when washing linen/cotton sheets: it seems to be responsible for soapy taste in bread and drained yogurth. Do you use a sheet to proof the dough in a basket?

Or do you possibly dry any of your utensils with towels that were dried using softeners?  I avoid softeners on towels so that they will have maximum absorbency, but this is an even better reason to avoid softeners on towels.