The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


selfreliant redneck's picture
selfreliant redneck


Can someone please help me with a problem I am having. I am baking honey wheat bread using fresh milled hard white wheat, all goes well but after a few days my bread starts to furment, my wife says it smells like fingernail polish remover. Im using Redstar dry active yeast, vital wheat glutin, natural honey, with a little bit of KingArthur bread flower to lighten it up. What causes the bread to furment. Also what is the best way to store the bread through the week to keep it soft and fresh.

richkaimd's picture

Here are some thoughts off the top of my head:  all food goes bad because of chemical changes and the growth of microorganisms.  Fresh bread is no different.  I suspect you've read on this website that sourdough breads go bad more slowly.  I suspect that's an untested urban legend.  Anyway, if you want bread to last, freeze it.  NEVER store it in the refrigerator.  While you can freeze entire loaves, if it's your pattern to eat single slices now and again, slice your loaf after it has reached room temperature after the baking.  Place the slices in a freezer-thickness plastic bag, seal the bag well, and pop it in the freezer.  Then take the slices out only as you need them.  They can be allowed to thaw at room temperature or popped frozen into your toaster.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sort of like rotting?  Please give more details.  :)

selfreliant redneck's picture
selfreliant redneck

Thanks for responding, the bread doesn't really get soggy. I have been baking two loafs of bread every Sunday for about a year now, I cut one loaf into sandwich slices when it cools and we use them for lunches. The other loaf we use with dinner during the week. This worked well for months. I started buying yeast in 2 pound bags keeping in the freezer and only taking enough out for a few weeks at a time. We first noticed that the bread began taking on this smell after about 5 or 6 days. This week it began two days after baking. the smell is very pungent like fermentation. When you were in high school did you ever try to make wine with grape juice and yeast in a bottle with a balloon, that's what it smells like. I have tried using a Little less yeast thinking that the yeast wasn't totally being used in the baking process, and excess was being left to ferment. I have tried increasing the baking time also didn't work. What has me really confused here is that other people haven't experienced a similar problem. I know that fresh bread as any bread will eventually begin to mold, but this isn't molding.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is problems known as "rope."  You can find links on this site, it's been discussed before.  Or Google Rope in Bread for more info on the net.   It is an invasion of your kitchen space and hard to get rid of (you can't see it)  so read and see if it applies to your situation.  

ananda's picture

The same thought popped into my mind too Mini!

This is a very detailed scientific investigation, worht looking through:

It seems that rope is largely manifest within 2-3 days, however, and my understanding is that this type of bacterial infection is pretty rapid in taking hold.

I also posted the link as it has a lot of positives to say about how the use of sourdough helps to prevent rope!

Whilst appreciating that there are many who have frankly unrealistic expectations about the keeping qualities of proper bread, I don't think what is being experienced by the OP could possibly be described as "normal".   It may not be rope that is causing this, but there is definitely something untoward if bread is going rotten in the way described.

In the first instance, I think I would address the heat treatment applied.   Make sure that you achieve a minimum of 96*C as a core temperature at the very centre of the loaf.   I would verify this by taking 2 readings 3 minutes apart and requiring both to be 96 or above before removing the loaf from the oven.   This is the point in the baking process which a HACCP system would identify as the CCP [critical control point] to try to prevent bacterial contamination.   Somewhat more difficult in the home environment is to try to cool the loaf as rapidly as possible.   However, the quicker you can get that temperature down, the less likely your bread is to be prone to bacterial infections.

More difficult still might be the temperature at which your bread is then stored.   Note in the article cited, that bacterial re-production was far greater at 30*C than it was at 20*C.   That is, of course, to be expected.   The trouble is that storing the bread at lower temperature, whilst helping to ward off contamination from pathogenic [harmful] bacteria, will speed up the staling process caused by deeper crystallisation of the amylopectin starch chains.   I remember when we studied this at College, my teacher stating that the best temperature to keep bread fresh is 50*C!   Of course this is completely impractical, but it is also a bacterial nightmare when analysed from a food safety point of view.

If you do isolate it to "rope", you are not going to find it easy to get rid of, I'm afraid.   I believe it to have been very common in the baking industry in times gone by, but is fortunately not the same threat today.

Sorry to have to publish this, but what you describe is not normal, and I understand your concern.

Best wishes


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Not nearly as scary with lots of good suggestions.

Chuck's picture

IMHO, the problem is partly our expectation of what's "normal". We're used to storebought breads that last much much longer than the bread we bake, and think something's "wrong" with our bread when it doesn't keep as well as storebought. Why do storebought breads keep such a long time?  - Well, you don't really want to know... 'nuff said.

With all the tricks just right, yeasted (not sourdough) bread can be made to store for half a week. Baking once a week means putting half the batch in the freezer. (Lean breads in shapes that have lots of surface -like French baguettes- are an exception -- they aren't really "fresh" after only half a day.)

Tricks include adding a tablespoon or less of vinegar per loaf to the dough, adding a bit of fat (olive oil?) to the dough, storing the loaf someplace with no draft at all but not inside a tightly sealed plastic bag (the old "breadbox" is ideal) [or if the loaf is left out on the cutting board set it up on end with the cut surface down flat against the board], thoroughly washing away any remnants of previously molded/rotted loaves that might infect the next loaf, baking loaves longer and dryer (but not so much you don't like the taste), and keeping the humidity in the room down (but that's often not an option).

There are lots and lots of discussions here on TFL - you can find many of them easily by just searching "storage".