The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sulfur smell after bulk fermentation

BreadBlockBaker's picture

Sulfur smell after bulk fermentation

Any ideas as to why my dough might have a sulfur smell? I've had my sourdough starter going for a little over a year now. It is a good strong starter (started with the pineapple method) that I've been making bread with weekly since it got going. Last night I mixed up the dough (whole wheat, all purpose flours, water, starter and salt) as usual, and left it to do it's bulk rise over night. This morning when I went to turn the dough, it let off the stinkiest sulfur/rotten egg smell. I checked the left over starter I had placed in the fridge, and it's fine, good strong sweet beer-y smell. And the dough itself doesn't smell like sulfur, just the air pockets. 

I'm going ahead with the final rise, and plan to bake the bread, but will it be edible?

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If your starter hasn't turned, and it sounds like it hasn't, then maybe your build process picked up an odd bacterium or two that found the conditions of leavening dough to their liking. 

If the problem persists, you'll have to isolate and remove it.

It'll likely be a bad starter or bad flour(s), but even the water can be a problem source.

InBread's picture

...did you knead the hell out of it?

smeredith's picture

I don't know why. I just tossed it all and started a new starter, which is really easy. That was years ago, and it's never happened again.

lashleigh's picture

I just had this exact same problem; did yours recover completely? At first my starter smelled fine and the dough had an off smell in the gas, like you described. But recently my starter has been smelling upsettingly sulfurous as well. I am terribly sad about this, it used to smell really wonderful.