The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dark spots, streaks in dough

fatherjay's picture
fatherjay

Dark spots, streaks in dough

I'm mystified.  For the second time, I have dark spots/streaks in my dough.  But different circumstances.

The first time was over a year ago.  I was using a starter I had had for a while.  I kneaded the dough by hand, on my counter.  It had been cleaned previously with a Clorox wipe, so at the time I attributed the streaks to that - assuming there was still bleach residue on the counter and it killed the yeast or in some other way contaminated the dough.  And that time, if I remember correctly, the dough wasn't rising.  That time I discovered the problem an hour or so after I had put it down to rise.

This time - it's a brand new starter.  I mixed and kneaded it in my KitchenAid.  I mixed it - let it autolyse about 25 minutes - then finished kneading it.  Only then, when I turned it out to rise in a clean bowl, did it discover the problem.  One friend asked if maybe something from the mixer had got into the dough - but I only found spots on the bottom of the dough.  And it has risen.  (It's been a couple hours now.)

I have read that if these discolorations appear in your sourdough, then you have something undesirable growing in there - throw it out.  But it's puzzling to me - I've been going back and looking for that in the books I've read - and I only find them mentioning that happening in the starter itself, and usually when it's young.  Also, when I mixed this dough I fed the remaining starter - and I turned it out of its bowl into a fresh container just now - and the starter itself is fine.  I've only had this problem in an actual dough.

On the other hand... I just figured I didn't really have anything to lose... so I just stretched out the dough and gave it a good look over.  The spots don't seem to have gotten any worse - they haven't grown or spread.  They aren't present throughout the dough.  Part of me says go ahead and finish the job - see what happens.  The other part of me says - it's not worth risking feeding your loved ones toxic mold!  Will baking it kill it? or incubate it?

In a quandary...

Laurentius's picture
Laurentius

Show photos, please.

MANNA's picture
MANNA

Is your KA dough hook a metal one or coated in white? If its metal and you wash it in the dishwasher or certian dish soaps will react with it. It will cause dark streaks in the dough. Also it could be your bench blade if its aluminium and not stainless steel. Some pictures and information on tools in your kitchen would help. Also, did you wash the surface that the dough was on and with what.

fatherjay's picture
fatherjay

I thought of taking photos after it was too late.

The dough hook is metal - I never put it in the dishwasher.  And I didn't use the bench scraper today or any other surface - it was mixed in the KA bowl and stayed there until I turned it into the ceramic bowl for rising (and saw the streaks at the bottom of the dough).

Given the fact that it never spread or grew or went any further into the dough than just the surface, I'm guessing now that it was a reaction between the metal of the bowl and something else - lactic acid? salt?  (I am so not a scientist!)  And the dough has risen beautifully at every stage... 

MANNA's picture
MANNA

If it was the mixing then it would be throughout the dough. It may be the bowl you used for rising. Some ceramics will react with the dough. You may only have noticable issues once in a while due to hydration and acidity levels of the dourgh. Small pinholes in the ceramic surface will case the leaching. Try using a non-reactive bowl. I use plastic tubs from my local kitchen supply store that are food safe. Only cost $10. Give the ceramic bowl a look-over for pin holes.