The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Good Yeast gone Bad!

kensbread01's picture

Good Yeast gone Bad!

I have to post this shot, only because things cannot get any worse than this when it comes to over fermentation of batter.  We used the Tartine Bread recipe for making waffles using starter.   The recipe calls for a lot of sugar and melted butter added to some starter and flour mixture.. can't remember all that went in... but we may have put in too much starter.   I noticed the night before that the batter had overflowed our container while sitting on the counter.  I cleaned it up and put a nice heavy lid on top while leaving a little space at the spout for air to get in... which later because an escape hatch for the batter.   I put the mixture in the fridge thinking that the cold air would retard the fermentation process.  I was in now way ready for what I saw as I opened the fridge door the next morning.  We have batter all over the place and actually plenty more left over to make the waffles.   The waffles turned out pretty good but next time, I'll stick to a simpler approach.

koffetar's picture

Your starter culture was so alive it wanted to leave the fridge and go on it's own... 

MisterTT's picture

in the lowest shelf, that's what I do when fermenting a levain overnight, though it never overflows, caution is always good.

dabrownman's picture

without the exploding waffle batter.  My wife said  I was th onky one who kept a fridge like that.   Thanks for the:-ammunition.   

pmccool's picture

does still occur at refrigerator temperatures, albeit more slowly.


Antilope's picture
MANNA's picture

Reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes

Conjuay's picture

I had some starter on the counter overnight in an old roasted red pepper jar that I thought was airtight. WRONG!

-Why is it you get twice the rise you expect when you don't need it, and hardly any when you do?

dosco's picture

Interesting. I don't get nearly that sort of rise in the fridge.

DavidEF's picture

"I noticed the night before that the batter had overflowed our container while sitting on the counter."

Here is the clue that puts the puzzle together. The amount was definitely too much for the container it was in. If it's already at the top (or over the top) before it goes into the fridge, it will surely overflow (again) while in the fridge. I usually try to make sure my starter (or levain, or batter, or dough) fills less than half the container it is in. If it seems to be too much, I move it to a bigger container. I've had a few over-runs in the past and I'm not really wanting to experience that again. Mine weren't that dramatic, but I don't like having to throw food away.


I don't think it was that big of a rise, it was just already at the top, and had to go somewhere! However, it is actually possible to get a great rise in the fridge under certain conditions. If your "stuff" is very active, and pretty warm, it can rise a great deal before it gets a chance to cool down significantly. I've seen dough that I was retarding rise to more than double overnight. (That's why I always try to fill my container less than half full.)

kensbread01's picture

I should have realized the power of expanding dough.  One time I put a pizza dough ball in the fridge and locked it down by using a 20 oz. stainless steel container that had a plastic lid and clamp.  The plastic lid split open because of the force of the gas expanding in the jar.  Pretty dramatic stuff.   I think I (me being the original poster) under estimated the power of my starter after it had failed in the past for me.   Now, I am still using the same starter to create Tartine breads that are raising perfectly.   Yesterday I created my first real Tartine bread without the help of dry yeast and it tasted superb!

gmagmabaking2's picture

Definitely the answer to: What happens when Yeast goes bad!

Glad you posted... I like the comment about keeping it on the lowest shelf... the veggie drawer would have saved some cleanup... it definitely is alive and well.

Happy Baking, Diane