The Fresh Loaf

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20% Rye tartine dough smells funky

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calgarybaker's picture
calgarybaker

20% Rye tartine dough smells funky

I think I may have let my levain sit for too long and it began to smell a bit funky (similar to when the the starter was not yet sour smelling, but more funky fermented smelling?  Only thing I can liken it to is when I worked at a retired sugar mill that had old molasses fermenting in the trenches).  I proceeded to make the dough and at the end of the "autolyse" it all had the same smell.  I am persevering through the process, but is it doomed?  Does anyone know why it smells like this?  My starter smelled quite healthy to begin with.  

Thanks in advance!

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I'm trying to smell your description.  The tartine levain I've been using has a slightly fermented smell with a sweetness to it.  It's actually quite mellow (what he's striving for).  If thats what your smelling then all should be well.  The best answer will be to taste the loaf and see.  I can't imagine anything harmful would have happened to your starter through the process.  

Josh

calgarybaker's picture
calgarybaker

My 100% wheat loaves definitely did not have the same smell, but I did let the levain go longer than I probably should have (approx 9 hrs while I was at work).  A loaf in now in the oven and I'll let you know how it turns out.  Thanks for the response!

calgarybaker's picture
calgarybaker

After all that, it was quite delicious.  Definitely more sour than the wheat sourdough, and good.  The second loaf is in the fridge overnight and I will bake it tomorrow morning.  I will no longer fear the funky levain.

 

etheil's picture
etheil

I'm not familiar with the smell description either, but I can say that my flour choice seems to influence the smell of my starter and levain builds more than anything else. I've had some starters and levain that smelled like stomach acid (sorry, terrible description,) but the results were still very good. Any chance you had a new batch of flour or changed brands? The smell of the starter isn't necessarily coupled with the taste; the smell is only one part of the health and readiness of the starter with the taste and consistency being equally important. In my opinion, you can get better results with a levain build that smells bad, but tastes fine as opposed to a great smelling, poor tasting levain (assuming the levain's ability to raise a loaf of bread is the same in both cases.) Still, having said that, I've gotten decent results with both scenarios, so ignore everything I wrote above (or at least take it with an extra course grain of sea salt.)

Eric

calgarybaker's picture
calgarybaker

Thanks for the reply, Eric.  I didn't make any changes to the levain flour, which is where the smell all began.  Interestingly the dough seems to be much more active than my previous batch of just wheat.  It's in the oven now and smells ok so far...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when added.  If chilling the dough is involved (I'm not familiar with the recipe) might I suggest chilling the dough sooner to lengthen the fermentation?