The Fresh Loaf

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Bread made from flour I've milled smells bad initially; what to do?

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tkarl's picture
tkarl

Bread made from flour I've milled smells bad initially; what to do?

My 2nd post.  While I'm still hammering out my bread-making problems from my 1st post, I thought this worth a new post.  After making bread for years, I think we all know and expect that wonderful aroma is one of the big pluses in bread making.  It was for me too.  Then I got a Blendtec Kitchen Mill and began making my own flour.  Everything seems to work very well.  Except, when the bread is done in my bread maker I take it out still warm, take a good whiff and ... YUCK!  It smells bad.  Now the bread tastes good.  But that initial smell while warm is bothering me.  After cooling down and later toasting the bread, the bad smell is no longer in evidence.

Choices?  1) Bad Wheat Berries; 2) Something bad is coming from the Mill.

I buy my wheat berries from a local Whole Foods.  I found out from speaking to the Whole Foods baker that they use flour, and are not milling their own -- IOW, they are not getting their wheat where I'm getting my berries.  Could I be getting bad or poorly handled wheat berries?  I have both hard red winter wheat and white wheat berries.  They come from bulk containers.  I could try another WF store, or buy online.  What do you folks think?  Oh, BTW:  I also make Rejuvilac -- so I know that a very high percentage of this wheat will sprout -- indicating that the wheat is not in really bad shape.

As far as something coming from the Mill -- that might be tough to prove.  Also, the device does not disassemble readily to that level as far as I know.

BTW:  FYI:  I have also tried milling by hand from a Wonder Mill I also have (bought new).  (WAY too much work to grind by hand, IMO)  I used the stones -- and yes, I broke them in properly.  I didn't care for the taste of that bread either.  I keep thinking that bread from flour I've milled should taste & smell much better than store-bought flour, but my limited experience if telling me otherwise.

Please help!

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

You say

Quote:
I buy my wheat berries from a local Whole Foods.

Find a manager and ask where they source their whole wheat grain(s) that are sold in their bulk bins. If necessary, ask to see their storage area for the bulk bags of whole wheat(s) so that you can confirm what the manager says.

I have been milling my own whole grain flours for over 25 years and have purchased grain from many sources (including Whole Foods). I have never experienced a bad smell from the grains I mill into flour nor have I experienced a bad smell from the breads I bake from these flours.

 

tkarl's picture
tkarl

Do you notice any better flavor from breads made from grain you milled yourself?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Yes, since (at least in the USA) I never know when a purchased whole grain flour was actually milled. Furthermore, if the flour contains the germ, it *should* be refrigerated when offered for sale but never is. When I home mill I know exactly what grain went into the flour and when it was milled. If I mill more wheat (or other grain) than I need for a baking, I store it in the refrigerator with the date of milling noted on the bag.

That said, your problem seems to be with an off smell to your baked bread. Since I've never used a bread machine to make my bread, I cannot assist you in this problem.

All I was saying that was that home milled whole grain flour should never have an off smell after milling. Since home milled flour typically includes the germ of the grain, any not used immediately for baking should be refrigerated for best keeping quality.

tkarl's picture
tkarl

The only odor I can detect is of the loaf of bread just out of the breadmaker.  This has only happened with flour I milled myself.  I always use the flour to make bread immediately after milling.

I think I need to weigh 1C of my-milled flour vs. 1C of store-bought flour.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

But only if you have to.  I also have a sensitive nose and I will hold my breath when I open the oven door to remove bread.  Sort of the same thing when testing a perfume, I don't spray myself in the face first but let it mingle with the air or spray it on my arm and let it dry.  That first blast of steam might be too much aroma for your nose.  Stand back a little and let the aromas cool down first.  Dark crust can be stronger.  Oils or seasonal butter changes when used on the pan or in the dough can also do fun things with aroma.  

Now if you think something is wrong, trust your nose and go sniffing and tasting everything.

Are you cleaning the bread maker properly and letting it dry out between uses, with the lid open?  Try putting some water in the clean tub and "bake it" for a littie while getting the machine up to temperature and see if the smell is there without the dough.  Where do you live?  Can it be that some animal or bug has crawled into your machine and died there?  Or oil ... check your oils, the ones you use, taste them all and wait for after tastes to show up.  Perhaps one has gone rancid?  Also taste and check all your other ingredients including the yeast, salt and seeds.  

Water is a wonderful thing.  You can test your berries by simply dumping 1/4 cup berries into one cup of boiling water (saucepan or Microwave dish) and let the steam and aroma tell you if your berries are putting out the same odor.  After a half hour, strain out the berries and taste them.  

Check dishtowels and cleaning sponges too.   

tkarl's picture
tkarl

One thing with the BM:  The paddle has become frozen to it's shaft.  Now that I think about it, I have not tried my-milled flour in my other BM -- so the problem could lie in the Oster.  I've tried everything to get that paddle off -- it won't budge.  I Really like your tip about "baking" just the pan with water!  That ought to get that @#$%& paddle off!  I had also noticed the Oster BM had some burning flour smells as soon as baking started -- I tried to clean that up but it needs more TLC.  When the Oster's ingredient-laden pan is homed, small bits of flour try to jump to safety and some make it out of the pan.

I used to have word-class smeller -- but I've had some bad sinus infections and the little smeller-sensors are growing back -- but that was a few years ago -- I think I'm OK now.

I've never used any oil in the Oster -- (see the recipe you asked for in my other post).

I've tried the "careful" smelling approach -- going back 5 minutes later to sniff the cooling loaf -- the Bad Smell is still there, but is gone after the bread has cooled.  This smell was completely absent when I used store-bought flour in either/both BM machines.

I bought this machine while I was in Kentucky -- where only store-bought flour was used -- that was in an apartment.  Back home here in Chicago, I've had some small critters invade my domain in the distant past, but none recently; and I've not had 'roaches in either location.  I think it might be worth a slight disassembly of the Oster to check though. I do sometimes see small spiders around ...

I'll also test the berries by boiling them -- great idea.

QuebecCity's picture
QuebecCity

I am making my own bread from freshly milled berries (spelt) with a Fidibus home stone mill. The problem with berries is constancy. The official website of the Canadian agriculture department says a bread can taste good and rise well, and yet contain too much mold contamination. Twice I had to throw away a bag of 45 lb berries, because they were not good and smell bad. Try to get organic berries, if you by it in large quantities, put an hygrometer in the center of the berries and it it reads over 50% humidity, that is an indication of grains that saw too much humidity, look for 45% or lower.

Also, the falling number should be around 350, at least over 320 and the protein content over 13%.

I would not est the bread that smells bad because of possible mold toxins. They won't kill you, but may make you not feel so good.

tkarl's picture
tkarl

Where can I get one cheaply?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

While testing, boiling, try tossing in a spoonful of the yeast.   Is the bad aroma showing up? 

 

tkarl's picture
tkarl

Results 1: I put hot water in the Oster and lit up the Bake cycle.  Absolutely NO odor(s) could be detected.  BONUS:  after much wiggling and pulling, I finally got that paddle off!!!  Hooray!  There really was not any appreciable loaf remnants there at all.

Results 2:  I boiled some of the wheat for ~ 15 minutes.  Results & odors are ambiguous.  Just smelling the berries after opening the Ball jar, all I could smell was a nice wheat smell.  During the boiling, I smelled a very slight odor that was only remotely similar to the foul-bread-loaf odor.  The grains taste ok, as I am eating them right now. The odor of the cooked grains is not objectionable enough to merit a decisive victory (apology for the terminology here -- I've just been watching WWII naval battle vids on YT).

Now I'll have to toss in some yeast, but proofing the yeast did not produce the odors.  I'm getting the Costco-Yeast -- if available here.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it can give off some strange aromas, closer to dry fall leaves and tree bark or bad nuts or old cardboard.  I can tell just smelling the powdered or fresh yeast.  Cold yeast will not give off much aroma, but room temp or warm will, ... and it should give you good yeasty feelings and not leave you wondering if it is good or bad with questionable results.  

Active dry varies slightly with the coating.  It can be that the yeast is good but the coating has "gone off" or visa-versa.  This might be what you are detecting and could be the reason why the yeast preforms poorly in the bread maker.  I would be curious to know if the bad aroma increases when you bake a loaf with twice the amount of yeast.

tkarl's picture
tkarl

I guess there is a lot I don't know about yeast.  Thanks again for your informed input.  I think I'll wait until I get the fresh Costco Yeast before I try another bread making session.  From the latest testing I've done, I tend to agree with your analysis:  either I've got bad yeast, or something really weird in my Mill.  But since the store-bought flour also performed at 1/2-loaf rising, I tend to agree that new yeast is called for.  However, bread made from the store-bought flour did not exhibit the foul odor with the 'old' yeast.  Since the yeast is past it's due date it seems far more likely to be the cause of my woes.  I do think that, whatever yeast is used, its affects are more-or-less gone once baking is done.  This correlates with my bread results.  I was relying on yeast-proofing as my measure of quality.  Perhaps we'll discover whether that validation is sound.  If the tests are even somewhat ambiguous, then the testing needs to be repeated -- with fresh yeast.  Thanks again; I'll report my findings soon.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

I had stored a 1-lb package of active dry yeast in the freezer, like I always do. But somehow this package developed an off smell for anything it baked. I replaced it and continued to store yeast in the freezer. Five years later, this has not happened again. But at the first sign of this again, I will replace the yeast first.

tkarl's picture
tkarl
Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Try SAF yeast, sold in a 1lb bag at Whole Foods.  Best I ever used, may be worth a try vs Costco.  Also wondering if you have tried a natural non-yeast culture...