The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pungent flour

Wheatly's picture
Wheatly

Pungent flour

I've just bought some organic flour, and I'm a bit curious about the smell. 

It's a little pungent. It doesn't smell rancid, but it's got a real... farm-like smell to it? Almost grassy. It's definitely distinct to how old flour smells, and the production date is only last week.

I've had stoneground fresh flour before, but the smell hasn't ever been this strong or like this. I know it's difficult to judge by text, but is anybody familiar with what I'm describing? Does flour ever have a "non-wheat" but natural smell?

Wheatly's picture
Wheatly

Okay, I've just baked the first batch of baguettes with this stuff and the taste carried through baking and in to the bread as well. It's not as pronounced in the taste of the bread as it was in the smell of the flour, but this is definitely not like any kind of wheat/bread I've tasted anywhere before. 

There's something wrong with it, but my technical skills aren't enough to say what!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sourdough?  Where on a farm would you place the aroma?  Near a silo, near the animal stalls or near the hay or tractor path?   I'm serious.  

Stir some of the flour into a jar with some water at room temp and see what it does in 24 hours.

I would contact the store or miller and get more information.  Where the grain is from and how it was transported to the mill.  Details on how it was stored in between harvesting and you receiving it.   Grain will pick up aromas from the wagon/bags/bins they were transported or stored in and if the wagon was used previously for hay or simply stood in the barn with animals, it will pick up those aromas as well.  Especially if filled while the wagon was damp from dew or rain. Wood especially holds aromas and transfers them.  Find out more about the grain while you return the flour.  

Now if the flour has picked up the aroma of camomile, that would be the tractor path (provided the horses don't use the same path) and camomile in an organic field is not uncommon.  Flower buds harvested with the grain would give it an aroma that is green and daisy, honey like.  Compare to camomile tea.  Green grain also has its own aroma. So would grass seeds.

Wheatly's picture
Wheatly

Hi Mini, thanks for your input. Doesn't smell like sourdough at all. I've been sniffing flours for the past couple of hours now wondering if I'm going insane, but it's definitely a stronger smell than anything else. As in, open the bag and you can smell it strong. 

I would place the smell around the buildings of a farm, it's not a field smell. The more I shove my head in the bag, the more I'd say it's the smell of grass fermenting in a compost heap. It's a vaguely sweet smell, acidic, not offensive but not pleasant either. 

On one hand I am wondering if perhaps I haven't been "exposed" enough to different varieties of wheat, but the end product doesn't smell like any bread I've had anywhere before. I have a local mill in my town that I usually buy from, I am going to hit them up first thing in the morning and ask them to have a good sniff as well. 

 

drogon's picture
drogon

I used to get stoneground Maris Wigeon locally (ish) and it smelled like a hay meadow - really nice. The smell did diminish after baking though.

 

-Gordon

Wheatly's picture
Wheatly

I took the flour to my local mill this morning, who very kindly had a good sniff and ran it through their testing equipment. She agreed there's a musty smell and that it's not how it should be. She said they had a bin go bad many years ago and it smelt like that. Seems to be pretty rare that bad flour gets out, thankfully.

The original miller has asked for a sample back for their own tests and has replaced the bag. A real shame, as the baguettes I made with the flour were excellent in shape and scoring. 

Thanks for the input guys!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the excellent shape and scoring.  The new baggies will taste better and that's the most important thing.  :)