The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough Turns Brown and Smells Bad

Lynn Robertson's picture
Lynn Robertson

Dough Turns Brown and Smells Bad

I'm a newbie to sourdough and am on my 8th or 9th attempt yet I've had a really hard time to get a decent sourdough loaf.  I believe my starter is strong, I feed it regularly and before I mix it in I always do the float test--and it does, even after a few minutes.  Where I think I'm stuck is the bulk fermentation stage. My kitchen is usually fairly cool (70°F) so I get that it'll take time for the dough to get at least 1 1/2 times the size.  But after 36 hours, it didn't quite get to 1 1/2 times (I put 1/4 cup of dough in a 1/2 cup measure so I could have an easier time telling). The dough smelled like nail polish with the top of the dough turning a brownish colour.  The starter is at 100% hydration and I get the same sort of result whether I use unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour (I don't like whole wheat or rye).

With earlier attempts using shorter times, I always get a really sticky dough (even if I go up on the flour or down on the water) and so I get a flat, dense baked loaf.  I'm determined to get it right but I'm running out of ideas...

Lynn

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Like you I had problems making sourdough loaves.  Until I stumbled upon Alex.  I  like to recommend him if you're new to sourdough.  He's a good start,  then you can expand on it. 

It's a great explanation,  easy to follow.  And he's just so darn funny doing it. Good luck! 

https://youtu.be/APEavQg8rMw

Lynn Robertson's picture
Lynn Robertson

I love Alex's video, I pretty much know it by heart.  I use his proportions (1:2:3) but I'm clearly not doing something right along the way...I really appreciate the response though, thanks!

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

If I had to venture guess,  I'd focus on your starter being the culprit.  

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Lynn,  I am with Breadlee.  I make a sourdough loaf, and retard with 20% of the total being a starter  ( 400 flour, 320 water, 89 starter ( at 75% ) and it doubles in size in 8 to 10 hours at 60F.  So there is something wrong with your starter, or with the recipe. I use a straight sided container for bulk ferment, though your method works as well.  

Lynn Robertson's picture
Lynn Robertson

Thanks very much, I'm thinking of scraping my starter and making up a new batch but first I'll try your method.  

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Another one that may be beneficial is watching patrick ryan.. especially his starter instruction.  Very simple. 

https://youtu.be/2FVfJTGpXnU