The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough help!

annabakes's picture
annabakes

Sourdough help!

Hello! 

I have had my sourdough starter going for almost two years. Lately, I have noticed a sulfur-y smell once my dough has risen overnight. The smell is not in my starter- just in the dough, once it has risen overnight. My starter rises great, isn't discolored, and I feed it everyday. I switch it to a clean jar every couple days too. Also, the dough of whatever I am baking rises great- but, is this normal for the dough to have a sulfury smell, particularly upon taking the cover off the bowl? I don't want to bake something that is harmful to anyone! Any insight is most appreciated- thank you!!

-Anna 

albacore's picture
albacore

I sometimes notice a wiff of sulphur when I turn out the dough at the end of bulk. I really wouldn't worry about it - it's just the yeast  in the levain doing its normal fermentative work, maybe reducing a bit of sulphate from the water or flour and turning it into a tiny amount of hydrogen sulphide.

I've never found it passing through to the final bread.

Similar processes occur in beer brewing. The original pale ales of Burton were well known for some powerful sulphurous smells (known as the "Burton Snatch") which came from the yeast working on the high calcium sulphate (gypsum) content of the water.

Lance

annabakes's picture
annabakes

Hi Lance! Okay, good to know! That makes sense. Thank you for that explanation!!