Rope, thankful for a small kitchen!
Busy at the moment so bare with me. I opened my bread bag because I saw water droplets on the inside. Then the smell of overripe mellons hit me and I investigated further- I tore a piece of bread off and stuck it back in place, then I separated it again. Threads! lots of them, sticky, icky, yucky...... rope.
This is a Bacteria invasion of the worst kind. And not sure where it came from so I'm cleaning the kitchen and everything in it from top to bottom armed with my concentrated vinegar and patience. Refrigerator and oven too. I suspect it came in with some questionable carrots, but it might have been here before I arrived so....
Counter tops, bottoms of cupboards, tile, racks, drawers, dishes, boards, everything. I'm glad it is a small kitchen. Yes, very thankful.
I won't be baking today :(
I've read about this on the King Arthur boards and it sounds like a real nightmare. I gather it's fairly common in potatoes, one reason I will never, ever make bread with raw potatoes as per a James Beard recipe. Made it once and it just tasted awful.
I'm hoping it was on those carrots. They were pre-scraped and packaged and when i got them home, pretty bad shape. I cut off lots of bad spots and what was left went into the stew pot. I should have composted them immediately and kept them out of the kitchen. But I have no way of knowing so the whole kitchen gets and spray and wipe down with 10% vinegar. It's starting to smell better now so back to work. I even took the knife block apart. I'm under the sink now.
I have had that in an almond and orange cake (Claudia Roden's recipe with the whole boiled oranges - very moist) I kept a bit too long, I didn't realise that was what it was, I thought it was just something that happened when the cake was kept too long, so just ditched the cake and washed the plastic box it had been in thoroughly. I didn't know I should have done the whole place, but it didn't get into anything else, so the plastic box must have kept it in place.
I presume it is carried on vegetables and fruit rather than grains in the normal run of things?
That is why I'm spraying everything with vinegar and letting it work into surfaces. I made pizza dough yesterday and retarded it into the fridge. I don't know if it is contaminated so today I sprayed the zip lock with vinegar and proceded as usual only when I was done, everything I worked on or worked with got sprayed and set into the sink (spoon, scraper,bowl, rolling pin wine bottle, etc.). Then later I washed up with soap and dried everything thoroghly.
The table and counter tops got misted and allowed to dry. That way, if it shows up again, I've confined it to the flour or barley bin. I made the pizza. If the flour is contaminated, and we eat everything that is baked within a few days, I could never see it again, it takes 4 or more days to develop. And if you know me, I will provoke the little beasties. Warm proofing really brings it out, and I had tested my oven's proof setting...104°F (perfect temp for rope too) on that particular loaf. Time will tell. Straight doughs are more affected than Sourdoughs.
I had some strange flour a while back too, full of bad stuff and I sifted it in the kitchen and a fine dust was scattered all over the place. Maybe I should clean the dust filter on the air conditioner and spray it too. I just hope rope is gone.
Lynne, I hope your plastic box has at least been run through a very hot dishwasher. A soak in vinegar is also not a bad idea, If you haven't anything stronger than 5%, then add some table salt, say 1/2 tsp to 1/2 cup, that will make it very strong so avoid skin contact.
Hi Mini, this was ages ago, I mean years. I don't know if I even have the box anymore. But your description of the threads was absolutely spot on and I remember how revolting it was, although I don't remember a smell. But there were whole oranges in the cake, so it was quite fruity smelling anyway.
As you say, it took a few days to come through. Nowadays, nothing cakey lasts that long in the house, bread I let sit for a day and then freeze.
My problem recently was an outbreak of Indian meal moths that have taken for ever to get rid of :(
p.s. no dishwasher here! We are very oldfashioned in that respect.. but very hot water and rubber gloves can kill a lot of stuff, as does anti bacterial washing up liquid.
but that is because I'm new to this kitchen and don't know if rope has only been here a short time or for a long time. It is a shock to have this happen to my second loaf. Anyway I do have a clean kitchen (knock on wood) but I wish I had a jar of pickles to show for all the vinegar smells. ... My kitchen tiles have never been so shiny! Ooo!
I should mix up a batch of something this evening. Should I test fate? Or play it safe with a sourdough?
But look at it more as putting out bait to see if the critters are still around and dare show their faces again. Now that you know they recently were, you can control sources (this bin, that bowl, etc.) and maybe narrow down the potential culprits IF your baking results in a repeat performance.
Mini, was the bread that had the sticky bacteria something you baked? I would think baking would have killed anything in the flour in a hot oven. If not that's a scary thought.
What kind of air exchanger do you have. I would be looking at the AC unit and ducts/filters/condensate drains and such.
Yes, it was my second loaf, The first loaf was ok but in the same bread bag so it also had to go. Baking doesn't always kill it. It can hide in the inside middle where temps are cooler.
After the pizza, I sprayed the plates, tableware, table. Threw away the parchment, no saving here. The flour is in containers that I wipe down with vinegar after using.
I will make some small straight loaves, bun size, use the proofing oven setting (50min at 40°c) to temp fate. First just wheat, then when it's baked a bun combined with the other flour. Cool cut in half (to expediate observation of the inside) and ziplock separately. Then wait. Of course the danger to my experiment in making small loaves is that I kill the rope while baking. I don't know...
How do I spray my computer board?
Info on rope:
Simple version link
For lovers of Microbs
i realy don't beleave in war but in this case where do i sign up. il fight them in the streets ilfight them inthe ovens ill fight them in the mixers till i fall in defence of my bread.
hay mini can i contribute to the cause? i bought a thousand sheet box of parchment pan liners a while back and still have pleanty of 18 x 24 sheets i would be glad to send you some.
I didn't throw away all my parchment just the stuff I used already and was planning on using again. So I think I have enough until Christmas. Thanks
Did you bake yet Mini?
The same loaf that was attacked only this time less barley 100g instead of 175g and baked it a little differently. The last 5 min. I unpanned the loaf and let it brown thoroughly on the open rack. The loaf is rather tight crumbed. Hubby ate most of it last night with butter, camembert topped with a walnut all in tiny little bite size pieces.
When I grind the barley flour it seems to take forever so I might go back to boiling it first. If the barley is the souce, that would be the better way to go.
I'm also working on some chocolate bread. The smell of coffee & chocolate is enough to turn me into a raw dough eater.
I'm still spraying all surfaces wet with 10% (at least) vinegar and letting them air dry. I spray my hands too, but wash soon afterward with soap. I know that 20% left on the skin can take a layer of skin off so I'm careful not to let that happen. (And yes, I did at least once spray the ceiling and the floor... "wenn schon, denn schon" or "when at it, then do it.")
Rope was back. (as announced in the oat/barley thread, oops) Right on that loaf but only a slice. We ate the loaf but a middle slice went into a zip lock and hidden. On the 14th it was wet in the middle, looked like a tablespoon of oil was poured into the center and gradually, the next day, had worked half way to the crust. I pitched it and the barley and washed everything and sprayed with vinegar. The wheat bread I baked still shows no signs of rope, mold yes, rope no. So life is getting better in the mini kitchen. I still spray boards and bread knives and mixing bowls but I think it is safe to say I destroyed the source.
Now to get back to having fun!
XX XX (four sets of fingers, no thumbs....)