What would make bread smell like alcohol? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-09-2008, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know there are a lot of bread makers on MDC, so I'm hoping someone can shine some light on this for me.

I made a couple loaves of white bread on Friday. Just unbleached bread flour, water, milk, a little bit of sugar and salt, and yeast. I used a tablespoon of yeast for two loaves worth of dough, and I let it rise a pretty long time (I didn't time it, but probably two hours for each rising).

Here's the thing. The bread was delicious on Friday, very mild flavoured and just a bit yeasty. Saturday, it still tasted fine...today (Sunday), when I went to make toast with it this morning, I noticed that the bread smells noticeably like alcohol. I wrapped it up tightly in plastic bags so it was still somewhat moist today, I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it.

So, what would make a bread that smells like bread, suddenly smell like alcohol? I know that yeast produces alcohol but I thought that the baking process killed all the yeast? Maybe the bread wasn't fully cooked enough?

Any thoughts would be appreciated--I'm still quite a novice when it comes to bread making.

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#2 of 8 Old 03-10-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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I don't know exactly, but I do know that store-bought bread starts smelling like alcohol when it gets old. Surely two-day-old bread isn't too old to eat, though? I'd think it probably wasn't stored correctly.
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#3 of 8 Old 03-10-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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I am no expert, but I'm going to guess that maybe it was too long of a rise? Yeast makes alcohol as a byproduct of its metabolism. My rises only take about an hour.

Also, when I make several loaves, I use the equivalent of one pack of yeast per loaf. One pack is 2 1/4 teaspoons, so that would be 4 1/2 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons. I wonder if you need more yeast, then you won't have to wait for it to rise as long as you did? Are you putting it somewhere warm to rise?

Just some thoughts!
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#4 of 8 Old 03-10-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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I would also say that you let it rise too long. If you've used this recipe successfully before, I wonder if it took so long because it was cold? Having it in a warm place helps. In the winter when it's cold in the house, I turn on the oven and hold my hand in there until it gets warm (not hot!) and turn off the oven and put the dough in there.
If you have cut back the sugar in the recipe for health concerns, maybe you didn't put in enough sugar. Yeast needs sugar as food.

Hope you find the answer!

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#5 of 8 Old 03-10-2008, 12:39 PM
 
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becoming overlight (rising too long) or not baking long/hot enough. If you open the oven and it still smells of alcohol, shut and keep baking. if it is getting too brown, toss a piece of foil over it.
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#6 of 8 Old 03-11-2008, 12:02 AM
 
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I had a "plants and culture" class in college. One thing I remember about it was that experts aren't quite sure which came first, bread or beer. fermenting grain ahs been around a long time as both bread and beer. That said, What makes me suspicious is that the bread got increasingly yeasty to alcoholic smelling. That tells me that some of the yeast in your bread was still alive. If bread is baked long enough, it kills the yeast. there must have been a cool spot in the middle of your bread that didn't completely cook, at least get to a high enough temp for a long enough time to kill the yeast. Over time, those remaining yeast cells multiplied and started fermenting. Let it do it long enough in some water and you'll get Hooch!
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#7 of 8 Old 03-11-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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yep, exactly that! part of the problem, of course, is the modern versions of bread yeasts which are the same as the beer/wine yeasts. Back in the day when you cultured your own (sourdough, etc) there wasn't nearly the same problem as the yeast worked more slowly and died easier in heat.
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#8 of 8 Old 03-11-2008, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies! I think that maybe it's possible the bread wasn't fully cooked in the middle--it was extremely moist. I will be more careful about that next time.

I don't think a too long rise was the problem, because it didn't smell like alcohol when the bread was fresh--it took two days for the smell to be created.

When my supply of commercial yeast runs out, I plan on trying to get a wild sourdough starter going, so the point you made, Naturemama, is very interesting to me. I didn't realize that modern commercial yeast was similar to beer yeast. That would definitely explain a lot.

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