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Aug 8, 2007 09:20 PM

Why does my bread reek of alcohol?

I've never baked actual loaves of bread, but I've tried several times (and using different recipes) to make flatbreads like naan and pitas. Invariably, even when I cook them to the point of crispness, they end up reeking of alcohol. I realize that part of the appeal of yeast breads is the lingering flavor left behind by alcohol after it has evaporated... but I don't think the alcohol in MY bread has evaporated at all. What might I be doing wrong?

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  1. I have never experienced this, so I'm not sure what kind of smell you're talking about. What's the recipe, did you proof the yeast? How much yeast? What kind of yeast? How long of a rise? Do you think the bread actually tastes like alcohol, or just smells like it?

    1. Wow- are you saying that even simple naan and pita smells like alcohol? Or are you perhaps using a flavoring agent of some kind (oil, essence, extract, etc)? The only breads I have ever encountered that smelled like alcohol were panettone and pandoro (sweet Italian holiday breads), and that is due to the extracts used to flavor them.... However, letting the dough sit for too long can cause the yeast to turn it to alcohol, especially if you are making it rise for a long period of time at a warm temperature. However, I am not so sure that pita and naan bread call for this type of proofing. Am I wrong? The only bread I ever make myself is Italian Easter bread- and that's a whole other story!

      1. Do you mean the yeast smell? Homemade breads using yeast can have a strong yeast smell. It's the same smell as beer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: boogiebaby

          There is definitely an ethene smell that perhaps you are mistaking for ethanol. Have you tasted the bread?

        2. In my experience, an alcohol-y smell has to do with not kneading the bread enough, particularly after it has risen (and even more if it rises more than once, or more than the prescribed time). I presume that this is a by-product of the yeast in the rising, and usually knead until the smell is gone. (It'd be great if someone could offer a more scientific explanation of this!)

          1. I've tried various recipes, but this one is pretty representative. It uses the basic flour, water, oil, salt and yeast, and it only proofs for a couple of hours total. I don't let the dough rise any longer than the recipe specifies -- I'm not that patient!

            I've tasted the bread and it tastes pretty much the way it smells - sharp. I'm sure it must be the yeast smell; I didn't realize that was ethene rather than ethanol. It's just way, way too strong.

            I'll try kneading it longer this weekend and see what happens!

            1 Reply
            1. re: GEC

              It sounds to me like too much or too fast yeast growth). Watch out for:

              Rising in a place that's too warm. Room temp is great. Don't look for a warmer place. If it's hot in the kitchen, then try to find a cooler place, or put in a container with a couple ice cubes. Really!

              Don't let it rise too long. Don't go by time. Go by look and feel.