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Pizza dough left out over night smells like alcohol?

Although I love making bread and do it often, two nights ago I made Jim Lahey's no knead pizza dough. We didn't end up making pizza that night so it sat out (of the fridge) for another evening. Smelling it now, it has a hard-alcohol smell.

I baked a little of the dough off yesterday and it was just fine. I'm just wondering if anyone has experienced this before?

asked by darksideofthespoon over 4 years ago
5 answers 58702 views
25438297 7c5f 449f 85c8 6d14e78bbcc4  susan.streit

Susan is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 4 years ago

While I've never left dough out to ferment that long, I just made Lahey's no-knead bread this weekend and his book actually suggests that in the winter the bread dough may need to sit out for up to 24 hours. I would imagine that any harmful bacteria in the dough (if present) would die once baked for half an hour in a hot 500F degree oven. Maybe it's not the best pizza dough to serve for a dinner party, but if it tasted fine I don't see the harm in baking it. I would bake it off, I enjoy a good culinary experiment every once in a while.

9a61d3c7 2821 4579 8601 c61c43d1c19f  img 0472
added over 4 years ago

Thanks for the feedback. I'm always used to a beer-y smell when fermenting my doughs, just certainly not a hard alcohol smell. I showed the dough to my husband and he retorted "did you use Vodka to make this instead of water?!"

Good thing we're adventurous, maybe I'll report back with the results!

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 4 years ago

If, as hardlikearmour points out, your dough has over-proofed (rise, proof, and ferment can all be used interchangeably, as they mean the same thing), you'll certainly get more of an alcohol smell. The by-products of fermentation are heat, alcohol, and carbon dioxide. If you dough has over-proofed, you won't encounter anything harmful in going ahead and using it. You may, though, notice that the rise is a bit less than you might expect. An excessive alcohol content tends to begin killing off yeast cells, as in higher concentrations it creates an environment that is inhospitable to yeast. Too, the yeast may well have overgrown its food supply. Once it has converted the starches to sugars and has gobbled them up, its only remaining food supply is the protein in the flour. Once that is compromised, the dough literally cannot hold itself up. As if those aren't insults enough, the crust will likely not brown well, no matter how long you bake it. Once its sugars are gone, there is nothing left in the dough to brown. All that said, what the heck, go ahead and consider it all a science experiment and bake it!

9a61d3c7 2821 4579 8601 c61c43d1c19f  img 0472
added over 4 years ago

So, we had our pizza. The dough rose well and by the time I had eaten 3 pieces I totally forgot about my dilemma. It tasted wonderful, though and was chewy and crisp all at the same time. YUM!

Thanks for all your help, foodies. :)

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