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Old 04-27-2012, 10:57 PM   #1
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Weird smell and color to my Irish Soda Bread???

I had a VERY weird experience recently with Irish Soda Bread baked in my bread machine. This recipe did not call for yeast (obviously). It called for baking soda and baking powder and buttermilk.

I put every thing in as called for and let it all mix in the bread machine. It rose and baked. So far, so good. VERY yummy out of the machine in the evening, excellent in the am for toast.

By that evening, it had developed a weird fishy odor and had turned slightly greyish at the top of the loaf where I assume it had baked the least. What happened? Was my buttermilk or butter off? Please help, I am stumped.

The second morning, it was even greyer and yuckier smelling and I pitched the whole lot.

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Old 04-28-2012, 02:46 AM   #2
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I make a lot of soda bread but not in a machine. It does smell different to yeast bread but not as you describe.
I would hazard a guess that you had secondary fermentation because it was not fully cooked
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:34 AM   #3
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Did you use any kind of oil in the recipe? I find that some oils (canola, for example) have kind of a fishy aroma when cooked.

Bolas could be onto something with his fermentation theory, too.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:29 PM   #4
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It's not an unknown problem. Some people interpret the odor as soapy. Some as fishy. One proposed cause is failure to thoroughly mix in the soda, either lack of stirring or lumpy soda. But the real question is why the odor. I have a notion about that, and I think there really are two different odors that can form.

Alkali and fat, under the right conditions, make soap. It's called saponification. And alkaline water environment can turn a body to soap. The most common soap making technique is the "hot process." In hot process, the fat moves through the intermediate step of fatty acid to soap very quickly in the pot. There's a cold process, too, that takes longer. Soap making can result in failures to complete the conversion.

Soda bread dough is hardly an ideal mixture for saponification, but the components are there, with enough heat to begin it and enough other ingredients to make it fail as a soap recipe. Every soda bread recipe has soda and fat of some kind. You certainly can make soap with butterfat. An excess of soda or areas of concentrated soda acting on the fat, especially if the dough is altogether poorly mixed and soda lumps exist intimately with pure fat lumps. Fatty acid decomposition in some vegetable oils is a significant storage problem, and one of the bad effects is fishy odor. Soda is not a strong enough alkali to efficiently complete the process. So, it's not unreasonable that a forming of fatty acid and subsequent decomposition, accelerated under baking conditions, could produce fishy or soapy odor. Which you produce may depend on just how far the saponification process proceeds, when conditions are present for it to begin.

The solution is to measure the soda accurately, and mix it well, sifting if needed.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:45 PM   #5
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Very interesting and well thought out theory GLC.
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bread, buttermilk, other

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