Why Does My Bread Taste Sour

Why Does My Bread Taste Sour? Answered (Updated)

Last Updated on July 19, 2024 by Lori Walker

Got a thing for baking sourdough bread, but puzzled by that tangy zing? Ever baked a loaf so sharp you can’t eat it?

Whatever the case is, there are a few ways to adjust the sourness of sourdough bread. Read on as we share several reasons why your bread tastes sour and how to adjust them.

5 Possible Reasons Why Your Bread Tastes Sour

freshly baked bread

1. Excessive Yeast

Sourdough involves fermentation, and the bread-making process was evident in ancient tombs [1]. Making bread also consists of yeast, which makes it rise.

However, too much yeast ruins your bread recipe, producing a sour flavor as it produces acetic and lactic acids. Thus, using more yeast is not ideal for speeding up the fermentation.

Learn more about the difference between SAF Instant Yeast Red and Gold here.

2. Old Yeast

Expired or stale yeast is another reason why bread tastes sour. First, stale yeast requires a longer fermentation period, causing sour bread.

The second reason is that stale yeast tastes sour before adding it to your bread dough. So, using a dough that is already sour causes more sour-tasting bread.

But what if the bread has passed its expiration date but has no mold?

3. Over-Proofing

Another vital process when baking bread is proofing or making the dough rise. However, over proofing makes bread sour, loaf collapse, or smell like alcohol.

The proofing process requires the dough to ferment and yeast to produce acids. Lactic acid offers a yogurt-like taste, while acetic acid makes bread sour.

Read: How Long Do You Keep The Bread Dough In The Refrigerator?

4. Under-Baking

If you’re a novice baker, you might follow a good recipe online. Despite that, under-baking is a common problem for beginners.

Ensuring your bread is fully cooked in the oven matters to dissipate excess scents and flavors. 

On the contrary, undercooked bread may have remaining bacteria and acids, which can produce a sour taste.

Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Your Banana Bread Is Dense

5. Overnight Rising

Overnight rising is the best way to make extra sour sourdough bread. Therefore, overnight rising is not ideal unless you want to make sour bread.

As stated earlier, the longer the bread dough was fermented, the more bacteria and acids were produced, causing a sour taste.

In addition, leaving the dough in the fridge overnight reduces its strength and flavor. But how long does wheat bread stay good in the fridge?

How To Avoid It

baking lots of loaf bread

Use Active Yeast

If you’re a fan of sourdough bread but want to reduce its sourness, then use active yeast. Mix one teaspoon of sugar, 2 ¼ teaspoon yeast, and ¼ cup of water to test if it’s active.

Then, it will produce a yeasty aroma and bubbles after 10 minutes if it’s active.

Remember that warm water makes the bread sourer, so use cooler temperatures for a mild-tasting sour flavor.  But what makes gluten-free bread so small?

Monitor Baking Time

Aside from the ingredients, time is critical in baking. So, ensure it’s spent the right amount of time in the oven. Generally, most bread needs around an hour or less to bake.

By doing so, the excess flavor and scent from the bread dough is cooked out and reduces bacteria that cause a sour taste. But is it okay to eat moldy bread if you toast it?

Do Not Use Too Much Yeast

Again, yeast is the main reason your bread tastes sour. Thus, stick with the measurements and don’t just add half of this and that since yeast reduces sugars in the mixture.

“The longer you leave the dough to rise at room temperature, the better the bread.”

– Delia Smith, English Cook

For instance, whole grain flour makes a dense loaf extra sour even without adding malt vinegar and being fermented too long. Find out if you can mix the bread and all-purpose flour together here.

Avoid Over Proofing 

Now, if you or your kids are not into the sour taste, avoid over-proofing as the dough increases bacteria, resulting in a more sour flavor and alcohol-like scents.

Ferment the whole dough at 75°F (24°C) for around 1 to 3 hours. Although some proof for 24 hours, going over that makes the bread sour and requires more sugar.

But how do you keep the bread from molding so fast?


Can you eat sour-tasting bread?

Yes, you can. It contains lactic acid necessary for it to rise and acetic acid that makes it sour, which is high in sourdough bread that is rich in nutrients [2].

However, if that taste is too sour, you can use sugar, butter, salt, or honey to reduce its sourness. Find out the possible reason why your bread smells like alcohol here.

How do you get the sour taste out of bread?

The easiest way to reduce the sour taste on your bread is to add a bit of baking soda or reduce the amount of starter in your mixture.

Additionally, don’t use an old sourdough starter or rye flour, which produces more acetic acid. If you want to make a mild sour flavor, switch your wheat flour with white flour.

But how can you fix the cake if it tastes eggy?

Why does my store-bought bread smell sour?

A bread bought from the store may smell sour if it’s spoiled or due to the process of fermentation, which is necessary to make it fluffy.

If it’s not yet spoiled, it’s probably the yeast, or it contains whole grains with carbohydrates, encouraging acetic acid production. But why does my sourdough starter smell like nail polish remover?

Final Words

All in all, making bread requires a lot of knowledge to get the right amount of flavor, from the measurements of the ingredients to fermentation.

Furthermore, pick ingredients with balanced lactic acid if you want to make your bread less sour. On the other hand, if you’re making sourdough bread, go for higher acetic acid.

So, whether you’re trying to make food less or more sour, consider the ingredients and process and play with the measurements until you reach the flavor you desire.


Lori Walker

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