Is there alcohol in bread and should I be worried?
This came through one of the questions from you on my blog. There are so many questions I had about food and alcohol when I started this blog I would never have imagined there would be so many .
There are hundreds! In fact is there alcohol in bread topped my lists that had written down to talk about.
Alcohol can cover everything from moisturizers, drink, food and hygiene, who would have thought it really?
If you think about it though it makes sense. In many of the foods some of the ingredients are exactly the same as alcohol based drinks so is the there alcohol involved in bread making and should I be worried?
Probably not is the answer.
However, I was intrigued after I learned there was alcohol in orange juice! Yes that.
The thing is alcohol production is part of fermentation so actually very natural on many levels. Although I also received some great feedback on the amount of alcohol restaurants put into desserts. It’s quite staggering.
Not so natural as it happens!
I blogged about desserts and alcohol here. So I digress back to our loaves and burger rolls.
Are we really downing the equivalent of wine in terms of alcohol? If not are there any other food we should be mindful from desserts to sauces
Does not bread use the same ingredient as booze?
Well kind of minus a few obvious one like junipers, grapes and hops depending on your tipple. I don’t think it has any whiskeys either.
But here is the thing I got confused in that if it uses the exact same ingredients apart from the obvious isn’t bread really a tea total and alcohol free nightmare?
Could it send our sobriety for whatever reason out the window?
As someone said on one of my blogs about my desserts article, isn’t bread alcoholic? Well I asked a friend of mine who is one of those geeks and into hos food science and he says no but…. ! He said :
“Don’t panic, bread is not alcoholic ! But it can be”!
There is a story between bread and alcohol and it comes down to basic science at the end of the day. Isn’t science great!
Also, yeast and bread go together if we want the big fluffy roles that we love with our picnics?
So the bottom line is that bread at the beginning will have some alcohol being produced as part of production process. When my Mum used to make bread in the oven when I was a kid I used to ask why it smelled like the home brew that was being in made in the airing cupboard.
You can see what type of house I grew up in ! My parents did like their home brew so I can smell it a mile off.
My Mum would open the oven to check the bread was rising and a big smell of alcohol would waft across the kitchen. It was the reason you can smell freshly baked bread in the supermarket aisle as you push your trolley around.
What happens during baking then?
So if you are like me and you can’t touch alcohol then given all the yeast and the fermentation that goes on it seems sensible to ask the question. Good news though.
Once it’s in the oven the alcohol apart from maybe a trace evaporates into the oven and outside it.
It disintegrates with the heat.
Now I remember my mum putting lots of water into the bread mix when she was preparing it so where does that go? Well it goes the same place as the alcohol, it evaporates.
However, we know that bread such as burger rolls could still have a trace of alcohol up to 2%. Although probably much much less.
There have been various tests over the years and it’s the same reason some fermented orange juice has some trace of alcohol in them.
Ironically some of the lower alcohol beers that we get so worried about maybe have less. Even some of the low alcohol beer has a trace of alcohol as does some fruit juice. If you can’t consume any alcohol though make sure you go for 0.0 abv so alcohol by volume.
I saw a bread making tip on a British cooking programme once on the dangers of making your bread full of alcohol.
Basically they were showing how not to cook bread. Another take on a cookery programme I suppose. What they did was make all the ingredients you would normally put into bread and let it rise with the yeast doing it work for too long.
They just left it basically.
They gave it much more time than you would do to make proper tasting bread.
The chef who is very famous in the UK showed what happened if you did not allow the alcohol to evaporate. Yes, put simply you will be left with alcohol tasting bread and as she points out if not very nice to taste especially if you are avoiding alcohol completely.
The dough part of the bread was under cooked and she pointed out you could smell the alcohol upstairs.
Now I would not even try making bread but it’s a useful opportunity to opt out if you are like me and alcohol averse for health reasons.
If you under bake your bread there could be more alcohol in it!
The best way to tell is to smell it but it will also be present in any texture of the bread.
Soggy comes to mind.
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Some quick facts about alcohol and other foods you may eat.
Believe it or not bread is not the only thing we need to be worried about when avoiding alcohol. If indeed we should be, and you don’t need to concerned about low alcohol beer unless you are like me and don’t touch alcohol 100% without me keeling over!
Here’s a list of food worth keeping an eye out.
Some desserts are rammed with alcohol and it is not burned off either. It is just lumped in and I guess if you are not driving, don’t have an allergy and avoiding alcohol it’s fine.
I am sure my Mum would put in half a bottle of sherry before putting it in the fridge. In fact the sherry was left in the sponge for hours to really soak up and to be fair you could tell and it went to my head !
If you go into a restaurant make sure you check your desserts from profiteroles to Tiramisu as they will probably have alcohol in them. Even a UK supermarket had to back down recently after one of its customers complained after the dessert was not probably labeled as having alcohol.
He was frowned upon but the customer had a point and if it was a nut allergy the response maybe very different.
Of course with most desserts there is not a chance of the alcohol being burned off unless of course it’s “flambe crepes” and even then you can definitely taste the brandy. I am not sure what alcohol content would be left after it was being fanned by alcohol in those flames.
I personally would avoid this.
For the majority this is not a problem but if you are looking to keep off alcohol for any reason you should never be afraid to ask the question. Remember you are the customer.
The other one to keep an eye on is course the sauces that go with food. Steak Diane, whiskey black pepper, blue cheese and the list goes on.
Now if you talk to most chefs they will say the alcohol is burned off during the process but I am always keen to go “sauce less” where possible and add some mustard instead go for asking for the sauce on the side just in case.
Its always safer double checking.
The one that got me was Marie Rose Sauce which is a kind of sauce that goes with prawn in a cocktail or smoked salmon. I actually checked on the label and it said it contained alcohol.
It’s amazing how these things are often hidden away and to be honest since I have gone alcohol free I’m more adept at looking for these things on the labels.
So bread aside let’s be aware.
So it seems if you cook bread badly it will have alcohol in it like anything that involves fermentation. Next time someone says “is there alcohol in bread?” You can give them an honest and basic answer.
Excuse me for leaving a lot of the science out of this but I am very much practical with alcohol.
What do you think about is there alcohol in bread and should I be worried? I would love to hear your views. Did you know about bread and if so has it made you rethink or are you happy if it is cooked and baked well.
Leave your comment below and I always respond.