Why Does My Pizza Dough Smell Like Alcohol? Is That Bad?

When making homemade pizza, many things may occur, and you will likely want to know if these things are normal. A common issue that plagues pizza lovers all over the world is whether it is OK for their fresh pizza dough to smell like alcohol.

In short, the fermentation process that the yeast goes through as you allow the dough to rise is similar to the process of beer, and this can cause dough that smells like alcohol. However, there needs to be a balance, and if your pizza dough goes through fermentation for too long, it can end up tasting like alcohol as well as smelling like it (ways to fix pizza dough) (ways to fix pizza dough).

In this article, we will be looking at what causes the food to smell this way and what you can do to stop it from happening next time you make a batch of tasty, fresh dough.

Why Does My Dough Smell Of Alcohol?

Getting your pizza recipe to go right every time does take some experimentation, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot master the art.

The very moment that you begin to mix your dough ingredients, they begin to ferment. Fermentation is completely normal and helps you to get the best quality dough that rises to perfection and creates a lovely, fluffy crust that is delicious to eat.

However, there are a variety of reasons that your dough may become too fermented, and even if you have followed the recipe to a T, might still end up being dough that smells like alcohol.

Typically, you want to store your dough in a bowl and allow it to ferment for a couple of hours if you are doing it at room temperature. If you are proofing the dough in the fridge, this time should be extended to three days. Among many other problems, leaving the dough longer than this can cause it to smell like beer.

The process involves yeast, which is a live product, ‘eating’ the sugars that can be found in the flour. As this happens, carbon dioxide is produced, and this is what causes the dough to rise. Furthermore, alcohol is an additional by-product of fermentation, and this is a good thing – in moderation. Once the pizza bread goes into the oven for baking, the hot temperature will kill the yeast, and the entire process comes to a stop.

To make sure that your dough doesn’t become ‘over-intoxicated’, you will need to monitor the proofing time carefully.

What Other Reasons Can Cause My Dough To Smell The Same As Alcohol?

Whilst time can be a factor; there may be other reasons that your dough smells like alcohol. Certainly, the amount of yeast that you are using can play a part so when you are making the dough, be sure to keep this in mind. It may take a few practice runs, but once you know the correct amount of yeast for making the perfect dough, this is a recipe you can stick with forever.

Additionally, the temperature at which the dough rises can affect. If it is too warm, the process will speed up, and this can cause a stronger smell of alcohol. Even proofing at room temperature would affect. If you let it stand for more than 18-24 hours at this temperature, it can get too hot so you must put it in the fridge, if you do not plan on baking it right away.

How Can You Tell If Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad?

It takes a lot to make dough go bad – after all, this is a food that can be kept in the freezer for up to three months. Fresh pizza dough will keep in the fridge for three days and be perfect for baking.

However, much like any type of food, you do need to eat the dough before it expires. Being able to tell whether the dough is no longer at its best is a crucial part of pizza making.

Signs that your pizza bread dough is not OK to be used might be:

  • It might have a sour smell.
  • The texture may not be as expected.
  • The dough might be very dry and crumble easily.
  • It could have a grey appearance, either all over or small flecks. This is an indicator that the yeast has died.

If your dough smells incredibly sour, it could still be safe to eat, but it certainly won’t taste very good. At this stage, unless there is visible mould, it won’t cause any harm. However, it is extremely wise to throw it out and make a fresh batch.

Can You Use Sourdough Starter That Smells Like Alcohol?

If you are using sourdough to make your pizza bread, things are a little different. A great way to determine how good the starter is is to test the smell.

It can begin to resemble alcohol when the starter consumes any discarded yeast on top of its own waste. One of the best ways to improve the smell is to feed the starter more frequently. It will then lose the alcoholic aroma and be good to use again.

Why Does My Pizza Dough Smell Like Yeast?

If the dough smells a little yeasty, this isn’t a problem. This can happen if the yeast begins to run low on food and can be quickly resolved by adding a little extra flour. You might also start the process again and knead the dough, let it rise once more and then bake it.


Making your own pizza bread dough has many challenges, and one of these is that it can begin to have an aroma of alcohol. But this isn’t always a bad thing. Before the dough is baked, you must let it rise, to get that light, airy crust that pizza is so popular for.

However, during this time, the yeast begins fermenting, and this can change what the dough smells like. Once you put it in the oven to bake, this smell will disappear.

There are many reasons that this can happen, in the main, how long you leave the dough balls to rise, how much yeast is used and the temperature. If you store the dough in the fridge, it will take much longer to rise, and the smell will not be as evident, making it better to use after a long time. Dough that has been proofed at room temp should be baked right away.

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