chlorine in tap water and yeast

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chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby Hope » April 29th, 2018, 11:56 am

Does the chlorine in tap water affect the yeast in bread making?

I hadn't thought about it, but made a GF bread and it said to use filtered or bottled water because of the chlorine in tap water. I didn't bother. The bread is very flat and hardly risen. So I'm wondering now if I should have dechlorinated it first!
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby suffolk » April 29th, 2018, 12:15 pm

Google comes up with this

https://www.quora.com/To-what-extent-do ... read-dough


I always use tap water and have never had a problem ... but I don't bake GF bread.
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby Hope » April 29th, 2018, 12:23 pm

thanks. seems like it's not that. Maybe the water was too cold, then!
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby suffolk » April 29th, 2018, 12:49 pm

Hmm, maybe ... do you use fresh yeast? Was it 'fresh enough'?
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby Hope » April 29th, 2018, 1:09 pm

no it's sachets, dried. was freshly opened packet too.
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby suffolk » April 29th, 2018, 1:19 pm

As you say, maybe it was just a bit on the chill side ... and I always find my bread isn't as good when the house is a bit on the cool side, and it's certainly been like that here the past week. :rolleyes:
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby Badger's mate » April 30th, 2018, 11:15 am

I've never had a problem with tap water. I would say that tap water in the US can be quite heavily chlorinated, information on American websites might not be strictly comparable with UK experience.

Temperature matters, I've certainly had some duff rises if it's been chilly. Also dried yeast does deteriorate with time after opening, but you have clearly accounted for that. I used to use large packs of dried yeast but they would become increasingly inactive with time. I've gone back to sachets and try to use them up quickly.
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby dennispc » May 1st, 2018, 8:13 am

Hi Hope, I’ve only baked GF bread a couple of times and found Andrew Whitley is spot on when he writes, “Break the rules of wheat baking. No more kneading bread, …”

“Dissolve the yeast in the water, mix with other ingredients … The dough should be like a smooth, wet cement. You will be able to pour it.

Tip dough into a greased tin …”
let it find its own level. Cover and prove in warm place. It won’t rise much. Oven 210C, loaf is done when it shrinks away from the sides of the tin.

The recipe I used included wrapping the dough in foil, but I can’t find it!

GF dough/bread do not rise more than probably 50% - mine nowhere near that. Gluten free friends said it tasted fine and kept well. To me it tasted like crumpets.

Try; increasing yeast to 10g; tepid water (though I used cold); leave in warm place (though I didn’t) and adding xanthem gum (which I did!).

I followed Suffolk’s link which said,

Using chlorinated water while starting your own sourdough culture will usually result in failure. 

Assuming our tap water is chlorinated, that’s not been my experience.

At one time Dan Lepard advised using bottled water and I think there’s a commercial bakery in London that still does.
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby Badger's mate » May 1st, 2018, 9:33 am


I followed Suffolk’s link which said,

Using chlorinated water while starting your own sourdough culture will usually result in failure.

Assuming our tap water is chlorinated, that’s not been my experience.


That was the point I was making, the link went to a couple of American bakers. I've been struck by how heavily chlorinated the tap water can be in the US, sometimes giving the impression that somebody has been using bleach in the kitchen. I suspect our tap water is generally less chlorinated, which might well lead to a different outcome when making sourdough.
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby PatsyMFagan » May 1st, 2018, 10:14 am

Hope, have you considered asking on the Fermenting fb group ? I seem to recall reading on there something about sour dough and chlorine, but may just have dreamt it :aww:
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby dennispc » May 1st, 2018, 11:21 am

Thanks Badger’s Mate - I understand.

Sorry for the typo, it should read xanthan gum. Gluten strands hold the fermenting bubbles together enabling dough to rise. Without gluten that won't happen, xanthan helps things bind together, some recipes include eggs for the same purpose.

Hope, are you making sour dough?
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Re: chlorine in tap water and yeast

Postby aero280 » May 1st, 2018, 2:19 pm

The amount of chlorine in tapwater can vary a lot. It depends on the source, and the regulations. When I retired, it was being replaced, but the new systems, UV light and ozone, were still under development.

If your water comes from a chalk or gravel aquifer via borehole pump, there is likely to be very little disinfection required.

If your water comes from rivers or other surface water, then it usually needs more disinfection because the incoming water quality varies enormously. Where I worked in London the water was mostly river derived, the technique was to assume the worst incoming quality and dose with chlorine to deal with that. Then the treated water was monitored for the amount of residual chlorine. If it was above the level needed, it was reduced by the addition of sulphur dioxide and ammonia.

But then things get a bit more complicated, because the EU regs required the minimum chlorine level to reach the furthest tap once a month, so the chlorine level will never be constant over time.

As a rough guide, and things change, you can use the water company owner as an indicator of the chlorine. In the past, all water was supplied commercially, and pumped from the ground or the river to the user. Once it became clear that river water was not drinkable without treatment, those sources became unprofitable and the companies folded and were taken over by Water Boards run by local authorities. In 1975 the Water B Boards were merged into Water Authorities. But the old Water Companies remained independent and profitable. So if your water comes from one of the ten old water authorities in England & Wales it will probably have more chlorine thatn water from one of the old water companies.

For example, if your water is supplied by Thames Water, Southern Water, Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water, etc. it will most likely be more chlorinated than if it comes from a private company. Private companies are ones like Affinity Water, Portsmouth Water, Mid Sussex, etc.
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