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I'm making hot cross buns following this recipe: https://domesticgothess.com/blog/2020/03/09/vegan-hot-cross-buns/

About an hour into the first rise, I'm seeing these alarmingly mold-like dots in the dough. I didn't see these when I was kneading it.

white spots on bread dough

The only things I might've done abnormally for this recipe were:

  1. My soy milk might've been a touch too hot when I added the yeast. I was afraid it would kill the yeast, but it looks like the dough has risen normally. Not sure if that has something to do with the appearance of these spots.
  2. For the soy milk, I made it using cooked soybeans blended up with water. It was done in a high speed blender and the soy milk appeared quite smooth, but could these be unblended soybean chunks?
  3. I used kosher salt. Perhaps the salt was not fully dissolved by the time I let it rise.

Are there any other possibilities for what these spots could be?

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    Please edit and post your entire recipe and method. – GdD Jun 22 '20 at 7:17
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    Understanding your recipe and process will help, but it could be salt that was not mixed in well enough. – moscafj Jun 22 '20 at 11:05
  • Oops sorry I realized I forgot to link the recipe. I followed it exactly, with the same ingredients as directed, except the exceptions noted above. I also remembered I used kosher salt instead of the fine salt I usually use. @moscafj, that does seem likely that undissolved salt may have been the culprit! – the real deal Jun 22 '20 at 15:40
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It's impossible to say what it is - but I am quite sure what it isn't. I have never seen or heard of a pathogen (mold or otherwise) which is able to build visible colonies during such a short time at room temperature, especially in the presence of yeast. And your yeast was not dead - the dough rising proves it.

This is almost sure some ingredient not being mixed well. There are a few alternative explanations such as you covering the bowl with a nonpermeable lid and having enough condensation to drop onto the dough surface, or maybe (and we are getting into really weird/rare territory here) the vegan substitutes acting in unusual ways and managing to clump somehow. I would bake and eat - it is one of the exceptions where I can't connect this unusual photo to the "when in doubt, throw it out" rule.

  • Thanks, I did feel it was unlikely that a pathogen could grow so much in such a short time but I'm glad to hear someone else's opinion. We did end up baking and eating it and had no issues with taste or texture...or bodily functions. – the real deal Jun 22 '20 at 17:04
  • @therealdeal sadly, the value of taste, texture or bodily functions issues in food safety is very lopsided: If you see problems there, the food was certainly unsafe. If you don't see problems, this doesn't mean that the food was safe. As I said, I'm quite sure it was something else this time, so enjoy your buns! – rumtscho Jun 22 '20 at 17:20
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Try feeling the texture of the spots. If they are clumpy when you press down on them, it might be a case of flour clumping together when mixing. Otherwise, if the texture is smooth, it might be something else.

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Based on your response to my comment, it appears that you have undissolved salt in your dough. I've seen this before. You can use kosher salt when baking bread, just be sure to add it at a stage when there is enough liquid to dissolve it.

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