Recently we've noticed a horrible smell coming from our bread. All the bread we have purchased, including hot dog and hamburger buns, have all not just had a moldy, wet, rotten smell, but also tasted just as bad. The brands have been different and came from different stores. We just moved into a new place and thought it might be something used on our counter tops. But even moving the bread into the refrigerator didn't improve the situation. This never happened at our old place. And it's only noticeable to three of us in the home--our oldest daughter is not smelling or tasting anything funny.
I know exactly what you mean. The diversity of that chemical smell in commercial wheat flour products is expanding. It does not occur in small bakery goods or homemade breads or in commercially produced flour tortillas.
Yet I've found it goes away when heating breads or buns in a skillet, also not everyone can smell the chemicals so maybe in just more sensitive to it than others.
I believe it is a preservative/additive. I intend to list the ingredients in products I smell it in and compare it with those that I don't and see if I can correlate the cause.
It is not because the bread is going bad because over the last few years and from many different chain stores in different states 100's of miles apart I've found the smell in fresh packaged commercially produced goods to include Walmart, Kroger, IGA, County Market, Aldi.
I just made rye bread two days ago. I put the loaves in plastic bags and left them open. They were very moist and tasted good. I closed the one I'd cut from. Today it smells strongly of acetone. The other loaf doesn't. It's the moisture and yeast feeding on the bread, like in sourdough starter. Leaving it out to see if it stops.
The acetone smell is caused by moisture in the bread keeping yeast alive searching for food. It is eating the bread.