Author Topic: Ischia starter wont start  (Read 2434 times)

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Offline zaafreak

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Ischia starter wont start
« on: January 04, 2013, 10:29:16 AM »
I recently purchased the Italian combo of starters from sourdo.com.  I've followed the directions to the letter as well as read many starter threads here.  Unfortunately, I'm seeing very little activity after 5 days.  8 hours after feeding, my starter has an inch of foam on top.  It doesn't smell like vomit and the clear-pale yellow hooch is just beneath the very thin foamy layer. 

Suggestions from the starter experts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 10:49:22 AM »
What is the temperature? Makes a big diff for initial activation.

Offline zaafreak

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 11:32:53 AM »
As recommended, I kept it 90 for 24 hours and saw a little bubbling.  Then I fed it and reduced the temp to the high 60's.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 11:51:17 AM »
As recommended, I kept it 90 for 24 hours and saw a little bubbling.  Then I fed it and reduced the temp to the high 60's.

Why 60's? I think that could be your problem. Is that what your instructions say? Mine say 85F-90F.

Offline zaafreak

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 12:27:29 PM »
I've followed the instructions.  Directly from the activating instructions on the website;

"Mix well all of the dried culture with 105 grams of flour ( cup) and 225 grams of warm water (1 cup).  The proof (fermentation) is started at close to 32oC (90oF).  This temperature stimulates the lactobacilli to rapidly acidify the culture which prevents contamination by non-sourdough organisms found in almost all flours.  At the end of the first 24 hours a few bubbles may appear as the first sign of growth and activity.  Subsequent feedings should be140 grams of flour (1 cup) and  170 grams water  ( cup) at approximately 12 hour intervals with the temperature reduced to around 21oC  (70oF)"

Do you suggest a different protocol based on your experience? Thanks!

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 01:47:48 PM »
I've followed the instructions.  Directly from the activating instructions on the website;

"Mix well all of the dried culture with 105 grams of flour ( cup) and 225 grams of warm water (1 cup).  The proof (fermentation) is started at close to 32oC (90oF).  This temperature stimulates the lactobacilli to rapidly acidify the culture which prevents contamination by non-sourdough organisms found in almost all flours.  At the end of the first 24 hours a few bubbles may appear as the first sign of growth and activity.  Subsequent feedings should be140 grams of flour (1 cup) and  170 grams water  ( cup) at approximately 12 hour intervals with the temperature reduced to around 21oC  (70oF)"

Do you suggest a different protocol based on your experience? Thanks!

It's been several years since I activated my Ischia - so the pamphlet I received with the cultures may be outdated. But mine advises 85F-90F throughout the initial activation. The instructions may have been updated to reduce contamination. But the lower temps also inhibit metabolism of the good microbes.
 

Offline zaafreak

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 01:53:39 PM »
I'll put it back in the box at 90 and report back in a day or so.  Thanks for your help.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 01:59:21 PM »
I'll put it back in the box at 90 and report back in a day or so.  Thanks for your help.

Have you contacted Ed Wood? He has always been responsive to my email queries.

Offline zaafreak

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 03:00:44 PM »
Not yet, but I will Monday if I can't get the starter going properly.

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 07:42:44 PM »
I agree with Bill that high 60s is way too low. When I activated my Ischia, I aimed for low 80s throughout the process. I used a different method (that I learned when I activated my first starter several years ago).

I fed it 4 times a day for the first 2 days, using smaller amounts (1 tbs of flour plus water at a 50/50 ratio by weight. On day 3, I started to discard 1/4 cup of starter and feed it 2-3 times a day with 1/4 cup flour and water at 50/50 by weight) for the next 3 days. Then I upped the amount of flour to 1/3 cup, and discard/fed it 2-3 times a day for the rest of that first week. It became very well established with that discard/feed cycle. I don't keep more than a cup of starter in the fridge at any time (I just don't use that much).

Hope that helps, and good luck.

Barry
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 07:44:21 PM by bfguilford »
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.


Offline zaafreak

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 04:57:56 PM »
Success!!!  Thanks for the tips!  I raised the temp to 82, fed it smaller, more frequent meals and BOOM, 4 quart jars of starter which nearly doubled in volume in an hour and a half.  Rather than discarding the starter, I split into additional containers.  I'll keep 2 in my fridge, and give one each to foodie friends for safekeeping.  I'll make dough tonight and report back after a 3-5 day cold ferment.

I can't thank you guys enough for your help!

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 01:37:49 PM »
Glad to hear that it's working. That's what we're all here for. Good luck with the dough. BTW, if by cold ferment, you mean refrigerator, my experience is that dough made with starter (even at levels as high as 20 percent) doesn't rise very much in the refrigerator. I documented my experience making NY style with starter here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21530.0.html

Please post results and pictures.

Barry
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Offline zaafreak

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 04:47:25 PM »
I made four balls each ~250g according to the following recipe:

100% KABF
63 % water
2% salt
10% Ischia preferment

I used my standard autolyze, mix, rest and knead procedure which is very similar to Jeff Varsano's.  The balls have been in the fridge for almost 24 hours and have not risen a bit.  I looked at TXCraig's predictive model table and have decided to remove 2 of the doughballs from the fridge and let them rise at room temp (~61 Yep, I'm a cheapskate..) and cook them tomorrow.  Pics and text to follow soon.

Offline JD

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 06:08:56 PM »
I looked at TXCraig's predictive model table and have decided to remove 2 of the doughballs from the fridge and let them rise at room temp...

If I had that predictive model a year ago, I would have saved a year of frustration! Trust the numbers. The 24 hours in the fridge does next to nothing as far as fermentation is concerned. The way I understood Varasano's explanation is that only a 2 hour warm-up would be needed after you pull from the fridge with a starter. This was not my experience at all, didnt see life until about 12 hours minimum at room temp after a 24 hour "cold fermentation"

If you plan on making all 4 doughballs, pull all 4.
Josh

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2013, 06:35:57 PM »
Even though the dough didn't rise very much in the refrigerator, it opened beautifully and I think it made some really fine tasting (and looking) pies, with good crumb structure and a nice chew, like the one below.

Barry
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2013, 06:54:06 PM »
Barry - What a fantastic slice!

John

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 06:57:53 PM »
Barry - What a fantastic slice!

John

Thanks, John. I remember that one fondly  ;D
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Offline zaafreak

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Re: Ischia starter wont start
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 07:28:07 PM »
Follow-up to post #12

After 24 hours on the counter at 61 degrees, the dough had risen and developed nice small bubbles.  Another 12 hours probably would have been ideal but pizza for breakfast isn't on the agenda for tomorrow morning.  Made with part skim mozz and a pinch of aged asagio on top of Cento DOP tomatoes with a clove of garlic and a few basil leaves pureed into them and sprinkled with oregano.  Cooked on my LBE at 625, the pie was excellent.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 07:41:36 PM by zaafreak »


 

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