Author Topic: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box  (Read 1077 times)

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Offline notjustgc

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Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« on: January 17, 2013, 10:56:49 AM »
Got my Ischia SD culture in the mail. I come from a beer brewing background so I wanted to at least follow some basic procedures for sanitation and fermentation temperature control to ensure that the culture could wake up and quickly make itself the dominant force in the jar. I also didn't want to spend any money on a proofing box, and I certainly don't trust the flora inside my oven to stay out of the way during the initial wake-up period.

To create the starter, I boiled cold tap water for 15min. The jar I would be using was also boiled. I then poured 175g of boiling water directly into the jar and allowed it to cool. This should create a reasonable sanitary environment inside of the jar. Remember, pasteurization is a factor of time as much as temperature - so the hour it took for the jar to cool from 200F to 110F will go a really long way towards neutralizing any remaining bugs in there.

(Photo #1 - Monitoring the temperature as the jar cools)

Once the jar hit 110F, I added 175g of KAAP and stirred, the resulting mixture ended up at 94F. I pitched the Ischia culture into the mix, stirred vigorously (dormant yeast needs plenty of O2 to wake up), and placed the lid loosely on the jar.

Now, the homemade proofing box (Photo #2)

It's simply a clear storage bin with a heating pad. The heating pad is sandwiched between two dry dish towels. Finally, there's a bowl of water large enough to hold the jar in the middle. The surrounding water also provides a good place for your temperature sensor to accurately gauge the temperature of your starter. With the heating pad on medium, the bowl stays at EXACTLY 90 degrees. If you fold the top towel a few times and put the bowl on top, it's almost exactly 75 degrees. Perfect!

(Photo #3)

I marked the level of the starter with a rubber band and held it at 90F for 12 hours. Here's how it looked after that:

(Photo #4)

And then just two hours after that, with no additional food:

(Photo #5)

The smell is delightful; no indications of contamination whatsoever. Once it reaches the lid I'll be stirring the starter, discarding half, and feeding it another 100g of KAAP and 100g of boiled, cooled water. I'll repeat this every time the starter doubles for the next 36 hours or so before refrigerating.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 11:08:13 AM by notjustgc »


Offline notjustgc

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Re: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2013, 10:58:34 AM »
Goes without saying, but I'd welcome any comments or opinions on the process. 12hrs does seem a bit fast, no?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 02:22:40 PM by notjustgc »

Offline notjustgc

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Re: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2013, 04:23:37 PM »
Dumped half at about 15hrs, added 100g of water and 100g of KAAP. Dropped temp to 75F. Just two hours later, it was overflowing. Repeated the dump and feed.

Now, the smell - it's not unpleasant if you ask me. Just don't ask my wife. :P

Seriously though, what kind of aroma am I looking for here, exactly? This is my first SD experience, so I don't really have any frame of reference.

Edit: This thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12050.0.html) basically alleviated any worries about the smell.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 06:07:13 PM by notjustgc »

Offline notjustgc

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Re: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2013, 08:21:59 PM »
In the 24th-36th hours, growth slowed significantly - almost to a crawl. Kept feeding. Things seem to have picked up again as we near 48hrs, and indeed the smell has gone from "beyond rotten fruit" to an aroma which is decidedly much more pleasant. Going to keep on halving and feeding for the next week or so in the 75-degree box before moving the jar to its permanent home on the 68-degree kitchen counter. At this point, this starter appears to be a total success! More updates to follow.

Offline norma427

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Re: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 08:40:45 PM »
notjustgc,

If you are interested, you can read where I was a newbie to starters.  Mine took off fast too.  Other members also posted on my thread.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10008.0.html

Good luck with your starter!  :) It sounds and looks like it is doing fine.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline notjustgc

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Re: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 08:59:25 PM »
notjustgc,

If you are interested, you can read where I was a newbie to starters.  Mine took off fast too.  Other members also posted on my thread.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10008.0.html

Good luck with your starter!  :) It sounds and looks like it is doing fine.

Norma

Thanks Norma! I actually did read that one all the way through before getting "started." (Ha... ha... see what I did there?)

Offline norma427

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Re: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2013, 09:24:56 PM »
notjustgc,

If you look at other forum members posts about starters that should also help.

You starter does look well.  Hope to see some of your pizzas when the starter is ready.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline notjustgc

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Re: Starter procedure and homemade proofing box
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2013, 10:19:31 PM »
notjustgc,

If you look at other forum members posts about starters that should also help.

You starter does look well.  Hope to see some of your pizzas when the starter is ready.

Norma
I think I'm going to start with a simple bread loaf just to test and prove out the culture. Should have some pictures of that early next week if things continue as they've been going.

-Gene


 

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