Author Topic: Chef to starter to pizza?  (Read 3833 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline nostalgia

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
Chef to starter to pizza?
« on: March 01, 2006, 11:15:18 AM »
Morning, everyone.  I'm fairly new at maintaining sourdough starters (I've tried 3 times, and killed it the first 2).  I've finally had good success with a rye starter.  Since I love pizza, and love the twang of sourdough, I'd like to make some pizza dough with the starter.

I'm currently using the rye starter from Bread Alone.  I maintain a chef in the fridge.  The instructions tell me that when I want to make bread, I've got to turn a cup of the ripe chef into a starter by adding more flour and water, and letting it ferment 8-10 hours before adding it to the bread dough.

Would I need to follow this same procedure for using the chef in pizza dough?  Or could I just use the ripe chef out of the fridge, and let it munch on the flour in my dough?

The procedure seems the same for the levain in the book, as well.

Thanks!

-Joe


Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4040
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2006, 01:13:28 PM »
Usually, you've got to feed and activate before using, especially if your only source of leavening is the starter.

Bil/SFNM

Offline Kinsman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: Montana
  • Pizza & ribs......
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2006, 06:14:23 PM »
I usually just keep my start out all the time.  I use it for bread all week and pizza on weekends.

I will feed it at night before I go to bed, and make dough in the morning, to be baked in the evening.
It seems to like being active, to be used a lot, but it doesn't mind if I leave it alone for a few days.  It will taste very sour after two or three days rest.  Sometimes I like to get it real sour for making a nice rye or SF Sour but my kids don't really like the extra sour stuff...doesn't go that good with PB&J, I guess. 

My starter will go nuts in just a few hours at room temp.
A cupful or so is enough to raise 2lbs of flour made into a really wet dough in about six hours.
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana

Offline leigh.chris

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Manchester, UK
  • Dear Father Christmas, 1 x Stone Oven Please, TYVM
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2006, 03:44:59 PM »
Hello Kinsman, sorry to bust in on Nostalgia's first post but you seem to have some experience with the starter?!

If i purchase a dried starter from somewhere, how would i go about activating it, and how do you keep it alive?! where do you keep it?!

do you know anywhere in the uk that sells these, and which is your favourite starter, is there anywhere in the US that you use to buy these from?

Many Thanks

Chris

Offline ernestrome

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 66
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2006, 04:20:59 AM »
I have arranged to send chris some of my starter, and given him instructions on preparing one. He suggested posting that info here.

I keep my starter in the fridge. I tend to have pizza sundays, so i simply refresh it on wednesday or thursday, and then prepare the pizzas thurs/fri ready to bake on sunday. It is really easy to take care of the starter, even if you leave it for a week without feeding it will bounce back. I find that even if i used up 90% of the starter in my jar, the residue on the sides will be sufficient to 'reinfect' the new flour added. Basically, it is very hardy.

Quote
Could you tell me a typical recipe you would do and how you would incorporate the starter?


I use the spread sheet from varasano's website http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm
You adjust the number in the select column of the website to select the recipe you want. I used the standard one at first, but i have moved on to pizzanapoletana's recipe, which has no added yeast. I am working on a 4day rise at present, so the pizza is mixed (i hand knead/mix) left to rest for 20mins, kneaded for ten, then it goes in a lightly oiled tub in the refrigerator for between 1 and 4 days.

Quote
Do you add yeast as well as starter or only starter?


Depends, i went from starter only (b4 finding the website, doing everything by guesswork/eye/feel) to starter and Instant dry Yeast (IDY) back to starter. The most important thing at first is to get a recipe in weight, ie grams, not volume (cups). I weigh everything on an electronic scale, if the dough is very wet then you end up using more bench flour so you can handle it. But the dough is typically much wetter than i was used to compared to bread doughs.

Quote
When feeding it do you add water and flour?


I add a teaspoon of flour and a splash of water, i am aiming for 60:40 flour to water, most websites i ahve seen call for 50:50, but i found this makes the starter quite wet.
I feed my starter the day before using it, to refresh it, but it works ok if i forget too. I keep my starter in the fridge and weekly feeding seems to be working fine.

Starter Sending and Preparation

What i have done with the starter is floured a sheet of baking paper, poured starter on top, more flour, and then more baking sheet. I have folded this and put it in a small plastic bag. Then in a jiffy bag. I think when you receive it you should just scrape it off the baking paper, into the jar or mug you plan to use. Add water a table spoon at a time and mix it up with a chopstick or wooden implement (sourdough doesn't like metal) until it is a muddy consistency. Feed it with a teaspoon of flour and add a teaspoon of water. If you keep it out of the fridge at first, you should see bubbles in a day or so, and sour smells.

It is quite easy to make a starter. Mine was prepared from Dove's (a uk brand) organic bread flour. Find a clear jar, i use any old jar i have around and poke two small holes in the lid. Sterlise it by microwaving or i place mine over the sout of my kettle and boil it.
Then i mix two teaspoons of flour and water in and leave it in a warm place, like on top of the fridge. Feed it with a teaspoon of flour and water every twelve hours or so. There is no need to get up in the middle of the night to adhere to the timetable. There is some yeast living in the flour already, so all you need to do is give it the conditions (water and warmth) to multiply. Try this with your italian flour and you might get a nice flavoured starter. I am going to try this with some OO that i have in the house. It wil; be good experience for you, and if it goes wrong the first time, do not be discouraged.

A quick note on oven temps, i cook mine at 550F, highest my oven goes too. I cook on quarry tiles that a friend got for me. Must be unglazed, cheap substitute for a pizza stone if you do not have one yet. I made a peel out of some 4mm MDF, but again you can buy good peels.
My pizza's are sort of neapolitan or new york style, bready rim, thin centre, not too much topping.

---------------------------------


My new 'italian' 00 starter is developing well, i have a little bubbling already.

Offline Kinsman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: Montana
  • Pizza & ribs......
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2006, 11:43:59 AM »
I agree with what ernestrome says here, excepting for this:    Don't add a competing culture(yeast).  The natural leavening is more than strong enough, and is the way to go.

The stuff is very very active (mine is anyhow)....keep a backup in the fridge and one on the counter to play with.
Just get to know the culture and how it reacts to its feeding schedule. It will let you know what makes it happiest; but as ernestrome has pointed out, the stuff is as hardy as it is active.

I have tried the four-day rise thing and while you will develop lots of flavor this way, I believe that once you add even a little topping most folks could not tell the difference between a four-day rise and one that occurred over eight or ten hours.

My basic procedure is to get the culture to high kraeusen (bubbling merrily along) and make a wet dough in the morning.  By pizza hour there is a nice structure to the dough and I make pies that evening.  Works great.

If I want to make a nice bread which will be tasted on its own, I let the kraeusen die down and sit for a day or two or three.  Using this as a start gets a very intense flavor.  Try this sometime and see if you don't agree.

Best of luck, and have fun.
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana

Offline ernestrome

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 66
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2006, 12:00:52 PM »
I used to be a sourdough puritan, but i have mellowed.  :D

I should've noted that i stopped adding IDY becuase i was getting beery tastes and odors, rather than sour ones during longer refrigeration periods. You're right though, my current sourdough culture will puff up a pie or loaf just fine on its own.

After 24 hours on top of my fridge and one feeding my new 00 based starter is looking good. Bubbles and a little hooch. I hope to be able to bake with it by sunday.

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4040
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2006, 12:16:13 PM »
I believe that once you add even a little topping most folks could not tell the difference between a four-day rise and one that occurred over eight or ten hours.
I don't know about most folks, but I detect big differences in the crust between slow and faster rises. I don't understand working to create a crust that is obscured by even a little topping.

Bill/SFNM

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3061
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2006, 12:49:47 PM »
I have found it important for flavor,but critical for texture that I use my dough when it is right on the verge of  overfermentation.  This usually means 6 days in the fridge, or 24 hours at room temp for the majority of the recipes that I use.  If I even use a dough at say day 5, or 20 hours I am always disappointed in the texture.

I have not read anything else about this on the forum, so I have been wondering if anybody else out there has had a similar experience.

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4040
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2006, 01:06:56 PM »
Scott,

I agree with you. The character of the crust is a combination of the taste and texture. Different formulas, flour brands, starter cultures, prep regimens, oven temps, etc.  all result in different crusts, I have definitely produced crusts with great texture and no flavor and ones with great flavor and poor texture. Getting everything to come together to produce the perfect crust is our holy grail, no?

Bill/SFNM


Offline leigh.chris

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Manchester, UK
  • Dear Father Christmas, 1 x Stone Oven Please, TYVM
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2006, 04:44:13 PM »
Thanks for all comments but a real big thank you to ernestrome for sending me some of his starter!

I may even try and get my own to grow!! heehee

The spreadsheet looks cool and is now making more sense than it ever did :P hence why i never used it.  Some of those recipes are just going to have to be tried...

Thanks!

Chris

Offline Kinsman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: Montana
  • Pizza & ribs......
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2006, 05:29:40 PM »
Shoot...5 days to make a dough with good structure and flavor?  I dunno, it just seems a bit much to me.
I use flour with around 14% protein, and one day's ferment provides excellent texture and flavor.

Quote
Getting everything to come together to produce the perfect crust is our holy grail, no?
That's true....the end result is the grail.
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3061
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: Chef to starter to pizza?
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2006, 06:30:45 PM »
well, really my favorite pies are 24 hrs at room temp.


 

pizzapan