Author Topic: Over-fermentation with Ischia; Decrease starter % or fermentation time? (Pics)  (Read 5390 times)

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Offline s00da

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If a dough is experiencing over-fermentation with the Ischia, what is preferred? Decrease the Ischia % used in the dough or decrease the fermentation period and why?

As you can see below are images of my 18 hours room temperature (76 degrees) fermented dough. The first image has the rubber band placed where the dough was before the 18 hours. The other image has the rubber band placed where I found residue of where the dough might have reached during fermentation.

Following the recipe I use:

Flour:    740.1 g | 26.11 oz | 1.63 lbs
Water:    470.07 g | 16.58 oz | 1.04 lbs
Salt:    13.88 g | 0.49 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.49 tsp | 0.83 tbsp
Preferment:    20 g | 0.71 oz | 0.04 lbs
Total:    1244.05 g | 43.88 oz | 2.74 lbs  | TF = 0.097

What is really confusing to me in room-temperature fermentation is knowing the target I must reach. Is it fermentation period? Dough expansion? Or is it a combination of both?

s00da


Offline Matthew

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S00da,
Apart from experimenting & reading Ed's book, I learned alot from Bill who has been using these cultures for quite some time & is very knowledgeable on how they react.  His fermentation regimen is; Ischia 24 hours @ 70-75F & Camaldoli 48 hours@65-70F. 

I follow the above regimen (no commercial yeast) & then form the balls & proof for 4-5 hours prior to using them.  Today, once the fermentation is complete, I'm going to form the balls & place them in the fridge for use tomorrow.  This is the first time that I'm going to do this (placing in fridge).  Has anyone done this?  If so, can you please comment on the results.

As far as your starter amount, I don't personally don't think that you should reduce it as you are already using very little.  I use the italian method which is 12.77% of total water weight.  I would start by reducing the fermentation period first.




Offline Bill/SFNM

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I use relatively small amounts of Ischia (5-6% of total dough weight) and have never experienced over-fermentation. Are you? What are the symptoms? A while back I tested all kinds of different temp/time combinations and came with my current regimen. Volume expansion is not a meaningful cue. Final taste and texture is the only measure. What works for me may not work for you. I live at 7000 feet above sea level and I am certain this has an effect on the metabolism of yeast and bacteria, the amount of gluten formed, the amount of gas trapped in the dough, and the amount of expansion during fermentation, proofing, and baking.

Matthew, I refrigerate leftover dough balls all the time and they make great pizzas, breads, donuts, calzones, pitas, english muffins, fried dough, etc. even several days later. I have a number of posts on this.

Bill/SFNM

Offline scott r

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sooda, I am assuming when you are saying you are having a problem with overfermentation, what you mean is that your dough is turning out too sour.  Your starter must be activated to the proper ph, or your final dough will be too sour no matter how little starter is used in your recipe.  That looks like a bit more volume expansion than I would typically prefer with the ischia, but I have been able to achieve that much expansion without much sourness when I have used a very well maintained starter and high gluten american flours.  It is important to realize that some flours will expand much more than others with the same given ph target. Volume expansion is not the only way to determine when a dough is ready for baking, and there are a number of things you need to consider.    On a basic level, there are three things I would look into that will probably fix your problem without changing your recipe. 

1) Get your starter more active before use

2) Ferment at a lower temperature

3) Ferment for less time.


Good luck!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 03:14:29 PM by scott r »

Offline Pete-zza

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scott,

Do you still believe that the best time to use the dough is when it is just about to overferment, as you stated at Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2779.msg30482.html#msg30482 ? I have had similar observation with commercially-leavened doughs fermented at room temperature.

Peter

Offline scott r

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Peter,  It actually depends on your definition of over fermenting, and wether I am using a wild yeast or commercial yeast.  With commercial yeast I do like to take the dough as far as I can without loosing too much color.  Basically its always a tradeoff between flavor and color.  The longer the dough goes the better it tastes, but the less browning I get.  When I get it to the fermentation point that I like I do have a feeling I am closer to what people would call overfermented.  As you know the gluten mesh also deteriorates at extreme fermentation, so I would like to point out that I probably tend to mix a bit longer than some would since I tend to use a dough later in the fermentation period than some would.

Sourdough, or wild yeast is a different story.  Since there is so much flavor produced from the starter culture I don't find that I need to ferment as long as I would with commercial yeast.  With my sourdough pizza baking I tend to do everything I can to minimize sourness (much can be done in your activation procedure), and I tend to use the dough when I have the best balance of sourness and crust coloration.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 04:04:34 PM by scott r »

Offline s00da

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S00da,
Apart from experimenting & reading Ed's book, I learned a lot from Bill who has been using these cultures for quite some time & is very knowledgeable on how they react.  His fermentation regimen is; Ischia 24 hours @ 70-75F & Camaldoli 48 hours@65-70F. 

I follow the above regimen (no commercial yeast) & then form the balls & proof for 4-5 hours prior to using them.  Today, once the fermentation is complete, I'm going to form the balls & place them in the fridge for use tomorrow.  This is the first time that I'm going to do this (placing in fridge).  Has anyone done this?  If so, can you please comment on the results.

As far as your starter amount, I don't personally don't think that you should reduce it as you are already using very little.  I use the italian method which is 12.77% of total water weight.  I would start by reducing the fermentation period first.


Matt, I'll let you know about retarding the dough once I'm done knowing how to make it comfortably with the Ischia  :P and regarding the amount I'm using, it's 4.17% of amount of water and I think that's within Marco's recommendation of using up to 5% max. Where did you get the 12.77% from?

Unfortunately, it would be very impractical for me to go for a shorter fermentation period because it would be hard to schedule the punch-down, balling and bake time. But then again I'm still questioning adjusting fermentation time VS starter amount and how would that reflect on the flavor. Has anyone experimented with that?

I use relatively small amounts of Ischia (5-6% of total dough weight) and have never experienced over-fermentation. Are you? What are the symptoms? A while back I tested all kinds of different temp/time combinations and came with my current regimen. Volume expansion is not a meaningful cue. Final taste and texture is the only measure. What works for me may not work for you. I live at 7000 feet above sea level and I am certain this has an effect on the metabolism of yeast and bacteria, the amount of gluten formed, the amount of gas trapped in the dough, and the amount of expansion during fermentation, proofing, and baking.

Matthew, I refrigerate leftover dough balls all the time and they make great pizzas, breads, donuts, calzones, pitas, english muffins, fried dough, etc. even several days later. I have a number of posts on this.

Bill/SFNM

Bill, the only symptom that I'm assuming over-fermentation on is the second image I posted. As you can see I placed a rubber band where I found some residue of where the dough has reached. So since it basically receded from the line, I assumed it had over fermented and blew up. What was interesting though is when I took the lid off the container for few seconds and put it back on, the dough continued to expand up again close to that line! So now I am suspecting that either the produced gasses are pushing the dough back down or that the container is too narrow and the dough is basically collapsing on itself as it expands vertically with less density.

sooda, I am assuming when you are saying you are having a problem with overfermentation, what you mean is that your dough is turning out too sour.  Your starter must be activated to the proper ph, or your final dough will be too sour no matter how little starter is used in your recipe.  That looks like a bit more volume expansion than I would typically prefer with the ischia, but I have been able to achieve that much expansion without much sourness when I have used a very well maintained starter and high gluten american flours.  It is important to realize that some flours will expand much more than others with the same given ph target. Volume expansion is not the only way to determine when a dough is ready for baking, and there are a number of things you need to consider.    On a basic level, there are three things I would look into that will probably fix your problem without changing your recipe. 

1) Get your starter more active before use

2) Ferment at a lower temperature

3) Ferment for less time.


Good luck!

scott, I have also found out from another thread created by Pete is that the dough expansion to double the size isn't really based on any scientific reasoning yet which of course makes your statement very correct. I shouldn't have freaked out when my dough tripled in size even though it's scary :o Unfortunately my dough didn't make it to baking. It was 64% hydration and I attempted punching and balling without bench flour and that of course failed  :-\ That's another area that I need to work on. Either decreasing hydration or use more dusting during handling the dough.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 04:23:15 PM by s00da »

Offline Matthew

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Hey S00da,
12.77% of the water weight is the "italian method" introduced by Marco a while back, it's equivalent to 5% of the dough weight.  6 of 1 & half dozen of the other.  The end result is the same.  8)

Offline Pete-zza

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Hey S00da,
12.77% of the water weight is the "italian method" introduced by Marco a while back, it's equivalent to 5% of the dough weight.  6 of 1 & half dozen of the other.  The end result is the same.  8)


As a point of clarification, the 12.77% is with respect to Jeff Varasano's dough formulation as converted to the format of the preferment dough calculating tool at Reply 25 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7859.msg68278.html#msg68278. The 12.77% value is with respect to the formula water for Jeff's dough formulation. The range recommened by Marco is 1-5% of the formula water. So, Jeff's value is better than double Marco's recommended value.

Peter

Offline Matthew

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As a point of clarification, the 12.77% is with respect to Jeff Varasano's dough formulation as converted to the format of the preferment dough calculating tool at Reply 25 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7859.msg68278.html#msg68278. The 12.77% value is with respect to the formula water for Jeff's dough formulation. The range recommened by Marco is 1-5% of the formula water. So, Jeff's value is better than double Marco's recommended value.

Peter


You are correct! I didn't mention it because I believe that S00da uses Verasano's formula but with a little less starter.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2009, 07:42:41 AM by Matthew »


Offline s00da

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Matt,

Actually no, I'm not using Varasano's formula. Otherwise I would've included commercial yeasts as part of the recipe.

When I attempted using the Ischia for the first time, it didn't make sense to include IDY/ADY in the recipe because then what's the use of the Ischia? Just flavor? I don't think so with all the volume expansion power it has.

s00da

Offline Pete-zza

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saad,

Some people use a combination of natural starter and commercial yeast as somewhat a "belt and suspenders" approach, either because they are fearful the natural starter won't work, or work sufficiently, or to get more lift in the finished crust. In France, the use of both a starter and commercial yeast for making bread dough is called the "hybrid" preferment method (levain de pate) and is used mostly in cool weather, from September 15 to May 15. The amount of commercial yeast is kept small so as not to overtake the preferment and its flavor contributions. 

A few years ago, I had occasion to speak with a baker at the Sullivan Street Bakery (of Jim Lahey fame) in NYC and confirmed that they also used commercial yeast along with their sourdough cultures.

Peter

Offline s00da

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Pete,

This is interesting to know. Don't you think it's all relative to the characteristics of the starter? I'm sure if a starter type provides a good rise then there would be no need for commercial yeast.

While we're on the same thread, please allow me to pick your brains a little  :P

When using a starter how do you think the flavor/oven-rise would be affected in the following two scenarios?:
1) Use less starter but allow to ferment for longer time.
2) Use more starter but allow to ferment to less time.
Where in both cases, the same expansion was achieved.

s00da

Offline Pete-zza

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saad,

I agree with you that if your starter has demonstrated its performance regularly and reliably and consistently, then you perhaps can count on it to perform in the same manner the next time. However, it is one thing to say that when you are using your starter in a home setting, where the consequences are not particularly oppressive or burdensome, as opposed to a commercial setting where customers expect you to have bread for them to purchase. In such a situation, I can see how one might use a combination of starter and commercial yeast.

I am not sure I have an exact answer to the hypothetical you posted. However, if you use a small amount of a properly maintained starter and a long fermentation period, for example, along the lines that Marco (pizzanapoletana) advocates, with the amount of starter being 1-5% of the formula water, the primary effect of the starter will be a leavening effect, with relatively small quantities of organic acids that ultimately contribute to crust flavor and aroma. If you use a larger quantity of starter, for example, above the 1-5% range, along with a shorter fermentation time, you will still get organic acid production but I cannot say whether the organic acids will be quantitatively greater than in the first example (we would perhaps need to have actual times). If they exceed the levels of organic acids in the first example, then there should be an increase in dough strength (by tightening up the protein and creating a more elastic gluten matrix) and, ultimately, a greater contribution to the taste and aroma of the finished crust. Whether these two sets of events coincide with equal expansion of the dough is something I cannot say. However, in both cases, the oven spring will be a function of the pH and residual sugars in the dough. More specifically, as the dough matures and fermentation increases, the pH of the dough will decline as the dough becomes richer in organic acids. Generally, you don't want the pH to get too low because a below-average pH generally coincides with low residual sugar levels. A below average pH level and low residual sugar levels at the time of baking translates into a deficient oven spring along with a lack of crust coloration because of insufficient caramelization of sugars and diminished Maillard reactions. Consequently, I believe that it is the relationship of pH and residual sugar levels at the time of baking that is more important than any of the other considerations you mentioned. That means that in your case you will have to determine through experimentation and experience what amount of starter culture and fermentation period to use to be sure that the pH and residual sugar levels at the time of baking are in proper relationship, as reflected by the quality of the oven spring and crust flavors, aroma and color.

In his book, The Taste of Bread, Professor Calvel stresses the importance of properly freshening the starter culture one or more times before using so that the pH levels of the dough don't get too low and result in a deficient oven spring and lack of crust coloration. So, that is something that you should always want to do.

Peter

Offline s00da

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Pete,

Thanks a lot for you thourough reply. With my choices being either decreasing the starter amount and attempt 18+ hours fermentation or use the same amount I'm using now (4.17%) and allow to ferment for less time, what bothers me is not knowing what will my finished product lack comparing to others on the forum considering almost everybody are successful 4%+ Ischia and 24+ hours fermentation minimum.

Since my environment is different than most of you, I decided stopped bothering trying to know the reason for over-expansion as I believe the best way to tackle this issue is by adapting the dough to my environment.

For my next adjusted dough, I chose to go with less starter % and keep shooting for longer fermentation time because it is much more easier it terms of time management and scheduling.

The changes will be:

Water: From 64% -> 62% To slow fermentation and make the dough easier to handle.
Salt: From 1.82% -> 1.85% To slow fermentation.
Starter: From 4.17% -> 3.45% To To slow fermentation.

I will also place the dough container in a more temperature-controlled room to narrow down the fluctuations of fermentation temperature.

Let's see what happens  ;D

s00da

Offline Pete-zza

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saad,

I think you are proceeding in a prudent manner. However, I don't think the slight increase in salt from 1.82% to 1.85% will have much effect in slowing down the fermentation process. I think you have to get in the 2.5-2.8% range, or thereabouts, to have that effect. Some people use close to 3% but I tend to be more conscious than others about high salt levels in general, because I try to restrict salt intake as much as possible for dietary reasons.

Peter

Offline s00da

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Pete,

You are perfectly correct. That's a very n00b mistake of me to do  :-[

s00da

Offline Pete-zza

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That's a very n00b mistake of me to do  :-[


saad,

But it is a harmless one. What you are learning is the principle involved, and that is what is important. The best numbers will come from testing values out and from experience.

Peter


 

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