Author Topic: activating my sourdough culture  (Read 1276 times)

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Offline kaminski

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  • Posts: 1
activating my sourdough culture
« on: March 14, 2010, 11:01:24 AM »
I just bought an Ed Wood sourdough culture from sourdo.com

The instructions call for the creation of a proofing box. A Styrofoam cooler complete with light bulb socket and dimmer installed. I suppose I have no problems doing this but is it necessary? I do not want contamination from inherent microorganisms in the flour. However, I was hoping to use this culture I purchased for quite awhile (i.e. no ongoing need for a high temp proofing box). Is there another way without having to spend additional money (not too mention I would have no place to store this in my tiny apartment.)

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Also, what exactly is a battery poolish? I am interested in making pizza a la Jeff Varasano but I am unclear as to what battery poolish is. Flour and yeast, OK. Do I just scoop part of my activated sourdough culture? Is that what is is? Jeff if you are reading, great site. Best informative site for the newbie.

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Also, Jeff lists ingredients by weight.

Ingredient                    1 Pie       3 Pies      5 Pies      Baker's %      Grams Per Liter of Water
Filtered Water                 110.00      330.00        550.00     65.50%                      1,000
King Arthur Bread flour     168.00     510.00          850.00    100.00%                      1,527
Kosher or Sea Salt            6.00            18.00            30.00    3.50%                           55
Sourdough yeast culture     15.00          45.00            60.00    9.00%                         136
Instant Dry yeast -           0.50

I don't have a scale. Does anyone have any volume recommendations (ex. X#cups flour, etc...) I understand that you go by the 'feel' of the dough, however, I am a real newbie. I don't want to put in too much salt or to little sourdough.

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Finally, at the immediate time I am unwilling to supercharge, retro-fit, and mojo-fy my oven (although I love it that some of you do!). Any recommendations on how to enhance my oven without disabling any sensors? i.e. simply quick fixes that are easy to do, easy to reverse, and won't send my wife into a tailspin worrying about burning down our building.


Thx!
Art


Offline Bob1

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  • Posts: 601
Re: activating my sourdough culture
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 07:24:53 PM »
I just bought an Ed Wood sourdough culture from sourdo.com

The instructions call for the creation of a proofing box. A Styrofoam cooler complete with light bulb socket and dimmer installed. I suppose I have no problems doing this but is it necessary? I do not want contamination from inherent microorganisms in the flour. However, I was hoping to use this culture I purchased for quite awhile (i.e. no ongoing need for a high temp proofing box). Is there another way without having to spend additional money (not too mention I would have no place to store this in my tiny apartment.)
I have an electric oven and turned on the light.  This gave me 80 degrees to activate them.  This would only be required for a few days but I let them go a week.  You can use them after a week, but keep in mind that it will take a month before they reach maturity.  After a few days you could keep them at room temp but you should feed them twice a day, or once a week in the frig.
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Also, what exactly is a battery poolish? I am interested in making pizza a la Jeff Varasano but I am unclear as to what battery poolish is. Flour and yeast, OK. Do I just scoop part of my activated sourdough culture? Is that what is is? Jeff if you are reading, great site. Best informative site for the newbie.
It has been a while since I read his post but I think he was refferring to a 50/50 culture. You can use 5 to 10% culture for pizza dough or more.  It's a matter of taste and you should adjust accordingly.  I thought his water and flour in the culture should be calculated as part of the total formula. Quantities can be calculated easy from the dough calculator at  http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html

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Also, Jeff lists ingredients by weight.

Ingredient                    1 Pie       3 Pies      5 Pies      Baker's %      Grams Per Liter of Water
Filtered Water                 110.00      330.00        550.00     65.50%                      1,000
King Arthur Bread flour     168.00     510.00          850.00    100.00%                      1,527
Kosher or Sea Salt            6.00            18.00            30.00    3.50%                           55
Sourdough yeast culture     15.00          45.00            60.00    9.00%                         136
Instant Dry yeast -           0.50

I don't have a scale. Does anyone have any volume recommendations (ex. X#cups flour, etc...) I understand that you go by the 'feel' of the dough, however, I am a real newbie. I don't want to put in too much salt or to little sourdough.

Here is a couple of links for volumes and weights  http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/ http://www.traditionaloven.com/conversions_of_measures/flour_volume_weight.html
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Finally, at the immediate time I am unwilling to supercharge, retro-fit, and mojo-fy my oven (although I love it that some of you do!). Any recommendations on how to enhance my oven without disabling any sensors? i.e. simply quick fixes that are easy to do, easy to reverse, and won't send my wife into a tailspin worrying about burning down our building.
You can make great pies at 500 to 525.  I would recommend getting a fibrament stone that leaves about 1 inch clearance on the side.  Mine is 19 x 15 and works well.  You could also make a baffle by putting tinfoil on the shelf around a smaller stone, with a 1 inch clearance.  This prevents the radiant energy from burning the top.  You can also place a second stone or skillet on the shelf above the pie.  Most of all let the oven warm up at least an hour.


Thx!
Art

Edit:  Also keep in mind tha Jeff was cooking at very high temps, which will not be replicated at 500 to 550.

Bob1
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 07:35:06 PM by Bob1 »

Offline simpleman

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  • Location: Florida
Re: activating my sourdough culture
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2010, 09:43:14 PM »
Hi Art,

I'm a noobie too.  As far as the styrofoam cooler goes I did the exact same thing as Bob and just skipped that step and used the light in my electric oven.  I adjusted the location of the culture jar in relation to the oven light (inside the oven) to get the right temperature.  I also used an IR thermometer to periodically check the temp.  Once or twice during activation I wound up having to crack open the door for a few minutes as the light would eventually make the oven a bit too hot.

Yes, Jeff's 'battery poolish' was indeed a 50/50 mixture of four and water. The phrase 'thick pancake batter' is often used to describe the final consistency of the poolish.

As for actually making pizzas with sourdough yeast, using the search feature in the forum has been tremendously helpful to me.  Just do a search for the specific name of your culture and this will yield a TON of info specific to the particular culture you're using.

Finally, a while back a recommendation from this forum encouraged me to get a custom Fibrament.  It's the by far and away the best stone I've ever used.

Good luck!

Michael



 

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