Author Topic: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters  (Read 23066 times)

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Offline PizzaPolice

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #160 on: August 22, 2010, 12:03:08 AM »
I sure hope you kids are wearing your lab coats and goggles with all that fancy measurin' goin on.


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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #161 on: August 22, 2010, 12:14:37 AM »
I sure hope you kids are wearing your lab coats and goggles with all that fancy measurin' goin on.

PizzaPolice,

LOL, all my children are grown up and don't think they would get it the way of my experiments.

Norma
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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #162 on: August 22, 2010, 12:20:29 AM »
You are such a hoot.  I'm imagining your kitchen stuffed with all manner of flour bags, petri dishes, scales and of course the obligatory smoking beakers. 

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #163 on: August 22, 2010, 12:31:35 AM »
You are such a hoot.  I'm imagining your kitchen stuffed with all manner of flour bags, petri dishes, scales and of course the obligatory smoking beakers. 

PizzaPolice,

I do have all kinds of flour and all sorts of equipment, between my kitchen and my two big sheds.  I used to be in other food businesses, so I do have plenty of stuff to experiment with,  but as far as the other stuff, as the petri dishes and smoking beakers, I never even took chemistry or even algebra.  That is why I have so many problems with math..LOL

Norma
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Offline scott123

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #164 on: August 22, 2010, 02:12:38 AM »
scott123,

Without the broiler my oven temperature in an hour with the soapstone was 505 degrees F on the soapstone. My home oven doesnít get very high.  There is only 4 1/2 inches from the top of the soapstone to my broiler element. 

Norma

Thanks, Norma. I think that puts the nail in the coffin for broiler pre-heats at any distance greater than 3 inches. I tried the same thing with a 4 inch gap and got pretty much no where as well. Did you happen to notice, as you were trying to increase the temp with the broiler, did the broiler kick in/glow red?

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #165 on: August 22, 2010, 08:05:52 AM »
Thanks, Norma. I think that puts the nail in the coffin for broiler pre-heats at any distance greater than 3 inches. I tried the same thing with a 4 inch gap and got pretty much no where as well. Did you happen to notice, as you were trying to increase the temp with the broiler, did the broiler kick in/glow red?

scott123,

I am not sure if I would have left the broiler on longer if the temperature of the soapstone would have gotten higher or not.  The temperature on the soapstone did go up 30 degrees, with the broiler on, but my kitchen was getting too hot.  The broiler element did turn red and kick on and off.  I think people that try a soapstone that don't have the best oven as mine is, aren't going to see a lot of difference in how a pie bakes.  I still have to test this idea more, but believe right now you need a decent oven, even with using a soapstone.  Surely a lot better than my home oven.

Norma

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #166 on: August 22, 2010, 08:40:54 AM »
I forgot to add what weights I got when I weighed one cup of starter at Reply 141 yesterday.  I thought I did posted the weights, but must not have, or either I modified my post and deleted them. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11578.msg107467.html#msg107467

The weights I got from two different regular measuring cups for 1 cup of active starter was first measuring cup (7.6 oz or 216 grams).  Second measuring cup (7.1 oz. or 202 grams)

Norma
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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #167 on: August 22, 2010, 11:09:27 AM »
Norma,

I took another look at your dough formulation at Reply 142 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11578.msg107497.html#msg107497, and it is as you represented it. Specifically, the starter is at 5% of the Total Formula water, which is at the top of the range (up to 5%) recommended by Marco (pizzanapoletana) for a Neapolitan-style dough. Any more than that, Marco might consider a preferment, which can add other things to the dough beyond leavening and, in his opinion at least, produce results more characteristic of bread dough than pizza dough. The percent water in the starter that you posted in Reply 142 is 40% as you stated. I don't recall exactly what Marco used in that regard but I believe he said that he had starters of two different consistencies, one for making pizza dough and the other to make bread dough. The two cultures in Ed Wood's book (in the Appendix) are 48% flour and 52% water for the "liquid" version and 65% flour and 35% water for the "sponge" version.

On the matter of how much a cup of culture weighs, I don't think it is worth arm wrestling over whether one should use a 9-ounce cup or an 8-ounce cup or one of the other values you and Chau measured. I think it is safe to use any of those values whenever needed. However, if you plan to use a natural poolish starter or preferment and use equal weights of flour and water over a period of time to refresh your Ischia culture, you might note the weight of a cup of your culture after it has been converted to a poolish consistency. Then you can use that value if needed at any point. I only used the 9-ounce figure because I saw that the amount of IDY in the basic Lehmann dough formulation for five dough balls for five 16" pizzas with a nominal thickness factor of 0.10 was 0.25 ounces, which is the weight of a packet of dry yeast. So, it isn't likely that you are going to be using such a number often. Maybe never, so I don't want you to get overly fixated on that number.

At this juncture, you have at least a couple of options going forward. If you'd like, you can use the preferment dough calculating tool to revise the dough formulation you posted in Reply 142 to come up with the ingredient quantities for any desired number of dough balls, of whatever thickness factor and size. Or you can use a modified version of the dough formulation I posted at Reply 111 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11578.msg107361.html#msg107361, but using a 7-8 ounce cup for calculating the percent of natural starter to use. Or, you can simply find another dough formulation to try out. One of the major challenges you will confront at some point, especially if you are thinking of using a naturally-leavened dough at market, is how to set up a fermentation protocol that is reproducible in all kinds of temperature environments for the amount of dough that you would be making. Making a single dough ball is one thing; making, say, 15 pounds, of dough is another. With practice, you could develop the skills of a Neapolitan pizzaiolo (or pizzaiola), but that is not exactly a day at the beach, even at Wildwood Beach. You can read of some of the challenges at Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8119.msg69908/topicseen.html#msg69908.

Peter

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #168 on: August 22, 2010, 12:50:12 PM »
Peter,

What percent of the water is the starter for the Lehmann dough that you set-forth at Reply # 111 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11578.msg107361.html#msg107361 Or maybe I could understand it better if you gave me the percent of the starter.

By reading the link your referenced and other links from that link, I think I might need to go down in the percentage of starter I might try.  In those other links Marco says when using the direct method for using starters and doing a two stage ferment, that the first initial ferment shouldnít show much rise.  In my experiment in the past few days, I did see a very noticeable increase in the dough when it was bulk fermenting, and that had lower ambient temperatures than at market, for this time of the year.  I have also seen the more mass dough rising when doing the poolish for my preferment for the Lehmann dough.  If I just have enough poolish for 15-30 lbs of dough, I can see that bubble much faster than enough poolish for 10 lbs. of dough.  Marco also states in on of the links that other strong flours are more forgiving than ď00" flours. Marco also said the dough balls shouldnít even double in the second stage, if I read right.  Since my recent experiment was on the high side with the starter at 5% and Marco said that is right on the verge of bread, instead of pizza, I think my starter needs to go down to be able to even try this in my market environment. 

I can understand all this isnít going to be like a day at the beach, but I like challenges.  I think the biggest challenge for me is going to going about making a bulk dough on a Thursday, then Friday ball the dough and see if there is anyway it would last until Tuesday.  If I could go to market over the weekend the challenges could be less.  I will talk to the market manager and see if possibly I can go into market over the weekend if this experiment I am trying now doesnít work.  I do have a key to my door right next to my market stand.  A maintenance man lives right on the property and knows me well, so I can see if there would be any problems with that.  I donít know, but if the dough balls donít rise too much, it might work.  If I make a test batch this week, I will be able to see if I bring a dough ball home, what is going to go on with that dough ball.  I do have large NSF food storage containers in my shed, if the test doughs work out okay.  They could be used to bulk ferment the dough.  They are for dry ingredients and have locking lids.

How would I go about modifying the Lehmann dough for a lower amount of starter?  This is a lot to thing about and probably will take a lot of experiments. Do you think this all can be incorporated into the Lehmann dough?

Thanks for the link and your help,

Norma
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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #169 on: August 22, 2010, 04:47:12 PM »
Norma,

In the version of the Lehmann dough formulation I gave in Reply 111, the amount of preferment can be stated in three different ways: with respect to the weight of the Total Formula flour, the weight of the Total Formula water or the total dough weight. On this basis, the percents are 14.39%, 23.59%, and 8.84%, respectively. The number I highlighted, 23.59%, is the number you asked about. If I used say, 8 ounces of natural preferment instead of 9 ounces, the corresponding numbers would be 12.76%, 20.92%, and 7.84%, respectively. It is important to keep in mind that when I came up with the dough formulation at Reply 111, I was only trying to come up with a formulation that might mimic your existing Lehmann dough formulation in as many ways as possible. I was not trying to come up with a dough formulation that could be used to make a dough that could be fermented solely at ambient temperature. I know that that wouldn't work for the time that might apply in your case. I was contemplating a fermentation protocol that would include a period of room temperature fermentation, a period of cold fermentation, and a final temper at ambient temperature (such as would prevail at market).

I should also note that there are members who make only room temperature fermented doughs (or doughs whose temperature is controlled by a unit such as the MR-138), but there are also many members who use natural preferments in quantities greater than 5% of the Total Formula water (or the equivalent as a percent of Total Formula flour or total dough weight). Marco was trying to use his natural starter (Crisceto) in amounts that would provide leavening only, not in preferment quantities that might produce acid levels that would affect extensibility, result in an overly crispy crust, affect the flavor profile in some unwanted way, etc. That was just his approach. Some people use it implicitly, others don't. 

If you want to make an ambient temperature fermented dough only, you would perhaps want to take a look at a dough formulation such as given at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1415.msg12892.html#msg12892. In that dough formulation, the amount of starter comes to 5% of the formula water. However, even if you use less starter than 5% of the formula water, I have doubts about your being able to have dough balls on Friday last until Tuesday at your prevailing ambient temperatures this time of year. I say this based on my experience making dough with no yeast whatsoever other than the wild yeast in the air and/or in the flour. If you read Reply 84 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg78779.html#msg78779, you will see that even with no yeast added to the dough ingredients, it will be difficult to get beyond about 30 hours at a room temperature of around 82 degrees F. You would have to use cold fermentation somewhere.

I have always viewed what you want to do as a logistics problem, particularly if you are thinking of making and using naturally-leavened dough at market one day a week. Making a single dough ball and pizza with natural leavening successfully using only ambient temperature fermentation does not do you much good if it can't be translated to a one-day-a-week use at market. You have to marry the dough formulation with the fermentation protocol and do so within the strictures imposed upon you by the folks who manage the market and by the regulators who monitor activity at the market. For example, it might not be permitted to bulk rise the dough or do the dough division outside of the market, for example, at your home. You would perhaps have to get some dispensation from the usual rules.

Peter


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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #170 on: August 22, 2010, 06:58:49 PM »
Peter,

Thanks for showing me the different ways how the Lehmann dough formulation can be stated.  I also appreciate the links you have provided.

Norma
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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #171 on: August 23, 2010, 08:07:09 AM »
Peter,

I wasnít thinking along the lines of a solely room fermented dough, although I did think about it briefly.  I was thinking along the lines of a dough bulk fermented on Friday, balled and then cold fermented until Tuesday, like my preferment Lehmann dough.  I can understand there could be logistics problems, because I have no idea if a dough bulk fermented and balled on Friday and then cold fermented until Tuesday would last.  That is why I had thought along the lines of using less starter, so the dough wouldnít overferment.  Since I donít have any other experience with starters in sour dough pizza, this approach probably wouldnít work.  I would like to keep the whole dough formulation that you set forth at Reply 111 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11578.msg107361.html#msg107361 as close to that dough formulation as possible first to try to see what would happen.  Since I have never tried a longer cold ferment after the bulk rise of any starter dough, I donít know what to expect, after the dough will be balled and then cold fermented.

I donít think I will be able to try this out or other ideas you might have if this might work or not this week, because I had unexpected problems with my furry friend. He had been limping for about 4 weeks and I did have him to the vets 3 times.  They first thought it was arthritis and gave him pills for a week, then he wasnít any better and back to the vets again and then they said he would need a consult and x-rays with a surgeon.  When the surgeon first examined him before the x-rays she found abnormal heart beats.  Besides doing the x-rays on his legs, they found he has a heart that is two times the size it should be.  He also has two torn cruciate ligaments in both hind legs, which they first thought was problems with just his one leg. If he isnít operated on the surgeon said in about 6-12 months his legs will give out on him.   Now they wonít even operate on him until he sees a cardiologist.  That appointment is for Friday in Delaware.  There they will do tests on him like they would do on a human.  All this came as quite a blow to me, because it happened so fast. He has been my best furry friend for a long while.  We always had long walks together, which we canít do now. All this is getting quite expensive, but since I love him so much, I will probably have to decide after Friday, what course I will have to take with him.  I donít want to have to put him to sleep, but will deal with that after what I find out Friday.  If humans donít have insurance hospitals have to treat them, but in the case of furry friends they want the money up front or within 6 months. Just the operation for his hind legs is in the range of 2,600.00.  If there needs to be a heart operation, then I will have to make decisions. He is fine in every other way and all this is going to be hard.

Let me know if you think the starter Lehmann sour dough you set-forth might work, with a cold ferment or you also see problems with that. If you have any ideas of what might work, also let me know. I can just try out the ideas to see if something might work.

Thanks,

Norma
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Offline scott123

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #172 on: August 23, 2010, 08:18:46 AM »
Norma, this may not be any less expensive, but they've been able to make some pretty amazing strides in using stem cells to treat torn ligaments in dogs:

http://www.livescience.com/animals/080123-dog-stemcell.html

The $2K to $3K price tag was back in '08. I'm guessing that it's got to be less expensive now.

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #173 on: August 23, 2010, 08:24:51 AM »
Norma, this may not be any less expensive, but they've been able to make some pretty amazing strides in using stem cells to treat torn ligaments in dogs:

http://www.livescience.com/animals/080123-dog-stemcell.html

The $2K to $3K price tag was back in '08. I'm guessing that it's got to be less expensive now.


scott123,

Thanks for the link.  I have considered different options, which some are therapy, which they say probably won't work, but could give it a try for 750.00.  I have also searched the web and there are many different opinions about surgery for ACL.  I take my furry friend to a good animal hospital and I know they are about the best around my area.

Thanks for your ideas,

Norma
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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #174 on: August 23, 2010, 10:46:58 AM »
Norma,

I am sorry to hear of the problems you are having with your furry friend. I hope that things work out well in terms of treatment.

I think that if you look around the forum your will find that, in general, dough formulations that call for small amounts of natural leavening do not work out particularly well for cold fermentation applications. They work best with room temperature fermentations or in controlled temperature environments, as by using a unit like an MR-138 or its equivalent. The doughs might tolerate some cold fermentation at some point but usually you will have to subject the dough to warmth somewhere along the way so that the dough can ferment properly and adequately. In just about all cases, the duration of the warm and cold fermentation periods have to be correctly established to get the desired end results at the time you want or need them. However, in looking at the percentages I gave earlier, I do not sense that the amount of natural preferment is out of line for a fermentation protocol that would include a period of warm (ambient) temperature fermentation, a period of cold fermentation, and a period of tempering when ready to use the dough. What you might try is a scaled down version of the dough formulation presented in Reply 111, maybe a couple of dough balls. The smaller amount of dough will ferment somewhat differently than a larger dough batch, but for test purposes it might we worth giving a try.

A lot of the above is, by necessity, general in nature, given all of the variations that are possible with naturally-leavened doughs. With particular reference to the dough formulation I presented in Reply 111 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11578.msg107361.html#msg107361, I am not entirely sure how well it will work for your particular application and timeframe. Regrettably, I am neither smart enough nor talented enough to be able to design a dough formulation based on natural leavening that I can offer with confidence that it will work, or work within the timeframe you would like to use. However, I do derive some comfort in knowing that others, like Bill/SFNM, have used a fermentation protocol such as mentioned above. See, for example, Reply 6 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4134.msg34549.html#msg34549, Reply 29 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3305.msg28879.html#msg28879 and Reply 14 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2025.msg18154/topicseen.html#msg18154. As you will see from those posts, and others as well, there is a lot of variability in making naturally leavened doughs including, in Bill's case, the added factor of high elevation. That also explains why I tend not to get as intimately involved with sourdough applications as I do with other styles of doughs. They are just too finicky for me to quantify with accuracy in dough formulations and fermentation protocols.

Peter

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #175 on: August 23, 2010, 12:28:56 PM »
Peter,

I can understand that dough made with these starters do need warm ferments and trying to find the right combination of warm and cold ferments will be challenging.  I appreciate you looking at the dough formulation you gave me before and saying it doesnít look out of line for a fermentation of warm and cold ferment.  If I find time Wednesday, I might scale the formula down to one or two dough balls and then let the bulk dough ferment at ambient room temperatures at home, then ball and cold ferment or either bulk ferment, cold ferment, then ball and ferment at room temperatures. At least that experiment might be able to give me some ideas on how that dough behaves, over a period of time, like I would use at market.  I know the conditions wonít be exactly like market conditions. 

Thanks for the links to Billís posts.  They were very informative. Bill is an expert on using doughs with starters and I can see it will take me a long while to understand a dough made with starters.  I guess this sour dough, will give me a lot more challenges, so maybe I will just play around with it at home first to see what happens. I can understand when using a starter you need to understand not just your dough, but how the starters work in combination with your dough.

Thanks you for wishing me well with my furry friend.  I donít know at this time, but think there are going to be more problems with him.  I donít know if you ever had pets or not, but they can become like a member of the family.  They are always there for you, hardly ever give you problems, go for walks, play ball and are always happy to see you.  When he was young he went to school different times and probably has more education than I do. I still take him to the parks and woods and although he canít get in or out of the van, I carry him to his favorite spots to let him sniff. I think furry friends are special because they donít ask for much.  My furry friend was the one that was along to Wildwood with me, running and frolicking in the sand and water.

Thanks for your help,

Norma
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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #176 on: August 25, 2010, 10:00:23 AM »
The starter was removed from the refrigerator this morning, fed and I am going to try to make two dough balls from these starters and bulk ferment each dough and then treat them a little different in the ball and then cold ferment to see how long a dough ball can last and not overferment. I am going to scale down the Stealth Lehmann dough for two dough balls for a 14" pizza.

Norma
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Offline snelly

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #177 on: November 25, 2010, 09:27:35 AM »
Hi all,

I've been reading up on using starters to make dough for a while, and will try activating my yeast tonight. There is a helluva lot of information on these forums, which is great! :) and I've been slowly going through it all.

I just have one question for now that I can't seem to find the answer too. What type of container do you keep your cultures in? I'm specifically interested in how airtight they are.

I assume when you first activate the yeast the container is left open to the air. Is it ever sealed? Is it sealed air tight once refrigerated?

Does exposure to air or not affect how the yeast works?

Any help would be much appreciated :)

Thanks!! from a newcomer..

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #178 on: November 25, 2010, 09:38:58 AM »

I assume when you first activate the yeast the container is left open to the air. Is it ever sealed? Is it sealed air tight once refrigerated?


I believe that you need to keep a refrigerated starter sealed, due to "infection" from other items in the fridge and keeping a crust from forming. During initial activation, keeping it loosely covered is all you need. Same if you are activating/refreshing for use.

John

Offline snelly

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Re: Finally Am Trying to Activate My Starters
« Reply #179 on: November 25, 2010, 10:11:00 AM »
Thanks for the swift reply :)

I have some tuppaware that hopefully can be used for both situations, sealed or none!

Cheers

Alex