Author Topic: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures  (Read 2639 times)

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Offline tscaife

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Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« on: April 05, 2011, 08:22:33 PM »
I purchased the Italian sourdough cultures from Sourdoughs International. Does anyone have instructions on how to make dough from the time you take the culture out of the fridge? mine is in liquid form and I have made bread with it in the last week.

How much culture do you use?

How do you determine what hydration you have?

How long do you let it rise in the fridge?

I have searched the forum and can't find anything simple enough to understand. Keep in mind I am new at this and am not the sharpest knife in the drawer :)

Thanks in advance for any direction!


EDIT: Just saw the forum for starters. Sorry!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 08:33:54 PM by tscaife »


Offline matermark

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 09:28:42 PM »
Most "recipes" use 1 cup but the only Bakers percent type recipe I saw was about 17% combined (they used vinegar & whey to simulate sourdough and the 2 totaled 17% to 100% flour.)

For hydration, use the Preferment Lehman Dough Calculator. Consider sourdough starter a "preferment."

http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html

Sorry, above link is the one I meant.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 09:38:57 PM by matermark »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 05:55:33 PM »
How long do you let it rise in the fridge?

I would encourage you not to use refrigerated fermentation with sourdough cultures. At least the ones I use seem to slow down to just about zero activity under those conditions.

I can say that I have NEVER made a pizza that I was happy with using refrigerated fermentation and sourdough cultures - even when I take it out and let it come back to life at room temperature and rise up to where I should be for baking.

Try room temperature. I like 24-30 hours which, for me (usually 77F) means about 1.7% active culture. This could vary significantly for you based on your temperature, the activity of your culture, salt (I use 2.8-3.0%), hydration (I'm usually 62-64%), and a host of other factors.

It will take some experimenting, but when you get it, it will be the best pie you've ever eaten.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2011, 12:04:49 PM »
Just saw that this was moved here. Thanks for the responses.

I actually found an adaptation of Lehmann's pizza dough using natural preferment in Pete-zza's road map at reply #151.

I just got my cultures and have only made bread once and Varasano's pizza twice with decent results. I also made the crusts from Ed Woods book that I bought with the cultures and they weren't great. I am still clueless at this point and trying to learn.

The recipe above calls for a 45 hour cold rise so I plan to make the pie on Friday night.

I fed the culture over the weekend so when I decided to make the dough last night I washed the culture and added flour and water for the pancake batter consistency. After two hours it was bubbling so I decided to make the dough using the percentages from the post I mentioned above. I don't have a mixer so I did a 15 minute autolyse with 1/3 of the flour and water. Added other ingredients and hand kneaded for 10 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before putting in the fridge. The dough was 79* before refrigeration.

If interested I will post pics.

Thanks again for the help. I will try the warm rise next time and see how it goes.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2011, 02:48:48 PM »
I hope it comes out well for you. I'd love to see the pics and hear how it tastes. Please do post.

If I remember correctly, the Varasano recipe has commercial yeast in addition to sourdough culture. If that is the case in your recipe, keep in mind that it will perform differently during refrigerated fermentation than would a dough with no commercial yeast as I discusses above.

I would encourage you to try it both ways. I think you will find you get as much or more flavor from a sourdough-only culture dough after 24 hours of room-temp fermentation than you will after days in a refrigerator with the recipe you described.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2011, 03:15:21 PM »
For Varasano's recipe it said Instant Dry Yeast was optional so I left it out and it seemed fine to me.

Pete-zza has a post in the Lehmann roadmap that rises at room temp. I will try that next. Maybe the next day ;D

Will post pics and results when done.

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2011, 03:45:27 PM »
Hey CL

I made a proofing box for my bread. Would you see a benefit to using that for making dough?

You also mention 1.7% preferment. The other recipe uses 20% preferment. Is there a reason to use such a small amount?

Thanks!

TS

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2011, 04:28:45 PM »
I made a proofing box for my bread. Would you see a benefit to using that for making dough?

You also mention 1.7% preferment. The other recipe uses 20% preferment. Is there a reason to use such a small amount?


With respect to the first question, maybe. Does the temp in your house vary a lot? or is it going to be too warm or too cold? If so, it might help. I've never found it to be necessary at my house which is generally around 77F. I've played around with an ice chest and some blue ice to proof at lower temperatures (low to mid-60's), but I prefer 77-79F. Almost always, I simply proof my dough on my counter in a plastic food container.

As to the preferment, I've experimented with levels as high as 25% (my UPN clone was ~25.4% http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10237.0.html). For the past year or so, however, I've been more interested in very small quantities of starter - not really what I would call a preferment Ė rather just active starter. See: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12371.0.html

I think the Varasano formula is trying to get flavor from the preferment as opposed to the actual fermentation of the final dough. I was doing the same thing in my UPN clone. Personally, I think the dough tastes just as good with the small amount of starter fermented at a higher temperature for 24-30 hours, and I think it handles a little better - not that I didn't like my UPN dough. I did - a lot.

I also experimented with the Varasano method quite a bit. The main things I learned from it are 1) I donít like refrigerated fermentation (but A LOT of folks here do and get great results from it, though I donít know how many of them are using natural starters). 2) I donít like commercial yeast in my dough Ė even with natural starters. Again, this is not to say you canít get good results with it. Itís just not for me. 3) I like to work the dough a lot less Ė no autolyze, no wet kneading. Iím pretty minimal now.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2011, 04:51:18 PM »
I am glad I asked. I am in Chicago so this time of year my place is in the high 60's. Low to mid 70's soon hopefully  :-D

Thanks for posting these links! I have a big green egg and can get very high temps for pizza. I was really excited about Varasano's method but, the pizza's weren't great. Very good but, but not great. Your recipes are hopefully what I am looking for! I experimenting with NY style for a change of pace this weekend.

Thanks again for sharing!


Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2011, 07:30:03 PM »


Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 10:56:22 AM »
I am going to try and make Neapolitan Style pizza using my BGE. I am still very new at this and will post all results and pics here good or bad. It will be a way for me to keep a written record or what I have done. It will also hopefully help others learn from my mistakes. Any ideas or criticism will be highly appreciated.

Last night I made dough using the following formulation using KABF;

Total Formula:
Flour (100%):    749.09 g  |  26.42 oz | 1.65 lbs
Water (62%):    464.44 g  |  16.38 oz | 1.02 lbs
Salt (3%):    22.47 g | 0.79 oz | 0.05 lbs | 4.68 tsp | 1.56 tbsp
Total (165%):   1236 g | 43.6 oz | 2.72 lbs | TF = N/A
Single Ball:   309 g | 10.9 oz | 0.68 lbs

Preferment:
Flour:    37.45 g | 1.32 oz | 0.08 lbs
Water:    37.45 g | 1.32 oz | 0.08 lbs
Total:    74.91 g | 2.64 oz | 0.17 lbs

Final Dough:
Flour:    711.64 g | 25.1 oz | 1.57 lbs
Water:    426.98 g | 15.06 oz | 0.94 lbs
Salt:    22.47 g | 0.79 oz | 0.05 lbs | 4.68 tsp | 1.56 tbsp
Preferment:    74.91 g | 2.64 oz | 0.17 lbs
Total:    1236 g | 43.6 oz | 2.72 lbs  | TF = N/A

I lightly mixed 2/3 of the flour with all other ingredients with a fork and let it rest (Autolyse) for 12 minutes. I then added the rest of the flour and mixed for 5 minutes with a wooden spoon. I then hand kneaded the dough for appox 8 minutes. I decided to let half of the dough rise over night and put the other 2 dough balls in the fridge for a cold rise. Dough balls were 79* when I put them in the fridge. At 6AM I balled the other half of the dough and put it in the fridge. It increased in size by maybe 30% overnight.

I plan to cook the pizzas on Thursday and Friday night on my BGE. I am interested to see the differences between the dough that was out overnight and the dough that went right into the fridge.

I am going to do a dry run on my BGE tonight to see how well I can get it up to temp (700* +) and how long I can maintain it.

Below are my first attempts at making Varasano's recipe when I first got the culture. I didn't have a scale at that point and just mixed the dough based on converting the measurements he had on his website. The dough rose in the fridge for 3 days. They weren't great but you have to start somewhere.

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 07:17:28 AM »
Thanks for the posts - as the weather warms up, I may start to do some cooking on the grill so I will be following your progress.

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2011, 08:48:02 AM »
Did a test run on BGE last night. Was able to get it up to 650* and maintained that temp for 45 minutes. I opened it a few times and it went right back to 650*. I was using cowboy brand which doesn't burn as hot according to a few different sources. Tonight I will use royal oak steak house lump and add more fuel and hope to get the dome temp to 700* +.

Bad news on the dough. There was little to no activity thus far (See pic below). I am going to put the balls in my proofing box when I get home and let them proof for 2 hours at 80*. If anyone has any better ideas please let me know.

Edit: I think I may have identified the problem. I have multiple recipes in front of me and may have added too much salt (approx 6%). I am going to try to make more for Friday when I get home. I am still cooking what I have  tonight and will post pics of the salty dough pizzas.
 
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 09:01:15 AM by tscaife »

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2011, 07:09:27 AM »
I cooked the pizzas using the dough balls above last night and they were really good even with the salty dough! This pies in the second pic tasted great and were the first one's I have cooked that resembled a decent looking crumb. The pies all cooked between 625* - 675*. Cook times ranged from 3:45 - 4:30 at these temps. I needed more lump but, Obama was in town and my commute time doubled. No time to get more charcoal so I had to work with what I had. I had barely enough fuel to fill the firebox and was surprised I even hit the temps that I did. I am hoping to hit 750* tonight.

I cooked all 4 dough balls mentioned above and couldn't tell the difference between the overnight rise and the ones that went into the fridge immediatley. Going forward I am just going to keep it simple and focus on trying to make a 2 minute pie. I used the formulation below for 24 hour dough and skipped the bulk rise. They are balled up and resting on my counter in glad containers. Looking forward to tonight!

Total Formula:
Flour (100%):    374.55 g  |  13.21 oz | 0.83 lbs
Water (62%):    232.22 g  |  8.19 oz | 0.51 lbs
Salt (3%):    11.24 g | 0.4 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.34 tsp | 0.78 tbsp
Total (165%):   618 g | 21.8 oz | 1.36 lbs | TF = N/A
Single Ball:   309 g | 10.9 oz | 0.68 lbs

Preferment:
Flour:    7.49 g | 0.26 oz | 0.02 lbs
Water:    7.49 g | 0.26 oz | 0.02 lbs
Total:    14.98 g | 0.53 oz | 0.03 lbs

Final Dough:
Flour:    367.05 g | 12.95 oz | 0.81 lbs
Water:    224.73 g | 7.93 oz | 0.5 lbs
Salt:    11.24 g | 0.4 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.34 tsp | 0.78 tbsp
Preferment:    14.98 g | 0.53 oz | 0.03 lbs
Total:    618 g | 21.8 oz | 1.36 lbs  | TF = N/A

Thanks for looking!

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2011, 07:12:43 AM »
In terms of the multiple recipes, your problem is better than the one I had last week.  I have been doing a lot of experimenting, though I usually only make pizza one night.  So last Sunday I cooked 3 pies made from 4 totally diff recipes -  2 from starters -2  using commercial yeast and yet another recipe .  Cooked the 3 pies, wife and I agreed #2 was the best - by that time of course, I couldn't remember which one it was -  part my memory and part that I cooked only 3 once it was clear that one of the dough wasn't going to cut it for pizza so I got flustered at that failure and pretty confused.  

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2011, 08:33:37 AM »
Tscaife, the crumb shot you posted above looks awesome.  For now, I wouldn't change too much about that formulation and method until you can get consistent results like that, especially if you liked the pizza.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 09:10:40 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2011, 09:13:43 AM »
Thanks Jackie! I copied TXCraig1's method he linked to earlier in this thread  except I am using KABF. I am trying the room temperature rise tonight and this morning everything looked good.

@Barryvabeach - Are you cooking on a grill? If so what temps? I am cooking pizzas every night I can until I feel I have a process that works for me. I hate to waste so much food but, the ingredients I am using are inexpensive.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2011, 10:16:01 AM »
Todd,

Looking REALLY good! Excellent crumb.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline tscaife

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2011, 10:39:19 AM »
Thanks CL and thank you for taking the time to help me out! Looking forward to seeing the pizzas coming out of your WFO!

Another question I have is I have never actually eaten a great Neapolitan Pizza. In Chicago the three places I have found  that look like they are worth trying are Great Lake, Spacca Napoli and Coalfire. There is a place near me called Ciao that make pizzas in a WFO but, I don't think it's what I am looking for.

Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 12:20:13 PM by tscaife »

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Questions about using Sourdough Cultures
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2011, 09:13:38 PM »
Tscaife,  I have a Big Steel Keg / Bubba Keg and did a little grilling on a pizza stone last fall, but wasn't too happy with the results, so decided to focus on the electric oven until I got more consistent results.  I use 100% whole wheat ( home ground ) so that presents its own challenges.   Unfortunately, the Maverick et 732 doesn't go high enough to give me good temp readings in the grill, and infra red just tells me the spot temp on the stone, which can vary.   Sunday I hope to run a few pies in the grill -  first I need to make a small wooden stop that I can use so that I can prop the top open enough to load and unload a pie - due to the size of the top of the BSK, I think I lose way too much heat when I open it up to load. Of course, sourdough just increases the variables dramatically, though I am hoping to steal some good info from you. Barry.