Author Topic: One day old starter  (Read 8339 times)

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Offline Madmax

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One day old starter
« on: May 16, 2005, 02:42:58 PM »
I have been focusing on dough preparation, kneading etc., and would like take Varasano's advice and order a starter/culture from sourdo.com as well as order the book he suggested on sourdough baking.  I haven't  taken that step yet, but I have read on some other websites about creating a starter from scratch.  So, I thought I would start experimenting with letting the ADY proof overnight.  My idea is to proof the yeast and  1/3 of my water 'til foamy, and then mix with 1/3 of my flour and the remaining water.  Mix until I have a batter like consistency, then let it bench rise overnight, then gradually mix the remaining flour and salt.

Has anyone tried this type of process?  Any sucess or failure stories? 

Thanks,

Madmax


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2005, 03:18:01 PM »
Madmax,

What you are talking about sounds more like a sponge rather than the natural preferments that sourdo.com sells and others have made and described at this site. Classically, a sponge is a mixture of a portion of the flour to be used, the entire amount of yeast (usually commercial yeast), and water (and no salt) that is left to ferment for several hours (at least 3 hours, so that the yeast can acclimate and start the fermentation process) or even overnight, at room temperature and sometimes in the refrigerator. The sponge is intended to impart a better flavor (through the creation of lactic and acetic acids and aromatic compounds during fermentation) when combined with the additional ingredients—more flour, water and salt—to make the pizza dough.

I have used sponges before with good results. But I think you will get better crust flavor using a natural preferment, whether it is one that you make yourself from wild yeast or from one you buy from from sourdo.com. Over the years, I accumulated several preferments that I made from wild yeast, using different techniques that I read about from my research on the subject, including one based on using rye flour--the same approach that fellow member Cheesy apparently used recently with very good results (if the photo of his pizza is any indication). Not too long ago, after dormancy periods of well over a year, I revived all of the preferments by "washing" them as described in Ed Wood's book. Most likely they have cross-contaminated (they are all kept in one refrigerator and I don't take any steps to prevent cross-contamination) but apparently it is hard to kill Texas wild yeast.

It's up to you to decide which way to go--to make your own preferment or buy the beginnings of one from sourdo.com. I gather from recent posts that several of our members have struggled with their sourdo.com preferments, so if you decide to go with sourdo.com I would follow the instructions very carefully. Maybe some of our members who have had good success with the sourdo.com preferment materials can step forward and offer some guidance on how to achieve good results.

Peter

Offline varasano

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2005, 03:51:30 PM »
Find my other posts about this. Search on my handle and the word 'cilantro' and you'll find it.

I don't recommend this process. ADY does not attract wild yeast any more than crab grass attracts pine trees. They are separate things. You will catch something eventually, but it could be a good or bad and will tell you little. If you are going to invest you time in the process you might as well buy a known good starter. Just like if you were a farmer you'd buy the best seed rather than just leave an open field and see what settles there.

Jeff

Offline varasano

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2005, 10:11:49 AM »
like the weeds outside my house?  Mmmmmm... weeds...

I don't get these continuing silly comments.  People on this forum will scour the planet for the right tomato and the right kind of wheat grain, etc, but when I say to buy the right starter, which is WAY, WAY, WAY more important than the flour, I always get pushback from people who want to magically transform IDY into a sourdough culture or from people who are too cheap to buy a real starter and want to gamble on whatever mold is in their kitchen.

My continuing posts on this topic could not be more clear.  But I'm not going to harp on it anymore.  Look at my photos and then those of bakerboy and these others who keep sending you off course and decide who's pizza you want to emulate.

Sheeesh...
« Last Edit: May 17, 2005, 10:16:47 AM by varasano »

Offline Madmax

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2005, 12:11:17 PM »
Varasano,

I think you have set the bar very high for all of us to shoot for...you're 6+ years of trial and error in reverse engineering Patsy's pie, and sharing your findings, will assist even a novice pie maker like myself create a great pie.  I undoubtedly appreciate it.  Which starter, exactly, did you order from sourdo.com?

On another note, have you tried Fellini's Pizza on Peachtree, in Buckhead?  I live in upstate SC and when I'm in Hotlanta, Fellini's is always a must.  I'm not sure how it compares to traditional NY pies as I've never been to NY, but they are tastey none the less.  Good sausage.

Madmax

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2005, 02:19:54 PM »
I am not trying to get in the middle of a food fight on this topic since it doesn't matter to me one way or the other whether Madmax or Cheesy or anyone else chooses to buy a starter from sourdo.com, or get one from a Carl Griffith source, or culture one from a piece of old dough, or make one from wild yeast at home. But I think Cheesy's comment is technically accurate--I believe it is called Darwin's principle of "natural selection". The wild yeast that is pervasive where Cheesy lives is there because it has been able to survive after millions or billions of years, and nothing is about to eradicate or weaken his wild yeast anytime soon. If the wild yeast Cheesy has captured works for him, I'm happy for him.

Although I have read Ed Wood's book, I can't speak to the sourdo.com starters because I haven't tried them to offer an opinion one way or the other. I assume they are good, quite possibly the best and maybe worthy of trying. But I have made starters at home based on wild Texas yeast and have gotten good results. I know others all around the country who have made their own starters and they, too, say that they have gotten good results. Nancy Silverton and Amy Scherber, two very well known and highly regarded sourdough bread bakers and authors, recommend that bakers make their own sourdough starters from wild yeast. I think where most people go wrong with their starters is that they don't care for them properly. Usually they let them get too acidic or to have too much alcohol such that the finished product (bread or pizza crust) tastes far too sour and is almost unpalatable. But this phenomenon is not unique to homemade sourdough starters. This can also happen with a starter purchased from sourdo.com or anyone else.

My view on the subject is do whatever you want, whether it is based on personal economics, the curiosity and fun of experimenting with different ideas, personal enlightenment, or whatever.

Peter


Offline varasano

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2005, 08:01:37 PM »
OMG you are so cheap.  It's like $15 for something that will last forever.  I'm not a salesman for a few dollars of yeast. I run a multi-million dollar company. But I respect someone who has acheived something and has something to add like Ed Wood does. I'm trying to guide people in the right direction and sometimes it's a waste to be undermined by people who post yeast price inflation by the dime, like you did a while back.

Post some photo's of your amazing pizza, then we'll see.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2005, 08:10:09 PM by varasano »

Offline Steve

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2005, 10:41:47 PM »
Serenity now... serenity now...  ;)
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Offline bakerboy

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2005, 04:03:02 PM »
madmax, cheesy, You have the right idea.  Use your ady to make your starter.  Feed it and use it.  Practice with the ady.  You may mess it up a couple of times but thats ok, make another.  Practice, practice, practice.  thats how you'll learn what works the best for you.  Once you get comfortable using the starter and you should want to try a different strain of yeast, you'll be more comfortable with it and less likely to mess it up.  But i must tell you that your starter is going to eventually be populated by the yeasts which are indigenous to your area whether you use ady or some strain from uzbekistan, so the choice is really up to you.
Varasano.  You have done a complete disservice to people on this forum insulting them for not seeing the world your way.  It is YOU who are steering people in the wrong direction.  Truthfully you couldn't be more wrong and should stop giving bad advice.  You are misguided and uninformed when you speak on the topic of yeasts.  You should take that hook out of your mouth and do some research.  I am a baker by profession.  I ran a pizza shop for years and made enough money to start my own bakery by selling those pizzas which you seem to think are so inferior to yours.  Who have you sold yours to?
I have a Masters Degree in Mycology....you've read ONE book on sourdough starters and YOUR the expert???  How dare you call people silly or cheap because they don't cough up $20.00 to follow your bad advice.  The ones that did had problems with the starter, INCLUDING YOU.  It goes like gangbusters for a while then seems to slow down.  This is natural selection happening in front of your face and you refuse to see it.  Instead you tell them that they have "contaminated" their starter and it needs to be "washed".  I've managed prominent artisan bakeries and am well versed using white, whole wheat, and rye starters, sponges, whatever, and have NEVER had to "wash" a starter.  If you think that your "tasmanian" strain of yeast is the only one growing in your starter then you are truly ignorant of how ubiquitous yeasts really are.
I'm not trying to get all "Gordon Ramsey" about this but you've chosen to be a follower and regurgitate stuff you've read in a book.  You figure if you insult and belittle people they will eventually come around to your way of thinking.  Newsflash:  People on this forum may be new to pizza making but they are not stupid, as you make them out to be.
Maybe no one else will come out and say it but you are 100% WRONG about your yeasts.  Wrong with your analogies, wrong with your advice.  Your pizzas don't look any better than any others i've seen on this forum.  I don't know when or where you figured that your so scary talented that YOUR the one that people should emulate.

Offline Steve

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2005, 04:11:43 PM »
Take a deep breath, guys. Let's try to be constructive here.

Please keep the flames off the public boards.  :-\
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Offline varasano

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2005, 04:22:21 PM »
LOL, Look at the pies, people, look at the pies. Plenty of successful businesses have bad products. Look at Microsoft.

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2005, 05:29:31 PM »
Sounds like we need a pizza cook-off here folks...pizza pictures at high noon...from both camps..recent pictures.. let the site decide...NOW DRAW...(I mean cook)...

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2005, 06:31:55 PM »
I don't like to take sides, however I have already said that I run three different starters from three different area in Italy, and use them here in London. After three years of continuous usage, they still maintain their characteristics; they are different from each other and none was taken over by the local population (I am sure there are small presence of local micro flora, but this doesn't overcome 300 years of symbiosis of one of my starter).

What is more I have various studies (some from the Journal of applied microbiology) that confirm my theories. If this was not enough, I have had the luck of consulting with 2 famous Italian researchers on the subject whilst researching for my book (they have also published article on the Journal mentioned above) that have also given me more insight.

Bakerboy, I don't like to come in the middle of this, but Varasano is not 100% wrong. I am also a graduate, and I respect your master in mycology, however in a starter there is also a big part played by bacteria and the researcher I have consulted have different evidence.

Both of you needs to confront each other with reference and evidence more then argue (challenge the point not the person...)

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 18, 2005, 06:34:47 PM by pizzanapoletana »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2005, 06:45:35 AM »
pizzanapoletana, perhaps you can share with us the aroma, taste, and affect of the 3 different starters you possess. Why would you juggle 3 starters, is it based on flavor they impart?? or something else? Please explain. I have 3 starters myself but I am only currently keeping an Italian starter active.... I have yet to awaken my third starter purchased and I must agree that the other two are different.... Can you explain your reasons?? thanks...

Offline Madmax

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2005, 12:41:31 PM »
Gentlemen, Sorry I asked....maybe I'll just order Domino's.    :'(

bonnie

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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2005, 01:15:05 PM »
;Di love peporoni pizza!

Offline apizza

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2005, 01:24:33 PM »
Well Madmax I'm new here and don't have the knowledge most others in this thread have, but to answer your question, I do like to use an overnight starter. I think it adds flavor to the dough. They are common in bread baking for that reason. You have to give dough a little something extra and this is a great way to make it stand out.

Offline DKM

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2005, 02:13:44 PM »
Somethings are not right or wrong.

Somethings are good to some are bad to others. Taste differs. Experts differ all the time.

Don't worry so much about it and learn from each other.  Try different things.  Thats why we are.  Not to teach, but to learn and open our eyes to new ways.  Some we will like, some we won't.

HAVE FUN PEOPLE.

DKM

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Offline bakerboy

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2005, 04:36:41 PM »
sorry guys.  My post was not a personal attack.  I don't dislike jeff.  I don't KNOW jeff.  Judging from his website there's a hell of alot more to like about him than to dislike.  He's helped alot of people in their pizza making quest and makes great looking pies.  It would be really difficult for me to dislike anyone as into it as he is.  Just didn't want the people who are new and just starting to use a preferment to think they HAVE to buy a $20.00 superstrain of yeast.  I felt as though this was REALLY being pushed on people.
Pizzanapoletana, I agree, there is alot more going on in a healthy starter than just yeast.  One thing to consider, research from journals of microbiology and/or mycology are performed in a labratory, in a controlled setting.  Bakeries and home kitchens are a different arena.  At least in a bakery/pizzaria setting a starter is really cared for properly, as i'm sure yours are.  Its difficult for people making pizza at home to feed a starter properly over the long haul because their not making pizza every single night and they might not need the starter for weeks at a time.  this is why i feel that a biga, or poolish method would suit the home kitchen MUCH better than trying to keep a starter active.  Starters require attention an diligence.

Offline DKM

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Re: One day old starter
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2005, 05:52:08 PM »
Bakeries and home kitchens are a different arena.  At least in a bakery/pizzaria setting a starter is really cared for properly, as i'm sure yours are.  Its difficult for people making pizza at home to feed a starter properly over the long haul because their not making pizza every single night and they might not need the starter for weeks at a time.  this is why i feel that a biga, or poolish method would suit the home kitchen MUCH better than trying to keep a starter active.  Starters require attention an diligence.

This is an important point.  Some of here (like me) have the sickness, but even I don't make pizza every day or even every week when my life gets busy (I like lots of kinds of food and like to make lots of things).

I use different methods to to suit my needs, desires, and whims.

Like I stated before somethings are not right or wrong.  For me it is about what I as an individual like.

It's like my Chicago deep dish recipe. It's not Uno's or Gino's or anyone elses.  It is what I like.

DKM
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