Author Topic: How essential is a starter?  (Read 1031 times)

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Offline andrewperetti

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How essential is a starter?
« on: May 29, 2011, 04:18:51 PM »
To make truly "great" tasting pizza, in your opinion, do you need a sourdough starter?

I know Jeff Versano seems to use one in every attempt...Are all the great pizzerias in Italy using a sourdough starter?

As I'm quite new to the pizza making, does anyone know of an easily replicated sourdough starter recipe that I could try out?





buceriasdon

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Re: How essential is a starter?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 05:15:43 PM »
Andrew, If you are just starting I highly encourage you to try all manner of dough formulations, I prefer the slow cold rise and low yeast (IDY) option, but there are plenty of folks here that do other things and make wonderful pizza. Your leavening method is just one part of the equation to making excellent pizza.
Don

To make truly "great" tasting pizza, in your opinion, do you need a sourdough starter?

I know Jeff Versano seems to use one in every attempt...Are all the great pizzerias in Italy using a sourdough starter?

As I'm quite new to the pizza making, does anyone know of an easily replicated sourdough starter recipe that I could try out?





Offline chickenparm

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Re: How essential is a starter?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 11:40:40 PM »
I agree with Don.If you are new to this,like most of us have been at first,best to start with IDY or ADY yeast and learn how to make dough consistently first.Jeff V said it took him over a hundred doughs or more to get where he wanted to be.

You do not need a starter the first time out to make pizza.You can still make very good pies with other forms of yeast.Most Ny style and other pizza places do not use a starter anyway.I am not saying not to learn to make a starter,by all means,go ahead if thats what you wish to do.

But you still need to learn how to make dough with it.Using IDY or even ADY or other forms of yeast,can be far easier to use and learn about dough making when being new to it.

I have not made/tried a starter yet and do plan to sometime down the road.But I am very glad,with the Pizza forum friends help,I learned how to make pizza dough without it first and have been able to make wonderful pizza without a starter just yet.




-Bill

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How essential is a starter?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2011, 10:33:50 AM »
Andrew,

At one time there apparently were several pizza operators in Naples who used natural leavening systems (starters). From reports I have been hearing, I believe that that number has dwindled down to a small handful, at least those who publicly say they are using them. I would also venture to say that there are now more pizza operators in the U.S. who are making Neapolitan-style pizzas using natural leavening systems. But the total number is still very small. I would be very surprised if 1% of all pizza operators in the U.S. use a purely natural leavening system. 0.10% is likely to be a far closer number (there are around 65,000 pizza stores in the U.S.).

I always advise newbies to stay away from using natural starters in their pizza doughs. I believe that it is far more important to master the basics of pizza dough using regular yeast. In my view, starting your pizza making journey with a natural starter, especially if you have never worked with one, is like going onto the expert ski slopes the very first time you put on skis. 

Peter

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: How essential is a starter?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 11:16:37 AM »
Not strictly on topic, but the first time I went snow skiing, my friends (who knew how to ski)  took me to the top of Heavenly Valley through 2 lifts.  I could ski pretty well by the time we got to the bottom.

Offline texmex

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Re: How essential is a starter?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 11:37:32 AM »
Also, OT...but just what sort of friends do we have who will take us on the black runs as beginners?  I ended up getting a ride down on a snowmobile, after falling down way too many times to think about.

The analogy Peter presented here is apropo.  I have just created a starter, and I'm a bit trepidacious at the thought of using it for the first time, since my bread and pizza making experience are minimal.
Still, it's fun to experiment if you have the time and inclination to do so, and the only thing falling may be the dough.
Reesa


 

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