Author Topic: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?  (Read 1053 times)

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Offline San Jose Dale

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Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« on: September 11, 2011, 06:45:52 PM »
I was at the tomato festival this weekend at the Kendal Jackson winery in Santa Rosa CA. I was talking with the executive chef there about the WFO i just installed, since they have on there as well. He came back from the kitchen with a small container of a sour dough starter they make there and use for Pizza, with yeast from some musty grapes. But he ran off before I could really understand what to do with this. I have no idea how to use a starter, and keep it going. Can someone here give e some guidance? I smells really good, like a strong yeasty beer :)

Dale


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2011, 07:05:42 PM »
Welcome to the forum Dale.  There are many different methods for maintaining and using a starter.  You can do a generic google search for maintaining starters and get some great ideas.   Until then you can just place the starter in a jar, shut the lid, and place it in the fridge to slow down the yeast activity.

The method that works well for me is to feed it with 50% water 50% flour, either All Purpose or bread Flour.  Stir it up well and allow it to become active and then use.  It's active when it becomes bubbly and doubles or more in volume.  After you use the starter, you can discard 50% of the leftover starter, replace the amount you've used with flour and water and place back into the fridge.  It's a bit more involved than this, but this should get you started.  Good luck.

Chau

Offline San Jose Dale

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2011, 08:18:42 PM »
Jackie, thanks, how do i "use" it to make a dough? I assume I use the starter in place of yeast and some amount of water, in a usual recipe? sorry if this is a dumb question... :-[

Dale

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2011, 09:36:31 PM »
Dale at this point , you should already be able to make a satisfactory pizza using commercial yeast (ADY/IDY).  If you haven't gotten to that point yet, then I would hold off on learning how to make pizza with a starter.  This is considered my most to be advance pizza making.   The reason being is that there can be several pitfalls to using starters that can drastically affect your outcome for the worse.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with experimenting and trying new things.  It's just unsuccessful bakes can be very discouraging especially when you are starting out and it's nice to have a sure pie to fall back on just in case.

So if and when you are ready, one method is as follows.  You can use anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the flour weight in starter depending on how slow or fast you want to ferment your dough.  If you are using more than 10% or so in starter, you should recalculate your new hydration rate.  Starters, particularly in large amounts can raise your hydration rate by 3-4% or more.  To do this, just add half the weight of the starter to the flour side and half to the water side of the recipe (assuming your starter was fed with 50% of each making it a 100% hydrated starter) and recalculate the new hydration ratio.

A simple method of using a starter is to dissolve the active starter in the formula water, then dissolve your salt (and sugar), oil, then flour, and commence mixing.

Just as a loose guide, and at a room temperature of 75f, 1% active starter can fully ferment a moderately hydrated dough in roughly 20hrs, while 10% will take about 12-14hrs, and 20% will take roughly 6-8 hours.
You have to experiment a little and take good notes.  When switching over from a commercial yeast to a starter, it's a good idea to stick with a forumula that you are familiar with so you can see how the starter affects the dough and final product.  

Good luck,
Chau
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 09:39:12 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2011, 09:48:56 PM »
If you aren't ready to tackle pizza making with the starter but want to preserve the starter for future use, you can do this by 2 methods.  You can spread a very thin layer of the active starter on some wax paper and allow it to dry at room temps over 12-24h.  Then break up the flakes and save them in a ziplock bag, for future reactivation.  Don't forget to label the baggy so the Mrs. doesn't accidentally toss it out.

The 2nd method method for preserving the starter is just to keep it in the fridge.  Once every 2 weeks or so, you'll want to dump out about 75% of it and then replace that portion with fresh water and flour.  Mix well and back into the fridge.  When you open the jar, if you see liquid in the jar, this is called the "hooch".  It's excess acid and you'll want to dump it out first before discarding the excess starter.

Chau

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2011, 11:48:38 AM »
I've let starters go 4+ months in the fridge without feeding. They take a couple days of feeding at room temperature to get them back active, but they don't seem to be any worse for the wear after.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline San Jose Dale

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2011, 02:09:59 PM »
Jackie, thanks for the sound advice, makes sense. Until I found this site, i though I was a decent pizza maker, been doing it in my oven and BGE for many years. I discover now that I had no idea what I was doing with the dough, just added a glug of olive oil and honey to a cup of water and IDY, turned on the Kitchen Aid for 20 minutes or so adding flour until it felt right. I realize now how inconsistent my results were, also i usually had rolled out the dough, not stretched. So I have a lot to learn, this seems to be the place for it!

I think i will shelve the starter for a few months until I become a bit more proficient.

Dale

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2011, 11:45:39 PM »
I've let starters go 4+ months in the fridge without feeding. They take a couple days of feeding at room temperature to get them back active, but they don't seem to be any worse for the wear after.

CL

I agree.  I just reactivated an Ischia culture that has been sitting in the fridge for well over a month.  I dumped the hooch and 95% of the old starter.  I used just a tiny amount and fed it generously.  Covered and 12 hours later, it was strong again.  I dumped half and refed for good measure, but it really wasn't necessary.

Jackie, thanks for the sound advice, makes sense. Until I found this site, i though I was a decent pizza maker, been doing it in my oven and BGE for many years. I discover now that I had no idea what I was doing with the dough, just added a glug of olive oil and honey to a cup of water and IDY, turned on the Kitchen Aid for 20 minutes or so adding flour until it felt right. I realize now how inconsistent my results were, also i usually had rolled out the dough, not stretched. So I have a lot to learn, this seems to be the place for it!

I think i will shelve the starter for a few months until I become a bit more proficient.

Dale

Well Dale, I am certainly no authority on pizza, but your methods aren't neccessarily wrong either.  If it produces pizzas that you enjoy eating, then whose to say what is better or best.  There are many different ways to go about making great pizzas.  I myself am a firm believer in taking the road less travel, trying new things, and perhaps learning something new along the way.  If you are already producing consistent pies, then no worries about giving starters a try.  It's entirely your choice. 

I think that you will get a puffier and less dense of a crust if you learn how to open the duogh by hand rather than rolling it out.  There are many tutorial videos on YouTube and with some practice, you can only improve!

Also there is nothing wrong with oil or sugar in a dough.  They have specific effects and serve specific functions.  I would say everyone should learn how they affect dough.  If you like them, use them.   

Chau

Offline RobynB

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Re: Scored some starter, what do I do with it?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 01:03:01 AM »
Honestly, I think it's all trial and error for the first who-knows how long, 'til you perfect YOUR style.  I'm really laughing at myself tonight, because I've been horribly dismissive of using a rolling pin, it just wasn't even a consideration for me.  Tonight I was playing trying to make a really thin, crisp crust for a friend and used a rolling pin, then stretched the edges, and cooked in the WFO, and by goodness, it's a gorgeous crust, closest I've come to the Neapolitan style I've been aiming for!  Duplicated it 3 times, better each time.  I'm using a modified NY-style dough, a ROLLING PIN, and getting this result.  Go figure  :-D  Needless to say, I failed  utterly at the thin crisp crust, though.