Author Topic: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?  (Read 21823 times)

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #220 on: March 29, 2012, 05:30:30 PM »
That's interesting Matt.  Have you always kept your starters refrigerated at a 50% hydration?  If so why?  Is it for the convenience of your schedule, stability, flavor?   Even in the fridge, have you noticed you starter to change significantly over time?

I've also always kept my refrigerated but at more like 90-100% hydration (I never measure - just make a thick paste).
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Offline Matthew

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #221 on: March 29, 2012, 07:08:05 PM »
That's interesting Matt.  Have you always kept your starters refrigerated at a 50% hydration?  If so why?  Is it for the convenience of your schedule, stability, flavor?   Even in the fridge, have you noticed you starter to change significantly over time?

I have been doing this for a couple of months now.  At first it was for convenience.  I use to bring a full batch of active starter to the restaurant, measure out what I need, discard , feed and then bring the starter back home with me.  The back area of the restaurant is currently very small & I was always afraid of cross contamination.  I now only take the amount of starter that I need to make a batch of dough & keep the rest at home.  It is alot easier for me to take what I need at 50% hydration than say at 80-85%.  I also think that it is much more stable at this hydration & remains active for much longer.  My starter doesn't change consistency at all because it get used so frequently in large quantities.  I am happy to report that it I have made well over 120 batches of dough commercially roughly & have yet to use a milligram of yeast to help with the leavening.

Matt

Offline David Deas

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #222 on: March 29, 2012, 07:11:51 PM »
Wow!  This thread exploded!

Quote
"Contrary to myth, the species that grow in sourdough starters are not tied to geographic location, but rather to the traditional practices in the different regions. Several organisms go into the mix, but the environment created inside the starter from the combination of flour, temperature and maintenance routines is what determines which ones will thrive. In type I, or traditional sourdoughs (i.e., those maintained by continuous refreshment at room temperature), the obligately heterofermentive Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis is the species most frequently and consistently found---not just in San Francisco where it was first discovered, but all around the world. And so it deserves special attention."

This is correct.  

But I would disagree with any implication that geography isn't a direct variable.  I know the author did not say it wasn't, but the point deserves clarification.  Indirectly related because of cultural practices, but directly related because geography determines what microscopics are present at what concentrations to begin with.

Although the author is trying to refute the "San Fran sourdough can only be had in San Fran" idea, the fact of the matter is if I start and maintain a sourdough in Italy it will likely taste different than the one I start and maintain in California.  Even though I'm the same person doing the same things.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 07:44:08 PM by David Deas »

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #223 on: March 29, 2012, 07:16:42 PM »
@dmcavanagh Hi :)

@johnnydoubleu  I think established cultures are largely bound to themselves rather than particular locations. So yes, you can probably transplant that culture anywhere. The "players" generally stay the same but the results are always going to be affected by environment. That's true whether it's a home game or an away game.

@Bill
That's a difficult one. Certainly some flavour characteristics can be modified by changing fermentation time, temperature, hydration etc. as I'm sure you've experienced.  So yes, one does have the ability to modify flavour profiles (eg bias towards acetic or lactic and hence their esters) but the degree of control may be limited.

Offline David Deas

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #224 on: March 29, 2012, 07:41:03 PM »
I don't see any real conflict between Craig (and Bill's) qualitative analysis and Debra Wink's excellent treatise.

Debra describes the metabolic pathways of lactic acid bacteria and the associated fermentation products: lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide. The ratio of these products will vary depending on environmental factors, substrate (ie available sugars: maltose, sucrose, glucose, xylose, arabinose etc.), co-substrates (eg  fructose, oxygen) and also the type of lactobacillus (homofermenter, heterofermenter, facultative heterofermenter).
Yeast utilise the EMP, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Additionally, lactobacilli and yeast both contribute to proteolytic activity in sourdough cultures (again varying by species) accounting for varying ratios of arginine, ornithine etc.

Putting that all together and factoring in residual sugars and additional flavour compounds (eg esterification of acetic/lactic acids and ethanol) establishes the palette of sourdough flavours.  The influence that starter feeding routines and environmental factors have on flavour should not be underestimated but is also limited, to a degree, by the nature of the Lb/yeast strains present. 

The difference between cultures is therefore not so much the result of "unique" flavour compounds from "special" strains of lactobacillus or yeast  but rather the overall effect due to particular ratios of flavours coming from a universal set of fermentation products.

An excellent post.  I said the same thing way back on page 1 (post #19).  And *again* on page 3.  We are now on page 12, but I think this answer should completely satisfy the OP. 

The original question was "do all starters become the same?"  The answer is no, they all don't.  The second part of the original question was whether there was "any truth" to that claim?  The answer is yes, there certainly is.

Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #225 on: March 29, 2012, 08:50:23 PM »
I could tell within the first five minutes of having met you that you are WAY more articulate than me, and in all honesty, you know a heck of a lot more about pizza than I do.
That is very generous of you Craig. I new within 5 minutes that you were a really great guy, gracious as all get out and super nice. It was truly a pleasure to meet you and I really enjoyed our convos quite a bit. You remind me of my cousin from Austin. Thanks again for that great Nathan's dog as well. Now back to this slightly contentious topic...:D

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #226 on: March 29, 2012, 09:06:16 PM »
I think this thread is serving a purpose, maybe not the original purpose as I'm not sure if everyone can agree on what happens to starters at different temps.   But at least, it is bringing out some good discussion and good general information on starters.  I know I've already learned a few new things since reading this thread.  

Hey, I never truly thought we could solve the SD mystery and debate here and now since it has been going on for a long time now.  

On another note, I just starter a grape and mandarin orange peel starter 2 days ago and it is already foaming at the surface.  I might try to feed it some flour tonight or tomorrow.  If this is truly yeast activity, it's the fastest I've seen it take off.  Much faster than making one from raisins. 
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 09:09:02 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline David Deas

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #227 on: March 29, 2012, 09:32:58 PM »
It's obviously a great thread.

However, after a thread gets so long it helps every now and then to say what we've learned or have figured out thus far.  What can be agreed upon.  Consolidating ground, so to speak.  We may not be versed on the exact mechanisms as of yet, but if we have figured out something that can answer the OP question that's definitely worth highlighting.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 09:37:16 PM by David Deas »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #228 on: March 29, 2012, 10:33:35 PM »
So just a quick update.  It's only been what 3 days maybe?  And the 3 starters I have out at room temps are tasting similar to me.   That's one CY leaven, 1 patsy's, and 1 ischia.  

Now this is a premature update, but still worth noting.   I tasted the starters at the 23rd hour prior to feeding so they are well ripened, not over ripended but well ripened.  I just refed, and will retaste in the morning (8 hours after feeding) just to see where they are at.

The CY leaven so far has taken on a bit of a sour note.  Not nearly as much as the other starters, but still more than what was originally there.  Originally it had no flavor and a slighty sweet aroma, almost like apples.  I can not detect the sweet aroma and it has a very light acidic taste.  To smell and taste it doesn't remind me of apples at all, which I would describe the original leaven as.

I took out the CY leaven I have in the fridge which hasn't been feed for the last 3 days.  When I open the jar, it smells distinctly like sweet CY.  I taste it and it is also slightly acidic but different from the room temp one.  Less acid and just slightly sweeter.  I don't know if the sweetness is there or if my brain is just picking up the scent of it and telling my tastebuds it's slightly sweet.  Either way, it's different from the room temp one.

The patsy's starter has definitely lost it's sweetness in taste.   I open the patsy's starter from the fridge and taste it and it has it's unique sweet taste that I like.  The room temp one at this 23rd hour, has lost that and a bit more acidic than the fridge one.

The ischia, I couldn't test against the cold one, b/c I had pulled it out earlier and fed it with WW to make bread.  I'll test it another day.  
But at this point, the flavor of all 3 room temp ones taste somewhat similar in flavor to me, not distinctly different as I am use to.  The acidity of the patsys and the ischia is similar to eachother, while the CY leaven at room temps is distinctly less acidic but has a similar flavor profile.

UPDATE: 430am (6 hours after last feeding).  All 3 are puffy, so active but no where near peak.  I tasted all 3 and all are semi sweet tasting.  The Patsy starter I'm not surprise but the ischia I've never really would have describe as sweet.  The CY leaven has just the tiniest acidic bite over the others which seems uncharacteristic.  

The true test will be to refeed these as a 100% hydration starters and allow them to become active and then compare that to the active starters from the fridge.  I'll do that test next week sometime.
Chau  
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 06:41:36 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #229 on: March 29, 2012, 11:28:23 PM »
I could tell within the first five minutes of having met you that you are WAY more articulate than me, and in all honesty, you know a heck of a lot more about pizza than I do.

You should have taken a four hour plane ride with this foodie nut.  He dam near called the stewardess on the description of the pretzels having sea salt on them.  Not to mention the "honey" coated peanuts.  He wanted to ask if the bees were domesticated or foreign. :-D :chef:
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #230 on: March 30, 2012, 12:04:50 AM »
You should have taken a four hour plane ride with this foodie nut.  He dam near called the stewardess on the description of the pretzels having sea salt on them.  Not to mention the "honey" coated peanuts.  He wanted to ask if the bees were domesticated or foreign. :-D :chef:

So that's how it's going to be, eh...
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #231 on: March 30, 2012, 10:58:36 AM »
^Hahahahahaha. :D

Just to show we are more than happy to make fun of ourselves in Brooklyn (too), I offer this (note the shots of Coney in the opening sequence which should be familiar to the folks that went on the fairly recent pizza tour):

<a href="http://vimeo.com/35314812" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://vimeo.com/35314812</a>


"I wasn't convinced that they were sourced locally."

"Did you have the chef's secret tasting menu at Roberta's?"

"They do a free carve. You just bring your loaf of bread and sometimes some myrrh."

"Did you have the invisible shrimp from the Gowanus Canal?"

"Did you eat it? Did you eat it?"
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 11:35:34 AM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #232 on: March 30, 2012, 06:06:07 PM »
A few pages back in this thread I took a post by JimmyG offline for review purpose. I reinstated it this afternoon. For those who may have missed it, it is at Reply 180 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18283.msg178956.html#msg178956.

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #233 on: March 30, 2012, 06:11:06 PM »
A few pages back in this thread I took a post by JimmyG offline for review purpose. I reinstated it this afternoon. For those who may have missed it, it is at Reply 180 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18283.msg178956.html#msg178956.

Peter


Could you make heads or tails of it?  Can you put it into layman's terms for the rest of us?  I took a good try at it but it just made my head hurt.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #234 on: March 30, 2012, 06:24:40 PM »
A few pages back in this thread I took a post by JimmyG offline for review purpose. I reinstated it this afternoon. For those who may have missed it, it is at Reply 180 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18283.msg178956.html#msg178956.

Peter


It's widely available such as here: http://comenius.susqu.edu/biol/312/flavourinsourdoughbreadsareview.pdf
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #235 on: March 30, 2012, 06:30:36 PM »
Could you make heads or tails of it?  Can you put it into layman's terms for the rest of us?  I took a good try at it but it just made my head hurt.

In a nutshell, I think is is saying generally what has been written in this thread. You can tailor the flora, food, and fermentation conditions to get the flavor you want.

CL
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #236 on: April 02, 2012, 12:44:51 PM »
Quote
Could you make heads or tails of it?  Can you put it into layman's terms for the rest of us?  I took a good try at it but it just made my head hurt.

For the most part, you folks pretty much covered the majority of what was written in the article. What I found to be interesting was the combination of flavor molecules associated with specific yeasts and LAB strains. For example the Diacetyl molecule is characterized as having a buttery flavor and odor (http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/data/rw1014611.html, to view the flavor and odor properties of this molecule you need to move your cursor to the Organoleptic Properties tag) and is associated with Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus farciminis, Lactobacillus alimentarius, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus delbrueckii. To what degree we will taste a buttery flavor in our sourdough culture is arguable. However, this info may have limited benifits to identify if a take over has truly taken place. For example, if you notice a change in acidity, none of the yeast produce acetic acid or lactic acid, and all of the bacteria except one produce these compounds. Therefore any changes in the acidity of the culture are most likely due to environmental conditions rather than a change in flora. However if your starter suddenly tastes buttery, there are only a handful of LAB that could be responsible for that flavor. 
To search other flavor compounds at this company's website, you can use this link www.google.com/search?q=Diacetyl+site:http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com
I should note that this same link can also be used to search for flavor pairings e.g. pineapple and mushroom
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #237 on: April 02, 2012, 01:16:06 PM »
Thanks Craig and Jimmy.  I agree and it was mentioned earlier, that just because there is a change in flavor it doesn't neccessarily mean there's been a takeover.  Now, if we take the "changed" starters and revert back to maintaining it in the fridge, if the new flavor profile stays constant then it may represent a takeover.  If the flavor profile changes back to the original flavor, then there probably hasn't been a takeover and we will have just shown that starters will simply take on different flavors when maintained at different temps.  What do you guys think? 

Anyone doing the experiment?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #238 on: April 02, 2012, 04:19:11 PM »
I'm about to try to revive my now throughly mistreated culture samples and see how they compare to the happy, fed ones sleeping in the fridge once activated.
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #239 on: April 02, 2012, 04:22:49 PM »
Chau,
I think those assumptions sound resonable. Unfortunately, I haven't started my experiment yet. I was given some seats to the KU/Ohio St. game last minute and took off for the weekend. I guess what I am saying is that I haven't gotten things together yet but I plan to sometime this week. Ill keep you posted.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 04:33:51 PM by JimmyG »
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