Author Topic: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?  (Read 28114 times)

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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:
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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...
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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):



"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
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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.
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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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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #240 on: April 02, 2012, 04:56:51 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.

So Craig, it's been sitting out at room temps for a week or so now without any feedings right?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #241 on: April 02, 2012, 05:06:14 PM »
Yes, coming up on two weeks at 75F without feeding.
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #242 on: April 04, 2012, 10:04:49 AM »
So I started my follow along experiment this morning. Below I am providing some detail of how I am proceeding:

   For this follow along, I left four samples out on the counter, two were left open in a closed Tupperware container–with a wet sponge in the bottom for humidity. The other two samples were left in their own closed containers on the counter. One test sample in each group– the open and closed groups–contained my SD culture and the other sample contained only flour and water. Flour (KAAP) and water was mixed in a 1:1 ratio to each other and provided the base for all samples. If it is possible for a take over to take place, I hypothesis that closed container group should taste different and the open containers should taste similar to each other. All samples will be feed every once every 48h for 10 days.
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #243 on: April 04, 2012, 10:38:45 AM »
Your experiment sounds interesting Jimmy.  Can you clarify your hypothesis?  Are you hypothesizing that the 2 samples of the closed container group should taste different from eachother or that the closed container group as a whole should taste different from the open container group?  Can you take me through your thought process on your hypothesis?

For example.  Do you think that a take over is possible with the only flour + water sample of the open container group, and if so, where would the invading yeast come from?  The neighbor SD starter, flour, or airborne? 

Also at what point in the fermentation process will you be doing the final taste testing for the verdict?  At the end of the test and prior to taste testing, I imagine you will have to feed all 4 samples more frequently than every 48 hours to get them to peak activity prior to tasting.  I imagine you would want to do multiple taste tests of the starters at different stages as well as each starter matures and becomes more acidic.

Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #244 on: April 04, 2012, 11:55:18 AM »
These are great questions Chau. To clarify, my four hypothesis are:
1.) If airborne migration is the primary mode of invasion, I would hypothesis that the open container groups (samples 1 & 2) should become very similar to each other in a closed environment at the end of the experiment.
2.) If the cultures are able to migrate (airborne) the flour and water samples (samples 2 & 4) should taste dissimilar at the end of the study, as both groups have been exposed to different environments.
3.) If yeast and bacteria already present in the flour are the primary vehicle for invasion and the origin of all SD starters, I would speculate that the flour and water samples (samples 2 &4) should be dissimilar to the SD samples (samples 1 & 3).
4.) Also, if SD starters are hardy enough to withstand invasion by outside flora, I would hypothesis that the flavor of both SDs (samples 1 & 3) will not change throughout the experiment.  

Hopefully this should cover many of the questions we have asked throughout this thread.
I should add that I will be feeding the flour and water sample in its own closed container (sample 4) first to minimize any airborne transmission from the other samples. The other samples will be feed in corresponding descending order.

Here is a diagram of the design for further clarity.

                                        SD Starter          Flour + H20      
Open containers in a              Sample 1           Sample 2
closed environment

Closed containers in a            Sample 3           Sample 4
open environment

Yeah I will probably taste in between feedings but I will rely on the final tasting to draw my conclusions.
Regarding final tasting, I think what I will do is feed on the 10th day (in the morning after coffee) and taste the raw starters 8-12h later that night. This should give ample to time for the cultures to mature at room temp. I may at that point make up four AP doughs to see if there are any noticeable flavor or other physical (eg color, oven spring etc) differences between the crusts after baking too.

I am also considering starving the entire group for 10 days after the final feeding to see if anything happens but we shall see.

Addendum: I should also add the only way I can validate any of these hypotheses is to assume that I will find differences in flavor in at least one of the samples. If all of the samples taste the same in the end or are completely different from each other, I am stuck back at square one and am not able to draw any conclusions. Here is hoping there is a detectable difference.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 01:36:37 PM by JimmyG »
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #245 on: April 06, 2012, 08:28:01 AM »
This morning I feed all samples with a 1:1 mixture of H20 and KAAP and made a preliminary tasting of the starters. Samples 2 & 4 (flour + water group) were beginning to show some activity but still tasted pretty doughy. The SD samples had retained their activity and still tasted remarkably similar. The only noticeable difference was that sample 1 overflowed out of its container while sample 3 never reached the top of the lid. Ill report back in a few days with any progress being made.
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #246 on: April 07, 2012, 11:01:42 PM »
Just wanted to give an update on my experiment.  It has been about 2 weeks now of feeding 2 starters (ischia & patsy's) and a CY leaven/culture at room temps once a day.  The hydration for all 3 was approximately 70% by feel/eye and they were typically fed around 9-10pm daily.   I would smell them first, then taste them usually before feeding and occassionally in the morning or midday.   Prior to feeding most days, all 3 were usually liquid and bubbly and rather acidic.  At first the CY culture really had no acidity but after 3-4 days I started noticing some acidity, while the other 2 were always acidic by feeding time.   At the end of 2 weeks, the acidity of the CY leaven is still present but less than the other 2.

Last night, I forgot to feed at 10p, but rather did the feeding this morning at 6am.  I decided today was test day, so at 6am this morning I discarded the majority of each and fed all 3 with 50/50 flour & water.  I wanted to bring them all to the same point that I would normally use them at 100% hydration.  I also pulled the 2 corresponding starters and CY leaven from the fridge and also discarded & fed them.  I spent most of the day discarding and refeeding all 6 samples so that they would all be active and in a similar youthful state at time of testing.  I didn't want any residual acids in any of the samples to interfere with their tasting or aroma at test time.   Testing was done tonight at around 8pm.  All starters are considered fairly young and all are similarly active.  

I first tested each room temp sample that had been split from their original counterpart (fridge maintained) and was pleased that all 3 tasted very similar to their counter parts, with the exception of the room temp Patsy's and Ischia starters having a little bit of an off odor (bit stinky) compare to the fridge samples.  I did multiple taste test, and was happy to conclude that though the aromas differ slightly for the patsy starter, the taste was very similar.  

I also noticed this about the CY leaven.  The fridge sample smelled slightly sweet as it always does while the room temp one smelled just slightly acidic, but not to the same degree as the other 2.  Both tasted very similarly to one another with a slight sweetness with very little acidity to them.  

After multiple taste testing between all 6 samples, I started noticing that the flavors were ALL very very similar.  Upon noticing this, I cross taste tested all of them against one another (ex. Patsy vs Ischia (RT and fridge), Ischia vs CY (RT and fridge) so on and so forth).  The only slight difference between all the samples is both CY leavens (Room temp & fridge) had a slightly milder flavor, but I would say that it is the same flavor as the others.  Both the room temp Patsy and Ischia have a slightly stinkier aroma compare to their fridge counterparts, but all flavors are very similar.  I would say the room temp Patsy's and Ischia smell and taste identical.  Where I once was confidant that I could distinguish starter from starter blind folded, I am no longer sure about that.

Where I once was so sure about the uniqueness of my starters, I am no longer sure about that either.   At this point, I plan to put them all in the fridge and I'll continue doing taste testing in the future, but as it stands these are my results and I am convinced that they are all the same or very similar now.   Perhaps I have been wrong about all of this.

Chau
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:19:47 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline David Deas

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #247 on: April 08, 2012, 12:30:11 PM »
It will be interesting to see if you can restore them. 

Reviving starters, I have done often enough.  Whether or not a starter can be *restored* to its original state after a substantial period of neglect, I have no idea.  I've never paid that close attention.  I'm usually just preoccupied with making sure the revived starter is not too sour for use.  And then I'm good to go.

In theory your starters should restore.  But then again, I probably only know half the theory.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #248 on: April 08, 2012, 12:52:23 PM »
One thing I failed to emphasize in my post is that the starters smell differently at their peak.  The fridge CY and Patsy smelled slightly sweet when brought to room temps and active.   The 2 week room temp Patsy's and Ischia we're a bit stinky...bacterial odor, not heavy but noticeable.  At first I thought it was because I had too much residual starter to start with, but even after discarding 90% plus and reseeding, which I thought would make that odor go away, it was still there even after several feedings.   But the taste between all of them were very similar.  I was also tasting 1/4 -1/2 tsp at a time to try get a really good taste.

Offline JimmyG

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Re: do all sourdough starter cultures become the same?
« Reply #249 on: April 08, 2012, 01:16:51 PM »
Quote
One thing I failed to emphasize in my post is that the starters smell differently at their peak.  The fridge CY and Patsy smelled slightly sweet when brought to room temps and active.

That is pretty interesting that you are finding differences in the smell but not flavor. Do you think the acids being produced in your RT samples are masking other odors?
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