Author Topic: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?  (Read 287 times)

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Online norfbech

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Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« on: April 05, 2016, 08:56:02 AM »
Hi all.
Totally new to pizza making (the last few years of making 'recipe book pizza' have been erased from my memory  :D )

I created a sourdough starter a couple of months back, really to start making sourdough loaves.  Since being sidetracked with a few articles on people making pizzas with sourdough, I've utterly put the bread to one side (still intend to start, but until I get this bee out of my bonnet with pizza dough...it will have to wait).

It took about a week and a half to get the started 'breathing', but it's been fine since then.  It's now kept in the fridge and I tend to feed it once a week (when I'm making dough).  If I feed it in the morning (the 50-50 feed) it should double by the evening (room temps still low at the moment) - if not, I tend to place it on top of the oven (low oven) just to get it double sized a little quicker.
The smell is great (alcoholic sour) by the way.
What I tend to do when using it in the dough, is stir the doubled starter which kind of 'pushes' it back down to half size again - might this cause issues with rising in the dough?
I use 1.3% in my dough recipe and have recently lowered the hydration to 60%. However, I'm having issues with the dough totally sinking in containers when fermenting (and this is after a decent stretch and fold routine and, when balling, getting a nice tight dough ball.
The containers are lightly oiled, but I'm still having to scrape and slowly pour the dough out to shape. The texture is akin to loose skin. Not being experienced in pizza making, I'd say the dough was definitely over extensible.  Any 'knuckle' stretching would probably tear the dough, and it get very thin, very quickly.

I've read a few threads on there, but I can't quite determine whether my starter (even at 1.3%) would somehow breakdown the gluten structure?
Is it worth experimenting with my starter and adding a lot more than I currently do (lowering the hydration to compensate)?
I've used fresh yeast in the past, and the dough (in the fridge) was nothing like this (although this dough is much stretchier and far tastier).

I've added a few pics (apologies if you've already seen them on my other threads) and here's my current recipe:

Flour (12.6 - 12% depending) 100%
Water (tried both cold and luke warm) 60%
Salt 3%
Starter 1.3%

Short mix, stand for 10 mins than a few stretch and folds with 10  min intervals until the dough is 'silk like'.

Although I will try IDY in a few batches, I really want to successfully use my starter all the time (I've always got it for a start, plus we all like the flavour of the dough...though to reiterate, that might be the two-three day ferments).
You can see in the balled dough ferment pictures (day two - first day bulk ferment) that the dough has already started to 'blow bubbles' which I wanted to avoid.

Cheers.

Offline texmex

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2016, 09:28:49 AM »
From your photos it looks like you are doing room temp fermentation?  What is your dough temp after ...hmm how long are you letting the dough go?  What did you base the percentage of SD on? 
Reesa

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2016, 10:05:46 AM »
Yes, they're on the table on that photo but I tend to keep them in a built in wall cabinet - temp stable-ish around 65-70.
First 24 hours as bulk, then ball, stretch and fold and into separate containers.
I will get round to building my own coolbox with wooden dough tray, especially when the outdoor temp starts to rise (for that one week in the UK!)

Sourdough percentage based on flour at 100%.
For this dough I used 800g flour (12.6% protein strong bread flour), 480g water (60% hydration) 24g salt (3%) and 10.4g starter (1.3g).
Virtually no rise (which is good right?) but just sink and those  bubbles formingon the skin.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2016, 10:34:17 AM »
norfbech,

As some point you may want to look into using round storage containers, which should make it easier to form the dough balls into nice round bases.

Peter

Online norfbech

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2016, 12:06:39 PM »
^^ Yes, that was one of next questions as it happens.  Perhaps the corner angles of the rectangle/square containers effects the 'memory' of the dough.
I'll swap them over.  Discount stores tend to have a wide range of these for little cost.

I was also wondering if I should do away with the next day balling and instead (I think I read something similar on here or serious eats) cutting my dough to size, and then only balling (stretch and fold etc) a couple of hours before I bake so the dough retains it's shape, but relaxes just enough to stretch on the peel etc?

Also considering a tray of some variety: initially a plastic storage unit (ok?) and then building a wooden one (which I'll eventually house in a cooler box...which I'll no doubt build).

Aside from that, does my sourdough behaviour and amount seem ok? Any confirmation if stirring the starter before use (effectively punching it down) makes any difference?

Many thanks.

Online norfbech

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2016, 08:36:21 AM »
From your photos it looks like you are doing room temp fermentation?  What is your dough temp after ...hmm how long are you letting the dough go?  What did you base the percentage of SD on?

Hi texmex,

I made some more dough up last night (again, using sourdough). It's at room temp ( in containerer) at around late 60's f.
The dough temp itself is 65f.  I've doubled the amount of SD starter this time: from 1.3% to 2.6% - still with two day room temp ferment, but lowered the hydration to 59%.  Probably pulling a few  extremes here but it will help with results.
It's sank again, but I'll have a better idea when I ball it up tonight (for a tomorrow evening bake - or I'll fridge it tomorrow for a bake the following day - 2 days RT, 1 day in the fridge).

I also made some dough using a NY style recipe.  Similar hydration rates, but with added sugar, oil and IDY.  This ball (only made enough for one pizza - so no bulk here) is still 'roundish' in the fridge (swapped out with round containers now), so I'll see how it performs after two days in the fridge. I followed a recipe posted on here.

Many thanks.


Offline texmex

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2016, 09:38:12 AM »
Hi texmex,

I made some more dough up last night (again, using sourdough). It's at room temp ( in containerer) at around late 60's f.
The dough temp itself is 65f.  I've doubled the amount of SD starter this time: from 1.3% to 2.6% - still with two day room temp ferment, but lowered the hydration to 59%.  Probably pulling a few  extremes here but it will help with results.
It's sank again, but I'll have a better idea when I ball it up tonight (for a tomorrow evening bake - or I'll fridge it tomorrow for a bake the following day - 2 days RT, 1 day in the fridge).

I also made some dough using a NY style recipe.  Similar hydration rates, but with added sugar, oil and IDY.  This ball (only made enough for one pizza - so no bulk here) is still 'roundish' in the fridge (swapped out with round containers now), so I'll see how it performs after two days in the fridge. I followed a recipe posted on here.

Many thanks.

Craig has created a SD predictive chart for temp/time ....  have you seen it? 
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=22649.0
I have had similar issues with longer RT ferments and SD.  Knowing the temp is consistent without a proofing chamber almost always proves to be the culprit for me.  The predicitve models also take into consideration a 2 phase fermentation. 

If you are following a specific recipe suggested here, by all means post your results within that same thread so that others who used a similar method can chime in.

In all honestu, my bakes are hit and miss as can be seen here
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=14714.msg146302#msg146302

Inconsistency  is my middle name!  :-\
Reesa

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2016, 10:04:33 AM »
Craig has created a SD predictive chart for temp/time ....  have you seen it? 
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=22649.0
I have had similar issues with longer RT ferments and SD.  Knowing the temp is consistent without a proofing chamber almost always proves to be the culprit for me.  The predicitve models also take into consideration a 2 phase fermentation. 

If you are following a specific recipe suggested here, by all means post your results within that same thread so that others who used a similar method can chime in.

In all honestu, my bakes are hit and miss as can be seen here
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=14714.msg146302#msg146302

Inconsistency  is my middle name!  :-\

Yes - I've seen Craigs chart: given my RT is approx 69-70f (but fluctuates and will do more once the weather gets warmer) and SD of 1/3%, I'm probably looking at 33 hours give or take.  I've not fully invested my time in reading it thoroughly, but I shall do. 
A little unclear as to whether after those 33 hours it's time to bake, or I should reball at that stage?  Craig has a two day ferment which I've been following (one day bulk one day balled) which I where I'm a little unclear on that chart.
Even overnight at RF (in container) - less than 12 hours in fact, the 2.6% SD dough had sunk quite considerably. 

I'll give your thread a good read to texmex, but a quick scan suggests it's going to be a lot of help.
Quickly read you used unfed SD - still the case? And did you too obtain 'melted' dough in your initial tests?

I think if the temp inconstancy is such a big problem (even over small increments) then the quicker I build a proofer/cooler the better - I'll build a wooden tray to fit inside.

Many thanks.

EDIT to Add:  I've read a few bits recently on here (and your thread back then) discussing 'preferment' - are these akin to a sponge you would use when making sourdough bread?

Offline texmex

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2016, 10:50:22 AM »
When I first used SD,  I  was winging it!  My SD culture was very robust in the beginning, but I  discovered that regular feeding would keep it that way....and that dough would be infinitely better if I  used well fed starter.   My SD is kept in the fridge, btw.

I discovered that SD prepared dough doesn't do much rising solely in the fridge....
Using high hydration in the beginning had everything to do with bread baking experiments, but was not conducive to baking in the home oven except on rare occasions when I  just got lucky. I have had soupy dough more than once with yeast and with SD.  More to do with the mixing techniques and constant mucking about with my formulas and methods with lots of trying to force bakes too soon, waiting too long to bake, etc. User error all over the place....but I try to learn from those mistakes although I made several of them over and over.

I experimented with yeast poolish or autolyse as well as SD poolish in more recent experiments. 

One of our awesome forum members created a plug in online tool here http://www.mightypizzaoven.com/sourdough-bread-or-pizza-recipe-creator/ for figuring out ferment times using Craig's chart as a model.  I have used it with much success!

Edited to add:
The word preferment was utilized because of the dough formula tools on site  http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough-tools.html using the terminolgy.  SD is but one style pf preferment....i jokingly called an ADY 45 minute autolyse a preferment, since it did have 45 minutes of pre-fermentation before I mixed in the rest of my ingredients for the 5 hour dough.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 10:57:48 AM by texmex »
Reesa

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2016, 11:44:27 AM »
Thanks a fantastic tool/link - surprised I hadn't already seen it.

It also answer my question about stirring the activated SD starter before use...which I have been doing, and apparently that's wrong (rupturing the forming gases).
That might go towards explaining a few of my sinking dough results, but then again, as soon as you drop the SD starter in the water you're instantly whisking it up anyway??

Good tip re the sinking/floating of the SD in a glass of water.  I'll find that very helpful.
I too feed it once a week - usually the morning before the nights dough making, but this week it hadn't risen enough during the day - had to lay off, feed it the next morning and do the dough a day late.

Bit unsure on Craig's SD calculator (given my RT and amounts, I'm usually looking at between 24 and 33 hours...but Craig's recipe suggests 24 hours for bulk ferment than another 24 balled (at the same RT and SD amount as I'm using) - which is 48 hours?

Good call re posting on the threads I grabbed the recipes from.  It might turn out my RT fluctuates too much (certainly no higher than 70f this time of year); my SD isn't as active as it should be and/or I shouldn't stir before use; the rectangle containers are having a detrimental effect on the dough when poured/scraped out.

Many thanks!

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2016, 11:52:59 AM »
A little unclear as to whether after those 33 hours it's time to bake, or I should reball at that stage?  Craig has a two day ferment which I've been following (one day bulk one day balled) which I where I'm a little unclear on that chart.

The chart is intended to predict total time with no reball starting with a culture that is approximately at full activity. It's really just a starting point. There are lots and lots of variables that can affect the fermentation time needed, particularly with sourdough where no two cultures are exactly the same and feeding schedules/culture activity levels can vary significantly. You may need to test and tweak over several iterations to find what works best for you.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2016, 12:03:22 PM »
Thanks Craig - that helps.

Is it out of the ordinary to bulk ferment for a certain time (say 24 hours) then ball and place in the fridge for either 24 hours, or more.
I've read the comments about SD not really good for fridge fermentation, but if I RT the SD dough for 24 hours first, perhaps the ball/dough will sink less at the lower temps.  Again, it's something I might trial, but that SD starter link above has perhaps provided even more clues as to the failing of my SD dough.
In saying that, my first batch of SD (a couple of weeks back) was fermented in the fridge and that sank just the same way.
However, the NY style dough I trialled last night, still remains a ball in the fridge.  Difference here was IDY (no SD), oil and sugar.

The pizza bakes are now the best I've ever made - and tasty (topping experiments will come later), but the dough is super extensible and very prone to ripping - strength is missing somehow.
I'll know better when I reball this current lot tonight for a bake tomorrow evening.  Same applies with the NY Style.

I've a lot of alchemy to be getting on with...I can only apologise for the amount of questions I have!  Very limited 'proper' pizza culture over here at the moment, but it's picking up.

Cheers.




Offline texmex

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2016, 12:09:19 PM »

I've a lot of alchemy to be getting on with...I can only apologise for the amount of questions I have!  Very limited 'proper' pizza culture over here at the moment, but it's picking up.

Cheers.

Please don't apologize for the questions.  It may be beneficial for the next person coming along who hasn't  been able to pinpoint that small tweak, and then that one little seemjngly insignificant query and comment can be the key to success.
Reesa

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2016, 12:19:18 PM »
Is it out of the ordinary to bulk ferment for a certain time (say 24 hours) then ball and place in the fridge for either 24 hours, or more.

I don't think there is an "ordinary" when it comes to sourdough ("SD") pizza. I haven't had much success using the fridge with SD, and my gut feeling is that using the fridge is detrimental to multiple quality aspects - particularly with SD. That being said, no harm in trying.
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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2016, 12:46:24 PM »
Please don't apologize for the questions.  It may be beneficial for the next person coming along who hasn't  been able to pinpoint that small tweak, and then that one little seemjngly insignificant query and comment can be the key to success.

Thanks tex!

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2016, 12:49:59 PM »
I don't think there is an "ordinary" when it comes to sourdough ("SD") pizza. I haven't had much success using the fridge with SD, and my gut feeling is that using the fridge is detrimental to multiple quality aspects - particularly with SD. That being said, no harm in trying.

Thanks Craig - I'll keep notes on every thing I do with SD.  Once I've got a good feeding schedule and constancy I'll have a better idea.

Just in case I wasn't clear (I may have missed the info out) I meant I was going to try a bulk ferment for 24 hours at RT then fridge to tame any more slackness/warmth that might be in the dough.

Cheers.

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Re: Is my starter actually working or 'killing' my gluten?
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2016, 09:05:51 AM »
This is the state of my three doughs yesterday.
From Left to Right as you view the pictures:

1: This is NY Style recipe (123 I think).  Made the same way as I do SD with regard to stretching/resting, but added oil, sugar and IDY.
This was balled straight into the fridge after making.

2: SD recipe I'm currently experimenting with. 1 day at RT, one day in the fridge.

3: SD recipe as above.  2 days at RT.

Results so far:

The NY style dough was really good...surprised myself last night.  Light crisp but with that 'oven spring' often mentioned on here (I'm only going on what it felt like).
Simply the best pizza I've ever made.  However, the dough taste (using the cornicione as it was free from any other ingredients) wasn't anything like the SD I've been using, although the SD recipes don't have the same texture. 
Craig mentioned getting to grips with IDY first, then looking at SD starters, which I think is a good call.  If I can get my SD dough to work like the IDY (oil and sugared dough) then I'm well on the way.  Stretched really well, but again, good practice on pushing the air to the edges, turning, knuckle stretching etc.  All valuable experience.  Even launching is more confident, which in turn means I can get them baked a lot quicker!

I'm going to try the third dough tonight (pic 3 below).  This has obviously risen more than the other SD ball which had one day in the fridge, but potentially too much.  Both the SD doughs have double the amount of starter I usually use (2.6% as opposed to 1.3%). 
I'll do the third one tomorrow (middle pic), although it may have soured too much by then (fourth day!)
Also a possibility I've been 'damaging' the starter before I use it: after it's doubled, I've always stirred it back in - reading the link above, this is a no no.
And finally, those circular containers appear to be much more helpful for pouring the dough out (and obtaining a round pizza).

I might post pics in the threads I obtained the recipes from as suggested above.

Many thanks!