Author Topic: The Italian starters are here!  (Read 23186 times)

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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2005, 01:29:57 PM »
Christopher,

Here is what I do, which is NOT what is in the book. This works well for me based on years of feeding starters. First of all, I never have to wash my starters. I generally feed them every 1-2 weeks because I use them so often; they are always ready. Also, my starters probably have a thicker consistency since I like them to be approximately as thick as the final dough. Also, I always clean the storage container after each feeding to avoid the building up of dried crud.

So here is my general procedure:

1. Remove from refrigerator and reincorporate the hooch, if present. Add 3/4 cup flour (Caputo 00 for pizza starters) and whisk in enough bottled water (~1/2 cup) to desired consistency. Allow to sit covered at room temp until it is fully active (rises to near top of container). This takes 3-6 hours depending on room temp and the state of the starter..

2. Remove whatever is needed for the day's baking.

3. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the remaining starter into a bowl and throw out the rest (or use for waffles as I posted yesterday).

4. Thoroughly wash the original storage container with hot water and dry .

5. In the bowl with the starter, add 3/4 cup of flour and enough bottled water (~1/2 cup) and whisk thoroughly.

6. Pour 2 cups of the starter into the storage container. Cover and allow to sit at room temp for an hour or two until bubbles start to form. Then it goes into the refrigerator.

This procedure is pretty forgiving. Quantities and times don't need to be precise. I tweak fermenting and proofing times to get the desired amount of rise and flavor. I've got a pretty good handle on this when it comes to baguettes, but still very much a beginner with regard to pizza.

Hope this helps some.

Bill/SFNM
« Last Edit: November 07, 2005, 01:32:26 PM by Bill/SFNM »


Offline Christopher

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2005, 02:20:05 PM »
thanks, bill,
a question my wife asked me was whether the top was to be screwed tightly while in the fridge or if left loose like during the activation process. i figured completely tightened to avoid exposure, but why is it only screwed lightly during activation? i thought contaminates could get in or is that a good thing during this period?
christopher

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2005, 02:34:04 PM »
Christopher,

I use pastic Cambro containers with a snap on lid. If too much pressure builds up inside, the lid will pop off (and make a big mess.  :)

Here is a photo (sorry for poor quality) of what I use:

(http://www.lanackerman.com/images/cambro.jpg)

Bill/SFNM

Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2005, 09:07:28 AM »
Pizza made with Camaldori culture attached below.

The taste was better than IDY but it did not 'blow my mind'. I am sure I'm to blame here, I don't think it's fully full fully activated but it did rise very easily. I didn't get the 'bubbles oozing out' level of activity. I just get bubbles at the same level as I left it. But it still works and worked pretty good.

I loved the crust colour I achieved on this one though. 12% Protein bread flour, no sugar, no oil -- home oven.



Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2005, 09:28:03 AM »
JF,
That looks outstanding. I am "cutting my teeth" on the use of the starters by making sourdough bread loaves. I don't mind so much throwing away a loaf of bread if it fails but to end up without dough on pizza night would be disastrous. Having said that, last night I successfully baked a batch of the "World Bread" from Ed Woods book and it came out very good. So this weekend I may go ahead and use the preferment (Ischia). I'll probably prepare another batch of IDY dough just in case.

Did you need to change any of your dough management techniques when using the preferment?

Thanks,
Dan

Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2005, 10:03:58 AM »
Hi Dan,
I did a overnight counter-rise instead of overnight fridge rise, but the rest is the same. After all complexities I've been hearing, I was really worried it might not rise much and give extra trouble etc. But it just worked. I used about half a cup of culture to make 1250grams of dough. Next morning it had increased by 20%. By miday, which is when I had my pizza party planned, it had doubled. The yeast's leavening power is really no less than IDY. :)

Offline Wazza McG

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2005, 02:47:00 PM »
Well done JF, looks great.  I am hoping to start my preferment this week I hope.  Are you happy with the way your culture is progressing? seems like that once they are up and running they only need a small amount of care.

Wazza McG 
Fair Dinkum - you want more Pizza!  Crikey ! I've run out out them prawny thingymebobs again!

Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2005, 12:21:41 AM »
Hey Wazza,
I am pretty happy with how they are progressing. I'm still working on it though, trying to get the foam to fill up the whole container. So far I've been baking with a culture that hasn't exploded much -- definitely no lid popping powerful. But it's still working pretty good so I'm kind of surprised. Let us know how you go with yours.

Offline scott r

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2005, 12:36:19 AM »
Are you sure you have been waiting long enough after their feeding?   Realize that the dryer the culture the longer it will take to ferment and rise since more water = faster fermentation.   I use a (fairly dry) dough like consistency starter and it really can take quite some time to peak, especially in cooler weather.  Also, if you are taking it out of the fridge this will add hours to your feed to peak time.

Forgive me if you are already doing this, but next time feed, then wait until the starter grows to its maximum potential then starts to recede.  I am pretty sure this is the best time to use your starter.  This is the point at which your little friends have gobbled up all the available food in the flour and are the most hungry for more.  You might be surprised at how long this takes depending on conditions.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2005, 12:44:52 AM by scott r »


Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2005, 05:17:34 AM »
Scott,
You guessed right -- I have been using a drier consistency; I thought it would bester that way but it seems 50/50 works better.

I'm doing what you're suggesting. Last week I had a pizza party and I couldn't afford to wait. But tonight I'm going to feed them until they blow. ;)

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2005, 09:17:51 AM »
hey guys,
i used the starter for the first time last nigh in our dough. i made a 16 inch lehmann with liquid preferment from Pete-zza's recipe in the lehmann thread, followed all instructions, 24 hour refrigerator rise and two hours on the counter. this pizza was awful! :(
 the dough did not rise at all during baking, it was gummy and raw tasting in the middle and you couldnt taste the starter.
i am afraid i messed up the starter by thinking it had activated when it actually had not. when i thought it activated it had grown triple its original size, not really foamy or bubbly, but some signs of growth, then i put it in the fridge. i thought it was done, but last nights pizza almost made me give up! :'(
the starter smells good, maybe not fully activated? this morning i dumped all but 1.5 cups, filled with water, stirred vigorously, then fed 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup water as per instructions and placed back in the proofing box at 90 degrees.
if it foams can it go back in the fridge or should i continue to feed on a schedule for a certain time to get peak activity?
any advice would be appreciated.
thanks,
christopher

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2005, 09:22:13 AM »
Christopher,

I don't use the Lehmann method, but I do let the dough ferment until it is about double in volume. Did the dough rise at all during fermentation or proofing?

Bill/SFNM

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2005, 09:27:33 AM »
hey, bill,
no, not really maybe 10%. it slumped a bit in the fridge like a pancake. at the 2 hour rise on the counter it did not rise, but felt like taffy and was very easy to stretch. i could let it hang and get inches from it. it showed no signs of wanting to tear. it was very different from i am used to, in a good way though.
the crust did not brown at all, only a few little spots, and had a gum line in the middle of the crust that was raw, the texture and chew of the sauced areas was nice, but not tasty in the least.
thanks,
christopher

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2005, 09:43:54 AM »
I would suggest you continue to feed it. IIRC, I had to feed mine for almost 2 weeks until it was fully active. And even after that, the culture continued to gain strength each time I used it.

Bill/SFNM

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2005, 10:04:21 AM »
thanks, bill,
i will keep feedin' that bad boy!
does your final dough, now that your culture is firing on all cylinders, taste great? how much of the starter flavor shows through?
does it just add a hint or is it explosive? when you take it out of the fridge for baking do you stir in the hooch or poor it out to get a milder flavor or does it not matter with the calmodoli which is said to be milder?
sorry for all the questions.
thanks,
christopher

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2005, 10:53:18 AM »
Christopher,

In my early days when I first started making and using natural preferments, I ran into the same problem as you did recently. I was using the preferment to make sourdough bread, the real tangy kind with a lot of acetic acid. There were times when the preferment just didn't work. Ultimately I was able to get the preferment to work properly and I ended up with some really great sourdough breads.

I have discovered that when the question of flavor comes up, especially when you read posts of our members, including me, about how great the flavors are from using natural preferments, the issue of expectations also comes up. I personally don't like the really sour flavors, such as those associated with the San Francisco-style sourdough breads which have a lot of acetic acid, which is essentially vinegar. I like the flavors for sourdough bread but not for pizza crusts. For pizza, I prefer the more subtle flavors that come from lactic acid, as the result of bacterial action (lactobacillus). So, the degree to which you will like the flavors that you get from your preferment will depend where you would like to be on the scale from really sour (acetic) to mild (lactic). I gather that the sourdo.com starters are more to the right of the middle of the spectrum. Once you get your starter to a fully functional condition, you will get a pretty good idea of where it sits on the spectrum and the extent to which you can move the needle in one direction or the other to best suit your personal preferences.

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2005, 10:55:34 AM »
Yes, the final dough tastes great, especially pizzas made with the Camaldoli starter. The baked dough has a wonderful flavor. The longer I allow it to retard in the refrigerator, the stronger the flavor. It is more than a hint, but far from explosive. I always stir in the hooch. I've only been playing with Marco's Italian starters for a few months, so I'm still learning too. I'm not even close to consistent results.

Bill/SFNM


Offline Christopher

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2005, 11:13:32 AM »
thanks, guys,
it is good to know that it is a matter of experience and not that i am not doing it "right". i agree that a pizza should not have a San Francisco sour to it, i prefer a deeper more mellow flavor in my doughs if that makes sense.
thanks,
christopher

Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2005, 11:42:04 AM »
Chris,
Try giving your dough a room temperature overnight rise. It should rise significantly and be usable the next day.

Offline OzPizza

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2005, 06:48:39 PM »
Chris,
Try giving your dough a room temperature overnight rise. It should rise significantly and be usable the next day.

Hey James, being as I'm on the sourdo.com starter bandwagon as well, day 4 (slow but seems to be alive and kicking, sourdough aroma), when you say overnight rise are you talking for a neopolitan recipe or NY? I don't want to find I'm suddenly subverting towards Neopolitan when my goal is always NY.
Founder of B.R.N.Y.P.O.Z. - The bring REAL NY pizza to Oz movement!

Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2005, 02:59:36 AM »
Hey James, being as I'm on the sourdo.com starter bandwagon as well, day 4 (slow but seems to be alive and kicking, sourdough aroma), when you say overnight rise are you talking for a neopolitan recipe or NY? I don't want to find I'm suddenly subverting towards Neopolitan when my goal is always NY.

Oz,
I don't think using a overnight counter rise will subert your goal toward NY pizza. NY pizza is more characteristed by size, topping philosophy and crust texture. All of these do not conflict with a well managed overnight counter rise.

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2005, 10:46:41 AM »
Hey, guys,
thanks for all the suggestions! last night i dumped all but 1.5 cups of starter filled with water, and fed the starter and after about 5 hours it totally foamed up! :o i am hoping to give it a go this weekend in a small recipe, maybe two 10 inch pizzas to not waist more flour until i get this thing fully fired-up. hopefully when i get some good looking pizzas i can post photos.
thanks,
christopher

Offline OzPizza

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2005, 06:36:57 PM »
Oz,
I don't think using a overnight counter rise will subert your goal toward NY pizza. NY pizza is more characteristed by size, topping philosophy and crust texture. All of these do not conflict with a well managed overnight counter rise.

I've seen that there are variations on the type of rise which people like Pete have tried, so I'm sure I'll find a style that works well with hi gluten flour. I also don't want to switch to '00', then I'd be heading towards the so-called 'elite NY' style, which shifts the emphasis a bit too close to neopolitan for me.
Founder of B.R.N.Y.P.O.Z. - The bring REAL NY pizza to Oz movement!

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #48 on: November 15, 2005, 11:19:32 AM »
alright, guys,
i am having issues with my starter not re-activating. when i got the culture started originally it foamed up, i fed it and into the fridge it went. i have two jars going and they both smell good and developed hooch over a few days, the yesterday we took them out to restart them for dough and followed the instructions for reactivating. they were stirred up, got rid of all except 1.5 cups, filled to top with 85 degree water, stirred vigorously, emptied out all but 1.5 cups, refed per instructions, into the proofing box it went.
it has been developing hooch pretty quickly. i have my wife working on it today. it has shown only slight bubbles on top, then turns to hooch within an hour or two. i told her to repeat the process as soon as it gets the hooch on top. is this correct or should it just be fed?
i m having her keep with it all day until it foams and then remove some into a container for me to use tonight.
questions:
it has been in the fridge a few days with out feeding, how any times of reactivation could it take to get up and running?
is the hooch forming because it is already out of food?
should we repeat the re-activation instructions when the hooch forms or let it go the full three hours?
can it form hooch and still become foamed up or ist depleted by then?
when it does foam up and is ready, do you stir it up and then take what you need or just leave it foamy and take what you need?
i am completely frustrated by this whole thing :-[
any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
thanks,
christopher

Offline Arthur

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Re: The Italian starters are here!
« Reply #49 on: November 25, 2006, 10:58:00 AM »
Began activating my Camaldoli starter today.    I'm continuing on with this thread since I'm just posting my progress.  I've tried to read most of what people have written about starters in this forum but I'm sure I missed some points so I'm open to advice.

I created my own proofing box.  Just bought a lamp kit from Home Depot ($6 or so).  Took 5 minutes and added a 25 watt bulb.  I use some scissors at the opening (you can use anything) to let enough heat out so the temp is about 85-90 depending where you put the wide mouth can.

0 hours - mixed the camaldoli starter with caputo and water as per directions.  Used a throw away plastic spoon to mix.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2006, 11:00:15 AM by Arthur »