Had another go at it this weekend. My home-grown raisin starter took off and is fully active so I mixed a batch of dough with each starter to compare differences. 65% hydration, 3% starter, 2.5% salt. I had hoped to bake the pizzas back to back to directly compare the starters but the home-grown one was rising more slowly and I wasn't interested in waiting up until 4am to bake so I tossed those dough balls in the fridge and baked them the next day.
It was really interesting to see the differences between the two starters. The one I got from the bakery smells and tastes tangy and fruity (but mild) while the home-grown has a much more earthy, mushroomy quality. Also, the texture of the doughs were completely different. The dough balls with the home-grown starter spread out much flatter as they fermented and became VERY slack and easy to open. On the first pizza I accidentally stretched it too thin and it ended up ripping when I went to turn it half way through the bake, making a big mess on the stone. For the second one I was much more gentle in my technique and it turned out great.
In addition to the flavour differences I described, the texture of the home-grown starter crusts were significantly more tender, which I liked. Both were very good, though. The bakery starter crusts got a more uneven browning/charring, which I like better. The cornicione on the home-grown crusts didn't puff up as much but they both had a very nice, open, soft crumb structure. The bakery starter pie cooked just a hair under 3:00, home-grown in about 2:30. (Times include the few seconds it took to remove the pies to rotate them.)
Both pizzas were topped with fresh mozzarella with wild mushrooms (chantrelles and lobsters) that were sautéed in butter and glazed with a glug of pinot noir. Shaved reggiano and white truffle oil (just for you, Craig
) post bake. Yum!!!
I found it so fascinating how differently these starters behaved with identical dough formulas. It was a great learning experience.
Pics #1 and 2 are with the bakery starter, 3 & 4 are home-grown.