Author Topic: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend  (Read 1886 times)

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Offline I Have Feet

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Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« on: October 10, 2012, 05:08:46 PM »
I'd read a bit about using raisins or other fruits to cultivate a starter on bread blogs and forums and after reading this post on the subject (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10702.0.html) I decided to give it a try. However it seems as though my curse for starting my own starter continues as I'm on day 4 and see no visible signs of any fermentation. I used the recipe described in the thread, except I cut everything in half. So, 1/2 cup water, 3/8 cup raisins, 1T sugar. I wonder if the raisins I used had been washed of the yeast on their skins?

Anyways, yesterday while at my favourite bakery I was asking them about what style of starters they use (almost all their breads are wild yeast) and the girl at the counter said they'd be happy to give me a cup to take home. So now I have a fully active starter. It is 100% hydration white flour (they also had whole wheat, rye and spelt starters), I didn't ask how long since it had been fed but within 4 hours of getting it home it had more than doubled and was looking very active. My kitchen was warmer than usual as the stove and oven going.

This morning before work I fed it at a 1:2:2 ratio and am very curious what it will look like when I get home this evening. Assuming all looks well I'm planning on mixing a dough for pizza on Friday, using a 20-24 hour bulk ferment and 18-24 hour dough ball proof as outlined by Craig. I don't presently have a cooler to maintain exact temps but my kitchen is generally around 17-18C so it should be okay I think.

I'm going to go with 2% starter, 2.5% salt, 67% hydration with all purpose flour.

In the mean time I shall keep passing through with the raisins and I will also try a different kind of raisin. I will look for some organic ones that are visibly dusty on the skins. But I'm hoping that this starter from the bakery will be the beginning of the end of my wild yeast curse! :)

Brendan


Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 07:51:19 AM »
Wild yeast can be really frustrating to work with.  If you're not lucky enough to be living within the splash zone of a bakery, then what you can catch in your home environment may be the same stuff that makes toe cheese and jock itch.  Don't EVER tell people that before they try your pizza...
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 11:27:07 AM »
You are upping the yeast and hydration and lowering the salt from what I do - all of which (all other things being equal) will speed up fermentation. That being said, the culture you got could be a lot faster or slower than what I use. As it is from a bakery, my guess is that it is faster.

Keep an eye on things as the progress so you have some insight on what adjustments you need to make, if any, next time.

I look forward to seeing the pictures.


I'm curious to know if the culture, after being fed a couple times, has a mild or acidic taste.

Craig
Pizza is not bread.

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 02:56:08 PM »
Craig, yeah I know that there is almost nothing equal about my formula and yours.  Different flours, different cultures, different hydration, different salt.  I just thought I'd use your method as a guide to get me in the ballpark.  I upped the starter % a little bit just because i thought better to have it ready to bake earlier in the afternoon than at 3:00am or something.  But it does seem to be moving faster than what you describe.

I mixed the dough around 10:30 last night.  Temperatures in my apartment are staying around 63-64f.

Here's a pic from just now, after about 13 hours bulk ferment. A reasonable amount of fermentation has happened as you can see.  I am considering forming the balls now, perhaps they might be ready to bake late tonight...

The starter smells and tastes mild, fruity and slightly tangy.  None of the breads from this bakery are really a "sourdough" style, they are just naturally leavened European crusty wood oven breads.

I'll keep this updated as to the progress.

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 03:17:23 PM »
Alright, after comparing my bulk ferment to the pics on your tutorial, Craig, I decided to form the dough balls now.  So that's done.  If I got that much fermentation in 13 hours I'm guessing perhaps 10ish hours proof, but what do I know? Nothing, that's what.

The dough smells great.  Also very soft and supple, relaxes very quickly.  Very different feel from the yeast doughs I'm used to working with.  It certainly doesn't feel like what I expect a 67% dough to feel like.

Brendan
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 03:28:08 PM by I Have Feet »

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 11:08:47 PM »
So I baked the pizzas last night.  They turned out well.  Will need to work on the dough formula but for my first time using a natural starter I was quite happy with it.  The crust was fairly chewy, though.  I'd like to find a way to reduce that.  Any I didn't get as much oven spring as I have been getting with my yeast doughs.  But the flavour was great, and overall they were still very good.

I got some photos, but I cannot find the USB cable for my camera. Hopefully I'll get them up soon!

Brendan

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2012, 12:04:03 AM »
Here they are!  Bake times were between 2:45 and 3:00

Brendan

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2012, 12:04:30 AM »
Brendan

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2012, 11:16:50 AM »
Looks like they came out great. Nice crumb, beautiful undercarriage.

How as the texture and flavor?

Remind me what you used to bake them?
Pizza is not bread.

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2012, 01:59:51 PM »
Thanks, Craig! Overall I'm pleased with my first wild yeast attempt.

To bake I use a Lodge cast iron pizza pan preheated on the bottom rack for ~1hr, then moved up under the broiler while I prep the pizza. I make sure the broiler is bright red when I launch, and after about 1:00-1:15 I peek to see how things are looking, which also lets out just enough heat to make sure the broiler doesn't shut off.

A couple weeks ago I had a pie bake in 2:00 flat, which kind of took me off guard. I was hoping that would be repeated for these pies but it was not to be. These pies were baked with some time in between, the first one after the dough balls had proofed for ~7.5h and the second after ~9h. In the same bake time (give or take a few seconds) the second one took on a nicer char and got better spring. I'm guessing the colour is due to increased enzymatic sugars with the longer proof. 

Flavour wise it was certainly very rich and complex, but perhaps just a bit too tangy for what I'm looking for. The char on the second pie did balance the tang nicely, but it could still be reigned in a wee bit. I'm not saying it was overpowering or tasted like a sourdough bread or anything, it just wasnt my perfect balance. I'm not exactly sure how I can mellow that out a bit. One thought is to create a stiffer leavain since my bread books tell me that lower hydration cultures are less acidic. I see that is how "Infoodel" gets his preferred flavour profile, as he described in the "Nearlypolitan" thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10024.msg87596.html#msg87596).

The texture was decidedly chewy. Too chewy for what I'm looking for (though not unpleasant). I know that naturally leavened doughs tend to be more chewy than yeasted ones so I'll have to try and figure out ways to get what I'm aiming for.

I've got another batch fermenting now that I mixed last night. I upped the hydration to 70% for tenderness sake and the starter to 3% to try and speed browning and see if I get get the bake time down a few seconds. I also used the starter as it was just starting to peak rather than after it had been falling in on itself to try and reduce the acidity. I think the dough is smelling more mild than the first batch did so perhaps it was the right thing to do? For what it's worth, it seems that at my kitchen temps (18C, 64f) the starter takes about 6 hours to peak after a 1:1:1 feeding.

Brendan



Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2012, 06:32:15 PM »
Here are some pics from a Margarita from my second attempt.  I did an experiment where I lined the oven rack with foil and then had the cast iron sitting on top of that under the broiler.  My intent was to contain the broiler heat more.  It mostly had an effect on the bottom char, which was GREAT.  I guess the high conductivity from the aluminum soaks up all the extra broiler heat and pumps it into the cast iron?

The top could be a bit more charred.  I got distracted and forgot to make sure the broiler didn't shut off during the bake.

Flavour and texture were closer to what I'm looking for.  I think that using the starter at an earlier stage definitely helped mellow the flavour.  I think it was very well balanced.  And the crust and crumb were much more tender.  I think it was the perfect amount of chewiness.

Brendan

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2012, 06:43:39 PM »
Looking really good. Picture perfect undercarriage.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2012, 06:47:30 PM »
Pizza is not bread.

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2012, 06:49:30 PM »
Thanks so much for the link and for the ongoing encouragement, Craig!

Brendan

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2012, 07:01:15 PM »
David Deas's post reflects what my friend and I were discussing last night.  He's not a pizza geek but he's DIY minded, so we were talking about improving my setup and we both thought that a reflector above the broiler would be very helpful.  We thought that heavy duty aluminum foil would do fine, but thin sheet aluminum would be better and safer probably.

Thanks again for that link. 40 seconds in a home oven blows me away!

Brendan
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 08:32:32 PM by I Have Feet »

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 01:53:00 PM »
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.

Brendan
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 02:09:53 PM by I Have Feet »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 02:01:12 PM »
Great job Brendan - thanks for outlining the comparisons so well. It is interesting to see the effect fermentation activity and rate have on the finished product. Your bakery strain is much more active and viable, which accounts for the better dough development, better color, and better oven spring. Your home made starter needs time to gain strength, or is not as active as it should be. That is why the dough was slack, you had less color, and less oven spring.

Take some time to get your home starter super active, by which a feeding is doubled or tripled within four or so hours.

John

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 02:04:59 PM »
Thanks for the reply, John!  Yeah, the starter was basically 3 days old (not including the 10 days of soaking the raisins) when I mixed the dough.  However, as you can see by the crumb shot there was a really nice open structure despite the lack of spring.  

I'm very interested to see how it develops.  I hope it keeps the earthy flavour profile.  I really liked that.

Brendan

Offline I Have Feet

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Re: Planning my first wild yeast bake this weekend
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2012, 02:07:33 PM »
Oh, also I forgot to mention that despite the lower amount of activity in the dough, both starters are doubling at (roughly) the same rate after a 1:1:1 feeding.  Yeast is so fascinating!

Brendan