Author Topic: Recently made switch to sourdough - good stuff - how I do it at altitude  (Read 790 times)

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Offline pizzassion

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I made the decision to go "sour" and glad I did. No that my 1-2 day cold rise 00 recipe was bad, just really like that hint of sourdough.

After reading the mix of results in this forum I will post what I am doing. Not that I have anything "mastered" (way far from it) but maybe it will it will help some or at least generate interesting discussion.

I build my starter using commercial dry yeast and couple cups of KAAP ( I have been getting a better rise, more "volume" from KAAP compared to 00) and bottled water - glass or plastic container only of course. I initially let the starter ferment at room temp for 5 days stirring occasionally then moved it into the fridge.  I cut the starter in half and feed it fresh bottled water and flour once a week and put back in the fridge. The cup or so starter I pull each week to bake with, I mix at a 1 to 1 ratio with fresh flour for pizza, add more dry yeast, salt, pinch of turbinado sugar just to help the yeast and bottled water (no chlorine) to make a wet dough. I knead until soft, airy and consistent but no too much because too much might make an overly chewy dough. I coat it in EVOO and let it rise for 6-8 hours. I add the extra dry yeast because I have found that possibly due to high altitude and very dry conditions (15% or less humidity) I need the extra yeast shot to get that extra airy, bubbly texture we like. If I let the starter out at room temp for a couple hours it will rise as well, so it is active and healthy. For pizza I originally experimented with 1 to 4 ratio (starter to fresh flour), then 1-3, 1-2 and ended up at 1-1 (50-50) for optimal flavor. It might seem like a lot of sourdough but I am only getting that nice background tangy flavor, not upfront and sour. 2 cups dough makes a nice large thin(ner) crust pizza.
Like many I am stuck with a 550 oven, but because things take longer to cook at altitude I warm up the oven for 90 minutes before baking (a long warmup really makes a difference), and I run the oven on convection and use a pizza stone. The convection knocks down the cook time from 12+ minutes to 5-7. Without convection the pies are dry, un-charred, tough because 12 minutes is an eternity. Also to aid with browning the outer crust I started using an egg wash (1 egg mix w/ 1/4 cup h20). Steam will work too. By using these browning tricks my pies get that outer crust char that I just was not getting before.

I think my next step is experimenting with other yeasts and regional olive oils and build a pizza oven !



Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Recently made switch to sourdough - good stuff - how I do it at altitude
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2012, 03:50:55 PM »
What you are doing is more like a "poolish." It's probably not sourdough in the true sense of the word. I think it is unlikely that wild yeast will be able to get a foothold in a culture populated with baker's yeast, and it is probably equally unlikely that the proper lactic acid bacteria (the other half of a sourdough culture) will thrive in a culture of baker's yeast. This is why you are not getting much tang and sour flavor. It is also why you have been able to go 1:1 with the flour. If your culture was sourdough with the acid and enzyme levels typical of sourdough, going much over 4:1 will often completely dissolve the gluten in the dough, and leave you will a mess of slop.

It is also not generally considered good practice to add salt and sugar to your culture.

I'm happy to help if you have any questions about using a sourdough culture.

Craig
Pizza is not bread.

Offline pizzassion

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Re: Recently made switch to sourdough - good stuff - how I do it at altitude
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2012, 05:32:06 PM »
I don't add salt and sugar to my culture. Thanks for the other info.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Recently made switch to sourdough - good stuff - how I do it at altitude
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 05:47:03 PM »
I don't add salt and sugar to my culture. Thanks for the other info.

My mistake. I misread your post.
Pizza is not bread.