Author Topic: My first sour dough starter...  (Read 2061 times)

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Offline dvanraes

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My first sour dough starter...
« on: February 04, 2013, 02:10:56 AM »
I bought my Italian duo from sourdo.com and it arrived Friday. I built the proof box that was detailed in Ed woods book and had it ready ahead of time and already up to 90'ish degrees. I found two widemouth glass jars with lids at Walmart today so brought them home and sterilized them prior to doing anything impactful.

I mixed the starter per the instructions though I added maybe a tablespoon extra water to get the consistency that is in the instructions. It's now been in the proof box for roughly 7 hours. And I marked with tape the level of the starter so I can track changes when I arrive home tomorrow.

That said, the book is not clear on this one point. I'm hoping you all can help me. After the initial 24 hours at 90F, should I divide at this point and then feed it OR should I feed it now and wait for another twelve hours before dividing and feeding? Any help here procedurally would be appreciated.

Once I have that question answered ill proceed to get two fully active starters. Another question, how long can these remain out of the refrigerator in feeding mode where I'm discarding an then building back up? I'll eventually move to the fridge but at first I anticipate making several loafs of bread before tackling pizza dough. This will require me to keep active cultures ready all the time for the first week or two. I assume that I can just keep them at room temp for now until I slow down on bread production yes?

Thanks for any help!
-DVR


Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 09:04:01 PM »
Well since I got no replies I just went ahead and split it, then fed both cultures. Hopefully it will work out. The starter after 24 hours had a pretty high alcohol smell so I'm not sure if its on the wrong path or not. I'm going to continue feeding and dumping 50% or so out of each one until fully active. Clearly something is going on inside the jar so ill wait and see from here.

Offline norma427

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 10:18:13 PM »
dvanraes,

Since you already split you cultures and then fed them you might not be interested in my thread, but this was it when I first started my starters.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11578.0.html  As you can see if you look at my thread I should not have started them both at once, but I was lucky and they didnít contaminate each other.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 01:21:39 AM »
Thanks for the reply Norma, I was starting to wonder if I said something wrong with all the activity my post has seen. I have only started the ischia packet. Yesterday I followed the directions to the best of my ability including building the proof box from the book...which works quite well actually for controlling temp. I went 90deg for roughly 22 hours. Since I hadn't had any response I just went ahead and split what I had Into two jars(same culture) fed both and put them back into the proof box at 70 deg. I plan to feed as often as I can from here forward.

I have read your thread and that is great info to fill in some of the gaps I feel are lacking in the Ed Wood book. Thanks again for your reply and ill try to post some pictures as I go.

-DVR

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 02:19:29 AM »
I'm going to try to link a couple pics here. We'll see what happens.

First pic, this is right after I split the culture into two parts after first 24 hour feed.

Second pic, this is after about 8 hours and second feeding of both cultures.

They are both resting comfortably in the proof box at 71deg. Crossing my fingers!

-DVR
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 02:36:07 AM by dvanraes »

Offline norma427

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 06:41:23 AM »
Thanks for the reply Norma, I was starting to wonder if I said something wrong with all the activity my post has seen. I have only started the ischia packet. Yesterday I followed the directions to the best of my ability including building the proof box from the book...which works quite well actually for controlling temp. I went 90deg for roughly 22 hours. Since I hadn't had any response I just went ahead and split what I had Into two jars(same culture) fed both and put them back into the proof box at 70 deg. I plan to feed as often as I can from here forward.

-DVR

DVR,

It looks like your Ischia starter is doing fine.  Just keep feeding it.  Sorry, I read you first post wrong in thinking you were starting two cultures at one time. 

You didnít say anything wrong.  There are many posts everyday and sometimes members just donít post when there might have been answers on other members posts.  The forum has grow a lot in the past few years and for members to read all of the posts and reply it is hard to do that sometimes.  Just keep posting pictures to help other members that might want to know answers.  Also if something goes wrong, they are members that will help you.  I donít have a lot of experience with activating starters so I donít post much about starters. 

Best of luck with your Ischia starter.  :) Will be looking forward to seeing the pizzas you make with your new starter.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 09:12:04 AM »
Here is my starter(s) this morning after about 8 hours. Didn't have time to feed as I was heading out the door to work but will do so as soon as I get home. Hopefully that doesn't create a problem but there are only so many hours in the day.

-DVR


Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 06:27:46 PM »
Well it's day 3 and feeding the starter has gotten rather routine. The smell in the jars has mellowed quite a bit and the culture rises with consistent regularity. I'm not home during the day so I haven't been able to time how long it takes to raise the couple inches it rises each day but tomorrow when I get home I'll time it to see how close to fully active it is. I'm really looking forward to starting a dough proof Friday night for pizza on Saturday. Does anyone have a dough recipe they would suggest to try? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

-DVR

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 07:22:32 PM »
How about something like this:

100% KABF
64% water
7.5% SD fully active culture
2.0% salt
2.0% shortening
1.0% sugar (optional - may help browning in a home oven)

16 hours at 60F bulk + 6 hours 60F balls + 4 hours 77F balls

You can use this chart to adjust the fermentation schedule if you like: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,22649.msg229864.html#msg229864

I'd keep the fermentation temp between 60F and 80F.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 11:18:31 PM »
Thanks! I'm going to go for it. I will post my results. Seems pretty straight forward so if it fails it will just be my inexperience. I follow instructions pretty well though so hopefully all will go well.

-DVR


Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 01:32:44 AM »
I fed my starter at around 9:30pm and since I was up I thought I'd see how much it rose. To my delight, the starter had nearly doubled in 3 hours. If what I'm reading is correct, my culture is fully active now. Woohoo! Assuming I get home at a decent hour tomorrow I'm going to start my dough. I'm also going to try and document the process so that I can get some analysis out here and hopefully refine my methods.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 02:11:09 AM »
The culture will need some additional time to reach equilibrium so you might get inconsistent results for a while. A regular feeding schedule will help your analysis. I've found particularly for Ischia that it responds best to frequent feedings.

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 01:41:29 AM »
Yeah I think it's boiling down to my excitement to try this out. I'm pretty confident that I have the starter fully activated as it poofs right up at every feeding, including tonight. I decided to prep the dough that TXCraig posted tonight and give it a fairly long bulk ferment. I have pretty limited experience making dough much less making one with a starter...this is my first. Regardless of how it turns out I've had fun trying and that has merit.

So, I prepped the dough using 725g of KABF. I've never worked with a dough that has this much water in it, plus the moisture in the starter. While kneading I added some flour to take away a little of the stickiness though the final dough still felt a bit stickier than what I'm used to but I didn't want to futz with the recipe Craig gave me too much since I have no idea what it should feel like. Still, it's shaggy beginnings came together into a nice smooth dough after 8-10 minutes with a couple 15 minute rests. I lightly oiled a large bowl, coated the dough and covered in plastic loosely. I set a cover over that but did not seal the bowl. I placed the bowl of dough on our porch which tends to be around 65F during the winter here. We keep the house at 70F so either way its in the range that Craig specified for the bulk ferment. It's been fermenting for roughly 4.5 hours and I'm going to try and attach a pic of that. The dough seems to have flattened out a bit and has a very slight rise to it. I'm hoping that it will work out but I'm prepared for a flop on this one. It does have a very nice odor, mellow and pretty yummy IMO.

I will continue to update this post with progress and more pics as I get through this first rise. Hopefully when I ball them tomorrow ill have some good news. Tanks for all the help!

-DVR 

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2013, 06:36:34 PM »
So here is the dough after roughly 19 hours at ~65F...which might have been a little long but I had to stay late at work today, oh well.. It did roughly double in size and smells great. My concern is that it is pretty flaccid and my concern remains that it has too much moisture...while I freely admit that I have no idea if I'm right or not. It was pretty sticky when I rolled it out of the bowl...but didn't really stick to my hands. I didn't knead the dough but did fold it a couple times before cutting and rolling it into two equal sized balls. I'm going for a 16" pizza which is what I'm used to making. I've got the balls covered with a cloth and resting on the dining room table which is right by the thermostat which reads 70F. We'll see how they progress through the evening. My timing is all messed up of course because I couldn't wait but it is what it is. I'll be up late tonight so maybe I'll get to taste one of these by morning. We shall see. I will certainly post pics of that.

-DVR

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2013, 08:57:20 PM »
Just be very gentile with it when you open it. It should open very easily and not resist you at all. Open it a little smaller than you think and then stretch it out the final bit on the peel just before you launch. This way it doesn't get too thin in the center as the final stretch only thins out the cornice a little.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2013, 09:29:09 PM »
It certainly is a softer dough than i've ever worked with. I trust in your advice and will give it my best shot. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Thanks again for the recipe!

-DVR

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2013, 12:04:30 PM »
Well, so here is the pizza that resulted from the work. I'd love to say that it came out well, but it didn't. This no doubt was my fault. First, I dont have a stone (YET) so I used a screen on the bottom rack of the oven. I probably needed to cook at a higher temp but went with 475 because I was worried my toppings would burn before the crust was done. The pizza looks ok but it didn't have the texture it should have. The crust wasn't cooked through enough imo. So I think I should have kneaded in a little more flour before I bulk fermented, I should have been more patient and above all I think I should have baked on a stone. I will give it another go this weekend and see how it turns out. Thank you again for all the help! I will keep at it until I get what I want. OH also, I couldn't really taste the sourdough in this pizza. Maybe a higher percentage of starter next time? Maybe not long enough on the ferment? I'm not sure.

-DVR

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2013, 12:20:08 PM »
Stick with it. You'll get there. A stone will make a big difference. Post some pictures of the crumb as well next time and we might be able to give some additional insight. If you are fermenting in something where you can see the bottom of the dough ball, take a picture of that too before baking.

You probably won't taste "sour" unless you use a very acidic culture like San Francisco and let it ferment for 60 hours+. "Sourdough" is somewhat of an unfortunate name as most sourdough breads are not sour - notwithstanding they can have much more complex flavors than possible with baker's yeast no matter how long you stick the dough in the fridge.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline dvanraes

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 01:44:03 AM »
I appreciate the comments Craig, the pizza didn't turn out as I would have liked but I learned a ton. I am mostly inspired by my own failures and after I step back from my work for a couple days, I will refine my ambitions to make a consistently good pizza. I'm particularly apt to rush when I start something as in this case, I really just wanted to bake that pizza. I have to do better with my timing and I've concluded that a pizza stone has to used in certain styles. I truly believe the pizza would have turned out "ok" had I had one.

Thursday night I'm going to fire up the starter and get it fully activated. I'm going to make a few minor adjustments to the formula you gave me and I'll document that as I go. I will also try to take more pics. Unfortunately the bowl I use for the bulk ferment is white and I cannot take pictures from underneath.

Ill start a new thread when I make that move. Thanks again for the info and support!

Take care,

-DVR

Offline paulo.vllrr

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Re: My first sour dough starter...
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2013, 02:02:28 AM »
dvanraes,

I don't know anything about starters (which is why I read this thread) but I saw that on your first attempt you had some trouble with the actual baking. I STRONGLY suggest you look into a product called the baking steel or go out and get yourself a 14x16 half inch thick A36 steel plate, polish it, season it and stick that in your oven (crank her up as high as she goes for at LEAST one hour) instead of the baking stone. The steel plate is a much better heat conducter than the stone, screen or tiles and produces excellent results. I will be posting photos of my first couple pizza bakes when I find the time. Also, check out the reviews on serious eats for the product. If you're interested, I'd be more than happy to give you a detailed rundown of the steel plate buying, prepping and using process, let me know :)