Author Topic: Culture Guidance  (Read 1005 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Culture Guidance
« on: July 01, 2013, 09:20:44 AM »
I originally posted in another thread but figured I would start a new one as to not hijack someone's thread...

I am in the process of activating my sourdo italian cultures. I am not sure if they are contaminated or working as expected. I started Saturday morning with 1 cup of organic AP flour and 1 cup of water. They sat in a cooler around 90-degrees for 24 hours. After 24 hours, they had about doubled in size and there was a distinct sour smell. Sunday morning, I split them in two, and added 1 cup of organic AP flour and 3/4 cup of water to each. They then went in a 70-degree cooler. After 8-10 hours, they had already doubled in size. I let them sit overnight in the cooler. Below, the pics show what I had this morning. The smell was noticeable, but smelled like what I imagine sourdough smelling like. There was a slight difference in how the two cultures smelled. I dumped half out this morning and added 3/4 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to each. I figure I would check it this evening to see what's going on. Both of my cultures seem to be responding very quickly, which is why I fear contamination. The Ischia had some separation this morning and a slightly more alcohol smell. The Camaldoli culture was well integrated. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. If I need to wash them, I would like to start ASAP so I can try using the cultures sooner than later. Thanks. Here are the pics:


Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10623
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 09:36:43 AM »
The top shot of the Camaldoli looks about like a healthy culture should look. I'd still discard/feed a few more times over the next week or so before using.

The Ischia needs work for sure. If I remember right, the instructions that came with the cultures tell you how to deal with the separation and get it healthy. A healthy culture won't separate in the middle like that. The foamy look on the top isn't what you want to see either. One of my cultures separated like that when I activated it, and I don't remember it being a big deal to get it healthy. Just follow the directions that came with them. You can also contact Ed at sourdo.com if you need more help.
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 01:57:59 PM »
Thanks Craig. The Camaldoli looked healthier to my untrained eye. I will keep feeding that one and start the "wash" cycle on the Ischia using the instructions provided. I had a feeling the separation wasn't good. Thanks again,

Randy

Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 06:51:02 PM »
Just checked my cultures from this morning's feeding. Both Camaldoli starters expanded to the point of overflowing out of the mason jars. The Ischia both separated again. I just completed the "washing" procedure on the two Ischia cultures. I also fed the Camaldoli cultures to see if they react in 2-3 hours like the instructions say they will.

It seems like a shame to keep dumping all of the starter in the garbage every time I feed them. I will have to track down some recipes that I can use with all the excess starter.

One question...everyone talks about the Ischia culture for Pizza dough. What does the Camaldoli taste like when used for dough? I've tried neither so I am curios to know the difference in taste.

Thanks!

Offline Chaze215

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 618
  • Location: Jersey Shore
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 10:32:24 PM »
The Ischia discard makes great pancakes and waffles. Enjoy!
http://yumarama.com/18/worlds-best-pancakes-starter-discard-rescue-recipe/
Chaz

Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10623
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 12:35:08 AM »
It seems like a shame to keep dumping all of the starter in the garbage every time I feed them. I will have to track down some recipes that I can use with all the excess starter.

One question...everyone talks about the Ischia culture for Pizza dough. What does the Camaldoli taste like when used for dough? I've tried neither so I am curios to know the difference in taste.

I don't know how to precisely describe the difference between the taste of the two. The Camaldoil is a little more delicate and sweet.

If you have a problem dumping excess starter, you probably shouldn't be using starter.
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 08:01:01 PM »
I don't know how to precisely describe the difference between the taste of the two. The Camaldoil is a little more delicate and sweet.

If you have a problem dumping excess starter, you probably shouldn't be using starter.

I'm hoping our chickens learn to like eating it out of my compost piles!

Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 02:02:56 PM »
My Ischia looks much better since the washing. It is multiplying nicely after feedings every 12 hours or so. There is no separation or foaming as well. Now that it's healthy, I realize how bad it smelled when it was contaminated. Before, as soon as I opened the cooler, I would get blasted with the sour smell. Now you need to stick you nose down near the jar to smell it at all. I will keep feeding it for another week or so.

I am going to attempt some pancakes with leftover starter tomorrow morning. Should be interesting!

Thanks for the help.

Offline rsimonrules

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Hawaii
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2013, 10:25:45 PM »
The ishia was more difficult than the Calmaldoli imho. Try adding slightly less water for a thicker consistency on the Ishisa. It still looks good. When it starts to go bad you will know it. A good wash can help and then thereafter try a slightly thicker consistency. Works for me.

I just end up splitting the starter a lot and have multiples going to make lots of bread to give to friends instead of pouring it out.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 10:29:10 PM by rsimonrules »

Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2013, 02:13:09 PM »
Made the first round of pizzas yesterday with the Camaldoil dough from earlier this week. I wasn't too happy with the results. I wish I had pics but didn't get any. I tried following Craig's dough-making procedure. I made two batches of six 250g balls. When I made the second batch, I must have goofed up the water measurement because that batch was entirely too wet. I added extra flour but it never materialized in to anything other than extremely wet dough. When I tried to build pizzas with it, I needed to use a ton of flour to keep it from sticking to the counter and the launch peel. Then the excess flour burned easily while baking. The first batch of dough, which appeared to be the correct water content was much easier to work with. I still had to use more flour than I would have liked, which still made it want to burn when baking.

My Ischia looks better each day. It looks like its doubling in size within 2-3 hours of a feeding.

I have three questions for the experts:

First, when do you feed the starter for the last time before using it to make dough? In other words, if you're making dough on a Saturday afternoon to eat in a few days, do you feed the starter that morning, or the night before?

Second, what's the best temperature to have the dough at when getting ready to make pizzas? Last night, the cooler the dough, the easier it was to keep from sticking but the harder it was to get it to a consistent size.

Lastly, when using flour while building the pizzas, would I be better off using AP flour to keep everything from sticking? It's my understanding that AP doesn't burn as easily as the Caputo. Or do just need to get better at building and launching pizzas so I don't need as much flour?

I want to try another batch with the Ischia starter in a few days once I know it's going strong. My results last night leave me hoping the Ischia and improving my skills results in better pizzas. I was definitely a little let down. The last dough I made was with instant yeast and caputo and it worked better than last night. I think my starter was still getting itself going because there was a definite lack of rise to my dough yesterday as well. Perhaps this made building and launching more difficult.

I will keep going with the learning process. My wife isn't tired of eating pizza yet so I have that going for me, which is nice.

On a side note, this morning we made the cinnamon roll recipe out of the Sourdough International book in the pizza oven. They turned out great using two cups of Camaldoli starter. Obviously with that much starter, we go tons of rise with the dough overnight. They tasted good.

Thanks for the help and feedback.


Offline Chaze215

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 618
  • Location: Jersey Shore
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2013, 04:52:57 PM »

Lastly, when using flour while building the pizzas, would I be better off using AP flour to keep everything from sticking? It's my understanding that AP doesn't burn as easily as the Caputo. Or do just need to get better at building and launching pizzas so I don't need as much flour?
Thanks for the help and feedback.

I will leave the specific starter questions to Craig, who has mastered using his culture. However, after you stretch the dough to the size you want, build the pizza on the peel. After each topping, give the peel a little shake to make sure it is not stuck to the peel. I have just converted from using cornmeal on the peel (which does burn and can get smokey) to semolina flour which does not burn and the pizzas dont stick at all. Hope this helps.

Chaz
Chaz

Offline parallei

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 202
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2013, 05:35:17 PM »
rrweather,

I'm no expert, but have been messing about with the Ischia for a couple of years.  My starter lives in the fridge, but gets used or fed every week.  I believe Craig's lives at room temp.  That said:

Quote
First, when do you feed the starter for the last time before using it to make dough? In other words, if you're making dough on a Saturday afternoon to eat in a few days, do you feed the starter that morning, or the night before?

I take a portion of stater and feed it both the night and the morning before I'm going to use it (assuming an afternoon dough making time).  The more active the better.

Quote
Second, what's the best temperature to have the dough at when getting ready to make pizzas? Last night, the cooler the dough, the easier it was to keep from sticking but the harder it was to get it to a consistent size.

Mine is always at room temperature. It seems to handle better that way for me.

Quote
Lastly, when using flour while building the pizzas, would I be better off using AP flour to keep everything from sticking? It's my understanding that AP doesn't burn as easily as the Caputo. Or do just need to get better at building and launching pizzas so I don't need as much flour?

I just use AP because I'm cheap!  It seems to work fine. In my case, the more experienced I got the less flour I seemed to need on my wooden launching peel.  I really just rub in a tiny bit and blow the excess off.  You'll get there.  Just keep making pizza!

The sourdough the cinnamon rolls sound great.  Tried waffles and pancakes yet?

Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2013, 07:12:31 PM »
Thanks for the responses and information. I assumed the better I got, the less flour I would eventually need. Right now I am using the metal launch peel I bought from John. Perhaps I need to try a wooden peel to see if I can get away with less flour.

I will keep feeding the starters and give the Ischia a try soon. Obviously I need to make sure my measurements are accurate so I don't end up with a repeat of last night.

We tried pancakes this weekend with the Camaldoli. Unfortunately, I didn't realize we were out of baking powder until we were ready to make them. We made them without. They had good flavor but didn't rise, which made them more crepe-like. We ate and enjoyed them anyway!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 07:15:05 PM by rrweather »

Offline Trickydick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 49
  • Location: Central Florida
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2013, 02:07:36 PM »
I too struggle with maintenance of my cultures.
Ill tag along on this thread with my tribulations.  Maybe there are some tips to be had.

I find that when I store them in the fridge, and with weekly feedings or use, that they stay healthier.  When stored at room temp, the bacteria seem to overpopulate the culture and a reddish skin will form atop the culture.  When that happens I have to wash the culture.

I also find the description "thick pancake batter" to be somewhat vague.  Stirring the cultures in the mason jars is going to accelerate arthritis.  I need to find something a bit easier, or simply transfer them to a bowl for mixing, then back into the jars.  Either way, its always dishes to wash. 

I recently bought a 50# sack of all trumps for doing NY style.  Can I use this flour for feeding the cultures, and if so what if I want to make a Neo style pizza with Caputo?  Should I maintain separate cultures for each?

I've been pondering also about keeping the cultures mostly in the fridge, but taking them out for feedings, then returning them to the fridge after a brief rest stop at room temp to get the yeast slightly warmed up and eating their meal.  Not sure that is really a critical step.  I've been thinking that when making dough with small percentage of yeast, that I probably don't need more than a couple tablespoons of yeast to remove from the starter.  Since they'll mostly be in the fridge, it seems that activating the entire culture instead of just the small amount I need for making my dough could be beneficial.   Any comments on this plan?

Last thing I was thinking about doing was using my old small dorm type fridge to store the yeast at a lower temp than room, but not as low as my 34-38°F fridge.  I was thinking that I could also do my dough bulk ferments and ball ferments in there as well and temps such as 55-65°F (via a temperature controller I already own - can dial to any temp). Any comments on this plan?

Thanks! 

TD



Offline rrweather

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Winters, CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Culture Guidance
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2013, 10:39:53 AM »
I just got back from being out of the country for two weeks. I stored my cultures in my garage fridge and fed them right before leaving. Upon returning, I brought them to room temperature then fed them. Within a few hours, there was a lot of activity. I fed them again 12 hours later and they were both going crazy. Typically 2-3 weeks is about as long as I am out of town so at least I now know what to expect when I get home. I am going to make some dough this afternoon.

I am envious of the small fridge idea. I would love to have a small fridge I could plug in when proofing my dough. It would beat using a cooler with ice packs and stressing over the temperatures.


 

pizzapan