Author Topic: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?  (Read 945 times)

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Offline trappist

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Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« on: July 26, 2013, 09:01:02 AM »
Recently received Ischia and Camaldoli.  I read the instructions in full and then proceeded to attempt to activate Ischia.  I forgot about the contamination warning and think that my Ischia may be contaminated.  I'm worried it is too late to clean it because I proceeded through the building phases over a couple of days and have since refrigerated it after making a batch of pizza dough.  So, I'm trying to figure out if it is contaminated (from reading other posts I'm guessing the answer to this is yes) and if so, if it is too late to clean it. 

Is it contaminated? - I think so, I had a ton of bubbles at the end of 24 hours rather than the few that the directions mention.  Vomit like smell.  As  I continued to build it and thicken it that smell went away, which kept me from being concerned.  I assumed the vomit smell was the lactobacilli/acidification that I was wanting to build up.  How is it supposed to smell?

Too late to wash? - I continued to follow the directions for about two days after the initial 24 hours and ended up with a pancake batter thick jar that didn't smell so bad.  I put it in the fridge after taking some out to make dough.  With it being this long since contamination and having been built up this much, is it too late to wash it?  I'm concerned about there being so much of the contaminant and too little of the wild yeast and lactobacilli that make the culture. 

With that said, I'm surprised at how tricky this is.  I'm a brewer, and in brewing, if one practices excellent sanitation, contamination is not an issue because the wort that you're adding your yeast to has been boiled and is thus sterile.  Activating a yeast using flour that is (apparently always) contaminated caught me off guard.

Thanks,

Thomas


Offline DenaliPete

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 02:11:20 AM »
I'm not sure its ever too late to wash, really.

Are you getting liquid separation in the middle or on the bottom?  Those seem to be the hallmarks of contamination.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 07:11:54 AM »
I agree with DenaliPete.  It sounds like you have a healthy starter, especially if that vomit like smell went away.  You might want to post up some pictures of your starter once it becomes active following a feeding.  It will be obvious if it's contaminated or not. 

Offline corkd

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2013, 11:25:53 AM »
 I have experienced washing starters several times to get them back in line. Don't be afraid to do it-- they're pretty resilient. You might have to repeat a couple of times.

Offline jcovey713

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 03:09:00 PM »
I started my Ischia starter on Aug 11th and after 24 hours in my proofing box at 90 deg F, I had a few inches of foam. To me the smell wasn't bad, but my wife thought it smelled like vomit. I decided to fed it one time and 12 hours later I have this. I am concerned it is contaminated, so I mixed it up. Took 1 cup of starter and "washed" it in another clean mason jar. I also fed the original again, just in case. So now I have my original and a washed version going. Can any experts confirm that my original is contaminated or not? I am guessing because of the separation, it is. Thank you!

Jason

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 04:42:19 PM »
Yes, I think most ppl would consider that contaminated if it is separating like that.  I would just take a spoonful of the active starter on top and place it into a new jar.  Add equal amounts of water and flour, mix it up and you should be good to go.   

Offline jcovey713

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 04:50:27 PM »
Yes, I think most ppl would consider that contaminated if it is separating like that.  I would just take a spoonful of the active starter on top and place it into a new jar.  Add equal amounts of water and flour, mix it up and you should be good to go.

Thank you. I'll give that a shot.

Offline adm

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 10:44:55 PM »
Wow. Is the Ischia culture so susceptible to contamination?

I ask because I have a packet of it that I was going to activate this week. I have a fair bit of experience with sourdough cultures and also with brewing yeasts. To be honest, I have never had contamination problems with any of them as I find the active yeasts and bacteria are so aggressive they pretty much inhibit growth of any competing cultures.

Having said that, I have never seen separation like the picture above in a sourdough culture. Pretty common in brewing to have a foamy barm on the top, sediment on the bottom and live beer in the middle though.... so to echo the above comment, if you take some of the barm off the top and build from that, you should be good to go.

Offline adm

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2013, 10:49:25 PM »
Looking at the picture again, that looks like a very healthy yeast culture. Certainly more along the lines of brewing beer than a typical sourdough culture though. What is the ratio of water to flour you have there?

Personally, I would take some of the barm off the top, add it to 100g of flour and 100g of water and see what happens after 12 hours....

In my experience, these cultures are very robust. Having said that, I have not used the Ischia one yet.

Offline jcovey713

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 11:06:40 AM »
Okay..so I have two more feedings under my belt and here is what I have...

Photo1.jpg is my original starter after the second full feeding (48 hrs overall life). There is no separation and the smell (to me) is very yeast like.

Photo2.jpg is the "washed" starter after its first post-wash feeding (48 hrs overall life). There is separation but the activity has gone down significantly.

Photo3.jpg is the "washed" starter after its second full feeding (60 hrs overall life). This too is looking very promising.

Photo4.jpg is my original starter after the third full feeding (60 hrs overall life). The activity is still continuing but not at the extreme rate it was before. To my very untrained eye looks like it might be good.


Can anyone tell me if this seems to be what I am looking for? Thank you!!

Jason

edited to correct the image descriptions
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 11:24:24 AM by jcovey713 »


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2013, 11:13:59 AM »
1 and 4 look good.  Use those two and dump the others.

Offline jcovey713

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2013, 11:22:11 AM »
Shoot...I just realized that the photos where posted in the wrong order. 1 and 4 are the same & 2 and 3 are the same  :) I corrected the original post.

It looks like my original starter is good.

Does this look close to being fully active?


« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 11:24:46 AM by jcovey713 »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cleaning Ischia: Necessary? Too Late?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2013, 02:59:48 PM »
Yes.  Technically as soon as a bit of starter is able to float in some water, it is ready to use.  This is called a young starter.   You can allow the starter to keep rising until it domes.  At some point it will start to recede in the center.  At that point or even beyond, a starter is considered mature.  So you can use it anytime between these two points.  Depending on the starter and the temperature, some mature starters tend to be more acidic and have a bit more flavor.   

If your starter is ready and you are not ready to make dough, you can dump out some of it, and add some water and flour and stir it.  Once it becomes active and has risen again, it's ready to use. 

Chau