Author Topic: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?  (Read 3970 times)

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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2013, 05:32:22 PM »
To give me some comfort that yeast would be able to eat the baked flour, I made two small test batches of 200%HR paste with 10% IDY. Both the baked and regular seem to show about the same level of activity. FYI - the flour is KABF.

This morning, both had activity, but the one with the regular flour had a lot more activity than the baked flour. Looks like there is some stuff that moved in by air. There was a pumpkin with a moldy spot within a couple feet of each and both got some nasty, smelly mold.
Pizza is not bread.


Offline trblaze

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2013, 05:38:42 PM »
Thx TXCRAIG1 for all your posts they have been alot of help!    :chef: tim

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2013, 05:42:01 PM »
You're welcome.  ;D
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Offline Tampa

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2013, 06:27:09 PM »
There is no easy way to answer the subject question, but from my perspective the simple answer is no.

After using IDY for 3+ years with a cold ferment of 3-4 days, then recently switching to Ischia,  no one in my local circle can taste the difference.  For me, the key to good IDY is a healthy fermentation period.  Healthy means that there is good activity in the dough when I pull it from the fridge (as measured by voids) and it smells neither yeasty nor alcohol-y.

Fortunately, I've never been accused of making the best pie on the forum, and as some know I'm partial to toppings, including bacon.  But I'm still waiting to taste a starter-based pie that says viola!  To be clear, some margherita pies taste better than others, but I've never been able to peel back a cornicione, sniff and say 'that's what I've been missing'.

I have a non-forum friend that took exception when we discussed the necessity of starter last week.  Where we found common ground is that in baking bread, there is much hole structure to breathe in and enjoy than there is with pizza.  He is really into making fresh bread, and I "get" that, because I would be too if it weren't so addictive.
Dave

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2013, 06:57:57 PM »
There is no easy way to answer the subject question, but from my perspective the simple answer is no.

This is, of course, true. It's not "necessary," per se.  Notwithstanding, I can bake a much better pie with SD than with BY. Using a culture isn't for everyone either. That's not meant to be elitist or negative towards anyone. It is what it is. Using a natural culture is an additional level of complexity and difficulty and requires extra effort that some will find is not worth the potential gains.
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Offline Tampa

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2013, 07:20:47 PM »
This is, of course, true. It's not "necessary," per se.  Notwithstanding, I can bake a much better pie with SD than with BY. Using a culture isn't for everyone either. That's not meant to be elitist or negative towards anyone. It is what it is. Using a natural culture is an additional level of complexity and difficulty and requires extra effort that some will find is not worth the potential gains.
Thanks for the delicate response Craig and it is good to learn about success with SD over BY.  Your opinion and contributions are appreciated by many forum members and I've yet to read a post that is elitist.  I'm not sure what bothers me more, your humble attitude or those Craigarita pictures. ;D
Dave

Offline arspistorica

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2013, 09:48:09 PM »
Hi All,

I'm new here and fell in love with this forum. It's great to see I am not the only person who obsesses over this stuff. First, let me say that I have the Italian starters from sourdo.com. However, haven spoken with some artisan bread baker friends they think I could have easily saved the $20.

I have been working with sourdough for sometime in pizza, bread, pancakes, etc. and have mostly used my own homegrown starter to do so which may be why I am siding with their point. Their argument to me was that after my first few batches of dough the "Ischia" strain would have been completely replaced by the yeast strains locally present in the flour. This makes sense as with each feeding they are being divided and then outnumbered as competing yeast strains are introduced. Reinhart also makes this point in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" though I feel that airborne yeast is not really a factor given the higher concentrations in the flour itself.

Given all of that. Couldn't you just start and feed your own italian culture using an imported Italian flour such as Caputo?

I don't want to revive the circuitous debate that recently ensued, but you are correct in your assessment that introduced cultures will not likely survive.  Introduced cultures, when "fed" for the first time, still experience the same three-phase evolution as any other spontaneous fermentations on their way to achieving a fully-viable, stable consortia, which means they must still undergo the same competitive stresses as localised strains.

A few notes about some comments on this thread.

First, those lactobacilli and yeast most highly adapted to a continuously-propagated sourdough environment are very rarely recovered from the raw flour used in the starter.  This suggests other routes of contamination, most likely from humans and those species commonly associated with our biome (insects, mammals).

Second, the lactic-acid bacteria population tends to determine the composition of the yeast culture rather than vice-versa, due their elevated numbers and greater metabolic fitness to a carbohydrate-rich (rather than a highly saccharolytic) substrate.

Third, the means by which sourdough microbiota "compete" are much more varied and complex than any single member on here realises, with acute differences between species and, to a lesser degree, strains.  E.g., Lb sanfranciscensis has a greater r-RNA operon density compared to most sourdough LAB (seven compared to two to four); this gives a significant advantage even after two refreshments, as it has double the number of cell sites by which to replicate.  Or the fact Lb sanfranciscensis's genome encodes for the simultaneous uptake of basically any nutrient scenario that can exist in its specific niche (rye, bread and durum wheats, spelt or teff), while other, less-evolved organisms might only be able to catabolise one or two external sources and often not at the same time.  Or through the production of metabolites repressive to the growth and reproduction of other cells.  And so on.  Examples abound, with too many scenarios to count, but it should be obvious some organisms have a clear competitive edge making head-to-head comparisons in population doublings useless.

Fourth, instability is the rule not the exception.  Any time there's a change in refreshment temperature or in the flour used, etc., there's the chance of introducing circumstances that favour a different (set of) organism(s).  The reason particular species (like Lb's sanfranciscensis, fermentum or plantarum, for example) are more commonly recovered from sourdough fermentations is because their genome encodes for a wider array of stress conditions than others.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 09:51:34 PM by arspistorica »
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Offline arspistorica

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2013, 09:57:58 PM »
Hi Craig,

I usually feed my starter 70g flour and 70ml water but would like to reduce this down as Im left with too much starter, what is the least you would advise?

Ten (10) grams of flour (or whatever you can accurately measure), assuming you can maintain an exact and constant temperature, because, in reality, there's not too much of a difference in the thermal stability of dough masses this small.  I.e., they are both more likely to be influenced by whatever ambient temperature they are stored at.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 10:00:20 PM by arspistorica »
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2013, 11:34:17 PM »
Third, the means by which sourdough microbiota "compete" are much more varied and complex than any single member on here realises, with acute differences between species and, to a lesser degree, strains.  E.g., Lb sanfranciscensis has a greater r-RNA operon density compared to most sourdough LAB (seven compared to two to four); this gives a significant advantage even after two refreshments, as it has double the number of cell sites by which to replicate. 

Replicate what?
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Offline arspistorica

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2013, 12:26:37 AM »
Replicate what?

"It is generally assumed that multiple copies of rRNA operons in prokaryotic organisms are required to achieve high growth rates . . . Given the high demand for rRNA transcription and the central role of rRNAs in the regulation of ribosome synthesis, it is conceivable that the number of rRNA operons may dictate the rapidity with which microbes can synthesize ribosomes and respond to favorable changes in growth conditions. Transcription of the rRNA operon is regulated to correspond with resource availability and can represent as much as 70% of total cellular transcription during rapid periods of growth."

"rRNA Operon Copy Number Reflects Ecological Strategies of Bacteria," Klappenbach, et al.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. April 2000 vol. 66 no. 4 1328-1333
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Offline misterschu

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2013, 10:40:44 AM »
To me, the reason to purchase a sourdough starter like this Ischia from sourdo.com is to be able to immediately start using a strong, healthy, developed culture.  You can putz around in your kitchen (as I've done in the past) to try to get a good starter going, but purchasing it will be a quicker and more reliable method.

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2013, 04:36:02 PM »
"It is generally assumed that multiple copies of rRNA operons in prokaryotic organisms are required to achieve high growth rates . . . Given the high demand for rRNA transcription and the central role of rRNAs in the regulation of ribosome synthesis, it is conceivable that the number of rRNA operons may dictate the rapidity with which microbes can synthesize ribosomes and respond to favorable changes in growth conditions. Transcription of the rRNA operon is regulated to correspond with resource availability and can represent as much as 70% of total cellular transcription during rapid periods of growth."

"rRNA Operon Copy Number Reflects Ecological Strategies of Bacteria," Klappenbach, et al.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. April 2000 vol. 66 no. 4 1328-1333

This is why I question how much of what you write you actually understand. You seem incapable of giving a simple answer to a simple question. You could have answered in one word yet, as in the past, you instead pull out some tangentially-related text from a journal article. I asked because it almost sounded like you were talking about fission.

Your terminology can be surprisingly sloppy for someone who tries to be absurdly precise in his language. “Saccharolytic” does not describe a substrate characteristic but rather the capability to break down sugar.  “Seven compared to two to four” is not a density measure but rather a count. Density would be expressed as a function of base pairs. At least one Lb found in SD has 9.  Some bacteria have more than that. What drives up the density in Lb.s is the relatively small size of its genome.
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Offline arspistorica

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2013, 09:44:48 PM »
This is why I question how much of what you write you actually understand. You seem incapable of giving a simple answer to a simple question. You could have answered in one word yet, as in the past, you instead pull out some tangentially-related text from a journal article. I asked because it almost sounded like you were talking about fission.

Your terminology can be surprisingly sloppy for someone who tries to be absurdly precise in his language. “Saccharolytic” does not describe a substrate characteristic but rather the capability to break down sugar.  “Seven compared to two to four” is not a density measure but rather a count. Density would be expressed as a function of base pairs. At least one Lb found in SD has 9.  Some bacteria have more than that. What drives up the density in Lb.s is the relatively small size of its genome.

You're quite right "saccharolytic" does not refer to a substrate characteristic!  I originally was going to write "fermentation" in place of "substrate," but, as is often the case with my posts, it was written on the fly.  I'm glad you know its meaning too. (Your ribbon's in the mail.) One of the reasons I'm careful with my post language is because there are stentorians like yourself cruising around here, ready to bust my chops at a moment's notice!  Keeps me on my toes, though.

Second, I posted the journal article for all to read, not just you, in case some members here don't have the illustrious background knowledge you seem to possess.

Third, "operon density" comes from the language of microbiologists, not me, often when mentioning the number of operons compared to overall genome size.  I'm sorry their language is too imprecise for you; maybe you should bark up their tree, too!  I'll let them know the guy from the pizza forum's coming.

Fourth, yes, some bacteria have a greater number of rRNA operons -- 15 is the highest recorded thus far -- but operon density is not solely determined by genome size.  I.e., Lb sanfranciscensis currently has the smallest recorded genome amongst all lactic-acid bacteria, but, as you said, there are some LAB with more.

Lastly, I make mistakes and do not know everything.  Oh, to be human is but to err, err, err.  Thankfully, I have my own personal editor and fact-checker in the guise of you, so I can be as sloppy as I wish!
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2013, 10:07:59 PM »
Third, "operon density" comes from the language of microbiologists, not me, often when mentioning the number of operons compared to overall genome size.  I'm sorry their language is too imprecise for you; maybe you should bark up their tree, too!  I'll let them know the guy from the pizza forum's coming.

Fourth, yes, some bacteria have a greater number of rRNA operons -- 15 is the highest recorded thus far -- but operon density is not solely determined by genome size.  I.e., Lb sanfranciscensis currently has the smallest recorded genome amongst all lactic-acid bacteria, but, as you said, there are some LAB with more.

"Operon density" is precise. You have confused the number of operons with the operon density. Take Lb.s for example, 7 operons and a genome length of 1.3Mbp = an operon density of 5.39/Mbp.

Quote
"operon density is not solely determined by genome size."

You have a firm grasp on the obvious - not to mention this is exactly what I noted above. Lb.s high operon density is not due to a anomalously high operon count but rather a small genome.
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2013, 10:17:39 PM »
I'm careful with my post language is because there are stentorians like yourself cruising around here, ready to bust my chops at a moment's notice! 

Stentorian? You think I'm loud? You haven't seen loud.

I'm not busing your chops. I'm busting your BS. You think you can get attention by throwing around a bunch scientific mumbo jumbo. When I suggested some time ago that you should lighten up on the big words, it's wasn't because I don't understand it; it's because you don't understand it.
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Offline arspistorica

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2014, 12:46:22 AM »
Stentorian? You think I'm loud? You haven't seen loud.

I'm not busing your chops. I'm busting your BS. You think you can get attention by throwing around a bunch scientific mumbo jumbo. When I suggested some time ago that you should lighten up on the big words, it's wasn't because I don't understand it; it's because you don't understand it.

When you have something substantive to say re my posts, I have and will reply at length; where errors are made, I graciously accept correction; and to say I do not understand is probably an understatement!  The science on this subject is very new and poorly understood in general, and, as such, we are all ignorant on the subject, including those professionally closest to the research at hand (though much less than you and I).  This being said, most of what I write is a factual account of current research trends, and any error in communicating them is mine alone.

I will continue to write as I see fit; I know you Texans are sceptical of words straying beyond more than one syllable, because, as you know, I was raised in Houston.  Call out my posts as much as you see fit, but, please, make it around the matter being discussed rather than pithy comments like "you don't understand," etc.  These sorts of statements reveal more about you than they do me, and do little to verify or disprove the content of my posts.

Btw, which sourdough specific lactobacilli have 9 rRNA operons?

Side note:  I should mention that because my background is as a hospitality professional and not as a scientist, one of the ways I use to learn about this subject is by keeping in constant contact with researchers in this field, many of whom are open to having an ongoing, continuous dialog.  This helps to reinforce the technical literature I read on a daily basis or to clarify issues I might have trouble understanding; to me this is the true basis of learning, rather than ad hominem and minor objurgative attacks in an online forum.  Like most people on these boards, I am only here to learn and share.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 02:37:38 AM by arspistorica »
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Offline arspistorica

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2014, 02:42:58 AM »
"Operon density" is precise. You have confused the number of operons with the operon density. Take Lb.s for example, 7 operons and a genome length of 1.3Mbp = an operon density of 5.39/Mbp.
 
You have a firm grasp on the obvious - not to mention this is exactly what I noted above. Lb.s high operon density is not due to a anomalously high operon count but rather a small genome.

I meant the phrase operon density, and, no, I didn't conflate it with total number of operons -- I just didn't bother to say, parenthetically,  the average density of most sourdough-typical lactobacilli compared to Lb SF because I didn't have the time when posting to look it up.  Your quibbles have nothing to do with the overall point of the post, which is competitiveness in a particular niche comes down to more factors than what anybody on this thread has yet to consider; therefore, it's not just a question of whether "the math supports" particular starting population numbers, etc.  The few relevant studies done on this subject matter -- many already mentioned in other posts -- clearly illustrate that beginning population size of an introduced culture matters very little, especially when a new substrate (say, a different flour, etc.) is introduced, as autochthonous organisms will, on average, have a distinct advantage beginning from the first refreshment.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 02:50:26 AM by arspistorica »
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Offline kiwipete

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2014, 05:18:00 AM »
I'm glad you know its meaning too. (Your ribbon's in the mail.)

I don't understand most of the stuff you guys are talking about, but i do think the above comment is condescending.

Simple Pete from NZ.


Offline arspistorica

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2014, 06:25:14 AM »
I don't understand most of the stuff you guys are talking about...

Apparently I have been informed I don't either, so that makes two of us!
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Is buying Ischia starter really necessary?
« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2014, 10:10:35 AM »
Btw, which sourdough specific lactobacilli have 9 rRNA operons?

At least one strain of L. delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus.
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