Author Topic: Ischia activation issue  (Read 1114 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline pdog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 181
Ischia activation issue
« on: January 07, 2014, 11:13:37 AM »
Hi,

I had the ischia start for about 3-4 yrs.  During a move I dropped the start and was to freaked out about trying to pick some up and save it.

I ordered another sample about 2 weeks ago.  I started the process on New Years day.  I used the same proof box as I did the first go around, and KAAP flour. 

After the first 24 hours I had nothing but hooch.  No bubbles no foam, and no smell.  This is not how it went the first go around. 

I stuck to the 12 hour feed schedule at 70 degrees with pouring out 1/2 of the starter and I got no signs of life other then more hooch.  On day 5 about 10-20 bubbles would appear but  no smell, and no leavening effect.

I skip the pour out an re-fed the start last night.  This morning still small bubbles, but no leavening.  The culture has final begun to have an aroma.   Although I would not say its a good one. 

So, my real question is what are the chances the beast growing in the culture is still the Ischia culture, and not something within the flour or air in my house?



Online JD

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1318
  • Location: NE Mississippi, but NY born & raised
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 11:20:18 AM »
Just keep at it a few more days you're almost there. I had a culture that took 2 weeks to finally take off, constantly got hooch. The last few days is started to come around and do the same thing yours is doing now. You may want to raise the temp a little more to mid-70's.

Josh

Offline mbrulato

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1034
  • Location: NJ
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 11:25:45 AM »
I am by no means an expert.  But I can tell the difference in smell before and after feeding is different.  Does yours smell like yeasty beer?  I have a feeling that some would regard that as a bad sign.  That's how mine smelled when it was going through the activation process and it was fine.  Some members encouraged me to keep going.  So, I kept at it, feeding every 12 - 24 hours and it activated with no problems after about 4 days

I would discard all but one cup of starter. Then feed it one cup AP flour and 3/4 cup of warm water as per the instructions from sourdo.com.  Hopefully this helps you.
Mary Ann

Offline breadstoneovens

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 581
  • Location: Dallas, TX
    • Bread Stone Ovens
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 11:48:24 AM »
I am no expert and I got my Ischia from Craig so I never when through an activation process for the Ischia but what you are describing doesn't sound right.
From  experience with a dried starter base it should take about 2 days to get it going.

For a whole wheat sour dough starter, I can get a brand new one going from scratch in 3 days with big bubble in 5 days.

So from what you wrote, it sound like you are starting a starter from what ever natural leaven is in the flour you are using.

That say, no need to skip the pour out. Whatever you do, mix it well before feeding, pour some out and feed it. No matter what small amount you have of starter it is enough to continue the culture.

If I were you I would keep feeding it as you may end-up with something great.

Let us know how it turns out.
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline pdog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 181
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 12:51:43 PM »
Just keep at it a few more days you're almost there. I had a culture that took 2 weeks to finally take off, constantly got hooch. The last few days is started to come around and do the same thing yours is doing now. You may want to raise the temp a little more to mid-70's.

Seems like you went through the same issue.  I wonder if you capture a natural starter or the strand of Ischia?!?!?.  When I first activated the cutlure years ago it took 4 days, but had a strong smell within 2 days.

The no smell aspect is what is very confusing to me. 

Offline pdog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 181
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 12:53:40 PM »
I am by no means an expert.  But I can tell the difference in smell before and after feeding is different.  Does yours smell like yeasty beer?  I have a feeling that some would regard that as a bad sign.  That's how mine smelled when it was going through the activation process and it was fine.  Some members encouraged me to keep going.  So, I kept at it, feeding every 12 - 24 hours and it activated with no problems after about 4 days

I would discard all but one cup of starter. Then feed it one cup AP flour and 3/4 cup of warm water as per the instructions from sourdo.com.  Hopefully this helps you.

It barely has any smell at all. My other adventures with cultures the smell has been strong.  My activated in 4 dyas the first time as well.  Day 2 showed good activity, and by day 4 was rising like a champ.  I feed the culture again after posting the first post, and still not even a single bubble and back to no detectable smell.

Offline pdog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 181
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 12:55:00 PM »
I am no expert and I got my Ischia from Craig so I never when through an activation process for the Ischia but what you are describing doesn't sound right.
From  experience with a dried starter base it should take about 2 days to get it going.

For a whole wheat sour dough starter, I can get a brand new one going from scratch in 3 days with big bubble in 5 days.

So from what you wrote, it sound like you are starting a starter from what ever natural leaven is in the flour you are using.

That say, no need to skip the pour out. Whatever you do, mix it well before feeding, pour some out and feed it. No matter what small amount you have of starter it is enough to continue the culture.

If I were you I would keep feeding it as you may end-up with something great.

Let us know how it turns out.

Somewhat of my thinking as well.  I think nothing happened with the Ischia and now I have moved onto to making a purely natural starter.  Who knows may work out to the be best starter I have ever owned, or could be a rat!!  May be an expensive rat haha.

Offline nickr

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 65
  • Location: United States
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 01:32:37 PM »
My Ischia had bubbled within a day and a half. The fact that there is only hooch is very strange to me. The alcohol is usually the by-product of the yeast's activity.

I've never seen a hooch without fermentation first. Is it possible that your feedings are too light or your water is too warm and you are missing the activity? That is, it rises and falls before you return? Have you taken the temperature of the water you are using?

I know the instructions say to stir the hooch back in, but I usually pour most of it off as I don't believe the yeast performs as well when the alcohol is incorporated back into the mixture...just something else to try.

Offline pdog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 181
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2014, 01:58:09 PM »
My Ischia had bubbled within a day and a half. The fact that there is only hooch is very strange to me. The alcohol is usually the by-product of the yeast's activity.

I've never seen a hooch without fermentation first. Is it possible that your feedings are too light or your water is too warm and you are missing the activity? That is, it rises and falls before you return? Have you taken the temperature of the water you are using?

I know the instructions say to stir the hooch back in, but I usually pour most of it off as I don't believe the yeast performs as well when the alcohol is incorporated back into the mixture...just something else to try.

This was the second warning sign that caught my attention.  Hooch was always present on my dormant cultures, but I did not see much of any during activation or when feedings occurred ever 12-36 hours at room temp.  I do not understand how hooch would have been present within the first 24 hours of activation. 

I measure the water temps to start the first activation session to be sure they are between 85-90 degrees.  After that I use room temp bottled water.   

I moved the culture to a clear jar, and mark all signs of culture to see if I could catch a "high water line" but to the marks have not moved.  If not activity occurs by tomorrow I am going to wash and start over.  I do not think I will have an Ischia culture though.  I would assume the wild yeast did not activite and now I am stuck with what ever the strong wild yeast present in the KAAP would be. 



Offline pdog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 181
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 06:55:43 PM »
RIP - Ischia....... You need not fight anymore.

Well..... I'm calling it. 8 days and no bubbles or smell.  Nothing happening here.

I started the second of the 2 Italian cultures.  36 hours later.  Bubbling and rising like a champ.  This one started perfectly.  I would guess this would be ready to use in dough by day 3.  Oddly enough, small proof box, same flour, and same sized containers.  I must have had a dead culture. 

Oh well.  When I make some neo's I will post them.  I think I am going NY style again this weekend. 

Thanks Everyone. 


Offline jimmmy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2014, 01:30:18 AM »
i just started activation i hope everything works out.  ??? Can anyone send me a mason jar with a good starter? Will pay for it.

Offline jimmmy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2014, 03:18:32 AM »
nevermind!!!! its working, day 2 starting to see some bubbles and sweeter cake smell.  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Offline jimmmy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2014, 03:22:51 AM »
Seems like you went through the same issue.  I wonder if you capture a natural starter or the strand of Ischia?!?!?.  When I first activated the cutlure years ago it took 4 days, but had a strong smell within 2 days.

The no smell aspect is what is very confusing to me.
heat helped my situation put mason jar near stove with fire on. 80to 90 will make the culture activate faster.

Offline jimmmy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2014, 03:31:19 AM »
Seems like you went through the same issue.  I wonder if you capture a natural starter or the strand of Ischia?!?!?.  When I first activated the cutlure years ago it took 4 days, but had a strong smell within 2 days.

The no smell aspect is what is very confusing to me.
heat helped my situation put mason jar near stove with fire on. 80to 90 will make the culture activate faster.  day 2 started bubbles with a sweet cake smell.

Online jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 730
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2014, 11:22:14 AM »
I'll spare everyone all the gory background details, but washed the culture once already.  My Ishcia, after nearly two weeks of feeding it a dark rye/AP blend in a room that is a constant 70 degrees has a very strong vinegar odor.  Time to ditch it and try the Calmoldi?
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline breadstoneovens

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 581
  • Location: Dallas, TX
    • Bread Stone Ovens
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2014, 11:33:45 AM »
Hi there,

If it smells like vinegar it is because it is "hungry"and you need to feed it more often.
I would keep it and feed it well.
It may take several feeds to get rid of that vinegar smell.
Depending how active it is, I would feed it every couple of days or even every day if very active until the smell is gone.

Pretty much you need to keep it feeding it until you have replaced all of the mix that was exposed to the strong vinegar smell.

Let me know how it goes.
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline mitchjg

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 965
  • Location: Oakland, CA
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2014, 11:50:08 AM »
Hi there,

If it smells like vinegar it is because it is "hungry"and you need to feed it more often.
I would keep it and feed it well.
It may take several feeds to get rid of that vinegar smell.
Depending how active it is, I would feed it every couple of days or even every day if very active until the smell is gone.

Pretty much you need to keep it feeding it until you have replaced all of the mix that was exposed to the strong vinegar smell.

Let me know how it goes.

I agree.  Lots of feeding really can turn things around.  You may want to consider ditching the rye and just using AP.  Simple is good here.  You can always add rye later.  If it is growing / bubbling with each feeding, even if not a lot, then you can save it if you are patient and generous in feeding.

Online jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 730
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2014, 12:31:30 PM »
I've been feeding it twice a day as it is. 
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline nickr

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 65
  • Location: United States
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2014, 12:42:02 PM »
A light vinegar smell is normal as there is acetic acid (vinegar) in sourdough cultures. This usually happens in cooler conditions. Warmer conditions produce more lactic acid. Neither one of these is bad, they will just produce different flavor profiles.

Offline pdog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 181
Re: Ischia activation issue
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2014, 03:00:43 PM »
My Calmoldi is going strong.  Great flavor profile.

Here are some Neo's from it. 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 08:35:21 PM by Steve »