### Author Topic: How to use the preferment calculator ...  (Read 1007 times)

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#### jvp123

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##### How to use the preferment calculator ...
« on: August 02, 2014, 07:14:49 PM »
My recipe says it requires an 8% preferment.

I am trying to figure out how I want it expressed -- Do I check % of total dough weight?  Or % of total flour or water?

Also how do I know my preferment's %age of water - I am making it now and I have been removing one cup of flour and then adding one cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water.

Any help on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Jeff

Jeff

#### mitchjg

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2014, 08:01:44 PM »
It is usually, but not always, as a percentage of the total flour.

So, if your recipe (for example) is designed to be 60% hydration with a total of 100 grams of flour (therefore a total dough, ignoring other ingredients for simplicity, would be 160 grams):

Total Flour 100
Total Water 60

Preferment - 8% of 100 grams flour - 8 grams.
8 grams Preferment = 4 grams flour + 4 grams water (assuming your preferment is 100% hydration - most are)

So, recipe becomes:

96 grams flour
56 grams water
8 grams preferment

Let me know if this was not clear or if you need more help.

BTW, although you did not share the recipe, I can see you are measuring the flour by volume.  The general wisdom here is your are much, much better off using a scale and measuring by weight.

- Mitch
Mitch

“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

#### jvp123

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2014, 12:52:44 AM »
Thanks so very much Mitch.  I've been struggling with some stuff of late like getting my starter going and knowing if its working or not and if I am doing it correctly.

It looks great but has a slight vinegar odor when I go to feed it.  I am about 48 hours in and have done 4 feedings.  Not sure if the vinegar smell is correct or not but will raise the temp a bit in my wine fridge to 72 degrees or so in case the ischia is too acidic.  Just speculating there on the acidity thing.

I do always measure in grams on a digital scale - I am just measuring in cups to feed this starter.  I pull out a cup of sponge/poolish at each feeding (where it smells a bit like vinegar) and then replace with 1 cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water.

Your explanation of the preferment calc. was very clear.  I appreciate you taking the time to do that.

Jeff
Jeff

#### jvp123

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2014, 01:21:08 AM »
Oh Mitch -
I realized you said "total flour" in the first line and "total dough" in the second.  Which box do I check in the calculator?

Here's the Raquel recipe I am starting off with as a test:

Bakers Percent
16   oz/  456  Grams      3 1/3 cups                                   KASL High Gluten Flour                   100%
9.6  oz/  273  Grams      1 1/8 cups or 9 fluid oz               Water                                                60%
.01  oz/ .285  Grams         1/8 teaspoon (baker's pinch)   Instant Dry Yeast                         .0625%
.32  oz/  9.1   Grams      2 1/4 teaspoon                           Sicilian Sea Salt (fine cut)                    2%
1.3  oz/  37    Grams      2  tablespoons (heaping)            Preferment (I use Varasano)              8%
27.23oz/775.385 Grams
Jeff

#### jvp123

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2014, 01:21:51 AM »
And I may omit the IDY per Craig's input.
Jeff

#### mitchjg

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2014, 09:31:01 AM »
The terms "Total Flour" and "Total Dough" were both used appropriately and not inconsistently.  As I said, the preferment % is usually measured as a % of the Total Flour.

The tool allows for either (and also as a % of Total Water).  The particular recipe you are asking about is looking for it as a % of Total Flour.  You are right, it does not specify and he is not super clear about which he means.

But, it really does not matter much or at all in this case (and in most cases where the preferment % is relatively low).  This is even more so since he is actually specifying the number of grams for each ingredient and you can just scale.

The flour at the top, which is without the preferment, is 456 grams and the preferment is 37.  So, 37/456 = .081 (so, to the nearest %, it is 8%).  On the other hand, the Total Flour is "really" 456 + 37/2 = 474.5.  And, the flour in the preferment is 37/2 = 18.5.  The ratio is then 37/474.5 = .078 (so, to the nearest %, it is 8%).

On your second item, being to omit the IDY - Craig has made that point (trust your starter, no need for IDY to "help") in many places, many times.  But, it is always a companion point to his point that he avoids cold fermentation.  He is a strong advocate of room temperature fermentation, especially with sourdough starter.   You will not find him saying you will be successful with a cold fermentation of dough with sourdough starter.

So, please watch out for context.

In other words, if you omit the IDY and only use sourdough starter, then don't cold ferment the dough.  Many have tried (including me) and all or most do not get a good result.

The Pizza Raquel recipe calls for cold fermentation.  So, if you do not cold ferment and you are changing the sourdough/IDY specifications, you are changing the recipe in a very significant way.

- Mitch

« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 09:32:35 AM by mitchjg »
Mitch

“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

#### jvp123

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2014, 12:11:50 PM »
Mitch,
Thanks so much for your response.   You make total sense on the formula calculations - sorry I was a bit slow on that.  The heads up on the IDY for the recipe was a big help also.
I just need to get my Ischia finished and I can't get proceed with using the formula.  Right now I think its running a bit acidic so I am trying to remedy that with a slightly higher proof temperature and perhaps I'll do a wash.  I'm not sure what its supposed to smell like but it has smelled a bit like apple cider vinegar or something when I open the jar.  We'll see how it goes over the next couple feedings.
Regards,
Jeff

Jeff

#### Donjo911

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2014, 09:32:20 PM »
jvp - in my experience (less than most here) the vinegar smell is totally normal "hooch."  It's alcohol being expelled by the process.  Some suggest pouring it off before feeding. I didn't. Seems the only time you'd need to worry is if it turns really dark grey (in the fridge if you were to go that route)  It seems like you're doing all the right things.  You should start to see some increase in volume in your container not attributed to your increase in "food."  You're doing great!

Cheers,
Don
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.

#### TXCraig1

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2014, 09:36:12 PM »
There are all sorts of things that can affect the smell: the type of flour, the hydration, the temperature, etc. If it has an acidic smell, you are probably good. It's when it starts to smell rotten - like moldy food - that you need to worry.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

#### jvp123

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2014, 09:45:02 PM »
Thanks Don and Craig for the input~
I just replied as to the status of my culture over at the Ischia thread
here it is ..

i just returned from a few days in Vegas.  It was certainly interesting baby sitting this thing from my hotel room.  The multiple feedings have definitely made the vinegar smell go away - now it actually smells kinda nice - like wet flour/pancake batter. Unfortunately still not much activity after feeding though.  I am slowly moving my proofing temp higher from starting at 68 to now doing it closer to 73-75.  Also just tried adding warm water for the first time instead of room temp.  Cupcake, I noticed your proofing temp seems to be higher than mine - wondering if that's why you got better activity.  In fact, your instructions called for that higher range than Sourdo which called for 70.
Hopefully, the higher temp water and proof will get mine going.  I see little bubbles but no rise above the starting line yet and its been about 5 days.
We'll see!
Jeff
Jeff

#### mitchjg

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2014, 09:53:07 PM »
I do not think that, at this point, you need to obsess about the exact temperature.  Just keep feeding it and be patient.  I have found that, with the starters I have, you feed it and not much happens and then "bam", it starts growing.

Not sure what you are doing, but what worked for me was to discard 1/2, add back equal weights of flour and water (50% starter, 25% water, 25% flour) and do it again in 12 hours.  Cover it with some saran wrap but don't worry about sealing it perfectly.

Mitch

“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

#### jvp123

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2014, 09:55:28 PM »
Ha ha love you guys thanks Mitch!
Jeff

#### mitchjg

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##### Re: How to use the preferment calculator ...
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2014, 10:00:15 PM »
No worries.  Your time will come.

Mitch

“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

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