Author Topic: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2  (Read 4735 times)

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Offline bakerbill

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Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« on: August 21, 2006, 11:54:47 AM »
A few weeks ago, I posted a question about my efforts with sour dough, the initial activation phase, but I suspect that I allowed the culture to overheat and so I began anew with a second Italian culture and have been at it for two weeks. . My question is the same, however, is it ready?  I am posting a picture taken two hours after the last feeding.  What do you think?

baker bill


Offline varasano

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006, 12:08:31 PM »
where is the photo?

Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2006, 07:20:50 PM »
It didn't go through again.  I will wait for instructions to see how I can compress and will try again later.  In the meantime, I keep feeding the culture, but of course a picture would be more helpful.

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Offline varasano

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2006, 08:18:13 PM »
email me direct at varasano@bellsouth.net. I also posted instructions for you on the other thread

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2006, 07:28:16 AM »
The proof of the starter is in the pizza/bread!  :chef:

Take two teaspoons of your starter, mix up with flour and water (60:40) and see if it rises to a sponge in a few hours. It takes mine maybe 4 to 6 hours +- depending on temp.

Then you can use that sponge as the preferment in a pizza or to make a little loaf. If the loaf rises you are up and running. If not you have only lost a couple of cups of flour and an hour of your time.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2006, 07:30:50 AM by ernestrome »

Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2006, 04:45:21 PM »
Thanks to advice from this forum, I have compressed my culture.  It has been suggested that I take a side shot, but the jar is no longer transparent.  Here is the culture after two hours.

To ernestrome: "rises to a sponge"  What am I looking for?  Excuse my ignorance.

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Offline ernestrome

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2006, 05:12:23 PM »
Bubbles = Success!

Your starter is showing good activity, i think you should give a pizza or loaf a go.  The culture may a little unstable atm, but since you know it is of good quality i think it will work fine.

When i say rises to a sponge, i mean you can see that the mix has bubbles all through it, like a sponge. If you use a small glass container or plastic tub you will be able to see that the mixture has bubbles all through it because they will be up the sides. This show that the yeast in your starter has spread and begun to feed on the new flour and produce gas. The sponge mix is a little less sloppy than your starter culture so the bubbles will not pass thru it so easily and they become trapped.

I suggest a loaf because that is what i started with, and it means that you can see when it has risen and assess oven spring etc. However you could just try a pizza. I suggest you download varasano's spreadsheet from his site if you ahve not already.

I think for you the adventure is about to begin  ;D
« Last Edit: August 23, 2006, 05:19:01 PM by ernestrome »

Offline varasano

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2006, 06:03:22 PM »
what do you mean by 'compressed the culture'

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2006, 06:45:21 PM »
Bill, a quick thought, your starter looks quite watery to me, i wonder if that is why it is not rising to the top of the jar etc and only has a thin layer of bubbles. If you thickened it up a little then your comparisons to other people's experiences might be easier. It needs some body to foam up.

Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2006, 05:17:29 PM »
I should have said that I compressed the photo of my culture! I have started adding more flour to the flour/water mix.

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Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2006, 05:20:20 PM »
How do I get varasano's spreadsheet?

bakerbill

Offline deb415611

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2006, 05:31:21 PM »
How do I get varasano's spreadsheet?


Scroll up to one of varasano's posts and click on the the picture of the world.  That will take you to his website.  If you read through you will find where the word spreadsheet is in blue.  If you click on the word "spreadsheet" it will let you download it



Offline ernestrome

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2006, 07:03:28 PM »
Bill, I wanna see some pics of your sourdough pizza asap!  >:(  :D

Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2006, 11:19:35 AM »
Finally, after a second try(see previous entries)  with an Italian culture, I decided it was ready (though it may not have been fully), and using the recipe for Jeff's Famous Pizza, baked 5-6 of these experimental pizzas in my brick oven. See pictures below. I was very happy with the results as were my neighbors who were invited over for taste testing. The dough, however, is not easy to handle, very delicate and as you can see, one of the pizza is less than perfectly round. The trick is to get the dough ball out the container without mangling it.  The next time I am going to shorter then length of time that I take the dough out of the refrigerator and remove it from the container. It should be stiffer and easier to remove. Then I will let it sit for a while before stretching. Taste was excellent. Thanks for the forum in getting me this far.

bakerbill

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2006, 11:29:41 AM »
bakerbill,

Looks good.

I don't get the use of the barrier between the coals and the pie. I want my pies (and deck) to get as much radiant heat as possible from the coals. I use a barrier like that for things I don't want to cook as quickly on the outside, but never pizza.

Bill/SFNM

Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2006, 11:36:17 AM »
For what it's worth, I found that the barrier keeps the edges of the pizza from burning.  Since I have used it, I have been able to exercise more control over the baking process. Before using the barrier, I had too many burnt edges before the rest of the pie was sufficiently baked. I place a log on top of the coals (not visible at this point in the picture) and this provides sufficient top flame without the burning. I suspect that if I had a much larger oven, I could place the pizza far enough away from the coals and fire but with the close proximity, this barrier makes a big difference. I got the idea from a visit to Bertucci's where they use the barrier to keep the ashes from coming in contact with the pizza.

bakerbill

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2006, 02:15:45 PM »
Looks good, i am yet to make a perfectly round pizza too.

Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2006, 05:44:49 PM »
This Labor Day: The best pizza yet. I used Jeff's Famous Pizza listed previously on this forum.  The sourdough culture that I had been cultivating was part of that pizza. It met all my expectations for fine, gourmet pizza. I previously mentioned that I had trouble getting the dough ball out of the container. I solved the problem by taking it out of the refrigerator, immediately placing it (both sides) in a dish of rice flour, taking it out  and letting it warm up under a damp towel.  Then I began pushing and stretching.  Not only did I get round but was able to shape the pizza as I desired.  I baked it at 750 degree for about 2-1/2 minutes.

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Offline bakerbill

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2006, 07:16:25 PM »
And here is a picture of that pizza!

bakerbill

Offline varasano

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Re: Questions about sourdough culture, part 2
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2006, 07:46:10 PM »
:-)


 

pizzapan