Author Topic: Most efficient means of maintaining starter for frequent pizza makers  (Read 2217 times)

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Offline zandonatti

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Hello world!

     (Sorry if my programming roots are showing. :P )

     I've just spent a few head-spinning, mind-numbing hours reading dozens of websites about the best way to store a sd culture so it can be revived most quickly.  I am posting the following information in the hope that it will either be confirmed or corrected by those who know better.

   
   Let's start at the point where you have just taken your starter out of the fridge to bake a pie.  You start feeding it with flour and water until you bring it to peak condition.  (How long this takes is what I hope to minimize by always keeping as active a batch as possible in the fridge.)  Once you have brought your starter  back to full strength, you should put aside about half a cup,, then feed it with 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup water, and let it sit out for a few hours until it is peak-y, and then into the fridge goes one very  happy cup of sd culture.

   It seems like there is no reason to keep more than a cup of starter in the fridge.  It will require less volume in terms of feeding, and (at least for making a couple of pies) you will have plenty when you have brought your starter back to peak and are ready to bake.


    Now (here I am on very shaky ground) you should be able to let your starter remain in the fridge for 3 - 5 days.  Then, every 3-5 days, take it out, dump half of it out, and again  add a 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup flour.   There are two bits of fog here:  1) is it necessary to bring the culture to room temp before feeding it, or can you just plop in the flour and water, stir, and back in the fridge?   2) Several sites recommend tripling or quadrupling the amount of starter via feeding.  That is, if you are taking a quarter cup of starter out of the fridge (or taking a larger amount out but dumping all but 1/4 cup), you should feed it with 3/8 cup flour and 3/8 cup water for optimal results.


    By feeding your culture once or twice a week, you will be minimizing the amount of time it takes to bring your culture back to peak strength.

    Does this make sense?

    I am also wondering whether you could keep a starter on your countertop indefinitely if you were to feed it once a day.


-z



Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Most efficient means of maintaining starter for frequent pizza makers
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2006, 11:16:35 AM »
I have found that I really don't keep a "runny liquidy" starter...I find it much easier to
keep it in the form of a very hydrated dough. The reason I have found is that I personally don't want my dough tasting like sourdough bread. When kept as a dough ball there is no "hooch" development or dark liquor forming that influences the taste of your pizza dough. People pour it off and then have to revive the starter.. I found it MUCH easier to just keep it as a very very soft dough ball in the frig. It slowly rises like dough with air holes and it does'nt start to sour but keeps a nice smelling starter dough for my next pie.
Take out a piece and mix in with your next pizza dough then let rise as ususal for making pizza. Then mix up some flour and water (no salt or any added ingrediants) and mix with the little bit you have left over...then back in the frig...not in loose liquid form but again the consistency is of a very wet dough ball. Try it and you'll find less hassle and more flavor in my opinion.

Offline David

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Re: Most efficient means of maintaining starter for frequent pizza makers
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2006, 12:40:50 PM »
I am also wondering whether you could keep a starter on your countertop indefinitely if you were to feed it once a day.

The  Reply #2 on: June 05, 2006, 05:56:05 PM  would suggest so.If I were you I would read this thread in full for more info.



I keep my culture at the aforementioned coolish room temp, about 60F, all the time.
I feed it the night before I want to use it, and keep the consistency like a thinnish pancake batter.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2006, 12:46:40 PM by David »
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Offline Kinsman

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Re: Most efficient means of maintaining starter for frequent pizza makers
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2006, 03:41:12 PM »
Mine lives on the counter in my kitchen. Daily temps are "normal" room temps.  Also, I guess mine is kept at a "medium" batter consistency.  Easy to pour but not runny. 

I did a lot of experimentation with refrigeration vs counter.  It does seem that the warmer temps favor the development of the lacto side of the brew, but I don't feel like I'm eating "sourdough" pizza.....just really, truly great pizza crust.

Countertop is way easier than waiting for things to warm up;   I see the jar with my culture in it every day, so I'm more in tune with how happy the little guys are.  It's very easy to dump (or use) most of it and add some flour and water when it seems like it's time.   When I know I need to use it I usually rouse things up a bit a day or so ahead of time, but it's probably not really necessary.

I make bread once or twice a week and pizza once a week, so it never gets neglected for long.  I also keep some dried so if the worst should happen I can get her going again.

These cultures are very hardy and don't really require much attention at all.  I highly recommend them. 
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana

Offline zandonatti

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Re: Most efficient means of maintaining starter for frequent pizza makers
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2006, 08:08:48 PM »
Hi Chris,

   Thanks for your response.  I think I will give the countertop a try.

   I know things will always vary, but can you say how often you typically feed these guys?  Once every couple of days?

-Z

Offline Kinsman

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Re: Most efficient means of maintaining starter for frequent pizza makers
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2006, 02:20:05 PM »
Yeah, I usually feed them every two or three days or so, but even a week doesn't seem to hurt the little critters.

During experimentation, I let it go as much as three weeks, and I had to feed them two or three times to wake 'em back up, but then after that they did just fine.

I was super careful with my cultures for a while, but then I split some off and kept very careful schedules with one and experimented with the other.  I learned a lot about their habits (and mine).  I have done the same thing with my beer yeasts, and many of the habits and characteristics are the same.  If you get a lacto going in your beer yeast, though.......yuk.
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana