Author Topic: Too much heat?  (Read 3051 times)

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Offline AKSteve

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Too much heat?
« on: November 15, 2006, 08:27:56 PM »
I cultivated my own soudough starter in my kitchen this past week. After a few days, it started to smell really good. Exactly like sourdough bread. The only problem was that there were only a few bubbles of activity, so I moved it into a warmer location (~95°). After a day in this location, the mixture was bubbling to the point of making the saran wrap bulge and was almost overflowing the bowl. I assumed this was a sign of good yeast activity, so I decided to move it back into a cooler location. The only problem is, now the great sourdough smell is almost gone and it smells more like vinegar. Is it possible that this temp killed the yeast or is the bad smell from their over-activity?

Steve


Offline tonymark

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2006, 10:24:05 PM »
No, the yeast should still be alive.  Oxidation, which increase with temperature, is a contributor to vinegar production.  Dump 50% of what you have and feed with an some water and flour (equal by weight, about half what remains).  Keep below 86 F and you should restore the balance.  Room temp (~70 F) should be good for boosting the starter for use after fridge storage.

TM
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Offline AKSteve

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2006, 11:46:58 PM »
I've been feeding it every day. I dump out 2 cups of starter and replace with 1 cup each of flour & water. But I've been going by volume, not weight. Should this make a huge difference? Is being exactly precise really important with starters? If so, weighing it isn't a problem, but I've just been doing it the quick & easy way. What I mix into the starter is equivalent to pancake batter. Should it be thicker than that?

After feeding it today (at room temperature), it became active and rose to just short of double in size. Do you know about how many days it should take for the vinegar smell to go away and the sourdough smell to return? I'm just wondering how long it'll take before I can try to bake something. I wouldn't want to eat anything that smells the way this stuff smells right now.

Thanks,

Steve
« Last Edit: November 15, 2006, 11:48:36 PM by AKSteve »

Offline tonymark

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2006, 09:39:05 AM »
You actually mean vinegar and not acidic smell?  You probably need to wash it for 2-3 .  Ed Wood discusses washing in his book.  (I did not find anything on the forum with a quick search.)  Basically, dump all but 1/4 cup of starter, put in 1 cup water and 1 tsp of flour.  Do this once a day for 2-3 days and then begin adding a little flour 2-3 times a day until consistency is right.  Someone else may give more details.  I rarely have to wash my cultures, but this should save it.
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Offline Kidder

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2006, 10:04:39 AM »
A vinegar smell is fine, that's what mine smells like. I've made good tasting loaves with it too. At these early stages the starter will give out some strange odors, mine smelled really nasty between day 2 and day 3 but then started to smell good. I've been neglecting mine for the past two weeks, I'm surprised it's still alive.

Where are you located?

Offline AKSteve

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2006, 06:12:04 PM »
Tonymark,

Thanks for the info on how to wash a culture. I've seen the term used several times, but was unsure of the process. Since the culture is pretty young, I'm going to give it a few days to see if it can sort itself out before I try to wash it. The smell definitely isn't getting any worse, and it might even be a little bit better today. It just doesn't smell like sourdough bread the way it did the first couple of days. Re: the question about vinegar smell vs. acidic: I thought vinegar was an acid?

Kidder,

Does yours smell like sourdough bread at all? I guess I'm mostly confused about what a healthy culture should actually smell like. How did you take care of yours in the beginning? My daily routine is to dump out all of it out except for 1 cup of starter, to which I add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Then I mix the whole thing up. I'm in Anchorage, Alaska, btw.

Steve

Offline Kidder

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2006, 11:10:32 PM »
Yeah, it has typical sourdough odor to it I guess. But I think sourdough has a slight vinegar smell to it. My starter almost burns your nose upon first sniffing it....it's a liquid starter btw at room temp constantly. As long as yours doesn't stink it should be fine. My very first attempt at making a starter resulted in a horrid smelling starter, it smelled exactly like vomit for over a week. I ended up throwing it out.

When I started mine I mixed a tablespoon AP flour and a tablespoon water. Let it sit for 24 hours, add same amount. Did this for about a week then started increasing the amounts daily. If you keep yours at room temp make sue you feed it every day. When you go to make a loaf you'll know why. I've neglected mine lately, as in not feeding it for 3 days straight. So now it's not 'eating' it as quickly as it used to. When I fed it regularly it would start consuming within an hour of feeding. Sounds like you're doing fine though and keeping your quantity of starter low, which is good. As long as you like the breads that it produces then that's all that matters. Personally I like my breads really sour, and mine have been turning out that way. I'm still astonished that I captured a wonderful yeast in my kitchen.

Alaska? I bet there's some wonderful wild yeast up there.

Offline PizzaBrasil

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2006, 05:37:24 AM »
Steve:

You would like to take a look to the hooch in your starter.
If the hooch layer is in top of the starter, it probably is ok. You could either discard the hooch or mixing in again. If disposed, be care with the flour/water percentage.
If the hooch is in the middle or in the bottom of your starter, it will be good to wash the starter as previously indicated.
Do not be worried about any of this processes, the preferment is, normally, strong enough to maintain himself alive.
I have three of them, two news ones, Camaldoli and Ischia and an older one (a three years Carlīs preferment). I had needed to wash the Italian preferment, as somebody indicates that could be happen with the starters coming from Sourdo.com and today there are happily growing. The Carlīs, well, the Carlīs had been sleeping in the refrigerator by weeks and always returned to life when required.

Good luck.

Luis

Offline AKSteve

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2006, 10:26:38 PM »
Kidder,

It's starting to smell much better, so I think everything is working itself out. I've heard that the sour smell of a sourdough comes from the bacteria and that the rise comes from the yeast. When mine wasn't rising in the beginning and smelled just like sourdough, the bacteria must have been doing OK. When I moved it into the too warm location, I think the yeast went nuts and overwhelmed the bacteria. Now things seem to be getting back in balance.

PizzaBrasil,

I'm sorry I don't have a camera handy, so I can't take a pic of the starter. I really don't get much hooch on the top of my starter, but maybe this is because it never has a chance to sit for more than a day to develop any significant hooch. There is a very thin layer of liquid on top of the starter after about a day. It's at the very top of the starter, but below a layer of foamy bubbles.

After todays feeding, I plan on putting the whole thing in the refrigerater to sit for a few days and see if it will sort itself out. If not, I'm going to place an order with sourdo.com. My current culture was really just an experiment to gain experience before trying some of the italian starters.

Steve

Offline AKSteve

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2006, 04:37:52 AM »
Definite hooch formation after todays feeding. This pic was taken about 6 hours after feeding. Sorry for the poor quality, but it's from my cell phone.


Offline PizzaBrasil

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2006, 05:27:44 AM »
AKSteve:

It seems that you are in your way.
Mix in the hooch, dischard half of your mixture and feed again.
The preferment will be ok to bake (or be refrigerated) when double in four to six hours.

Luis

Offline Finnegans Wake

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2006, 12:23:35 PM »
I just took the three bitches out of the fridge to make way for Thanksgiving related stuff, and to get them happy again.  The Camaldoli was pretty good, but the French had a big-arsed layer of hooch and was threatening to turn nasty, and the Ischia just looked sleepy.  So I poured out and fed each, and they look about like your pic above.  And all three are starting to bubble back to happiness.

Of my first starter dough, I had one ball left in the fridge from the first tentative experiment, so it was ~5-6 days old.  Still smelled good, and I needed something quick.  Remembered someone here had a carmelized pizza concoction in another thread, so I took a leek and an onion and carmelized them nicely, and threw them on top with a few shredded anchovies and some parm.  Just a quickie, no-recipe thing.  Must say the crust came out even better this time, better rise and texture, and the onion whatever was very tasty.  It's all very heartening that future experiments will be likewise successful. 

BTW, this year we're having a Virginia country ham, sort of in the vein of the Smithfield... Wonder how slices of that would be on a pie...?   :D
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2006, 12:38:54 PM »
BTW, this year we're having a Virginia country ham, sort of in the vein of the Smithfield... Wonder how slices of that would be on a pie...? :D


Finny,

Maybe you can get some inspiration from these articles:

http://pizzatoday.com/production_articles.shtml?article=NjI3NHN1cGVyNjI3MXNlY3JldDYyNzg= ; and

http://pizzatoday.com/production_articles.shtml?article=MjE0MXN1cGVyMjEzOHNlY3JldDIxNDU= .

Peter

Offline November

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2006, 01:07:42 PM »
That reminds me.  I was going to try a buffalo style turkey and pineapple pizza this week.  I figure you can't incorporate many more lines of longitude into that recipe: from Italy for the pizza concept itself, to the West European settlers eating turkey in New England, to Buffalo, NY for the spicy poultry sauce, and all the way to Hawaii for the pineapple.  I think I'm going to erect a miniature United Nations flag in the center of the pizza after baking.

Offline Finnegans Wake

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Re: Too much heat?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2006, 04:40:21 PM »
Finny,

Maybe you can get some inspiration from these articles:

http://pizzatoday.com/production_articles.shtml?article=NjI3NHN1cGVyNjI3MXNlY3JldDYyNzg= ; and

http://pizzatoday.com/production_articles.shtml?article=MjE0MXN1cGVyMjEzOHNlY3JldDIxNDU= .

Peter



Thanks, Peter.

My understanding is that because of the aging process of the Virginia hams, they're more akin to a Serrano or even a prosciutto, so I think we're talking more concentrated flavors.  They suggest slicing it very thin and serving cold or room temp, not the slab o' ham we might usually serve.

So instead of the Hawaiian pie route, I might go for some approximation of ingredients you might serve with, say, a Parma ham.  Maybe even work with something creamier than mozz to offset any potential saltiness, a Brie maybe?  And then incorporate some non-traditional greens, arugula or a broccolo raab?  I guess this is veering into Cali pie territory, but I think I'll get a better sense once I taste the country ham.
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge. --
Mark Twain