Author Topic: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation  (Read 15680 times)

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Offline scpizza

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2007, 11:16:00 AM »
I'd echo pretty much all of scott's comments on starter management.

Optimum activity is important.  Out of the fridge it takes several feedings and washings before it is no longer half-dormant.  If you try to use it straight out of the fridge you'll have very poor results.

I also see the pattern post-feeding of a lag time of ~4 hours followed by a burst of bubbly activity of ~4 hours and then a decline of ~4 hours into a flat, quiescent state.  I try to incorporate mine into the dough just at the peak of activity, just before the end of the burst phase at ~7 hours post-feeding.

Of course hydration and temperature affects all this.  I am doing this at a room temp of ~75F and at a hydration level of 100%.  This hydration is particularly useful because at this thickness the mixture will trap the gas as bubbles and thus expand up the container.  That way, the max height of the mixture in the container correlates to the end of the burst phase where the yeast have run out of food.  By using the same amount of starter and flour at the beginning, this spot is predictable so you can catch the yeast at the peak of its activity just before that point is reached.

I've noticed I can _really_ get the starter active if I do a wash and feed at this optimal point of activity once or even twice in succession, never letting the starter get into the decline phase.  At that point it is convinced it is SuperStarter and just goes crazy - all the above times shorten.


Offline icemncmth

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2007, 12:25:10 PM »
I have a couple of starters that I work with..one is over 50 years old..


Saying that....I know people who keep and feed a starter all the time...they never keep it in the fridge.....

I on the other hand am a little lazy...Their are times when my starters will sit in the fridge for a couple of months, neglected and waiting for food..

I can pull them out..let them get to room temp. Add water and white flour...I just eyeball the amounts probably 48% water and 52% flour. I use to weigh it but found out that I get close enough. Once I see some action I will split the amount, half goes in the fridge and the other goes into a clean jar. I add more flour and water mixture and do this until I have to feed the beast every 4 hours.

This usually takes about 12 hours total. Sometimes more sometimes less..

Now I am not like most that keep a cup of starter in the fridge. I keep maybe a couple of tablespoons in the fridge. So when I have done my 12 hours to get an very active starter..I end up with a cup or so...

I am not a scientist and never played one on TV but when I make pizza I use different amounts of starter depending on when I need the dough. I sometimes only dip a spoon into the starter and work that into the dough..

If I want a dough with a real twang..I use my milk starter..and a very little amount and I keep it in the fridge for several days..

I have a couple of friends who make pizza and they are very scientific about how they make their dough. Sometimes their dough just doesn't work like they plan...

There is a lot of science in making pizza but there is a little art also. Throw in a starter and things can change.




Offline Bryan S

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2007, 10:16:48 PM »
I'm going to chime in here just because there's a very important part of the activation process that was left out of Ed's book and the instructions that come with the dry cultures. I've had The Book "Classic Sourdoughs" By Ed Wood for almost 2 years now and have bought many dry cultures from him. Never had a infection or any really long lag times before getting activation. That said I'm also a home brewer and use alot of dry yeast for beer, wine, and mead so I'm schooled about proper re hydration of dry yeast. Here's the problem i see that so many of you get contamination during the initial activation. The directions say to store dry cultures in the fridge until ready to activate, no problem there, but if you are taking the dry cultures out of the fridge and adding it cold and directly to the warm water and flour mixture then that's a huge problem. When re hydrating dry yeast it very important to let them come up to room temp before re hydrating adding the yeast to warm water. For home brew i take a pack of dry yeast out of the fridge and let it warm up for 1/2-1 hr before adding it to the 102-104 degree water per the direction on the pack of yeast. If you were to add the yeast straight out of the fridge in to the warm water it would kill a great deal of the yeast, and the remaining ones that are still viable are shocked and it will create a huge lag time in active fermentation, which opens the door for a infection. The same would apply to the dry sourdough cultures because they are yeast too. I just activated my Ischia culture last week and after 20 hrs had nice foam on top with no infection, but i followed my home brewing technique of letting the dry sourdough culture come up to 85 degrees before adding it to the warm water flour mixture. Hope this might help someone avoid the huge lag time and a infection with their sourdough cultures. ;) Bryan
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Offline Jack

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2007, 04:25:55 PM »
i take a pack of dry yeast out of the fridge and let it warm up for 1/2-1 hr before adding it to the 102-104 degree water per the direction on the pack of yeast. If you were to add the yeast straight out of the fridge in to the warm water it would kill a great deal of the yeast, and the remaining ones that are still viable are shocked and it will create a huge lag time in active fermentation,  ;) Bryan

KEWL!  I recently switched from IDY to ADY (soon to a starter) but it has taken me about 5-6 dough batches to begin to figure out that the ADY worked better if it was allowed to warm before it's tepid bath. 

Thanks for confirming my recent observation.

Jack

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2007, 08:17:46 AM »
I have been using my starter every couple of days, so what I've been doing (and correct me if this is wrong) is using it, then feeding, and sticking it right back in the fridge.

So when I take it out of the fridge, I don't need to feed it.  I take it out around 7am, and by early afternoon it has doubled and is very bubbly/smells a little alcoholic but not sour.  I use some, feed it and put it back.

Another q I had was when the starter bulks up, should you stir it before measuring... or does it not really matter?  I guess if you are doing it by weight (as opposed to volume) it doesn't matter?  I do not have a scale yet.  ???
« Last Edit: March 31, 2007, 08:20:41 AM by pcampbell »
Patrick

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2007, 07:24:23 PM »
I use my starters straight from the fridge. After mixing and short hand kneading i leave them out overnight at room tem, to encourage the yeast to grow. The next day i judge how much it has risen, if it is quite active then it goes into the fridge until i am ready to use it. I take it out an hour or to before use for it to come up to temperature, however i find slightly cold dough easier to handle and form. If it is very slow to rise i leave it at room temp, or even mix a little more starter in.

This works pretty well for me. Maybe it is not optimum. I think it may depend on the starter also. I have used the re-activating the starter by feeding and leaving at room temp, but i think maybe laziness inclines me not to bother, and i am gettign good rises on my pies.

Offline David

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2008, 01:13:18 PM »
Just took a starter out of the fridge yesterday that had been dormant for at least seven months.I have washed it twice and fed it.All appears to be  well.I've another couple in there also that I plan on leaving longer to see if any problems arise?
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Offline pcampbell

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #47 on: February 19, 2008, 06:17:04 PM »
I haven't used a sourdough since prior to purchasing a scale so...

I just weighed out 140 g flour and 140 g water and the mixture is quite thick.  Almost chunky.  Is this  how it should be or did I measure incorrectly (sometimes I do something dumb like put pressure on the scale while pushing "tare").

Patrick

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2008, 04:31:31 PM »
Welp.

I don't know if this is correct, but after not using this starter for 6 months, it came right back to life in about 36 or 48 hours.  Cool!!!
Patrick

Offline asheborobluecomets

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2008, 12:59:59 PM »
Thanks to everyone on this post!

It's alive !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 ;D


Offline rpmfla

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Re: Proper Care and Feeding of Starters - Activation
« Reply #50 on: October 15, 2011, 11:55:34 AM »
One thing I have found helpful in determining if my starter is ready to use, in addition to the visual and procedural clues, is to smell it. With my starter (100% hydration), I take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Then I discard all but about 60-75 grams (depending on what I'll need). Then I feed it (1-1-1). As it feeds, it has an alcohol type smell. As it gets just past doubling, crowns, and just starts to recede, the odor changes to a more healthy, somewhat sweeter, fresh bread smell. This is the point I use what I need for pizza (or bread), feed the extra and put it back in the refrigerator.

When I am not using it...just feeding it...I take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, stir it, measure out about 60-75 grams and feed it 1-1-1. Then it goes back in the refrigerator.

So far this has worked well, as I am getting very good taste in my breads and pizzas. I do still include a pinch of IDY in my recipes as it gives me a little oomph that starter alone doesn't. I'm hoping (wondering if), as my starter matures (it is less than a year old) it will only get better and stronger.


 

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