No, I'm not talking about mixing culture A with culture B to create a new hybrid culture C. The conventional wisdom is that the stronger of the two cultures will, sooner or later, dominate and you will be end up with one of the original cultures. Not something I've ever tried.
What I am talking about is creating a dough that contains more than one active culture. Specifically, I had two leftover, fermented dough balls. One was made with the Camaldoli starter and had been sitting the refrigerator for about 4 days. The other was made with the Austrian starter and had been in the refrigerator for about 6 days. I mixed the two dough balls together, shaped into a rustic loaf, proofed, doused in olive oil, and baked in the conventional oven.
The resulting bread had the texture you would expect from a Caputo dough at low temp. But the flavor, oh, the flavor was one of the best that has ever come out of my oven. Not sure what to make of this, but here are few random thoughts:
1. This is nothing like the case mentioned above where two starter cultures are mixed together. In this case, each culture had fermented separately and the doughs were then combined. Seems logical that there was plenty of food for all and there was no competition.
2. I wonder if mixing the two cultures together at the beginning and allowing them to ferment together would make a difference.
3. What if I had simply baked up two doughs separately and placed a piece of each in my mouth at the same time? Would the flavor be different? I think I know pretty well what each of these starters tastes like. What surprised me here was that the whole seemed to be greater than the sum of its parts. Much greater. Not sure I understand.
4. Activating multiple cultures and mixing them into a dough seems like a lot of effort. What cultures? How much of each? Not something I am prepared to study right now. Too busy getting a handle on fermenting/proofing temps and times. But I eventually hope to revisit this to see what effect it might have on my pizzas.
Anyone ever gone down this path?