Author Topic: How to maintain a starter culture  (Read 9915 times)

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Offline ctpiz

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How to maintain a starter culture
« on: March 11, 2008, 02:04:28 PM »
I'm researching this whole process of keeping a culture. I basically want to purchase the Italian cultures from sourdo.com and I plan on making pizza/bread with the culture about once/twice every 2 weeks with it.

I feel like there is no clear explanation on this whole process of maintaining the culture. From what I understand:

1. you get the starter active and healthy out on your counter
2. when it is in a healthy state, pop it in the fridge, covered tightly.
3. Once every week or 2 weeks take the culture out of the fridge and let it sit for about 24 hours with a loose lid.
4. Feed the culture with about a cup of flour and 3/4 cup water
5. Keeping loosely covered let it sit another 12 hours, letting it expand nearly double in size.
6. Place back in fridge, covered tightly.

Is this the correct way to maintain a culture?

Also, I would like to know if this is the proper way to use a culture:

1. Remove the culture from the fridge the night before making dough and feed it.
2. Let culture sit loosely covered for 12 hours and feed again.
3. After about another 8 - 12 hours the culture should be very active. If not, place in warmer area like inside stove w/ light on.
4. Use the culture to make dough.
5. Place the culture back in the fridge while still active.

Please let me know if this would be a good procedure to follow as I have been unable to find detailed steps for this.

As far as washing the culture: You feed it, get it active, transfer to different container, clean original container, dump half the culture out, put back in original container.

Please give me some guidance.

Thanks.
ctpiz


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2008, 02:27:01 PM »
Who is to say what the "correct" way is? This is not how I do it (e.g. my cultures take about 5 hours to be fully active after being removed from the fridge and fed), but that doesn't mean your way won't work. You will receive complete instructions with the cultures from sourdo.com. I would start from there and then deviate as you find prudent and necessary for your pizza making.

Bill/SFNM

Offline ctpiz

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2008, 02:33:19 PM »
Bill,

I appreciate the fast response. Just trying to clear things up before I get my head under water ruin the whole thing.

As far as cleaning/washing the culture, was that a method that will work?
I've read these cultures can last years in your fridge, but you must have to clean the container right?
These cultures produce acids that essentially stop bad bacteria from forming as long as they are fed correctly right?

Thanks again,
ctpiz

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2008, 02:49:57 PM »
Bill,

I appreciate the fast response. Just trying to clear things up before I get my head under water ruin the whole thing.

As far as cleaning/washing the culture, was that a method that will work?
I've read these cultures can last years in your fridge, but you must have to clean the container right?
These cultures produce acids that essentially stop bad bacteria from forming as long as they are fed correctly right?

Thanks again,
ctpiz

Washing is a necessary step if your culture becomes contaminated, something that can easily happen during initial activation.

I clean the container after every use:
 - Remove from fridge
 - Feed and activate
 - Remove what is needed for pizza
 - Pour 1.5 cups into another container
 - Feed
 - Clean out original container
 - Pour 2 cups starter into original (clean) container
 - Leave at room temp for 60 minutes
 - Place in fridge

Perhaps this level of attention is not all necessary but I have done it so many times over the years it is second nature and requires little effort. I allow the dough to rest a few minutes after initially combining the ingredients and use that period to prepare the starter for the next session. I have never had a starter fail to activate, become contaminated or to not deliver the expected results using this routine.
 

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2008, 02:54:43 PM »
See my video which shows some of this:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQd38yoND0g" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQd38yoND0g</a>





Offline ctpiz

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2008, 03:25:38 PM »
Thanks again!

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2008, 03:53:16 PM »
Bill / CTpiz,

Great discussion.

Bill could you elaborate on this " - Feed and activate"  Are you allowing the starter to come to room temperature before feeding?


PNW

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2008, 04:37:06 PM »
Bill could you elaborate on this " - Feed and activate"  Are you allowing the starter to come to room temperature before feeding?

PNW,

Did you view my video mentioned above. It should your question. Let me know if it doesn't.

Bill/SFNM

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2008, 04:46:38 PM »
Bill,

I did watch (nice video), you say 1/2 hour or so. Some people keep their kitchens hotter than others. A 1/2 hour in my house would get the starter up to the high 40's or low 50's. So I was curious just how warm yours got to.

My starter does not seem to get super active. Some of the directions I have for it suggest leaving it in a canister that would allow for 200% expansion, which it never comes close to. Eventually I am going to switch to a better starter once I get the procedures dialed in.


Thanks

PNW

Offline ctpiz

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2008, 11:23:47 PM »
while the culture is in the fridge, should the lid on the container be air-tight? or do you need holes for gases?


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2008, 02:42:23 AM »
while the culture is in the fridge, should the lid on the container be air-tight? or do you need holes for gases?
I use Cambro clear plastic containers. The lids are pretty much air-tight when new and, with age, will allow the release of pressure, although there should be little built-up whie the culture is asleep in the fridge. IIRC, Ed Wood uses glass jars with screw-on lids partially tightened to prevent explosions.

 

Offline asheborobluecomets

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2008, 07:32:45 AM »
I use Mason jars with only the rims of the lids. I put cheese cloth over the mouth of the jar & then screw on the rim. Don't know if this is correct, but I get good results!

 :-\

Offline Matthew

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2008, 07:41:47 AM »
Hi Bill,
I see that you left some starter behind when transferring the starter from your container to the measuring cup.  Do you add that back in once you place the starter in a clean container?

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2008, 07:52:04 AM »
No. Any excess gets tossed.

Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2008, 09:57:10 AM »
...
My starter does not seem to get super active. ...

Try Rye flour - turbo charges all my sourdough!

"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo http://vimeo.com/1654340

Offline bbqnpizza

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2008, 12:46:12 AM »
Try Rye flour - turbo charges all my sourdough!

I followed the rye suggestion, last week in my Gold Rush starter, I didn't get the expected results.
In place of my current flour I used 1/4 cup of Rye flour.  The starter didn't rise to almost double like it normally does, it basically sat there.  The following day there was a bit of hooch, normally with the daily feeding batch I haven't had any hooch, except when I had my initial problems.  I fed one more time and again no rise, so I discontinued the rye and went back to my regular flour.

I should have started a 2nd daily fed culture and experimented with the rye on the 2nd daily batch.  The culture prior to using the rye was starting to get that fresh sourdough aroma, and now I'm trying to get the daily back to normal by diluting out the rye with my fridge main batch.

I admit I didn't give it much of a chance, and will try again with a safe batch, and not spoil the original culture.  The rye flour was cheap bulk barrel from Winco, that might be part of the problem too.

btw, 1/4 cup sounds like not very much, however I only keep about 1/4 cup in the daily fed batch.  That way I only have to feed 2 or 3 tbsp vs the 1 cup method.  When I know I am going to need starter,  I double the flour/water 2 or 3 times a day until I get the necessary starter amount.

Heck if you fed starter daily 1 cup flour, thats 7 cups in a week, almost 4 13" pizzas.  I keep the daily fed batch at 1/4 cup and remove 2 or 3 tbsp and then feed what I removed, thats usually 14-16 tbsp a week or about 1 cup flour.


Offline Matthew

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2008, 07:39:09 AM »
See my video which shows some of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQd38yoND0g

Hi Bill,
When you transfer the leftover starter from the container to the measuring cup how much of the starter do you keep?

Thanks,
Matt



Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2008, 07:43:39 AM »
1.5 cups goes into measuring cup. After flour and water are added to measuring cup, 2 cups is then put back into the cleaned storage container.

Offline Matthew

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2008, 08:21:28 PM »
Thanks alot Bill.  I'm waiting for my italian cultures & the sourdough book, from sourdo.com, should be any day now.  I'm sure it will answer alot of my questions.

Merry Christmas
Matt

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How to maintain a starter culture
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2008, 08:26:40 PM »
Matthew,

The procedure I have described in the video and and in this thread will not be the same as that described in Wood's book. Similar, but not the same. I started by following Wood's directions to the letter and slowly evolved something that works best for me. You might want to do the same.

Bill/SFNM


 

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