Author Topic: hi, have questions with activating culture  (Read 6932 times)

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Offline koloa101

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hi, have questions with activating culture
« on: February 22, 2009, 11:07:43 AM »
hi all,
i ordered ed's book and the italian cultures. i activated the cal.culture and its been in the proof box for 20 hrs at 85 degrees. i notice that there is liquid that is forming at the top. i guess thats the 'hooch'; am i correct? In ed's book it states that if its in the middle or bottom, thats not a good sign. however, how about when its at the top?


Offline Matthew

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009, 11:11:36 AM »
hi all,
i ordered ed's book and the italian cultures. i activated the cal.culture and its been in the proof box for 20 hrs at 85 degrees. i notice that there is liquid that is forming at the top. i guess thats the 'hooch'; am i correct? In ed's book it states that if its in the middle or bottom, thats not a good sign. however, how about when its at the top?

Sounds like you're okay.  Hooch on top is a good sign.  The ultimate test is to smell & taste it, then you'll know for sure.  Good luck!

Matt

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009, 05:19:21 PM »
hi,
not sure what foam looks like but it seems there are bubbles everywhere. here is the culture at 28 hrs. does activation look complete? is it suppose to smell ummm, musty wet flour like?

the green line indicates the second feeding start place.

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 05:23:22 PM »
hi matthew, i saw your picture you posted in the other thread. it seems mine looks like yours sort of but the bottom of my jar has bubbles as well. did i over ferment? after i posted aout the hooch, a few hrs later that hooch disappeared.

Sounds like you're okay.  Hooch on top is a good sign.  The ultimate test is to smell & taste it, then you'll know for sure.  Good luck!

Matt

Offline Matthew

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 08:15:13 PM »
hi,
not sure what foam looks like but it seems there are bubbles everywhere. here is the culture at 28 hrs. does activation look complete? is it suppose to smell ummm, musty wet flour like?

the green line indicates the second feeding start place.

K,
28 hours seems a but early for it to be fully activated.  I'm assuming that you've only done one feeding after the initial 24hours.  What temperature are you fermenting at?

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 09:34:34 PM »
hi,
i am currently fermenting at 85 and i am on my first feeding. i got an email from ed and he said to wait a few more days. if thats the case, i am ok with dumping half and refeeding? i guess there is a 'foam' that i should be waiting for to see?

Offline s00da

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 12:06:50 AM »
koloa101,

I agree with Matt. 28 hours seems to soon. It's not impossible but much faster than anyone I've seen on the forum so far.

It seems like Ed wants to be certain that you have no contamination by allowing few more days.

Good luck,
s00da

Offline Matthew

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 06:29:56 AM »
hi,
i am currently fermenting at 85 and i am on my first feeding. i got an email from ed and he said to wait a few more days. if thats the case, i am ok with dumping half and refeeding? i guess there is a 'foam' that i should be waiting for to see?

Continue feeding at room temperature (71-73deg) for a few days.  The reason that you are seeing some much growth so fast is because your fermenting temperature of 85 deg is making your culture very acidic.  Feed for a couple (2-3) more days & see what happens, if it is not fully active by then, it may have become too acidic.  At this stage you may have to do a wash, but just wait & see.  Although Ed's book & instructions are very good, he neglects to mention that after the initial 24hrs of activation, continued feedings should be at room temperature .

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 09:43:55 AM »
hi,
thanks all for the help. hwere is what it looks like this morning, roughly around 40hrs. i gave it another feeding before i left for work. i can see a little hooch in the middle?


Offline s00da

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2009, 04:58:52 PM »
koloa101,

That looks like contamination to me. I suggest you follow the washing procedure in Ed's manual until it clears up. Washing will never hurt your starter.

s00da

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2009, 05:13:25 PM »
hi thanks for the input...i just would like to clarify the washing process.

it states to dump everything except 1 cup of the culture..and then fill the WHOLE container with warm water?...warm water as in 85 degree water? next, dump everything except 1 cup of that and then feed 1 cup flour and 3/4 cups warm water. is this correct? next keep culture at 71-72 degrees or stay at 85?

also, i can feed with bread flour right?

is the above picture suppose to look like what i am trying to achieve except for the accumulation of hooch in the center? that the hooch should be on the top layer?

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2009, 07:47:08 PM »
hi all,
here is what the culture looks like now. it seems the hooch is now gone? is it ready to be refrigerated? before i put it in the fridge, i read that i should feed and let sit for an hour. is that correct? total time is around 53 hrs.

Offline s00da

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2009, 04:37:53 AM »
koloa101,

I cannot really answer the question if one wash would be enough or not. From my own experience, I washed the starter 4 times eventhough it cleared up like yours from the first wash.

It's your choice or you can always ask Ed  ;D

s00da

Offline Matthew

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2009, 06:22:06 AM »
hi all,
here is what the culture looks like now. it seems the hooch is now gone? is it ready to be refrigerated? before i put it in the fridge, i read that i should feed and let sit for an hour. is that correct? total time is around 53 hrs.

K,
Judging from this photo; definitely not ready yet.  Keep feeding at room temperature for at least another day, if it's not ready by then, you may want to consider a single wash & continue to feed & proof at room temperature.

Matt
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 06:27:10 AM by Matthew »

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2009, 07:11:49 AM »
will do thanks all!

not sure what to do last night, i placed the culture in the fridge. i will take it out now and do a feeding and see what happens when i return from work!

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2009, 10:40:14 AM »
In the picture posted in the other thread below about activation, it seems the whole culture has bubbles. is there foam present at the top? i could not really tell from the photo. is this what i am trying to achieve?

thanks for the help!

K,
Judging from this photo; definitely not ready yet.  Keep feeding at room temperature for at least another day, if it's not ready by then, you may want to consider a single wash & continue to feed & proof at room temperature.

Matt

Offline Matthew

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2009, 06:32:50 PM »
In the picture posted in the other thread below about activation, it seems the whole culture has bubbles. is there foam present at the top? i could not really tell from the photo. is this what i am trying to achieve?

thanks for the help!


K,
Your looking for a thick batter like consistency full of little air bubbles with no foam.  If you're getting alot of  foam it could be that your culture is too acidic.  The only way to reduce the acidity is by washing.
Matt


Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2009, 10:40:41 PM »
oh ok, i was not sure if little bubbles meant foam. right now, the culture is starting to get more bubbles and on the very top layer, there are small areas of 'foam' forming. ill se how it looks tomorrow.

thanks for the help!

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2009, 06:35:08 PM »
well....there is not much action going on. the culture still looks like post 11. i currently have it at 72 degrees and its been 4 days. keep going?

also, i am somewhat confused about the initial activation process. in the book, it states that activation is complete when there is an inch or 2 of foam at the top. however, thats not really the case?

i read your other posts...since there is not much activity going on, maybe its too acidic and needs a washing...
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 07:04:54 PM by koloa101 »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2009, 07:10:31 PM »
I am confused about your confusion. The Italian instruction booklet I have (maybe it is an old version) clearly discusses the importance of temperature when activating (top of page 6 in my copy) and calls for 85F-90F throughout the activation for a higher acidity to suppress contamination. Why are people in this thread talking about much lower temps? Have there been new instructions published?

Bill/SFNM

Offline msilvestro

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2009, 09:04:03 PM »
I too was confused when i started my cultures 8 or 9 days ago.  I made the mistake of thinking the culture was fully active after 2days.  I took mine out of the fridge and keep dividing and feed for a total of 5 days. by the last day my culture you grow 2-3 time its normal size with in 1-2 hours of feeding.  I made my first loaf of bread from the culture and it turned out terrible. i did not proof the dough properly and i made a very dense bread. The second loaf came out much better as i proofed the dough at 85 degrees for 24 hours . the bread was sour tasting and full of air holes.  My next attempt will be to made pizza dough with this culture. I'm used the ischia culture from ed.

I am still confused over the whole hydration % , and bakers percents.  I new to cultures and dough making in general. I'm glad i found this site. Thanks to everyone for all the great info.

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2009, 10:17:03 PM »

i just got an email from Ed....

"It is activated at 85 degrees for the first 24 hours then reduced to 70-72 for subsequent feedings. "

i just checked the culture and it seems that little bubbles are forming all throughout! thank you all and Matthew for the help!

I am confused about your confusion. The Italian instruction booklet I have (maybe it is an old version) clearly discusses the importance of temperature when activating (top of page 6 in my copy) and calls for 85F-90F throughout the activation for a higher acidity to suppress contamination. Why are people in this thread talking about much lower temps? Have there been new instructions published?

Bill/SFNM

Offline Matthew

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2009, 07:43:32 AM »
I am confused about your confusion. The Italian instruction booklet I have (maybe it is an old version) clearly discusses the importance of temperature when activating (top of page 6 in my copy) and calls for 85F-90F throughout the activation for a higher acidity to suppress contamination. Why are people in this thread talking about much lower temps? Have there been new instructions published?

Bill/SFNM

Hi Bill,
I was confused on this issue as well, after the initial 24 hours of activating my culture, I continued my feedings & proofing at 85 degrees & experienced the same results as K.  I emailed Ed & his response was that a temperature of 85-90 degrees is only required within the initial 24 hours of activation, after that, feedings should be continued at room temperature (70-72 deg).  I followed his advice & continued feeding for a couple of days without any success.  I emailed Ed again & he concluded that my culture had become too acidic & recommended that I do a single wash & then continue to feed & proof & room temperature in 12 hour intervals.  After about 36 hour I had a fully activated culture.
Matt

 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 07:51:31 AM by Matthew »

Offline koloa101

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2009, 10:04:44 AM »

Once it was fully activated after 12 hrs from last feeding, did you do one more feeding, let sit for an hour, and then put in fridge? I would assume so since the directions say to do that when you want to use your culture.

Thanks


Hi Bill,
I was confused on this issue as well, after the initial 24 hours of activating my culture, I continued my feedings & proofing at 85 degrees & experienced the same results as K.  I emailed Ed & his response was that a temperature of 85-90 degrees is only required within the initial 24 hours of activation, after that, feedings should be continued at room temperature (70-72 deg).  I followed his advice & continued feeding for a couple of days without any success.  I emailed Ed again & he concluded that my culture had become too acidic & recommended that I do a single wash & then continue to feed & proof & room temperature in 12 hour intervals.  After about 36 hour I had a fully activated culture.
Matt

 

Offline Matthew

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Re: hi, have questions with activating culture
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2009, 11:21:55 AM »
Once it was fully activated after 12 hrs from last feeding, did you do one more feeding, let sit for an hour, and then put in fridge? I would assume so since the directions say to do that when you want to use your culture.

Thanks



In my case, I knew my starter was fully activated when it increased in volume by over 2 inches within 2 hours of the final feeding.   At that point I didn't use the culture, rather, I placed it in the fridge right away to slow down the metabolism of the organisms.   In my opinion, 12 hours is much to long. By then, there is a good chance that your culture is partially dormant & very probable that all the nutrients found in the flour have been used up by the organisms of your culture.

Matt