Author Topic: Activating starter...very thick.  (Read 1470 times)

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Offline DenaliPete

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Activating starter...very thick.
« on: March 04, 2009, 06:02:41 PM »
Hi guys,

I'm trying to read and absorb as much as I can on these boards, been working on bettering my pizza making for probably 18 months now.

Over christmas I recieved a wonderful gift that I'm deathly afraid of.  A sourdough starter kit.

Don't ask me why, it just scares me.  I am only just now manning up and trying to tackle starter.  The sourdough starter is King Arthur, does anyone have any feedback on the quality of the starter?

I've been following the directions that came with the starter, but I've noticed that the directions are always calling for discarding 1/2 the mixture, then feeding with 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of flour.  My starters consistency is like a very thick batter right now.  Kinda difficult actually to scoop and measure and whatnot.

I'm still in the early stages with this starter, I literally just did my first discard and feeding to bring the acidity to a proper level.  But is starter always supposed to be so thick?

Also I'm concerned slightly with storage.  It came with a small crock that looks nice aesthetically, but just doesn't seem very large.  What sort of container do you folks recommend?  Is airtight okay or am I going to slaughter my culture doing that?

I'd really like to know how everyone feels the King Arthur's culture compares to some of the more popular starters here (I believe Camoldi and ischia, both given to Ed Wood by pizzanapoletana if I recall correctly).  If my starter is mediocre in comparison perhaps I should consider it my training wheels to learn the basics of starter maintenance.

Sorry to be longwinded folks, I'm reading most of the threads in this section, but starter makes me very uneasy.


Offline Matthew

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Re: Activating starter...very thick.
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2009, 06:42:07 PM »
Hi guys,

I'm trying to read and absorb as much as I can on these boards, been working on bettering my pizza making for probably 18 months now.

Over christmas I recieved a wonderful gift that I'm deathly afraid of.  A sourdough starter kit.

Don't ask me why, it just scares me.  I am only just now manning up and trying to tackle starter.  The sourdough starter is King Arthur, does anyone have any feedback on the quality of the starter?

I've been following the directions that came with the starter, but I've noticed that the directions are always calling for discarding 1/2 the mixture, then feeding with 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of flour.  My starters consistency is like a very thick batter right now.  Kinda difficult actually to scoop and measure and whatnot.

You can easily modify the consistency by whatever you like.  My starters are a 50/50 by weight.

I'm still in the early stages with this starter, I literally just did my first discard and feeding to bring the acidity to a proper level.  But is starter always supposed to be so thick?

If you are looking for a sponge culture then yes, there really is no "right" consistency, it's what you prefer.  For example,  my preference is a liquid culture for pizza dough & a sponge culture for bread dough.

Also I'm concerned slightly with storage.  It came with a small crock that looks nice aesthetically, but just doesn't seem very large.  What sort of container do you folks recommend?

I use a 1 quart Cambro Container; a 1L widemouth mason jar works just as good.


Is airtight okay or am I going to slaughter my culture doing that?
No you will not harm the culture,  you may however blow the lid off if you have a very strong culture.  The advantage of a mason jar is that you can leave the lid loose.


I'd really like to know how everyone feels the King Arthur's culture compares to some of the more popular starters here (I believe Camoldi and ischia, both given to Ed Wood by pizzanapoletana if I recall correctly).

I use Camoldoli & Ischia, not sure about the KA starters.  I'm sure their fine.  

If my starter is mediocre in comparison perhaps I should consider it my training wheels to learn the basics of starter maintenance.

Sorry to be longwinded folks, I'm reading most of the threads in this section, but starter makes me very uneasy.
[/quote
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 06:49:33 PM by Matthew »

Offline DenaliPete

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Re: Activating starter...very thick.
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2009, 06:58:43 PM »
Ahh Matthew, it seems you're coming to my rescue quite often these days.  Oven troubles, high heat cooking, starters, etc.  You're a man with many hats, I truly appreciate your help. 

I think my preference when this is said and done will be to have a more liquid culture.  The King Arthur instructions call for me to do one more discard and feeding (with a 2-4 hour wait) before it is considered ready for use.  At that point perhaps I'll experiment with making the starter more liquidy so that its a bit easier for handling and measuring. 

Being stored loosely, will I have to worry at all about my starter absorbing any refridgerator funk smell or is absorbtion something that simply won't happen?

Also, how feasible is it to have a starter just kept at room temperature rather than refridgerated?  If I'm correct the starter would be pretty active and probably require alot more maintenance, so I'm not sure if that would be more trouble than what its worth.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Activating starter...very thick.
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2009, 07:26:10 PM »
Ahh Matthew, it seems you're coming to my rescue quite often these days.  Oven troubles, high heat cooking, starters, etc.  You're a man with many hats, I truly appreciate your help. 

I think my preference when this is said and done will be to have a more liquid culture.  The King Arthur instructions call for me to do one more discard and feeding (with a 2-4 hour wait) before it is considered ready for use.  At that point perhaps I'll experiment with making the starter more liquidy so that its a bit easier for handling and measuring. 

Being stored loosely, will I have to worry at all about my starter absorbing any refridgerator funk smell or is absorbtion something that simply won't happen?

Also, how feasible is it to have a starter just kept at room temperature rather than refridgerated?  If I'm correct the starter would be pretty active and probably require alot more maintenance, so I'm not sure if that would be more trouble than what its worth.

Pete,
No problem at all, I'm happy to help when I can.  Starters can seem pretty complicated at first but once you understand how they react it's a breeze.  While activating, the 2 most important things to look out for is contamination and/or over acidity.  Before I did anything I read Ed Wood's book "Classic Sourdoughs" & it really helped me to understand the why's & how's.
Have a peek at these threads, I'm sure that they'll be quite helpful.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8018.0.html
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7859.0.html

Good luck!

Matt

Matt


 

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