Author Topic: our own starters  (Read 3121 times)

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Offline artigiano

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our own starters
« on: June 02, 2009, 09:05:54 PM »
It would be nice to see some new starters make their way into the pizzamaking.com site.. since we have been talking about the same two for a while.  Maybe some of us should start making are own!  I would have to say I have been using the camaldoli for pizzas since it activates a lot faster than the Ischia.  I do prefer the Ischia for a good sourdough.  Would love to see a response on this one and I will start cultivating one as well.

Al


Offline AZ-Buckeye

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2009, 10:42:57 AM »
For me, part of the "romance" of making a Neapolitan-stlyle pizza is to explain to my dinner guests that I made the dough using a wild yeast from Italy that is a couple of hundred years old.  Wouldn't be the same to explain that I cultivated the yeast last month on my counter-top in Arizona.  But again -- that's just my thought.

Offline Chef_Boy-R-Dee

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2009, 01:15:29 PM »
I use one that is borrowed from a lady I know who started hers 27 years ago. And...the dinner guests were amazed by how old it is.

I also have another in my fridge that I started from rye flour about a year ago. I used that for about 6 months, then I started using this other lady's starter. Yesterday we moved apartments and I found the one I made in the back of the fridge....it had a gray, unappealing growth on top, but underneath this was a creamy, blond normal looking starter. I'm in the process right now of reviving this, seeing if it will come back to life, and trying this in my dough.

I have yet to try the ischia or camaldoli....let me know if anyone would like to trade!!!
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Offline artigiano

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2009, 07:02:44 PM »
do starters get better with age?  I find the camoldi more responsive than the ischia and the ischia is the 200 year old.

Offline AZ-Buckeye

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2009, 07:20:16 PM »
I've had the opposite experience with the Ischia being more responsive.  I don't even use the Camaldoli any more.

Offline anton-luigi

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2009, 09:06:26 PM »
do starters get better with age?  I find the camoldi more responsive than the ischia and the ischia is the 200 year old.
I dont know about getting "better" per se,  but I do think that they definitely change their characteristics over time.  I know that my Ischia and my Camaldoli both seemed to smell more wine-like and earthy when they were younger.  And I dont think I have had them for more than a year yet.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 11:27:31 PM »
I've had the opposite experience with the Ischia being more responsive.  I don't even use the Camaldoli any more.

This has been my experience exactly, with the Ischia being much more responsive than the Camaldoli. When taking the dormant "mother poolish" out of the fridge, the Ischia always responds to an initial feeding hours before the Camaldoli is showing signs of waking up.

I find both cultures capable of creating a pleasing product, but given the fact I personally prefer the more noticeable sourdough tanginess of the Ischia, that's the culture I use now.
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline PizzaPolice

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 11:37:35 PM »
There's always your old friend...  the San Francisco Sourdough strain.  Quite capable and tasty.

Offline cooper

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2009, 06:16:06 AM »
I come from the opposite approach and would like to try some well-known starters to see how the wild one I've had for about 2 years compares.  So far, I've been impressed with its hardiness and ability to raise dough even after being relatively abused.  I don't have much frame of reference concerning flavor.  My homegrown starter turns out no-knead sourdough bread that is tasty to me and others, and I've been using it lately more and more in pizza dough.

Here's my typical no-knead bread recipe:

420g total flour.  I use a small handful (a few heaping tablespoons?) of whole wheat flour.  I don't know if it helps or what it does technically, but I started out that way and it has become the norm.  The rest is either all KA bread flour or a mix with that and KA AP.  KA bread flour is more expensive here than AP, which is the only reason for cutting it down. 

1 1/2 t salt
260g water
30g or so starter
sometimes a little, maybe 1/2 t, of oil -- doesn't seem to make much difference

Mix it all up.  I add the starter to the water and stir.  Salt is mixed with the flour, which gets added to the water/starter.  I actually knead the dough a little just enough to shape into a ball, which then goes into a lightly oiled plastic bowl set on the counter at room temp (varies here from 70 in the winter to 80 in the summer).  I have plates that are the perfect size to seal the bowl, so I place one on top.  I add a note of the time in case I get occupied with other things and forget.

I usually fold the dough a time or two in the early hours, but I've had equally good results without bothering.

After anywhere from 16 hours to 22 hours, the dough has at least doubled.  The time varies based on room temp, how active the starter was (if I had fed and used at peak or just pinched some old starter straight out of the fridge), how much I used, etc.

After it has puffed up enough to suit me and smells good, fold, shape and place into a bread pan 2-3 hours before baking.  I use a glass bread dish that is slightly smaller than most metal bread pans.  I grease (Crisco) and flour it before putting in my shaped dough to prevent sticking.  I've found that greasing and flouring works far better than wiping with oil.  Push the shaped dough in there and cover loosely with plastic wrap. 

2-3 hours later, when the dough has risen enough to meet the top of the dish or is a slightly above, it's time to go into the oven.  Immediately before, I make a single slash along the top.  It needs to be fairly deep, at least a 1/4", to produce a typical store-bought loaf shape.

Then it goes into a cold oven.  I set the temp to 375 or so, and give it 45 minutes or longer.  Gas ovens produce a lot of moisture when heating up, which I suspect helps serve as the steam often advocated by those who actually know about bread making (I'm certainly not one of them).

Somewhere along the line I stick a temp probe in.  I take the middle of the loaf to 212 (at about 1000 ft. altitude), then remove it from the baking dish and set on a rack to cool.

One of these days I'll get a San Francisco or Italian starter and see how it compares.  I'd also like to try dumping dough into a pre-heated cast iron pot.





Offline Matthew

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2009, 07:00:48 AM »
I come from the opposite approach and would like to try some well-known starters to see how the wild one I've had for about 2 years compares.  So far, I've been impressed with its hardiness and ability to raise dough even after being relatively abused.  I don't have much frame of reference concerning flavor.  My homegrown starter turns out no-knead sourdough bread that is tasty to me and others, and I've been using it lately more and more in pizza dough.

Here's my typical no-knead bread recipe:

420g total flour.  I use a small handful (a few heaping tablespoons?) of whole wheat flour.  I don't know if it helps or what it does technically, but I started out that way and it has become the norm.  The rest is either all KA bread flour or a mix with that and KA AP.  KA bread flour is more expensive here than AP, which is the only reason for cutting it down. 

1 1/2 t salt
260g water
30g or so starter
sometimes a little, maybe 1/2 t, of oil -- doesn't seem to make much difference

Mix it all up.  I add the starter to the water and stir.  Salt is mixed with the flour, which gets added to the water/starter.  I actually knead the dough a little just enough to shape into a ball, which then goes into a lightly oiled plastic bowl set on the counter at room temp (varies here from 70 in the winter to 80 in the summer).  I have plates that are the perfect size to seal the bowl, so I place one on top.  I add a note of the time in case I get occupied with other things and forget.

I usually fold the dough a time or two in the early hours, but I've had equally good results without bothering.

After anywhere from 16 hours to 22 hours, the dough has at least doubled.  The time varies based on room temp, how active the starter was (if I had fed and used at peak or just pinched some old starter straight out of the fridge), how much I used, etc.

After it has puffed up enough to suit me and smells good, fold, shape and place into a bread pan 2-3 hours before baking.  I use a glass bread dish that is slightly smaller than most metal bread pans.  I grease (Crisco) and flour it before putting in my shaped dough to prevent sticking.  I've found that greasing and flouring works far better than wiping with oil.  Push the shaped dough in there and cover loosely with plastic wrap. 

2-3 hours later, when the dough has risen enough to meet the top of the dish or is a slightly above, it's time to go into the oven.  Immediately before, I make a single slash along the top.  It needs to be fairly deep, at least a 1/4", to produce a typical store-bought loaf shape.

Then it goes into a cold oven.  I set the temp to 375 or so, and give it 45 minutes or longer.  Gas ovens produce a lot of moisture when heating up, which I suspect helps serve as the steam often advocated by those who actually know about bread making (I'm certainly not one of them).

Somewhere along the line I stick a temp probe in.  I take the middle of the loaf to 212 (at about 1000 ft. altitude), then remove it from the baking dish and set on a rack to cool.

One of these days I'll get a San Francisco or Italian starter and see how it compares.  I'd also like to try dumping dough into a pre-heated cast iron pot.






I follow a similar regimen using Ischia starter & the results have been fantastic.  At present I have some sourdough cinnamon raisin bread proofing.  It smells amazing; I can't wait to bake it up.  The only difference is I use Brotform proofing basket & bake mine in a Romertopf clay baker (shown below).  They're not cheap, but definately worth it if you bake bread often enough. Using a Cast Iron Dutch oven will yield similar results.  The steam created within the pot will allow for some excellent spring & a nice crispy crust.  I remove my bread from the oven @ 205 degrees & let it cool down for about 2 hours.  Remember the bread continues to cook while cooling & the temperature will continue to increase before it drops.

Good Luck,
Matthew


Offline UnConundrum

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2009, 09:18:39 AM »
I used my Ischia last weekend to make some Jewish Rye and was disappointed.  It just wasn't sour enough.  Usually I use my own sourdough which gives me great results.  Just proves the point that there is a reason for maintaining different starters :)

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2009, 11:24:20 AM »
I used my Ischia last weekend to make some Jewish Rye and was disappointed.  It just wasn't sour enough.  Usually I use my own sourdough which gives me great results.  Just proves the point that there is a reason for maintaining different starters :)

I like the Austrian starter for rye bread. It is relatively mild with wheat flour, but when fed rye or pumpernickel it produces a great flavor for rye bread. It is the main reason I keep the Austrian culture around. I really like it for pizzas and breads, but rarely use it for anything but rye bread.


Offline cooper

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2009, 12:27:30 AM »
I remove my bread from the oven @ 205 degrees & let it cool down for about 2 hours.  Remember the bread continues to cook while cooling & the temperature will continue to increase before it drops.
Fresh baked bread taxes my patience.  Drooling while staring at the clock isn't fun.  I once managed to let a loaf rest a full 2 hours, but now I figure 45 minutes is long enough.

The time difference between 205 and 212 internal is only a few minutes in my case.  As you said, the bread continues cooking for a while after coming out of the oven.  I think as long as it has baked long enough to reach that general temperature range, a few minutes plus or minus don't make much difference at the temperatures I'm using.  Last time I baked a loaf the batteries in my thermometer were dead, so I just guessed.  It turned out as usual.  There seems to be a good amount of wiggle room.  If using higher heat the situation is probably different.

I'm curious how my bread would turn out using a preheated clay (yours looks very nice) or cast iron enclosure.  My NY style pizzas require baking directly on a hot stone (500-550 F) for at least the first part of the bake.  Even a pizza screen between skin and stone produces inferior results by reducing spring and eliminating the slight grayish flavor-adding coloration of the bottom.  If the same applies to my bread, I've been missing out.

Do those of you using multiple starters notice any differences in smell among them?  Mine smells similar to acidic bananas.  It's now almost 2 years old and hasn't changed much over time. 

I feed my starter KA AP flour and distilled water in equal amounts by weight, using roughly enough flour/water mix to triple the weight of starter I've left.  It lives in a mason jar with a loosely attached screw-on lid in the door of my refrigerator.  I use a marker to write the feeding dates on the jar.  I just realized yesterday it hadn't been tended to since 9/11.  Now it has been fed and is stretching its legs at room temperature in preparation for some bread or pizza.  When done, I usually only save 20-30g of starter, add equal weights flour and water, then it goes immediately back into the cold. 


« Last Edit: October 18, 2009, 12:30:18 AM by cooper »

Offline Matthew

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Re: our own starters
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2009, 07:58:11 AM »
Fresh baked bread taxes my patience.  Drooling while staring at the clock isn't fun.  I once managed to let a loaf rest a full 2 hours, but now I figure 45 minutes is long enough.

The time difference between 205 and 212 internal is only a few minutes in my case.  As you said, the bread continues cooking for a while after coming out of the oven.  I think as long as it has baked long enough to reach that general temperature range, a few minutes plus or minus don't make much difference at the temperatures I'm using.  Last time I baked a loaf the batteries in my thermometer were dead, so I just guessed.  It turned out as usual.  There seems to be a good amount of wiggle room.  If using higher heat the situation is probably different.

I'm curious how my bread would turn out using a preheated clay (yours looks very nice) or cast iron enclosure.  My NY style pizzas require baking directly on a hot stone (500-550 F) for at least the first part of the bake.  Even a pizza screen between skin and stone produces inferior results by reducing spring and eliminating the slight grayish flavor-adding coloration of the bottom.  If the same applies to my bread, I've been missing out.

Do those of you using multiple starters notice any differences in smell among them?  Mine smells similar to acidic bananas.  It's now almost 2 years old and hasn't changed much over time. 

I feed my starter KA AP flour and distilled water in equal amounts by weight, using roughly enough flour/water mix to triple the weight of starter I've left.  It lives in a mason jar with a loosely attached screw-on lid in the door of my refrigerator.  I use a marker to write the feeding dates on the jar.  I just realized yesterday it hadn't been tended to since 9/11.  Now it has been fed and is stretching its legs at room temperature in preparation for some bread or pizza.  When done, I usually only save 20-30g of starter, add equal weights flour and water, then it goes immediately back into the cold. 




Feeding your starter more regularly will definitely affect its flavor & viability.  I'm not sure how much flour & water you're adding to the 20-30g of starter that you retain.  Generally speaking, you should not be feeding your starter with amounts greater than what you have left.  I would slowly build it back up to at least a cup.  Ed Wood stresses that it's very important to let your fed starter sit out at room temperature for an hour prior to placing it in the refrigerator.  This is a very necessary step as it allows your culture to produce a maximum number of cells prior to cooling.  Skipping this step will decrease your cultures viability as extended refrigeration will damage and or kill some of the organisms.

You can see my latest effort at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9461.0.html.  I have never used a Cast Iron Dutch oven, but the end result should be quite similar.

Good Luck,
Matt
« Last Edit: October 18, 2009, 07:03:48 PM by Matthew »