Author Topic: ischia flavour  (Read 2063 times)

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Offline artigiano

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ischia flavour
« on: December 01, 2009, 12:40:46 AM »
Seems like I lost the intriguing sour taste of my Ischia.  The last time I used this starter it was acidic and very sour so I discarded all but a cup of the starter and fed it a cup of food and put it in my proofer.  I fed it again after about 8 hours since it was becoming active.  The starter was active in a day and gave it 2 to more feedings of a cup each time.  The starter was in good working condition and gave my bread the usual rise and in the time that I allow for, howevor, I didnt notice a hint of sourness?  Why is that?


Offline s00da

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Re: ischia flavour
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 03:18:43 AM »
Two things control the acidity of a starter. The first thing is the feeding frequency and amount. If you feed the starter, wait for it to double and then feed it again; you're are basically not allowing enough time for the acidity to build up. Also, the food-to-starter ratio affects acidity. The higher food:starter, the less acidity and vice versa. The second thing is the activation temperature, you will see in thefreshloaf.com that some users advocate the lower temperature for more acidity while others would advocate higher temperatures. I think it comes down to the starter type. For the Ischia I found that lower temperatures produce more acid flavor.

You have basically taken you starter from one extreme to the other. It was very acidic and when you built up the new one, you lost much of the acidity. With time, it will be acidic again. The next time you decide to decrease acidity, you probably want to save more than a cup. For your current starter, you can increase acidity by allowing it more time past the full activation point. If it doubles within 4 hours after feeding, allow it an extra hour.

Embarking acidity in the final product can be done in many ways If you see how sourdough bread is made. It's also relative to the starter itself. What struck me reading breadmaking material is that it's not common to make sour products with long room temp fermentation using a one-stage dough. I am really questioning the method that seems to be popular on this forum and I use myself. We make a one stage dough using fully active Italian starters as per Marco's recommendation while I remember one of his posts saying that pizza is not supposed to be sour because it's not bread. His method basically uses the Italian starters as yeast for leavening the dough.

If you notice sourdough bread recipe, you will see that after a starter is brought to full activation, the next step changes things. Some of this fully active starter is used to make a pre-ferment. The type of pre-ferment is what makes most of the final product's flavor and acidity. The pre-ferment is then incorporated into the final dough. The pre-ferment is basically your flavoring/acidity agent.

Here on this forum, we are basically using a small amount of a fully-active starter directly to make the final dough that we anticipate to be sour. Why do we use a dough making method that treats the starter as yeast and expect a sourdough product? Are we basically making one big pre-ferment and baking it? Are there any implications to this approach? advantages? I really don't know but it makes sense that we can get acidity if we go this direction. Like I said, inducing the acidity in the final product can be done in many ways. Which one is right is for you to decide but I still question why the popular method in the forum is not seen much in sourdough breadmaking recipes?

It is certainly something I will be investigating when I'm done with my current addiction to NY,18" long room temp fermented dough  :-D

Saad
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 03:25:53 AM by s00da »

Offline s00da

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Re: ischia flavour
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2009, 03:45:53 AM »

Offline Matthew

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Re: ischia flavour
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2009, 07:52:39 AM »
Check this, it might be of interest to you: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9420.msg81675.html#msg81675

Saad,
Very good explanation & definitely makes sense.  What may be also be worthy to note is that the sour flavor in increased immensely with higher bake temps.

Matt

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: ischia flavour
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2009, 10:31:42 AM »
Teasing the maximum flavor from Ischia has been something at which I have been working hard. Often improved flavor comes at the cost of texture. Everything seems so tightly interdependent. Very frustrating at times. Here are just a few observations based on my own experimenting - still very much a work in progress.

For me, the biggest factor in the sourness is frequency of feeding. But Ischia seems to be the most temperature sensitive of all my starters. I don't have very precise control with the MR-138, but lowering the temp just a few degrees can pretty much halt expansion of the dough during fermentation. Right now I'm running half of the fermentation time with the MR-138 set at 65F and the second half at 70F. Results improved but inconsistent.

And small changes in the pH of the water I add to the dough seem to have a pretty dramatic effect. I recently changed to a more alkaline source and noticed a major reduction in flavor in the dough.

I'm not sure I've noticed what Matt says about baking temp. It is the nature of the beast that every pie experiences different temps. The temp changes from pie to pie, from second to second, from point to point in the oven. Matt, do you think you are observing increased caramelizing of surface sugars or is the "immense" increase in sourness noted in all parts of the crust?


Offline Matthew

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Re: ischia flavour
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2009, 11:01:02 AM »



I'm not sure I've noticed what Matt says about baking temp. It is the nature of the beast that every pie experiences different temps. The temp changes from pie to pie, from second to second, from point to point in the oven. Matt, do you think you are observing increased caramelizing of surface sugars or is the "immense" increase in sourness noted in all parts of the crust?



Great question.  As you know this has been my first year with a WFO so every firing is a learning experience for me.  Unfortunately I'll have to wait until the spring time to continue learning.  The comparison to the taste was in reference to a WFO vs. an indoor conventional oven.  Apart from the big difference in temps, bake time, etc. I notice a huge difference in the dough flavor.  What comes out of my conventional oven seems to have a much more mild flavor.  You could very well be right, it may be just the caramelizing of the surface sugars that are adding that extra sour flavor. ???

Offline artigiano

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Re: ischia flavour
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2009, 07:37:53 PM »
Interesting stuff, I think that I tried to counterbalance the sourness far too much on this go and that I had a lot of yeast but not enough lactobacilli.  I think what I will try from all of your advice so far is just to feed less and not as often and give the starter time to build up its flavour and not just yeast.


 

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