Author Topic: questions about wild cultures, commercial yeast, etc.  (Read 1842 times)

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Offline pizzamaking@seasalt.org

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questions about wild cultures, commercial yeast, etc.
« on: December 07, 2009, 04:13:11 PM »
I have a few questions regarding wild yeast culture, commercial yeast, etc. After much reading on the subject, I am confused about a few things:

1. lets say that i make a dough using 20% wild yeast culture. then, i take a chunk of that dough and put it in the fridge (now its "old dough"). what is the difference between that old dough and the wild yeast culture, outside of the obvious of course e.g. one has salt, not as active, etc. Basically, it seems to me that there is little difference and that I could keep my old dough for months and then revive it, just as I could/would the culture.

2. I read so much about "commercial" yeast and wild yeast culture. If I make a poolish and put it in the fridge using commercial yeast and store it for a couple of months, take it out, feed it and revive it, what is the difference between that and the wild yeast culture that I have? Certainly both would have complimentary bacteria. In other words, what does "commercial" yeast mean when I can buy both "wild" yeast culture and say red star yeast at the store?

Any thoughts appreciated!

Thanks


Online Pete-zza

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Re: questions about wild cultures, commercial yeast, etc.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 08:12:47 PM »
1. lets say that i make a dough using 20% wild yeast culture. then, i take a chunk of that dough and put it in the fridge (now its "old dough"). what is the difference between that old dough and the wild yeast culture, outside of the obvious of course e.g. one has salt, not as active, etc. Basically, it seems to me that there is little difference and that I could keep my old dough for months and then revive it, just as I could/would the culture.

2. I read so much about "commercial" yeast and wild yeast culture. If I make a poolish and put it in the fridge using commercial yeast and store it for a couple of months, take it out, feed it and revive it, what is the difference between that and the wild yeast culture that I have? Certainly both would have complimentary bacteria. In other words, what does "commercial" yeast mean when I can buy both "wild" yeast culture and say red star yeast at the store?


I have made old dough before but used it only to make a final pizza dough, not as a proxy (but with salt) for a starter culture itself, so I don't have an answer for your first question. If the old dough with 20% starter culture has the same hydration as the starter culture, maybe the old dough can be resurrected at some point down the line.

With respect to your second question, I believe the answer is that the commercially leavened poolish cannot be fed (with flour and water) and be resurrected after storage for a couple of months. The reasons as I understand them are given in Reply 9 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5741.msg49183.html#msg49183.

Peter

Offline pizzamaking@seasalt.org

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Re: questions about wild cultures, commercial yeast, etc.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 10:46:04 PM »
Thanks for the reply. I have read about how adding "commercial" yeast to a dough that has "culture" in it somehow prevents the dough from being "naturally" leavened. But commercial yeast is every bit as natural as wild yeast. Just wondering why the difference.


Offline s00da

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Re: questions about wild cultures, commercial yeast, etc.
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2009, 04:51:34 AM »
I have a few questions regarding wild yeast culture, commercial yeast, etc. After much reading on the subject, I am confused about a few things:

1. lets say that i make a dough using 20% wild yeast culture. then, i take a chunk of that dough and put it in the fridge (now its "old dough"). what is the difference between that old dough and the wild yeast culture, outside of the obvious of course e.g. one has salt, not as active, etc. Basically, it seems to me that there is little difference and that I could keep my old dough for months and then revive it, just as I could/would the culture.


Thanks

You don't seem confused. You actually got it right. Names are just names. Think of it this way in terms of dough making steps:

Mother culture --> pre-ferment --> dough

Mother culture: The starter you maintain at a specific hydration using a specific procedure in a suitable environment. Basically, it's the form of culture that you feel comfortable to start with. Thus, it is refreshed to a familiar activity state with no additives. From this culture it's then easy deviate to what you want to make.

Pre-ferment: Think of it as a modified form of the mother culture used to embark specific characteristics/flavors in the final product. Using the mother culture directly without modifying it is also a valid approach if it produces what you want at the end. Know pre-ferments are old-dough, poolish and biga.

Dough: You final product where the pre-ferment is incorporated with the final ingredients at the final hydration.

Both, the pre-ferments and the dough can be reversed back to make a new mother culture.