Author Topic: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???  (Read 962 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Killa Joe

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 90
  • I Love Pizza!
Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« on: May 21, 2016, 03:16:16 PM »
So...I have the Blackstone all ready...have the Cento San Marzano cans, Caputo "00" Pizzaria Flour, extra virgin olive oil, (still need to buy some bufalo mozz.), basil, sea salt, (still need my propane).... and I have my starter for making bread...actually I made one with 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour, the other just 100% bread flour and of course both have filtered water.

My plan was to use my white starter which is fed regularly with King Arthur's Bread Flour, but this time feed it a couple times with the Caputo "00" flour. 

My question is, how significantly different in taste and pizza dough finished result will I get if I use my NP dough starter vs. buying a Ischia starter off Amazon?     ??? :-\ ???   

Thanks in advance.

KJ  8)

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2016, 03:32:39 PM »
There is no answer to that question. They could be nearly identical, or they could be worlds apart - or anyplace in between. Since you have kept it and fed and cared for it, yours must have decent flavor, right? Ischia isn't magic. It's not going to take a mediocre pizza and make you say WOW! If you have a starter that you know works - rises predictably and doesn't dissolve your dough - and have experience using, that's a heck of a lot better than a starter that 'might' taste a little better and throws a whole new set of uncertainty into the mix when you are trying to learn how to make NP.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline texmex

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1545
  • Location: out in that West Texas Town.....
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2016, 03:33:56 PM »
No difference.

So...I have the Blackstone all ready...have the Cento San Marzano cans, Caputo "00" Pizzaria Flour, extra virgin olive oil, (still need to buy some bufalo mozz.), basil, sea salt, (still need my propane).... and I have my starter for making bread...actually I made one with 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour, the other just 100% bread flour and of course both have filtered water.

My plan was to use my white starter which is fed regularly with King Arthur's Bread Flour, but this time feed it a couple times with the Caputo "00" flour. 

My question is, how significantly different in taste and pizza dough finished result will I get if I use my NP dough starter vs. buying a Ischia starter off Amazon?     ??? :-\ ???   

Thanks in advance.

KJ  8)

Only you can tell us. None of my starters are the same, they all act different, bake different, smell different.  I  tend to like one specifically, hands down over the others.  Get some propane and make a Killer Pizza, Joe!...

(waves hello to Craig)   8)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 03:35:30 PM by texmex »
Reesa

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2016, 03:36:16 PM »
Get some propane and make a Killer Pizza, Joe!...

(waves hello to Craig)   8)

Back at ya!

That would be 'make a Killa Pizza', right?  ;D
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline texmex

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1545
  • Location: out in that West Texas Town.....
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2016, 03:37:45 PM »
Back at ya!

That would be 'make a Killa Pizza', right?  ;D

Yeah, I  biffed it...
Reesa

Offline Killa Joe

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 90
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2016, 03:41:23 PM »
Thanks Craig and Reesa, nice to get feedback from the pizzamaking.com pros.  ;) :angel: 

 I read on other Google searches that it really makes no difference. I suspect that much....that the Ischia would not impart a magical flavor to the dough. I believe the majority of taste and texture will rely on my Caputo flour and how I maintain the starter....   still, out of curiosity, I may in the future try the Ischia just to find out if it does make any difference and to answer my own curiosity..... I always did like the personal experience to learn, but glad to hear other's views.   :D


KJ  8)

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2016, 05:13:52 PM »
I would go so far as to say that to my taste, the mystical unicorn of perfect Neapolitan pizza could not be made with baker's yeast. IMO, done right, the best NP is made with a sourdough culture. Of course, if the SD is not done right, IDY probably makes a better pizza. SD-based NP is a lot more work with a lot smaller margins of error. You aren't going to stick a SD dough in the fridge and pull it out a few days later and make a good pizza.

When I said it wasn't magical, I didn't mean it's not going to impart a magical flavor - it actually can do that - rather, I meant it  to mean there is a LOT more to pizza than the culture. No culture is going to make great pizza without a lot of help from the operator.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline Killa Joe

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 90
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2016, 06:09:15 PM »
I would go so far as to say that to my taste, the mystical unicorn of perfect Neapolitan pizza could not be made with baker's yeast. IMO, done right, the best NP is made with a sourdough culture. Of course, if the SD is not done right, IDY probably makes a better pizza. SD-based NP is a lot more work with a lot smaller margins of error. You aren't going to stick a SD dough in the fridge and pull it out a few days later and make a good pizza.

When I said it wasn't magical, I didn't mean it's not going to impart a magical flavor - it actually can do that - rather, I meant it  to mean there is a LOT more to pizza than the culture. No culture is going to make great pizza without a lot of help from the operator.


Craig, how would you explain the "pretty"  :-*  (Although, he does not have any real "leoparding" effect) NP that this guy Gennaro Contaldo gets with his 10g of fresh yeast (forget about the Ischia starter lol), 500g strong flour (I assume "00" ), 5g salt, and 325mL water.... then just has 2 x 30 minute rest periods for the dough....????  Looks "authentic" and so darn quick.... Hmmmm   ::)

So NP pizza in just over an hour?





KJ  8)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 06:12:25 PM by Killa Joe »

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2016, 07:07:38 PM »
What am I supposed to explain? I wouldn't wipe my dog's butt with that pizza - though doing so would probably make it taste better. It looks like exactly what it is: improperly fermented and baked at too low a temperature (because that over would be horribly unbalanced at a proper temperature) by someone who (like his buddy Jamie Oliver) doesn't know squat about what he is doing when it comes to pizza.

"in just over an hour?" OK. So what? Time is simply a function of yeast quantity and temperature. 10g CY/500g flour = 2% yeast! The technical term for 2% yeast is "a shitload." One hour with unmalted flour = less flavor than a saltine cracker. It's hard to imagine what else he could do to make the crust worse. Did you notice that the pizza that went into the oven was not the pizza that he assembled in the video? The one he loads into the oven looks like it had been rising for a while - probably the only way he could get any oven spring with that sorry excuse for a dough.

What does this have to do with a sourdough thread?
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline Killa Joe

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 90
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2016, 07:15:49 PM »
Thanks Craig for the low down review of that vid, I do appreciate it and it helps me understand more about love of the pizza.

I just posted that vid only to understand regarding using sourdough starter vs. fresh or dry yeast.....   So I see, the bland crust color was due to low heat...hmmm, K.

Now that the starter issue is a bit clearer for me, I'm going to check out the threads regarding sauces and cheese....Have to really understand the basics. I suppose I may be overthinking things a bit before I attempt my first pie....but I do understand, it will take time and several pies before I truly get it. Cheers.  >:D


KJ  8)

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2016, 07:26:27 PM »
The bland crust color was due to low heat AND improper fermentation.

Just get in there and make some pizza. Don't worry about how it comes out at first - learn what works and what doesn't. When you are first learning how to make pizza is not the time to overthink things. Get some background knowledge from hands on experience and then this stuff will all start to make sense.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline schold

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 401
  • Location: Norway
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2016, 07:51:45 PM »
Just get in there and make some pizza.

This.
Cooking is not a recipe, it's a philosophy - unless it's pastry, then it's chemistry.

- Marco Pierre White


Offline dylandylan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1079
  • Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2016, 01:01:30 AM »
I read on other Google searches that it really makes no difference. I suspect that much....

My own recent experience doesn't support this.   I recently revived my old home-made starter, and ran that head-to-head against a bought Camaldoli starter.  The starters consistently produced different qualities of pizza.  My own starter always made a tangier, chewier pizza, with a touch more "body" to the flavour. The Camaldoli made a much lighter and drier pizza, with a more subtle and preferable flavour.   This reinforced what I thought I was seeing/tasting for the last couple of years using Ischia/Camaldoli instead of my old home-grown.

So I agree with the sentiment to get in there and just start making pizza, but I'd add that for me, while I'm still sentimentally attached to the starter I made myself, I would never use it in preference to the Camaldoli/Ischia starters for pizza.

However I prefer my own starter for bread...

Offline Killa Joe

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 90
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2016, 07:56:09 AM »
dylandylan, thank you for the input of your experience with the Ishica and Camaldoli starters.  Have you tried to make pizza dough with both cultures, as this is what it sounds like?  Although, I thought the Camaldoli was used for bread and the Ischia for pizza.... So how do those two cultures compare in taste in pizza dough?


KJ 😎
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 07:59:13 AM by Killa Joe »

Offline texmex

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1545
  • Location: out in that West Texas Town.....
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2016, 09:21:10 AM »
Yeah, I was being flip when I said there's  no difference, or it doesn't  matter.  Each culture tastes different, and I really like the camaldoli in my pizza, and in bread.  I  find Ischia to be an unstable culture in my environment it goes to paint thinner acetone notes way quicker than anything In my fridge. I'd go so far as to say that Ischia was just one giant pain in the ass to keep going, and have seen post after post of folks having to wash the starter.  I washed my Ischia almost every time I wanted to bake with it.  The Cape Fear culture is my most stable and robust and adds delicious flavor and doesn't act like a big fragile baby that has to be coddled and burped every time you look at it.
Reesa

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 4764
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2016, 11:44:18 AM »
It might be worth noting the big difference between selected cultures from sourdo.com that have proven vitality for dough fermentation and resistance to contamination for a couple of centuries vs. a random group of organisms that you just captured. The local culture may not be very well suited for the storage and fermenting conditions in your kitchen and may be very vulnerable to contamination. And whatever ends up taking hold may not have optimum flavor or leavening characteristics. 

Offline Killa Joe

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 90
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2016, 12:15:55 PM »
So I would be wrong to assume Ischia culture/starter is the only true, classic starter to use for authentic NP?
 
I checked out the Pizza Napoletana Verace document on( perhaps a few here know it) official NP ingredients and preparation, and they actually allow for 3g regular yeast or a naturally created starter. Once again I was wrong to assume all NP pizza in Naples use only fermented starter. I wonder what percentage use Naples pizzarias use dry or fresh yeast vs culture one grows from Ischia or Camaldoli.

KJ  8)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 12:17:43 PM by Killa Joe »

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2016, 12:48:15 PM »
So I would be wrong to assume Ischia culture/starter is the only true, classic starter to use for authentic NP? ... Once again I was wrong to assume all NP pizza in Naples use only fermented starter. I wonder what percentage use Naples pizzarias use dry or fresh yeast vs culture one grows from Ischia or Camaldoli.

KJ  8)

That goes way past simply being wrong. The only link between Ischia and NP is that it supposedly came from Ischia Island off the coast of Naples. To try to make any link between Ischia or Camaldoli and "authentic" NP would be completely baseless. I don't know if there is any reliable information on the magnitude of Neapolitan pizzerias (in Naples and the US) that use a natural starter, but my guess is the number is tiny - low single digit percent perhaps.

I checked out the Pizza Napoletana Verace document on( perhaps a few here know it) official NP ingredients and preparation, and they actually allow for 3g regular yeast or a naturally created starter.

 :-D  You will be hard pressed to find anything related to Neapolitan pizza that hasn't been discussed over and over ad nauseam here.

Like I suggested earlier, now is not the time to overthink this stuff.  Learning how to make good, let alone great, Neapolitan pizza is hard enough without confusing yourself over a bunch of stuff that makes no difference in the beginning. Rather than obsessing over what culture to use, forget about using a culture altogether and use IDY until you have a handle on the essential skills and techniques.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 4764
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2016, 01:04:00 PM »
So I would be wrong to assume Ischia culture/starter is the only true, classic starter to use for authentic NP?

My tastes have evolved and flipped over the years, but of all my starters, I was surprised that my Austrian one produced the flavor closest to the ones I enjoyed in Naples. However, the one that makes the pizzas I like the most is the French culture. I'm not looking for authentic; I'm looking for what I like the best. That's the allure of all this effort for me. 

Offline Killa Joe

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 90
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2016, 03:08:39 PM »
That goes way past simply being wrong. The only link between Ischia and NP is that it supposedly came from Ischia Island off the coast of Naples. To try to make any link between Ischia or Camaldoli and "authentic" NP would be completely baseless. I don't know if there is any reliable information on the magnitude of Neapolitan pizzerias (in Naples and the US) that use a natural starter, but my guess is the number is tiny - low single digit percent perhaps.

 :-D  You will be hard pressed to find anything related to Neapolitan pizza that hasn't been discussed over and over ad nauseam here.

Like I suggested earlier, now is not the time to overthink this stuff.  Learning how to make good, let alone great, Neapolitan pizza is hard enough without confusing yourself over a bunch of stuff that makes no difference in the beginning. Rather than obsessing over what culture to use, forget about using a culture altogether and use IDY until you have a handle on the essential skills and techniques.

Craig thanks again for the input. Perhaps I was thinking I must use Ischia culture in my NP pizza since I saw it in your thorough thread about how you make the NP...and assumed you would want the most 100% authentic Naples NP pizza as it was meant to be prepared...but what I'm beginning to learn is that Ischia then is not the end all and be all of cultures for NP....can be Camaldoli, IDY, or whatever ....LOL, j/k..maybe..hahaha  ;D    But yes, I will be getting started soon, hopefully this Sunday I may have my first pie...we shall see.

I will eventually get the Ischia and Camaldoli cultures from Amazon because ....pizza is gods food, and it happens to be my fav. food of course...and being a perfectionist/obsessive, I must try to get the best flavor ever out of my efforts.....  :drool:

Reesa, thank for you offering some of your culture, you are too generous.  ;)  I think I will stick to just buying the packets as I love a challange and to see things grow....so I want to start from the beginning.

P.S. Thank you all in pizzamaking.com for being so helpful, patient,  and generous sharing your knowledge with this pizza loving newbie.


KJ  8)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 04:20:33 PM by Killa Joe »

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2016, 03:24:23 PM »
Actually, for the past few months, I've been using a spontaneous culture that, in the jar has a really potent - to the point of unpleasant - acidic/vinegar smell but has wonderful smell and flavor when used in the dough. I may not go back to Ischia, and I never thought much of Camaldoli - certainly nothing wrong with it - I just prefered Ischia.  Camaldoli went down the drain years ago.

This brings up another interesting part about using a culture. Two people can use the same culture (and the same exact formula for that matter) and get very different results. My guess is that if Dylan made me his pizza with Ischia and Camaldoli, I'd prefer the Camaldoli pie too.  Likewise, there are literally dozens of people who have used my formula with Ischia and their pizza looks nothing like mine. There are simply too many variables that are difficult, if not impossible to identify let alone control.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline texmex

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1545
  • Location: out in that West Texas Town.....
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2016, 04:16:54 PM »
Actually, for the past few months, I've been using a spontaneous culture that, in the jar has a really potent - to the point of unpleasant - acidic/vinegar smell but has wonderful smell and flavor when used in the dough. I may not go back to Ischia, and I never thought much of Camaldoli - certainly nothing wrong with it - I just prefered Ischia.  Camaldoli went down the drain years ago.

This brings up another interesting part about using a culture. Two people can use the same culture (and the same exact formula for that matter) and get very different results. My guess is that if Dylan made me his pizza with Ischia and Camaldoli, I'd prefer the Camaldoli pie too.  Likewise, there are literally dozens of people who have used my formula with Ischia and their pizza looks nothing like mine. There are simply too many variables that are difficult, if not impossible to identify let alone control.

You remember my last maximum moby SD dough from 2 weeks ago?  It had gotten pretty ripe and acid smelling after about a week or more, so of course I  decided to try and salvage it by laminating it.  Thought it would be a disaster, but it worked out just fine and tasted so amazingly good!   
Reesa

Offline TXCraig1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19890
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2016, 05:28:45 PM »
When it spontaneously appeared the first time, it had such a strong smell I just threw it out. The second time I decided to try it and see what happens, and I'm glad I did. I made a few loaves of bread with it that were surprisingly sour in a SF way. However each batch seemed to be less sour than the one before. After a couple weeks, it got to the point where it wasn't all that sour (interestingly, it still has a pretty strong vinegar smell), so I tried it in pizza and haven't used anything else since.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline MotoMannequin

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 278
  • Location: Livermore, CA
    • My Photography Website
Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2016, 01:41:13 PM »
Like I suggested earlier, now is not the time to overthink this stuff.  Learning how to make good, let alone great, Neapolitan pizza is hard enough without confusing yourself over a bunch of stuff that makes no difference in the beginning. Rather than obsessing over what culture to use, forget about using a culture altogether and use IDY until you have a handle on the essential skills and techniques.

This is the best advice.

Pizza making will include hundreds of heartbreaks and failures, none of which can you experience by smiply thinking about it.

FWIW I maintain active Ischia and Camaldoli cultures. Both perform really similarly, but I slightly prefer the flavor of the Camaldoli. Sometimes I use the Ischia just to switch it up.

Commercial pizzerias, even in Naples, aren't necessarily where you want to draw most of your inspiration from. They have a number of constraints that won't apply to you - cost, storage space, need to roll out pizzas over several hours, need for predictability. Very few, if any, will do a 48-hour room temp sourdough ferment, which is where I think the sweet spot is.