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Offline JimmyMak

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sourdough starters
« on: April 17, 2008, 09:20:47 PM »
I'm  not a great fan of my sourdough starter I have from KA. Its great for bread not as natural  preferment for pizza dough. what about these other starters I'm reading about. I'm looking for more flavor out of my crust

Offline scott r

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2008, 02:45:11 AM »
I'm with you.  I wasn't that into the KA starters either.   I have spent a lot of time with the sourdough international italian starters, and they are great, but recently I hit up a local bakery to buy some and they gave it to me for free.  I think it's just as good, and it's sure easier to deal with since there was no activation.  Whatever you do stay away from Fermented Treasures.  They have really pissed me off and I would never deal with them again. 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2008, 09:15:50 AM »
JimmyMak,

Looking at your Poll question, which I assumed you posed for a reason separate and apart from the type of starter to use, I attempted to provide some guidance on that matter in a post at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4996.msg42266.html#msg42266, which was written to describe the forum's Preferment Dough Calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html. The part of that post that pertains to percents of starters/preferments is at about the middle of the post. I elaborated further on the point at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4996.msg42281.html#msg42281

In general, if you look at a broad range of dough formulations on this forum, I think that you will see preferments recited within a fairly wide range of percents, from 1% to over 40% in some cases. Also, the percents can be recited with respect to the weight of formula water (the Neapolitan method of baker's percents), the formula flour, or the total dough weight (the American methods of baker's percents). Usually, when you see very small amounts of starter, say, 1%-5% of the formula water, the starter is used for leavening purposes only, and it is intended that the fermentation take place at room temperature. On this forum, the doughs that use small amounts of starter for leavening purposes are usually Neapolitan-style doughs. The 1-5% range came from forum member pizzanapoletana (Marco) in several of his early posts. Once you use a lot more starter, there is a dual purpose--leavening and other attributes of preferments, such as acid production, that can affect the structure and character of the final doughs into which the preferments are incorporated. Depending on the underlying dough formulation, these doughs can be fermented at room temperature and/or in the refrigerator. When I use starters/preferments for the latter purposes, I usually use around 20% of the weight of the formula flour. It doesn't matter the type of pizza dough I am trying to make. I have done this for just about every pizza style except for the American style. Some people use even more starter/preferment to achieve particular end results. If you can handle numbers, you should also be able to take a dough formulation that does not use a starter/preferment and convert it to a starter/preferment version. That is a case where the preferment dough calculating tool comes in really handy.

Peter

Offline JimmyMak

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 06:42:37 PM »
Any preference on starters Camadoli or Ischia or something else. I'm looking to get that old world flavor.

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 09:44:52 PM »
Any preference on starters Camadoli or Ischia or something else. I'm looking to get that old world flavor.

If you buy the sourdough Italian starter from sourdo.com you get both Camaldoli & Ischia (you also get email support from Ed Wood, should you need it). I activated the Camaldoli and like it a lot. My wife prefers the taste/tang of the Goldrush starter that is widely available in some stores and also online (bobs redmill for example). I can't see myself having three starters going so I am holding off on the Ischia for now.

I think that a ripe Camaldoli should work well for you.  I have a few jars of IDY that now sit in the freezer collecting frozen dust!


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Offline scott r

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 03:58:03 AM »
My preference is definitely the ischia.  I find it to have a milder sweeter flavor that goes better with most of my pizza toppings.

Offline JimmyMak

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2008, 09:44:11 PM »
I made a poolish out of  150g stone ground wheat 130g water & 5g fresh yeast  & sit overnight. I then used in a recipe at 8 percent. I made 2 batches 1 at 55% hydration & 1 at 63% hydration. Each batch split in 2 one warm rise 24 hrs, one cold ferment for 72 hrs. I will be baking these at approx 750 WFO. Any thoughts on this.  By the way the flour I'm using is 50% caputo 50% KAB & 20min autolypse

Offline gabriel

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 11:55:10 AM »
Hi everyone,

I have a questions/situation that has been bugging me. I have prepared a starter using just Caputo 00 flour (it took several weeks to finally start causing any kind of rising action, although was bubbly on the top all the while). Its flavor and aroma is certainly sour (as expected from a sourdough). However, I can't recall any neapolitan pie that had such a sour flavor.

Is neapolitan pizza supposed to have sour dough, or is there another starter that produces a distinct flavor? Do not all natural starters yield a sour flavor?

I have read about Ischia and Camaldoli, but from where these starters are produced is also confusing me--from which flour do they originate? If I order one of these starters over the web, do they arrive to me as 100% hydrated starter, a firm starter, or flour?

I have been using 5% starter for my dough. It is 100% hydration and I feed it twice daily.

I appreciate any response, many thanks!

(P.S. I've attached a photo of a recent pizza, just for fun)
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 06:23:05 PM by gabriel »

Offline JimmyMak

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2008, 06:49:30 PM »
I use both camaldoli & ischia starters. Both arrived in little vacumn packed bags each about a tablespoon. Follow directions & should have no problems. They are easy to use & maintain. I like the flavor of both & well worth it. I use 8% but I,m thinking of using more. always trying somthing different. Just my opinion.

Offline gabriel

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2008, 02:21:27 AM »
Thanks for your reply. I was curious to learn how the starters were mailed.

I just read the entirety of Pete-zza's "Caputo 00 and Caputo 00 biga" thread, about 3 years years old. It was very, very insightful, because I have been unknowingly following his footsteps the past few weeks.

Is it fair to say that a Caputo 00 natural starter will not rise very much? Yet, the Ischia and Camaldoli starters provide considerable rising?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a Caputo 00 natural starter versus the Ischia and Camaldoli?

Lastly, what is the difference between a starter and preferment?

Thank you very much to everyone who has been posting the past years--I have learned a lot from you!
« Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 02:23:14 AM by gabriel »

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2008, 07:54:57 AM »
gabriel,

I think that you will find that there are many different starter cultures that our members use to make naturally fermented doughs. Some will be based on capturing local natural yeast, and others will come from commercial and other sources, both online and off. Which natural starter culture you use will depend on the results you achieve and how satisfied you are with the results. For example, I am sure that you will find members who prefer to use the Varasano starter culture over the Ischia and Camaldoli starter cultures from sourdo.com. The advantage of using the cultures from sourdo.com is that they are "true" as to form and also you are getting them from a reliable and dependable source. Locally generated cultures can be all over the map in terms of performance. In a sense, each such culture can have its own unique DNA that makes it perform differently than other cultures.

At one point, I used a locally-generated culture based on Texas wild yeast. I intentionally fed and refreshed it with Caputo flour because I wanted to replicate the conditions that I thought existed in Naples. It was more an authenticity issue than a performance one. I believe that I ultimately migrated that starter culture to other flours (unbleached). Other members have done similar things with all kinds of flours, apparently with good results.

As far as the distinction between a "starter" and a "preferment" is concerned, I think that you will find that the terms are often used interchangeably in the literature, and also here on the forum. I am sure that at times I blurred the distinction myself, especially in my earlier experience and writings on the subject. But, somewhere along the line, I started to distinguish between a "starter" and "preferment" along the "pizza dough versus bread dough" lines discussed by pizzanapoletana (Marco) at Reply 10 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3153.msg26814.html#msg26814. So, if the amount of starter culture is small, say, below 5% and used mainly for leavening purposes (and some flavor enhancement), I tend to refer to it as a "starter". Beyond that quantity, I tend to refer to the culture as a "preferment", which is consistent with commercial preferments using commercial yeast such as poolish, biga, old dough, etc. that are typically used in large quantities. When Boy Hits Car (Mike) and I were designing the preferment dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html, we somewhat arbitrarily used the term "preferment" to cover both culture forms. However, we distinguished between the two culture forms in the explanatory post--and subsequent posts--that accompanied the tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4996.msg42266.html#msg42266.

Peter

Offline gabriel

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2008, 09:50:17 AM »
Peter,

Many thanks for your insight.

I am interested in understanding the yeast source more clearly. The author of wildyeastblog.com explained in a starter lesson that the wild yeast one "captures" is probably not air-borne, instead is already present in the flour. She called it a "misconception" that we obtain yeast from the local environment.

As I have been raising my Caputo 00 natural starter, I have always left on the lid on tight--thereby reducing the chances of any yeast flying in. When I feed the starter (in open air), it is completely possible that a yeast flies into the mixture. This my first starter, so I know relatively little about the subject.

The implication of this, then, would be that the "terroir" (local, air-borne yeast) of Caputo 00 natural starters is undermined.

Can anyone advise, to whether yeast is present in the flour or comes from the air?  ???

An excellent thread on starters that I am reading currently, http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2359/how-different-one-starter-another

Gabriel  :pizza:
P.S. Link to the starter howto and comments (see reply #52 for pertinent info), http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/13/raising-a-starter/
« Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 10:00:18 AM by gabriel »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2008, 10:17:47 AM »

Can anyone advise, to whether yeast is present in the flour or comes from the air?  ???


Does it really matter? How could you tell anyway? There are all kinds of microorganisms in the air, the flour, your breath, additives such as grape skins, etc. Most of these are totally unsuitable for making bread/pizzas. If you are fortunate enough to capture a group of bugs that together result in a nice rise and flavor, then just run with it and learn how to tease out the best performance.

Bill/SFNM

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2008, 10:28:54 AM »
The implication of this, then, would be that the "terroir" (local, air-borne yeast) of Caputo 00 natural starters is undermined.

Can anyone advise, to whether yeast is present in the flour or comes from the air?  ???


Gabriel,

I have read many of the same things you have read, and I still am not sure of all the dynamics that go into creating a starter culture based on wild yeast. However, Ed Wood, of sourdo.com, has discussed at pages 8 and 9 of his book, Classic Sourdoughs, how to make your own starter culture. Specifically, he says to create a mixture of 2 cups good-quality bread flour and 1 1/2 cups warm water in a 2-quart plastic, glass, or stainless-steel bowl, and then stir the mixture with sufficient vigor to beat in additional air. The mixture is then exposed to the air, preferably outdoors, although he says that it can be done inside as well. He advises not to cover the bowl with plastic or anything else that will exclude the organisms you are attempting to capture (although cheesecloth or other fine mesh material can be used to keep out insects and the like). So, exposure of the mixture to the air is a critical part of the process, whether the flour itself is a willing or unwilling accomplice.

I know that some members (I believe sourdough girl is one of them) have "nuked" their flour in a microwave unit in order to negate the effects of any wild yeast in the flour. However, I don't know or recall whether that was a useful thing to do. Maybe those who have tried this method can respond on their results.

One source that I have found useful and have enjoyed reading on the subject of sourdough is this one: http://www.nyx.net/~dgreenw/sourdoughqa.html. Generally, however, I have tended not to try to read too much on the subject because I have found so much conflicting and confusing information, much of it anecdotal and not science-supported, which has not helped my understanding. Instead, I have come to rely more on my own experimentation and results, as supplemented by targeted reading on the aspects that I feel I need to understand more fully to produce the results I am after.

Peter

Offline November

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2008, 10:31:39 AM »
Does it really matter? [...] If you are fortunate enough to capture a group of bugs that together result in a nice rise and flavor, then just run with it and learn how to tease out the best performance.

It's funny you say that, because that's the reason I use commercial ADY.  Be careful though.  Your statement is fuel for the defense of convenience over selectivity.  I know you appreciate the difference between one regional form of starter and another, but if it doesn't matter what you're catching, one may ask the question, "Why does it matter what you're buying?"

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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2008, 10:35:02 AM »
The difference between cultures can be very significant. The "source" of each culture (air, flour, outer-space) is of little interest to me.


Offline November

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2008, 10:42:48 AM »
Generally, however, I have tended not to try to read too much on the subject because I have found so much conflicting and confusing information, much of it anecdotal and not science-supported, which has not helped my understanding. Instead, I have come to rely more on my own experimentation and results, as supplemented by targeted reading on the aspects that I feel I need to understand more fully to produce the results I am after.

Although I'm not sure about the lack of science-based information, I'll agree that sourdough can be confusing merely due to its biological combinatorial nature.  Thus, many have a difficult time quantifying their findings, let alone qualifying.  I actually agree with Bill that one should take what they have and run with it, because trying to dissect what one has would be nearly impossible in a home environment.  The combinatorics is too much to deal with.  Experimentation to the point of finding what you like is the best an average home baker can hope for when it comes to sourdough.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2008, 10:50:01 AM »
November,

I perhaps should have clarified what I said about the science aspects by saying that I was referring to what I have found at many places online that are devoted to the use of sourdoughs by nonprofessionals, usually home bakers. I have found technical articles that appear to be solid but they are usually over my head and not of much practical value to me.

Peter

Offline November

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2008, 11:04:30 AM »
I perhaps should have clarified what I said about the science aspects by saying that I was referring to what I have found at many places online that are devoted to the use of sourdoughs by nonprofessionals, usually home bakers. I have found technical articles that appear to be solid but they are usually over my head and not of much practical value to me.

I understand completely.

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: sourdough starters
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2008, 11:09:15 AM »
In an email discussion with Ed Wood regarding sourdough cultures and a known expert, Ed said something to the effect of "(blank) is noted for saying a lot of things that are not true."

I deleted the name so as not to be talking out of school.

Basically even the experts agree to disagree on all subjects regarding sourdough.

From my own efforts and obviously many others on this board, Ed Wood was right and the other expert was wrong with regard to storage of yeast in cold temperatures.

Don't believe everything you read. Experiment on your own for the truth.


PNW

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