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Author Topic: Confused: Starter vs Levain  (Read 3362 times)

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Offline hotsawce

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2017, 02:46:18 PM »
I think, if for nothing other than ease of use and getting accustomed to baking with starter, I'm going to try this method first. I'm trying to adapt it to my current formula, which involves a long bulk and a cold retard in balls. I've seen as high as 15% mature liquid starter used so I'll experiment a bit and post my results.

I'm firmly in using the starter as yeast.  Different cultures produce different flavors.  I have a Calmoldi culture that I purchased that always has a very mild-neutral flavor.  I also have an heirloom culture that has an interesting funky nose when it's rising (earthy and lemon-y) and it has a present note when it's baked but definitely not vingerary like a SF bread loaf.  In both cases the flavors come through the most when I can ferment in the 64-75 temperature range.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2017, 10:51:01 PM »
I've been having great success with my starter and some cold fermenting. Dough is leavened just like it would be with yeast.

However, I'm surprised that I'm not getting any "sour" flavor. I used 12% starter that was fed 1 to 1 with flour and water, so I would have expected to taste more of it in the dough.

However, it's not even close to the pizza I had at Razza, which had a noticeable tang in the crust. I'm really trying to get my dough to the point. Any suggestions?

Online HBolte

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2017, 03:14:06 AM »
Are you using your rye starter? My rye starter has much more tang.

Here is a discussion: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/44593/how-make-bread-taste-more-sourdoughy
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 08:07:38 AM by HBolte »
Hans

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2017, 12:37:49 PM »
Hans,

Used my 100% rye starter for that very reason. Maybe I just need more of it? I'm afraid if I add too much I'll compromise texture and the proofing process will be out of control.

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Online vtsteve

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2017, 12:42:06 PM »
It's been a while since I read the Debbie Wink pieces, but IIRC the bacterial population is more affected (retarded) by the cold than the yeasts, and are also slower to rebound after a feeding (longer lag).

So, to emphasize the bacterial flavors, you'd be better off with a warmer fermentation (or at least a RT period before refrigerating) and a lower percentage of starter (more time for the bacterial population to catch up with the yeasts before it's fully fermented).
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Offline hotsawce

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2017, 01:20:29 PM »
Brod & Taylor has some really interesting literature on making the dough more sour, but much of it incorporates a levain. I'm not so sure I want to make that jump and get so complicated.

I think boosting the amount of starter slightly (Maybe 15% to 17%?) and letting the dough triple size with a warm bulk before cold retarding would work well. Everything I read seems to suggest the sooner you build in the process, the better, as you're not going to change much once in balls.

Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2017, 06:23:28 PM »
It's been a while since I read the Debbie Wink pieces, but IIRC the bacterial population is more affected (retarded) by the cold than the yeasts, and are also slower to rebound after a feeding (longer lag).

So, to emphasize the bacterial flavors, you'd be better off with a warmer fermentation (or at least a RT period before refrigerating) and a lower percentage of starter (more time for the bacterial population to catch up with the yeasts before it's fully fermented).

I think thats backwards.
Yeast function stops before lactic acid bacteria (LABs) function does as the temperature is reduced. Cold ferment allows LABs to continue metabolic activity (and produce flavor compounds)  without the yeast overgassing the dough.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2017, 06:33:32 PM »
I think thats backwards.
Yeast function stops before lactic acid bacteria (LABs) function does as the temperature is reduced. Cold ferment allows LABs to continue metabolic activity (and produce flavor compounds)  without the yeast overgassing the dough.

That may be technically accurate, but I don't think the difference is enough to be meaningful. Both slow to near zero <5C. See Figure 4 here: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=41039.0
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Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2017, 07:55:49 PM »
That may be technically accurate, but I don't think the difference is enough to be meaningful. Both slow to near zero <5C. See Figure 4 here: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=41039.0

The papers I have recently researched have data that shows LAB activity at 4C has a significant effect on dough flavor and hydration.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2017, 08:58:18 PM »
The papers I have recently researched have data that shows LAB activity at 4C has a significant effect on dough flavor and hydration.

Please post the citations or links to the articles. I'd like to read them.
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Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2017, 09:21:54 PM »
Please post the citations or links to the articles. I'd like to read them.

It would be great for someone to check my work. Try googles seaches on " temperature effects on sourdough",  "temperature flavor sourdough", "LAB temperature". Let see what comes up for you. I'll post the titles I found in a day or two.
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“They say that competitive eating is the battleground upon which God and Lucifer wage war for mens souls my friends, and they are right.”  - George Shea, Chairman, Major League Eating

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2017, 10:06:22 PM »
Well, interesting someone mentioned cold ferment leading to a more sour crust.

The crust I had a couple days ago that I thought needed to be more sour.... A doughball from the same batch left to cold ferment used today was noticeably more flavorful. I don't know if it was my head playing tricks on me but I could smell and taste it in the crust.


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2017, 09:06:27 AM »

It would be great for someone to check my work. Try googles seaches on " temperature effects on sourdough",  "temperature flavor sourdough", "LAB temperature". Let see what comes up for you. I'll post the titles I found in a day or two.

There are 30+ sources listed at the link I gave you in Reply 28 above.

I've been able to find very little research that looked at temps <20C let alone <5C which is why I'm very curious to see what you found - not search more for what I've been unable to find already...
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Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2017, 10:14:49 AM »
Well, interesting someone mentioned cold ferment leading to a more sour crust.

The crust I had a couple days ago that I thought needed to be more sour.... A doughball from the same batch left to cold ferment used today was noticeably more flavorful. I don't know if it was my head playing tricks on me but I could smell and taste it in the crust.

Recipe from KA "EXTRA-TANGY SOURDOUGH BREAD"

Part of the dough is refrigerated for 12 hours in this recipe and the "Tips From Our Bakers" says:

"What makes the sour in sourdough bread? It's a combination of lactic and acetic acids, created as the dough rises and ferments. Refrigerating the dough encourages the production of more acetic than lactic acid; and acetic acid is much the tangier of the two. Thus, sourdough bread that's refrigerated before baking will have a more assertive sour flavor."

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/extra-tangy-sourdough-bread-recipe
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2017, 05:11:21 PM »
Recipe from KA "EXTRA-TANGY SOURDOUGH BREAD"

Part of the dough is refrigerated for 12 hours in this recipe and the "Tips From Our Bakers" says:

"What makes the sour in sourdough bread? It's a combination of lactic and acetic acids, created as the dough rises and ferments. Refrigerating the dough encourages the production of more acetic than lactic acid; and acetic acid is much the tangier of the two. Thus, sourdough bread that's refrigerated before baking will have a more assertive sour flavor."

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/extra-tangy-sourdough-bread-recipe

Just as a point of semantics, that is not a "paper" in the scientific sense. While cooler temperatures tending to favor the production of acetic acid over lactic well known, people will extrapolate it beyond what the science suggests. One thing that became abundantly clear to me when I was researching this a few years ago is that myths and wives’ tales abound and even folks that should know what they are talking about are often very wrong when they talk about this. I would take anything written on the subject of fermentation that's not in a scientific journal with a heavy dose of skepticism.

A couple things to consider:

- Some LAB produce only lactic acid. Most can produce both lactic and acetic. None produce only acetic.

- Like yeast, LAB growth slows dramatically as temperature is reduced below the optimal growth temp which is generally around ~40C for the LAB found in baking.

- Total acids accumulate faster at higher temperatures because of increased activity. The same is true of higher hydrations.

- The lactic/acetic ratio tends to tilt the ratio towards acetic as the temperature is reduced largely because it affects the sugars available to the LAB.

 - Other things that disproportionately affect LAB and Yeast activity such as hydration will also affect the lactic/acetic ratio. Lower hydrations will be more acetic, AOTBE. This is why biga produces a different flavor profile as compared to poolish.

I believe a big part of the misunderstandings around the idea of using cold fermenting (“CF”) in the fridge to develop flavor is that almost everyone who talks about it ignores the range between ambient room temperature and refrigeration like it doesn’t even exist. However, I think that’s just a reflection of the fact that CF is so much simpler than room temp fermenting at temperatures lower than the ambient room temperature.

Controlling temperature is hard, but using the fridge makes it easy. Controlling fermentation timing is hard, but emergency doughs make it easy on one end by speeding things up to  a short enough period of time that it’s hard to miss, and the fridge slows things to the point where the margin of error is so large that it is likewise easy. For a celebrity chef or cookbook author, a recipe that employs CF is pretty safe where suggesting someone ferment for 48h at 64F is a formula for disaster.

That being said, there is a big space between 80F and 40F, and a lot of science is getting ignored for the sake of simplicity. Just because something changes when you lower temperature from ambient to <5C doesn’t say anything about the range where the changes are really happening or if meaningful change happen continuously across the range.

The chart below that compares the growth activity of two LAB strains and a yeast strain common to SD as a function of temperature. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC106434/

Note in the top chart that below about 25C, the growth response to changes in temperature is substantially similar between the yeast and LAB strains, however above 25C, the LAB and yeast growth response curves are very different. What this implies is that lowering the fermentation temperature from say 30C to 25C will have a much more profound effect on the relative activity level of the yeast relative to the LAB than would lowering the temp from 25C to 5C

The second chart shows that when lowering temperature, by the time you get to about 15C/59F, the relative change in activity between the yeast and LAB as a response to the lowering temperature further is about the same. 

Acetic acid production is dependent on the availability of fructose, and fructose is released from the flour by yeast enzymes. As the temperature drops both yeast and LAB activity decrease. This means both (i) total acid production decreases with decreasing LAB activity and (ii) fructose production decreases with declining yeast activity.  However, because LAB activity falls faster than yeast activity (and thereby fructose production) up to a point, as a function of concentration vis-à-vis LAB activity, fructose is increasing up to a point. The net result is less total acids with more acetic acid relative to lactic. Once the temperature reaches the point where the relative changes are the same, getting colder only makes things go slower.

What I believe this implies is that you get to the same place (with respect to this limited set of variables) whether (in this example) you reduce fermentation temperature to 15C or 5C. At 5C it just takes a lot longer to get there (and if your ambient is much below 20C/68F, putting your dough in the firde may not be doing anything to favor acetic over lactic acid).  Of course all the obvious caveats apply – not the least of which is that different strains may have different responses to changes in temperature than these. Notwithstanding, my theory is that there is a similar phenomenon with most SD cultures and also with baker’s yeast though much less pronounced given the orders of magnitude lower levels of LAB. My personal experience and observations seem to support this belief. What’s been frustrating is that there appears to be almost no research at temps lover than 20C which I guess isn’t that surprising given that there isn’t much mass commercial interest in cold fermenting.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 05:13:17 PM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2017, 05:58:35 PM »
TXGraig1,
I'm not trying to rain on your parade. You have done a lot of really good work with these models. It is obvious that you are passionate about his subject.

Ill post more on this tomorrow in your sticky sourdough model thread and Ill post the paper tiles in my levain thread so they don't get lost in the mix of threads.

No flames. Discussions.
Have a Dangerous day!


“They say that competitive eating is the battleground upon which God and Lucifer wage war for mens souls my friends, and they are right.”  - George Shea, Chairman, Major League Eating

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2017, 06:01:16 PM »
TXGraig1,
I'm not trying to rain on your parade. You have done a lot of really good work with these models. It is obvious that you are passionate about his subject.

Ill post more on this tomorrow in your sticky sourdough model thread and Ill post the paper tiles in my levain thread so they don't get lost in the mix of threads.

No flames. Discussions.

No worries. I didn't see it that way at all. My comment was intended as a caution for you not to believe what you read because it's probably wrong or at best incomplete.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2017, 06:32:56 PM »
....... it's probably wrong or at best incomplete.

Or maybe not.
Have a Dangerous day!


“They say that competitive eating is the battleground upon which God and Lucifer wage war for mens souls my friends, and they are right.”  - George Shea, Chairman, Major League Eating

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused: Starter vs Levain
« Reply #39 on: October 17, 2017, 06:59:33 PM »
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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