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  • #1 by NendyPants on 20 Jul 2021
  • I have made about 80 sourdough pizzas now, and have experimented with almost everything except the inoculation rate.  The first recipe I saw (as well as my SD bread recipes), all used an inoculation of 20%, and so that's what I have done forever without too much thought (until now)

    I'm wondering what the difference would be between the following examples, assuming fermentation temperature is the same. I typically do a CF for 24 hours after RT ferm is complete, if that matters.

    1. Use 5% starter, dough takes 18 hours to double in size at RT
    2. Use 20% starter, dough takes 6 hours to double in size at RT

    My guess is that scenario #1 leads to more flavorful/sour dough, but less oven spring.  But what do I know? Thanks as always for the help! It's been so fun trying to dial in these sourdough pies!
  • #2 by hotwatermusic on 31 Jul 2021
  • I'd like to hear more opinions on this myself. The first and easiest assumption I would add is that the higher percentage of starter you add would mean the greater percentage of the finished dough with a degraded gluten from the enzyme activity in the older mother fraction. I haven't had the curiosity or time to try a side by side but personally I've developed a work flow around my typical schedule and that means a best product with about 8-10% starter, however I also use 20% for breads for similar reasons. I will be watching this thread.
  • #3 by HansB on 31 Jul 2021

  • My guess is that scenario #1 leads to more flavorful/sour dough, but less oven spring.  But what do I know? Thanks as always for the help! It's been so fun trying to dial in these sourdough pies!

    Low inoculation results in more acetic dough. Try feeding your starter 1:1:1 and another 1:10:10, you'll notice the big difference in texture and smell.

    From Full Proof baking:

    "During their growth phases, bacteria and yeast reproduce at an exponential rate. Bacteria
    grow and reproduce faster than yeast cells. If your bacteria cells are reproducing faster
    than yeast cells, how is it that by the time the starter is peaking, the relative balance of
    bacteria and yeast tends to turn out the same each time in a consistently maintained
    starter? This is because bacteria, after a feed, experience a “lag phase”, a period of time
    where they aren’t reproducing, before they kick on and begin to activate again. The yeasts,
    on the other hand, kick on right away! The expert microbiologist Debra Wink has used the
    allegory of the Tortoise and the Hare - where the bacteria start off slow, but eventually can
    catch up and outpace the yeasts!
    Now when you feed your starter, you are diluting both populations out. The bacteria are
    less hardy than the yeasts, and they take longer to recover. This means the bacterial lag
    phase is longer than the yeast’s lag phase, and so the yeasts start going to work right away
    producing CO2 gas. Eventually, the bacteria kick on and, after a few doubling periods, the
    acid load rises. The combined increased acid burden coupled with the microbes running
    out of resources cause the microbes go into a “stationary phase” and stop growing (go
    dormant).

    When you feed at very high ratios (1:10), you end up diluting out the microbes and acid
    load even more. In this situation, it takes much longer for the yeasts to leaven to full
    maximal peak, and so the “finish line” is extended further out. Given this longer period of
    time, the bacteria will slowly kick on but then rapidly begin to grow and reproduce,
    outpacing the yeasts. The bacteria experience more doublings/generations than they
    otherwise would by the time the starter is reaching peak. All the while, they are producing
    acids, so that by the time the starter has reached peak, the starter is much more
    concentrated with acids and thus, sour!"
  • #4 by texmex on 31 Jul 2021
  • I have been toying with this for awhile, and have used super high amounts of SD with varying results. If I could muster up the discipline to continue my experiments, I might learn something concrete.  I have found that high amounts of SD work better for a RT dough, and can be ready to bake fairly quickly, but it's dependent on the tricks of temperature maintenance and knowing when a dough should not be lifted while stretching. I have had very strong dough and very weak dough using the same formula with large amounts of SD.


    Experiments can often be the greatest enjoyment of baking.
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