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  • #1 by FunkedOut on 29 Sep 2021
  • This week is experiment week for me.
    I will be making three 16" pizzas and comparing the results.
    I figured you may be interested in the results and I am certainly interested in your input.

    Background on the Sourdough-ish
    After many starters, I was never happy with the taste of the wild critters flying about here in my neck of the woods.
    So I created a fresh starter spiked with a tiny pinch of commercial IDY.
    Sure, this is a poolish at 100% hydration.
    The only difference is I left this uncovered for weeks to ensure infection with the local critters.

    With no way of testing or verification, my assumption is that the commercial yeast, having a head start on the numbers game, would outcompete the local yeasts without any trouble.
    But the local bacteria would thrive on what the yeast(s) left behind, adding a bit of that sour note.

    Several years later, this culture is alive and well, and making some really tasty breads for me.
    There's definitely a sour component to the breads and you can smell the funk that does not come from straight yeast.

    The Experiment:
    1 pizza made with the sourdough-ish starter
    1 pizza made with a 20% poolish
    1 pizza made with an 80% poolish

    My normal recipe for NY style is 560g per for a 16" pie; thickness factor of 0.098.
    Stand mixer for 5 minutes, a couple of minutes hand kneading to tidy up and let rest for a couple of hours.
    Portion into balls and place in fridge overnight.
    Pull out of fridge a couple of hours before baking.

    If the poolish tastes as good or better than the sourdough, I may just stop feeding this thing altogether!

    The Control
    81g preferment (100% hydration)
    281g flour (plus half the preferment)
    17g (5%) semolina
    162g water (plus half the preferment) - (60% total hydration)
    10g (3%) olive oil
    8g (2.5%) salt

    The 20% Poolish
    Same recipe as above, works out to 20% of the water coming via the preferment.
    I will simply replace the 81g of sourdough-ish starter with 81g of poolish.
    I will use 0.84g (0.25%) IDY for the poolish and none in the final dough.
    Aiming to match rise times and process as much as possible with the control.

    The 80% Poolish
    324g preferment (100% hydration)
    159g flour (plus half the preferment)
    17g (5%) semolina
    41g water (plus half the preferment) - (60% total hydration)
    10g (3%) olive oil
    8g (2.5%) salt
    0.84g (0.25%) IDY (all added to poolish)

    The Plan
    I plan to create the poolishes (sp?) tomorrow morning when feeding the sourdough-ish starter.
    Make the doughs in the evening and let rest in the fridge overnight.

  • #2 by FunkedOut on 30 Sep 2021
  • I had a bit of a struggle with unconscious thoughts last night...
    I tried to estimate how much IDY equivalent rise power was in my sourdough-ish starter and realized it was impossible to predict.
    I picked and estimate and will just have to watch the poolish and see the timing.
    So I settled on the 0.84g for the 81g of poolish.

    Now the troubled thoughts hit me...
    Going from the 20% poolish to the 80% poolish, I am quadrupling the amount of flour and water.  I should quadruple the amount of yeast.
    But, then I thought it would be better to maintain the same amount of yeast for the same amount of total dough weight.
    So, the poolish will take longer to peak, and the dough will take less is my guess.
  • #3 by FunkedOut on 30 Sep 2021
  • 7 hours after pulling the sourdough-ish culture out of the fridge, and building the pair of poolish...

    The sourdough-ish culture and the 20% poolish have peaked and just begun to recede.
    The difference is smell between the two is undeniable.
    Much more pungent and fragrant aroma coming from the sourdough-sh.

    I put the two doughs together separately.
    The structure of the 20% poolish was much tighter; lots of stringy stretchy structure.
    The sourdough-ish culture was almost easy to pour and cut the pour by simply tipping the jar back upright.  The use of a knife to cut cleanly for an exact weight was used.

    The texture of doughs mirrored that of the preferments.
    Also worthy on note is the fact that the 20% poolish seemed drier and had more trouble coming together.  Overall a much stiffer dough.

    Both of these dough balls are sitting on the counter, covered with a bowl after having been kneaded in the stand mixer for a couple of minutes and kneaded by hand for a couple of minutes.

    The 80% poolish is still rising...
  • #4 by FunkedOut on 30 Sep 2021
  • 8 hours in, life got in the way and I made the last dough using the 80% poolish.
    Maybe it had a bit of rise left in it, but it was plenty active.
    80% poolish texture was identical to the 20% poolish.
    The dough came together easily and the felt much more hydrated than the 20% poolish dough; about the same as the sourdough-ish bread, maybe a touch stiffer.

    I plan to leave these on the counter another hour or two before a quick knead for each and putting to sleep in the fridge overnight.
  • #5 by FunkedOut on 30 Sep 2021
  • 10 hours in, they each got a quick knead and balling; into a greased bowl they went into the fridge.

    The sourdough-ish and 20% poolish felt about the the same.
    The 80% poolish felt soft, extensible and wet.

    Tomorrow's another day.
  • #6 by FunkedOut on 01 Oct 2021
  • Pulled them all out of the fridge for a 2 hours warm up and rise before baking.
    The 20% poolish is the most active, looking almost ready to stretch and bake at just 1 hour.
    The 80% poolish was still too flat to stretch and bake, although it was a bit ahead of the sourdough-ish.
  • #7 by FunkedOut on 01 Oct 2021
  • The oven and stone are hot at the 2 hour mark.

    The 20% poolish is far ahead of the others and will bake first.
    The 80% poolish is neck and neck with the sourdough-ish; maybe a hair ahead.  80% poolish will bake second.

    Pics inbound...
  • #8 by FunkedOut on 01 Oct 2021
  • #9 by FunkedOut on 01 Oct 2021
  • #10 by FunkedOut on 01 Oct 2021
  • #11 by FunkedOut on 01 Oct 2021
  • The 20% poolish was really crispy, had lots of crunch and light airy texture on the crust.
    A really good pizza for my tastes.

    The 80% poolish was a dud.  It was soft and limp, and was rather chewy.  This may be my fault for not letting the poolish ferment out fully before building the dough.  At the end of the day, all 3 doughs had the same total rise time, save the few minutes of baking each pie.

    The sourdough-ish was again, really crispy with lots of crunch and light airy texture.
    It was essentially a clone of the 20% poolish, with just a hint of sourdough taste under the toppings that becomes the main attraction at the cornicione.
    It is really hard to ignore once you taste it.  The other two pizzas almost seem flavorless in comparison.

    I think I'm going to stick to the sourdough-ish culture I have.
    I'd recommend it to anyone interested in sourdough.
    Simple make a 300g poolish that you keep in the fridge and continue to feed weekly.
    During the first couple of weeks, I fed it daily and left it uncovered in the kitchen to collect airborne critters.
    I'd say the contamination is inevitable either way, given a long enough time span.
    This culture too, will stabilize over time just as a 100% wild culture will.
  • #12 by halfprice on 01 Oct 2021
  • All of those look good
    Interesting read. Thanks for posting all your steps

    Jerry
  • #13 by JoeK on 10 Oct 2021
  • That all looks good.  My go to recipe is 65% final hydration using 20% sourdough starter.  I like the taste and the way the dough performs.  I RT for an hour and then in the fridge for at least 48hr.  Ive had the dough perform extremely well out to 8 days.
  • #14 by Gluten4punishment on 24 Oct 2021
  • That all looks good.  My go to recipe is 65% final hydration using 20% sourdough starter.  I like the taste and the way the dough performs.  I RT for an hour and then in the fridge for at least 48hr.  Ive had the dough perform extremely well out to 8 days.

    Is one hour RT enough to get it going? Have you had success freezing this dough after your cold ferment?
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