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Author Topic: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice  (Read 806 times)

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Offline Dptdpt

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Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« on: May 22, 2019, 06:59:42 PM »
I decided to try my hand at using sourdough in my Neopolitan pizza dough.  I ordered a few sourdough starters from sourdo.com.

Before I start making pizza, I need to get a culture going.  My first question - the instructions from sourdo.com recommend starting it using a proofing box at 90 degrees F.  Well, I don't have a proofing box.  So, is that necessary?  Could I get by with growing the sourdough at room temperature?

Any other advice as to how to get the culture started, other than the instructions I have?

Beyond that, I could use a basic recipe for making dough using the starter.  I imagine there are some good posts on this forum that would answer that, but I can't find them.  It would be good if there were some "sticky" posts in this subforum...

Offline halfprice

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 08:11:09 PM »
I put mine in the oven with the light on.   Used my bbq thermometer to keep track of temp.  It stayed between 85*-90*

I followed the directions I got with mine  It worked well.

Jerry

Offline andytiedye

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2019, 08:51:35 PM »
Some sourdoughs are more fussy about temperature than others.
We keep our San Francisco sourdough at room temperature (usually around 65į) but Red Sea and some others like it warmer.

Offline HansB

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 11:15:02 PM »
Room temp is fine.
Hans

Offline halfprice

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2019, 12:17:15 AM »
Some sourdoughs are more fussy about temperature than others.
We keep our San Francisco sourdough at room temperature (usually around 65į) but Red Sea and some others like it warmer.
90* is only to start the culture and get it going. It only needs that temp for a day or two

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Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2019, 12:18:48 AM »
Thanks everyone.

Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2019, 11:36:49 AM »
Ok, hereís a new question. It seems a lot of the variability in the success of growing and maintaining a starter is to control the ratio of lactobacilli to yeast. And, that ratio can be roughly measured by testing the PH of the culture. Correct?  So does anyone measure PH in their starter?  I havenít seen anyone on the site talking about that.

Offline HansB

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2019, 01:08:40 PM »
"a lot of the variability in the success of growing and maintaining a starter is to control the ratio of lactobacilli to yeast"

Don't know where you got that? Starting a sourdough culture is actually very simple:



Here's some science for you:

https://modernistcuisine.com/2018/09/sourdough-science/?utm_source=Bread+Magazine&utm_campaign=dbc8afced2-NEWSLETTER_92&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f584c366f4-dbc8afced2-134192137&mc_cid=dbc8afced2&mc_eid=13ad3b879f
Hans

Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2019, 06:39:11 PM »
What Iíve been reading is that the ratio of the lactobacilli to yeast can change, depending on things like the temperature.

Another question if you donít mind - the instructions from sourdo.com say, when feeding, to pour off the hooch and to add 1 cup of flour and 3/4 cup water. Isnít that going to make the culture thicker and thicker over time?

Offline HansB

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2019, 08:06:50 PM »
What Iíve been reading is that the ratio of the lactobacilli to yeast can change, depending on things like the temperature.

Another question if you donít mind - the instructions from sourdo.com say, when feeding, to pour off the hooch and to add 1 cup of flour and 3/4 cup water. Isnít that going to make the culture thicker and thicker over time?

I think the article talks about that. Temp does change the ratio but it is not critical in the health of your starter. Later, by using different temperatures you can control the lactic/acetic flavor.

Like anything bread/pizza if you ask three people how to do it you'll get four different answers.

I have never poured off any liquid, just stir it in. I make mine just like the video above. If you use 1 cup of flour everyday you'll be wasting a lot of flour. If you want to measure just discard all but 25g and feed with 25g each water and flour. In 7-10 days you'll have a nice culture.
Hans

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Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2019, 08:30:13 PM »
What youíre saying makes more sense to me. If you keep adding equal amounts flour and water youíd have a 100% hydration factor. And yet sourdo says to add a cup of flour to 3/4 cups water. I canít imagine thatís a typo, so there must be some chemistry going on that would make that work.  Thatís what Iím trying to understand.

Offline HansB

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2019, 08:41:33 PM »
What youíre saying makes more sense to me. If you keep adding equal amounts flour and water youíd have a 100% hydration factor. And yet sourdo says to add a cup of flour to 3/4 cups water. I canít imagine thatís a typo, so there must be some chemistry going on that would make that work.  Thatís what Iím trying to understand.

It would work just fine. You'll have a stiffer starter. I like to maintain a 100% hydration starter as it is the most common hydration that you find in most bread/pizza formulas. There are so many different ways to do it and most of them will work fine.
Hans

Offline parallei

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 08:50:21 PM »
It would work just fine. You'll have a stiffer starter. I like to maintain a 100% hydration starter as it is the most common hydration that you find in most bread/pizza formulas. There are so many different ways to do it and most of them will work fine.

What Hans says.  For years, I've kept my Ischia starter from sourdo.com at 100% hydration (equal weights flour and water).  It has been happy as a clam at high tide.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 09:27:51 PM »
And yet sourdo says to add a cup of flour to 3/4 cups water. I canít imagine thatís a typo, so there must be some chemistry going on that would make that work.  Thatís what Iím trying to understand.

Ed may like his starter on the stiff side because he tends to use massive amounts of starter and extremely short fermentation.

I'd suggest not trying to understand in theory what you will actually learn from practice.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline andytiedye

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2019, 12:43:44 AM »
That's by volume, not weight.
Isn't water a bit heavier than flour?

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2019, 06:27:31 AM »
That's by volume, not weight.
Isn't water a bit heavier than flour?

Good catch.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2019, 07:26:18 AM »
I'd suggest not trying to understand in theory what you will actually learn from practice.

Great suggestion! The mistake is treating the starter as just another ingredient in your dough. It is more like a dozen ingredients that you can't individually observe or tweak. It's more like a black box that you have to keep playing with to master. And you will never fully control your starter. Best you can do is learn how to be a good servant.   

Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2019, 10:25:23 AM »
That's by volume, not weight.
Isn't water a bit heavier than flour?

Doh!  Yes, of course youíre right. I just weighed it out, and one cup of flour and 3/4 cups of water each weigh about 150 g. So this is actually a 100% hydration culture.

Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2019, 04:55:38 PM »
Ok, I've been feeding my Ischia starter in two jars, twice a day, for a week.  I baked a loaf of bread with it, and it seemed to come out well.  Now I'd like to store the cultures.  I've read a lot of conflicting stuff on the net about how to do this.  When refrigerating cultures, some people say to feed it twice a week, some say once a week, and some say to just keep it in the fridge indefinitely - before pulling it from the fridge and reviving it for use.  And some people talk about just keeping some dried culture if you aren't going to be baking for a while.

Drying the culture seems easiest, if I can revive it within a day of needing it.  If I have to refrigerate the liquid culture, I'd rather not have to deal with feeding it.  But if liquid culture will keep indefinitely in the fridge, that wouldn't be bad either (many say it won't, but some people are saying they do that).

What should I do if I will be using it infrequently, but may want to use some with no more than a day available to activate it?

Offline parallei

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2019, 06:06:06 PM »
What should I do if I will be using it infrequently, but may want to use some with no more than a day available to activate it?

Like you, I use mine infrequently.  My Ischia starter has been happily ignored for 6 to 8 weeks in the fridge and it has survived many years.  Granted, this is probably not ideal but it has worked. :o

When I've ignored it for a month or so it can take more than one feeding to bring it back, but it has always come back.  I just pour the hootch off the top (sorry, I don't like the way it looks), give it a good mix, discard and feed.  I've never seen any mold. With time you'll get less worried about your starter - it took me a few years to stop worrying.

My usual caveat -  I'm just a home baker.

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