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### Author Topic: Calculating Starter Amounts  (Read 2926 times)

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#### DanCole42

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• Age: 37
• Location: Fairfax, VA
##### Calculating Starter Amounts
« on: July 14, 2011, 09:33:10 PM »
How can I figure out bakers' percentages for including a 50-50 starter in a recipe in place of commercial yeast? I want to convert a number of recipes, so I'm looking for a rule of thumb (i.e. an equation) rather than a solution to a specific recipe.

For example, in this recipe for pizza napoletana from American Pie:

Napoletana Pizza Dough
Percent   Grams   Ingredient
100.00%   106.0   AP Flour
1.56%   1.7   Salt
0.44%   0.5   Instant Yeast
66.66%   70.7   Water (65F)

Obviously I drop the yeast, but how do I know how much starter to include, and how much to decrease the amount of flour and water?

Thanks for the help!
-Dan

GChat: DanCole42

MORBO: The challenger's ugly food has shown us that even hideous things can be sweet on the inside.

#### The Dough Doctor

• Tom Lehmann
• Posts: 3631
• Location: Manhattan, KS
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2011, 08:47:34 AM »
Dan;
Typically, you would look at the starter as an ingredient. So the first thing to do is to determine how much starter to use. Since all starters are different, you will need to experiment to find out how much to use. For starters, you might begin at 5% of the flour weight, and then work from there. Once you have the amount of starter determined, the next thing to do is to determine as close as possible, how much water is in the starter. Subtract that amount of water from your total absorption and you're good to go.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

#### DanCole42

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• Location: Fairfax, VA
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2011, 09:54:45 AM »
Dan;
Typically, you would look at the starter as an ingredient. So the first thing to do is to determine how much starter to use. Since all starters are different, you will need to experiment to find out how much to use. For starters, you might begin at 5% of the flour weight, and then work from there. Once you have the amount of starter determined, the next thing to do is to determine as close as possible, how much water is in the starter. Subtract that amount of water from your total absorption and you're good to go.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Thanks, Tom! I'll experiment with the amount of starter.

In terms of calculation, can someone check my math?

ORIGINAL:
100.00%   106.0   AP Flour
1.56%   1.7   Salt
0.44%   0.5   Instant Yeast
66.66%   70.7   Water (65F)

SOURDOUGH:
100.00%   103.4   AP Flour
1.60%   1.7   Salt
5.00%   5.3   Starter
65.81%   68.0   Water (65F)
-Dan

GChat: DanCole42

MORBO: The challenger's ugly food has shown us that even hideous things can be sweet on the inside.

#### Pete-zza

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• Location: Texas
• Always learning
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2011, 10:12:48 AM »
Dan

I have written on the subject that you have raised and may be able to give you some guidance later on today. However, in the meantime, you may want to take a look at the Preferment Dough Calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html and also the related discussion of that tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4996.msg42266.html#msg42266. The tool does all of the calculations for you based on the parameters of your particular starter/preferment.

Peter

#### jjdec05

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• Posts: 55
• Location: New England
• The more I learn,the more I know how little I know
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 01:04:08 PM »
I agree that the preferment calculator is immensely helpful.  Otherwise, it is just matter of testing your results to determine the amount for desired rise times.  As a rookie to sourdoughs myself, I have been using about 20% for an 8 hour rise,  10% for an extended cold ferment and around 2%-5% for 18-24 hours.  All calculations percentages of flour weight.  When you are reading about other members usages, be sure to determine their calculation method, some like to do percentage of water and total dough weight.

JJ

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#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 01:36:00 PM »

#### DanCole42

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• Posts: 51
• Age: 37
• Location: Fairfax, VA
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2011, 03:02:17 PM »
Thanks, everyone! I think I got the amounts down pat. For example, based on different amounts of starter...

Napoletana Pizza Dough
Percent   Grams   Ingredient
100.00%   106.0   AP Flour
1.56%   1.7   Salt
0.00%   0.0   Starter
66.66%   70.7   Water (65F)

100.00%   103.4   AP Flour
1.60%   1.7   Salt
5.00%   5.3   Starter
65.81%   68.0   Water (65F)

100.00%   100.7   AP Flour
1.64%   1.7   Salt
10.00%   10.6   Starter
64.91%   65.4   Water (65F)

100.00%   95.4   AP Flour
1.73%   1.7   Salt
20.00%   21.2   Starter
62.96%   60.1   Water (65F)

Of course, things will kind of break down past a certain point:

100.00%   0.0   AP Flour
#DIV/0!   1.7   Salt
200.00%   212.0   Starter
#DIV/0!   -35.3   Water (65F)

-Dan

GChat: DanCole42

MORBO: The challenger's ugly food has shown us that even hideous things can be sweet on the inside.

#### texmex

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• Location: out in that West Texas Town.....
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2011, 01:09:55 PM »
YOur last post cracks me up, as I have just realised that long cold ferments with starter would require minimal starter, but flavor-wise, I want more starter?

I was just thinking of going to 40% starter having experimented with 20% and 12%.
Reesa

#### TXCraig1

• Supporting Member
• Posts: 22966
• Location: Houston, TX
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2011, 05:04:37 PM »
YOur last post cracks me up, as I have just realised that long cold ferments with starter would require minimal starter, but flavor-wise, I want more starter?

I was just thinking of going to 40% starter having experimented with 20% and 12%.

You might try a couple things for more flavor and see how they work for you.

1) small % starter (1-2%) for 36 hours or so at ~65F
2) a little larger amount (4-5%) for 12 hours or so at 95F

Both time estimates include bulk and ball fermentation. Keep in mind that your starter and any number of other variables could meaningfully change the time required either way. This is just a starting point to work from. I would avoid temperatures below 60F with natural starters personally.

Both have worked well for me to develop more flavor. The former for pizza and the latter for bread.

CL
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

#### TXCraig1

• Supporting Member
• Posts: 22966
• Location: Houston, TX
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 05:05:26 PM »
YOur last post cracks me up, as I have just realised that long cold ferments with starter would require minimal starter, but flavor-wise, I want more starter?

I was just thinking of going to 40% starter having experimented with 20% and 12%.

At 40%, you might have problems with your dough falling apart.

CL
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

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#### texmex

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• Location: out in that West Texas Town.....
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2011, 05:39:22 PM »
interesting ...

my crusts at 20% starter were fantastic hand mixed after 8 days cold rise, and I actually let this dough warm rise for about 2 hours with 3 or more half hour s/folds before fridge. I haven't checked the temp on my fridge.

my crusts at 12% starter were even more fantastic after 4 days cold rise, but mixed in the KitchenAid and then straight to the fridge. (different oven temps)

I cannot see my dough falling apart using 40% starter.... although I imagine it would be very slack. Guess the only way to tell is to try it. lol.  Of course my logic is faulty due to my basing it on the fact that I used a large amount of starter to make sourdough bread a few weeks back, and I did not bother to attempt creating a boule with it cuz I knew it would stick to everything, but the bread was fantastic baked in a loaf pan.  It had an ethereal quality both in taste and texture to it that I cannot adequately describe, and I kept thinking about taking that exact recipe and trying to make pizza with the dough.  SO I guess I better check the percentage of starter in that dough recipe before I start making assumptions that it was anywhere close to 40% starter.
Reesa

#### texmex

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• Posts: 1545
• Location: out in that West Texas Town.....
##### Re: Calculating Starter Amounts
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2011, 10:51:54 AM »
At 40%, you might have problems with your dough falling apart.

CL

I will defer to those more knowledgeable than I!  (That means you, Craig)
I calculated that ethereal dough I mentioned earlier, and it turns out to be roughly 20% preferment!

I did do something crazy yesterday afternoon, and did not feed my starter to get it up to par, just took out enough of it straight from the fridge to make a 20% starter dough and started mixing it like it was fully fed.  By late last night the dough smelled wonderful, and this morning I think I may need to bake it soon or put it in the freezer?  Hell I don't know, but I'll be sure to add more updates to my ongoing thread in the general pizzamaking area.
Reesa

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