Author Topic: state of starter  (Read 2088 times)

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Offline Christopher

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state of starter
« on: April 03, 2006, 08:11:05 PM »
hey, guys,
i was just curious as to how your starter was kept. are they in liquid form or a dough ball. i ask because i have read on here you can use it any way, but most try to keep it the same hydration as their final dough. i saw in a baking book a baker who had his starter, which seemed to be a drier form,  wrapped in cloth and tied. anyone doing this?
what are the benefits of each form and does it even matter?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: state of starter
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2006, 10:19:33 PM »

The starter can be kept in either liquid form or a more solid form. Since soft starter doughs favor the production of lactic acids and stiffer doughs favor the production of acetic acids, bakers take advantage of this fact to achieve the type and intensity of flavors in the finished product, such as bread or pizza crust. Also, some starters are naturally more sour than others, an example of this being the Ischia starter which is naturally more sour than the Camaldoli starter, which yields a ratio of lactic acid to acetic acid of about 3:1. It also acts faster than the Ischia starter. Acids also affect enzyme performance and can be used to extend the fermentation time of a dough. However, you don't want to have a too-acidic environment since that can affect yeast fermentation. So, the selection of the type of starter and its form and quantity will be major factors in the development of the dough during fermentation and the flavors in the finished crust. This is a somewhat oversimplified explanation of very complicated subject but I think it addresses the question you raised about the form of the starter.

I believe the piece of dough in a cloth bag may be a dried form of a starter. Alaskan prospectors used this technique (and other similar approaches) to protect and carry their starters from camp to camp. Usually the starters so preserved were activated the day before intended use.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 10:12:33 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Kinsman

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Re: state of starter
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2006, 05:27:17 PM »
I keep mine pretty wet.
For me it is easier to work with; I can shake the quart mason jar and it's easy to mix.
It's also easy to see the activity level.

These cultures are easy to use and I like to keep it that way.  They have been in use for thousands of years by people who did not understand their deep secrets.  I am kinda like them in that respect.  I just keep mine in a jar on the counter and use it once or twice a week.  Sometimes I will feed it several times in a few days and get it good and happy. 

I frequently take it at high kraeusen and pour some onto a sheet pan lined with foil, spread it thin and let it dry then grind it up. That way I have some to share or if I ever kill the little guys....which is highly unlikely.  Yeasts and their buddies the lacto-bacto bunch are really hardy and easy-going. 
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana