Author Topic: Amount of Starter  (Read 2770 times)

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Offline charbo

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Amount of Starter
« on: June 03, 2006, 09:04:04 PM »
Is there a difference between using a relatively small amount of starter for an extended fermentation period and using a relatively large amount of starter for a short fermentation period?


Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Amount of Starter
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2006, 12:18:58 AM »
I'll chime in with my experiences with preferment. I have been using the Ischia starter for several months now and I have learned the following. Although I will also say I am still experimenting and learning with each new effort.

I initially started out using the recipe from Ed Wood's book. I think the bread recipes in his book are all pretty good. Most of them will make a very good loaf, but the pizza recipe did not work well for me. After several attempts (none of which were thrown out) here is what I have found. A smaller amount of preferment with about a 48 hour cold rest is about optimal. Much longer and the dough really loses it's strength.  It becomes way too elastic and just too difficult to work with. Much less than that and it really doesn't have a chance to deliver full flavor. I have tried adding a very small amount of IDY (I mean just a pinch) and although I did get more development in the dough, I found that there were simply too many large bubbles to deal with. Oven spring was just too much. This past weekend I needed to get a dough ball together in a hurry and I had some active starter ready to go so I tried a same day rise, making the dough early in the morning and using it later that night while allowing a counter rise for the whole day. Well actually, about mid afternoon I was a bit concerned that the ambient heat (100 degrees here in SoCal this weekend) might be a bit much so I did put the ball in the fridge for about an hour or so then back out on the counter till ready to use. I was quite impressed with the results however I used that ball to make a deep dish Chicago style so I really con't comment on the dough characteristics but will look forward to using that same dough technique for a NY style very soon.

Right now I am on the following path with my preferment.

72 hours before baking: Remove sponge culture from fridge, spoon about 1/4 cup into a glass bowl, feed the sponge culture with a quarter cup flour and enough water to maintain previous consistency. Feed the just removed culture with 1/2 c. flour and enough water to make a pudding consistency. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter. Allow the original starter to remain out at room temperature for about an hour or so and then return it to the fridge and leave it alone until the next use.

48 hours before baking: Pour 1 cup of lukewarm water in the mixer bowl with 2t. fine sea salt, 1 1/2 t. sugar (sometimes a T. of honey instead) and dissolve. Add the preferment mixture and mix well. Add approx. 3 cups of KASL (scoop and dump). As the mix comes together add a tablespoon or so of canola oil. You may need to adjust the flour or water slightly until you get the proper mix. I mix for 4-5 minutes and  look for a silver dollar size disc at the base of the bowl and then hand knead in any remaining flour on the board if needed. Divide into three balls approximately 11 ounces each and put in plastic storage bags that have been shot with vegetable spray. Put directly in the fridge and in two days you are ready to remove from fridge, allow a couple hours counter rise and shape to make 10-12" pies.

One thing I am just learning is to overcome the urge to use more starter. I find that less is more and I am now working on finding just the right least amount.


Offline Kinsman

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Re: Amount of Starter
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2006, 05:56:05 PM »
I would agree that 'less is more'. 
The action we are looking for is the culture growing. A small amount of starter in a larger amount of food is going to give the best result.

My basic technique is to use about one to two cups of active culture, two cups of water (blood temp) and two pounds of flour (a palmful of salt premixed with the flour).  About six hours at coolish room temp has that dough going really well.  Great flavor and texture. 

I keep my culture at the aforementioned coolish room temp, about 60F, all the time.
I feed it the night before I want to use it, and keep the consistency like a thinnish pancake batter.
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana