Author Topic: Source of natural starters...  (Read 2505 times)

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Offline kiwipete

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Source of natural starters...
« on: October 24, 2006, 10:50:41 PM »

I have recently come back from a trip to Europe, which included touring around Italy and spent three days in Positano on the Amalfi coast (30 km from Naples.

In one of the local stores I found a jar of "Il Miracolo di San Gennaro" tomatoes (pomodorini in this case - the small ones rather than the San Marzanos).

I started talking to the shop owner (me not speaking much Italian, if any.. but made do with sign language, his broken english etc) about tomatoes and that led on to pizza in general, wood fired ovens etc..

The shop owner seemed highly amused that some guy from New Zealand seemed as passionate about pizza as them (Italians).

I explained to him that I use a natural starter for my dough and used the word "crisceto" (that I picked from Marco on this forum). He seemed amazed that I knew about this and he talked about the fact that in the "old days" all pizza dough was made with crisceto and how the use of a crisceto accounted for the flavour of the base..

He then said to me: Do you know how they make the crisceto?? I said "No" and he then told me they make the starter from a mixture of flour, water and Horse Dung!!!!   I didn't quite believe what I heard, so I made sure by getting him to repeat it a few times and he was very adamant.

This is most likely some sort of Neapolitan urban myth.. but thought it was intereresting to share the tale.

I have thought about this a few times since then and suppose that theoretically it possible. Wild Yeast is pretty much everywhere around us and by the time that you have gone through a number of feedings of the starter, there won't be any dung left in the starter anyway.

I am not going to try and replicate this myself (I am happy with my Italian starters from Sourdo.com) but if somebody else wants to have a crack, keep us posted... LOL   :-D

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Source of natural starters...
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 11:31:55 PM »
LOL Good story... although I bet he thought you were taking him for a ride and that was his way of getting back at you!

While you were in Italy you missed a good opportunity to stick a jar with flour and water on the window sill. You could have captured some wild critters while on vacation!

Offline Kinsman

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Re: Source of natural starters...
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2006, 05:37:03 PM »
Or maybe what he meant was, "flour, water and a little bit of bull%$#"........
Chris Rausch

Long Riders BBQ
Florence, Montana

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Source of natural starters...
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2006, 07:50:32 AM »
Another myth... These people don't know anything about making a starter other then remembering how good the bread was when was only made with it....

A guy once told me that you needed to mix flour and urine to make it.....

I did not find it funny..