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Author Topic: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?  (Read 1996 times)

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Offline Andrea

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My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« on: March 20, 2016, 12:54:44 PM »
Hi, this is my first post after introduction - and after having spent hours and hours reading other posts...I find myself still in need of advice, any input is much appreciated.

I started the activation process of my Ischia sour dough Thursday evening, using as a proofing box a cooler with a heating pad, keeping the temperature at 89 degrees. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off the auto-shut off function and after 6 hours the temperature slowly returned to 69 degrees, which is how I found it Friday morning.

I turned the heat back on to complete the first cycle of activation in the heated cooler.

That evening, I took it out of the cooler, stirred it and left it at room temperature, which was right between 67-70 degrees, but - messed up again - did not feed it right away. (I had fallen asleep and almost forgot to remove it from the heated cooler..)

Next morning I noticed my error and fed it 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup water as per the instructions. It had a smell like alcohol, which worried me.

Below are pictures of what it looked like right before feeding the first time.

The first Mark on the jar was volume when I initially  added all ingredients.

I then fed it and marked the volume at time of feeding with 2.


12 hours later I fed it a third, time, marking my jar with the number 3.

Now would be the time to feed it again after 12 more hours, but by now I expected more of a rise.

After reading so many posts, I find myself confused more than I thought I would be..

It no longer smells so much like alcohol, I am still getting the liquid, plus the foamy bubbles.

Is my starter on track? Should it not have actually risen more over night?

I am running out of room in my jar it will not take another feedeing, but my instructions called for continued feeding every 12-24 hours until fully active, discarding is not mentioned until then.

Do I divide it now and then keep feeding it?

Any help/advice/reassurance is much appreciated!

Andrea
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 02:57:07 PM by Andrea »

Offline parallei

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 02:34:53 PM »
If you're running out of room, just divide it and keep feeding.  It will take a few more days, but you'll get there........

Offline Andrea

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 05:29:00 PM »
Thank you, I have now split it in two, fed both jars, will wait to see what happens. Can't bring myself to discarding half, in case something happens, so will now feed 2 hungry cultures. But after the next feeding I will see if some of can be used for pancakes or something similar....

Offline parallei

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 05:40:31 PM »
Thank you, I have now split it in two, fed both jars, will wait to see what happens. Can't bring myself to discarding half, in case something happens, so will now feed 2 hungry cultures. But after the next feeding I will see if some of can be used for pancakes or something similar....

Sounds like a plan.  Part of what you'll be looking for is the hootch (clear liquid) to be on the top and not the middle or bottom. 

Offline Andrea

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2016, 01:38:27 AM »
I think I found the source of my problem, quite by accident ...

I used warm tap water, thinking our water was fine, never felt like it was over chlorinated. i discarded most of the starter, moved it into 2 new containers, 1 with 150g starter, the other with only 40. Both were then fed again by weight in equal parts water and flour.

I had planned to use bottled water this time, but for the first one accidentally added the tap water again. For the second one (the 150g one) I remembered in time and used bottled water.

Just before going to bed just now I checked it and the bottled water has risen, the other one has not really.

Something in our water is inhibiting the growth of my culture. I still do not believe our water is heavily chlorinated, but do know we have very hard water, perhaps that plays a role?

Can't wait to check it out again in the morning!

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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2016, 07:54:45 AM »

Something in our water is inhibiting the growth of my culture. I still do not believe our water is heavily chlorinated, but do know we have very hard water, perhaps that plays a role?


pH of water, especially for a weak culture, can be important. I ALWAYS use bottled water for feeding my starters.

Offline Andrea

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2016, 08:36:04 AM »
Well, I am glad I learned that lesson early on!

I have never had an issue with commercial yeast rising using tap water, that is why I never would have guessed our water might be the culprit...

Woke up early and my culture has doubled in size overnight ! The 'test' culture with tap water has not risen at all. It's not bad, just no rise...I will feed it with bottled water and see if that rescues that one as well!

Andrea

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 08:53:30 AM »

I have never had an issue with commercial yeast rising using tap water, that is why I never would have guessed our water might be the culprit...


Commercial yeast is engineered to thrive in a wide variety of conditions. Wild starters are less tolerant and tend to do best in a much narrower range of temps, pH's, etc. - even after being fully activated.

Offline Andrea

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 06:00:56 PM »
Success!  Never have I been happier to find a mess to clean up!
Thank you all!

Offline parallei

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2016, 07:00:53 PM »
So in the end, how did the City Water vs Bottled Water work out.  What bottled water did you use?  What City do you live in?

Not being nosey.....much of my career was spent doing potable WTP design and am curious.

Thanks, and glad you got lift off!

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Offline Andrea

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2016, 02:36:55 AM »
Well, the difference was huge. The biggest impact was not immediately, but today after one more feeding with bottled water.

I live in Southern California (Orange County) and always knew we had hard water, lots of minerals, but not overly chlorinated. I am going to get more details on our water tomorrow when the pool guy comes by, he can give me the scoop.

I used standard bottled drinking water, Arrowhead, that we buy at Costco, nothing fancy

I will post again tomorrow when I have the details on our local water...

Offline parallei

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2016, 04:03:15 PM »
Well, the difference was huge. The biggest impact was not immediately, but today after one more feeding with bottled water.

I live in Southern California (Orange County) and always knew we had hard water, lots of minerals, but not overly chlorinated. I am going to get more details on our water tomorrow when the pool guy comes by, he can give me the scoop.

I used standard bottled drinking water, Arrowhead, that we buy at Costco, nothing fancy

I will post again tomorrow when I have the details on our local water...

If your interested, your water provider has to provide an annual water quality report to its users. Here is a link to the reports for all the members of the Orange County Water District.  Your provider is probably in there!

http://www.ocwd.com/working-with-us/member-agencies/

Offline Andrea

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Re: My first Ischia culture - is it still ok?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2016, 10:03:13 AM »
Good morning,

My pool guy was nice enough to test my tap water, while we have water that is fine to drink, a detailed look leads me to believe that is absolutely not suitable for my pizza making efforts and explains so much about previous efforts that produced less than ideal results in the past.

Our ph level is around 7.4
Total hardness 500 ppm, but as per my pool guy, he has seen it go as high as 750 ppm (I believe for ideal yeast fermentation it should be between 50 and 150 ppm)

Our water district no longer uses chloride, as it has proven too hard on the pipes, but rather uses phosphates and chloramines

Chloramines are highly destructive on yeast.

I have been trying to research the impact of phosphates on yeast ( they are basically fertilizers) but have not found anything that would stand out to me, but that may not mean anything, as my high school chemistry class was many years ago....
Chances are, even if the phosphates were likely to help the yeast grow (considering the fertilizer aspect), it probably never stood a chance with the chloramines, high ph level and hard water.

My take-away from this is that no matter what you think about your water, the devil is in the details. Just because it tastes great and looks good, it is a good idea to double check with your water district.

The reports are usually found online and easy to look up, I should have done that before, could have saved a lot of time, effort and expensive flour!

Passing this on in such detail, as I have read quite a few posts where people do not understand why their cultures are not progressing as they had hoped, perhaps this will help!

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