Today, just for an experiment, I threw out all the rules I have learned in these forums. I did away with grams, and percentages, worrying about methods, and just winged it.
For the record, I have followed most of the recipes here to the letter, or as best I could with my conventional oven, and digital scale, and for the most part been very happy with the results.
I am bordering on nuts with my new "Italian Starters. Where others had frustration getting them active from the packages, I have considered it a challenge, and thoroughly interesting. Between the no results, and the washings, and the feedings, all in all, it was fun.
At this point, I have two 1qt jars of each, Ischia, and Camoldoli, sitting on my counter. I have both refrigerated them, and left them on the counter, for extended periods of time. This is how I keep them now:
If I do not intend to bake within a few days, I feed the starters about 1/4 cup of flour, and a dash of water per day, shake, and forget. What happens is a semi starved leavening...bubbling, but not too much, with a slightly sour smell too them. When ready to bake, the day before, I feed 1 cup flour, and 3/4 cup water, shake, and the next day, I have extreme foaming, and a yeasty, bread type smell.
Now last night, I mixed a bottle of spring water, with 1/4 cup of my Ischia, and left overnight. In the morning, I had a flat bowl of poolish, with small bubbles. The Poolish had risen to the top of the bowl overnight, and receded.
I mixed in 1 cup flour, and with my KA mixer and paddle on 1, mixed for 1 minute or so, then added 1 cup flour slowly...mixed for another minute or so, then added another cup. Thats a total of 3 cups flour between the poolish and added flour (with 1 teaspon salt). I let it rest for about 10 minutes covered.
Again on the 1 setting, I added about 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup more of flour, the ball began to form, and I shut off the machine. I emptied the dough onto a floured counter, and kneaded for about 3-5 minutes. (Important aside...I have had a small Pottery business at times, and tend to use the Potter's method of kneading clay, and applied to the dough...look it up on the web to see the method).
The rest of the final four cups, I spread on the counter before hand-kneading, and just about mixed all of it into the final dough. That makes 4 cups total.
It rested for 1 hour, with a good rise, and without punching down, I pinched off (using the Neopolitan method) 4 balls of dough ( between 240g-275g each, I know!, a couple were a little large for "official"neopolitan), and placed them into plastic containers. I then put them into the frig.
I have no idea what the percentages were...hydration rates etc. I have no idea how this mix will work in my conventional oven ( it's a 550 degree with stone..I preheat for 1 and 1/2 hours. I assume it hits 600 degrees on the stone. My pizzas take 3-4 minutes to brown with a teeny char, crisp bottom,and chewy interior. 5 minutes produces a charred pizza with a more crisp bottom...less chewy, but still soft interior)
My question to youse guys:
How will this turn out after baking? Too tangy, no tang per se? Good rise..huge rise...no rise?
What would be your guesses as to the results?
Stay tuned for results, I may even bake one tonight, but more probably sometime between tomorrow, and Friday night..