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Author Topic: Sourdough culture that seems too active  (Read 1976 times)

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Offline RupertPupkin

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Sourdough culture that seems too active
« on: December 17, 2017, 03:13:55 PM »
I have been mostly lurking, though occasionally posting over the last 2-3 years. Until this month, I had made only Neopolitan-modified-for-550-home-oven style, but in the last couple weeks have started trying to make Detroit style. When I first found this forum, I ordered the Ischia culture and have been maintaining ever since. The taste was better the first time I used it, and I haven't bothered with dry yeast since. But one thing is bothering me: throughout this time, I keep seeing the same issue over and over again -- my Ischia culture seems to behave completely differently than everybody else's and I seem to need far less of it than everybody else. It's at the point where I'm wondering if my culture has morphed into something else and I no longer even have actual Ischia culture.

For example, if I try to use TXCraig1's sourdough chart, I end up with a dough that is so stretchy that it is basically completely unmanageable. Same thing if I try to copy somebody's recipe they've posted on one of the forums ... the only way I can make things work is by using at most half of the starter that everyone else uses and then making further changes such as lower water temp, lower temperature to rise or shorter time.

I'm attaching pictures from my latest attempt which was with a Detroit-style dough. For this, I used 0.9% Ischia and placed by a window where the temperature was about 65 degrees for about 20 hours. It sounds like for everyone else, these conditions would not give them enough rise, but for me, it was more than enough and in fact maybe too long. I would appreciate any help in helping me figure out why my results are so different. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Maybe my culture isn't really Ischia any more and is something else that's far more active. Maybe my expectations are somehow all wrong and I should be dealing with much stretchier dough than I think. No clue.

These photos are from my last attempt which happens to be extremely high hydration and uses All Trumps Bromated flour, but prior to this, I'd been seeing the same thing with pseudo-Neopolitan style using 60-63% hyrdation with KAAP or KABF.

More background on how I maintain my culture. I keep it in the fridge and take it out about once per week to refeed it. Refeeding consists of mixing it up, throwing away half, then adding about half a cup of KAAP and slightly less than half a cup of room temperature bottled water, then waiting about 6 hours for it to look fully activated. Occasionally, I've gotten lazy and let it sit in the fridge for 2-3 weeks without restarting, but have always been able to bring it back, sometimes needing an extra refeeding to do so.

Here's the dough recipe I used this time, but I don't think the problem is due to my specific recipe as I've seen it with everything I've done (hydrations ranging from 60-77, several different types of flour including KAAP and KABF, doughs with and without 2-3% oil).

334g [100%] All Trumps Bromated
257g [77%] Evian water (from fridge, probably about 38 degrees)
6g [1.8%] Morton's kosher salt
3g [0.9%] Ischia culture.

My process was as follows (once starter reactivated). Add the salt into the water, then add the Ischia. I do this all on a kitchen scale so I'm not measuring ischia/salt separately, I'm measuring how much they change the total weight including water. Then, I'll add these to kitchenAid mixer and mix by hand until salt is dissolved and Ischia is in tiny pieces. Next, add all the flour, and mix on low for about five minutes on lowest speed. Stretch+fold with bench flour about 5 times, let the dough rest (covered) at room temp (~71 degrees) for about an hour, then five more stretch and folds. Finally, into tupperware, and I placed by the window, which in wintertime is more like 65 degrees, definitely cooler than the rest of the apartment.

Offline RupertPupkin

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2017, 03:15:01 PM »
Some pics of restarting of the culture.

1. Starter out of the fridge after half was discarded
2. Added 0.5 cups KAAP and 0.4 cups room temperature Evian
3. After about 6 hours of rising (bowl was covered by cling wrap during the rise)

Offline RupertPupkin

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2017, 03:18:23 PM »
And pics of the actual dough


4. Dough after mixing is finished
5. Dough after stretch and folds
6. Dough into the tupperware
7. 19 hours later, how much the dough has risen

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2017, 04:03:12 PM »
This is like someone  saying they have too much money  :-D   


Edit note: Not quite sure what you mean by too stretchy? Do you mean it opens super easily when you're opening it? Possibly over-fermented? Do you have any pix of your finished pies? Not sure if it has any bearing, but your salt is pretty low..2 to 2.5% more common.


Everyone's starter is a little different..for most of us, getting enough action in the winter months is the challenge. So the simple solution in my view is to adjust accordingly and just use less.


If you're really unhappy, maybe just buy a new culture and start from scratch.


Happy Baking..oh, and you were great in King of Comedy :-D 
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 04:07:58 PM by Jersey Pie Boy »

Offline RupertPupkin

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2017, 07:06:48 PM »
Thanks for the reply ... that's where I'm at for now. I just adjust way downward and go from there. It's working reasonably well for me but I just that I have this suspicion something is wrong given how much I need to adjust.

At some point, I will probably follow your suggestion and get a new culture, start over and compare.

I don't have photos of this round, but I had previously posted photos of this problem with my home oven/Neo style here:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=46263

The first two photos in that post are from rising the dough in the fridge, the third photo is a pizza made with the "too fast" rise at 60 degrees. (But based on numbers should not have been anywhere close to "too fast")

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Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2017, 09:54:41 PM »
I'm thinking this...What if you took a portion of your starter..the part you would be discarding...put it in a separate container, and feed it 1 part flour to 2 parts water...thin it out...Use this satellite starter to add to your dough mix .. use the same percentage starter as now...You probably won't have to adjust hydration since the amount is miniscule. Might be worth a try...sounds like you have just a super-powerful starter

Offline Yael

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2017, 08:51:06 AM »
I just saw this movie recently, loved it  ;D

I'm not a specialist of sourdough, but here is what I would do :
- start a new one from scratch using rye flour and water and compare both using exactly same T° and %
- 3 hours at RT instead of 6 before putting in the fridge
- adapting my own %
- making a satellite as Jersey Pie Boy says, and refeeding with other flour/water so see the differences.

Keep us informed !
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Offline charbo

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 09:44:26 AM »
If the dough by the window is getting direct sunlight, it's probably getting much warmer than 65°, even in winter.

Offline RupertPupkin

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2017, 11:05:09 AM »
I will definitely try these suggestions, thanks! (And I'll report back)

Re: dough by the window, no direct sunlight, so should be a non-issue. This issue has persisted with me throughout multiple homes and temperatures; it's just consistently faster rise than other people seem to be getting. At some point, I will probably re-order the culture online if nothing else works!

Online HBolte

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2017, 11:22:55 AM »
Like Jersey Pie Boy kind of said above. IMHO, you don't have a problem with your culture. No two cultures rise at the same rate. Just work with your culture and time according to it's cycle. Now if your culture stops rising ...then it's time to think about starting a new one.
Hans

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Online bradtri

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Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2017, 10:30:49 PM »
Add the salt into the water, then add the Ischia. I do this all on a kitchen scale so I'm not measuring ischia/salt separately, I'm measuring how much they change the total weight including water.
This may be your culprit as your scale might not accurately measure the addition of just 3 grams of SD to the almost 600g of flour and water.  Assuming you have a scale that measures to .1 or .2 g accuracy, I would measure your SD separately and then add it
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 10:39:21 PM by bradtri »
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Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2017, 06:22:23 AM »
That's a great thought, Brad...when I'm measuring my SD,  .it's actually tough to get just the right tiny amount..Scale accuracy is essential.

Offline RupertPupkin

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2017, 09:23:44 AM »
Great responses all around, many thanks!

Is there a scale you guys recommend that measures at 0.1g? I definitely agree this could be a problem in my process. My scale only goes to 1g, and yes this seems like a big potential source of error when trying to measure out 3g or 4g of starter.

And I guess if I'm still seeing this issue even with a more precise scale, then you guys may be right that this isn't really a "problem" .. I just have to adjust recipes accordingly. Though just to re-assure myself I'll probably do a side by side comparison with ADY to get rid of my nagging suspicion that "something is wrong" and make sure I'm still seeing a difference taste-wise.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2017, 09:30:35 AM »
Assuming you have a scale that measures to .1 or .2 g accuracy, precision

That's a great thought, Brad...when I'm measuring my SD,  .it's actually tough to get just the right tiny amount..Scale accuracy is essential.

I have three scales with precisions of 1g, 0.1g, and 0.01g. My observation has been that it makes no difference which I use to measure the culture. I suspect this is because I've become increasingly haphazard in how/when/temp I feed my culture and random error in one tends to offset random error in the other (or every now and then, amplify it).

That being said, it's a good thing to measure with as much precision as possible thus eliminating a source of variability. However, keep in mind that there are likely other sources of variability that are much more meaningful than a couple tenths of a gram of culture. Those are the ones you really need to identify and control - or learn to manage the outcome.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2017, 09:34:27 AM »
Is there a scale you guys recommend that measures at 0.1g? I definitely agree this could be a problem in my process. My scale only goes to 1g, and yes this seems like a big potential source of error when trying to measure out 3g or 4g of starter.

That's an important point. The smaller the batch, the more important the measurement precision. ~35g (2%) is about the smallest amount of starter I ever use. Using 10x more starter has the same effect as using 10x greater precision. Everything is harder with smaller batches.

This is the 0.1g scale I have. It's worked well for a long time: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000OIRSSU/?tag=pmak-20
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Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2017, 09:35:15 AM »
I have been mostly lurking, though occasionally posting over the last 2-3 years. Until this month, I had made only Neopolitan-modified-for-550-home-oven style, but in the last couple weeks have started trying to make Detroit style. When I first found this forum, I ordered the Ischia culture and have been maintaining ever since. The taste was better the first time I used it, and I haven't bothered with dry yeast since. But one thing is bothering me: throughout this time, I keep seeing the same issue over and over again -- my Ischia culture seems to behave completely differently than everybody else's and I seem to need far less of it than everybody else. It's at the point where I'm wondering if my culture has morphed into something else and I no longer even have actual Ischia culture.

For example, if I try to use TXCraig1's sourdough chart, I end up with a dough that is so stretchy that it is basically completely unmanageable. Same thing if I try to copy somebody's recipe they've posted on one of the forums ... the only way I can make things work is by using at most half of the starter that everyone else uses and then making further changes such as lower water temp, lower temperature to rise or shorter time.

I'm attaching pictures from my latest attempt which was with a Detroit-style dough. For this, I used 0.9% Ischia and placed by a window where the temperature was about 65 degrees for about 20 hours. It sounds like for everyone else, these conditions would not give them enough rise, but for me, it was more than enough and in fact maybe too long. I would appreciate any help in helping me figure out why my results are so different. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Maybe my culture isn't really Ischia any more and is something else that's far more active. Maybe my expectations are somehow all wrong and I should be dealing with much stretchier dough than I think. No clue.

These photos are from my last attempt which happens to be extremely high hydration and uses All Trumps Bromated flour, but prior to this, I'd been seeing the same thing with pseudo-Neopolitan style using 60-63% hyrdation with KAAP or KABF.

More background on how I maintain my culture. I keep it in the fridge and take it out about once per week to refeed it. Refeeding consists of mixing it up, throwing away half, then adding about half a cup of KAAP and slightly less than half a cup of room temperature bottled water, then waiting about 6 hours for it to look fully activated. Occasionally, I've gotten lazy and let it sit in the fridge for 2-3 weeks without restarting, but have always been able to bring it back, sometimes needing an extra refeeding to do so.

Here's the dough recipe I used this time, but I don't think the problem is due to my specific recipe as I've seen it with everything I've done (hydrations ranging from 60-77, several different types of flour including KAAP and KABF, doughs with and without 2-3% oil).

334g [100%] All Trumps Bromated
257g [77%] Evian water (from fridge, probably about 38 degrees)
6g [1.8%] Morton's kosher salt
3g [0.9%] Ischia culture.

My process was as follows (once starter reactivated). Add the salt into the water, then add the Ischia. I do this all on a kitchen scale so I'm not measuring ischia/salt separately, I'm measuring how much they change the total weight including water. Then, I'll add these to kitchenAid mixer and mix by hand until salt is dissolved and Ischia is in tiny pieces. Next, add all the flour, and mix on low for about five minutes on lowest speed. Stretch+fold with bench flour about 5 times, let the dough rest (covered) at room temp (~71 degrees) for about an hour, then five more stretch and folds. Finally, into tupperware, and I placed by the window, which in wintertime is more like 65 degrees, definitely cooler than the rest of the apartment.

Ok,
I grew my own leaven and you can see how it rises here:
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=49830.0
Your starter looks like it is doing what it should be doing for that amount of time

19 hours rt ferment is a long time. Your description suggests over fermentation. Flour naturally has yeast in it and that yeast could easily overpower the leaven you are using. 0.9% leaven is very low.
 
I do not subscribe to the "predictive" models here for a number of reasons. I would recommend others create a method based on their own experiences and environment.

If I was making dough I would:
 
1) Use a scale and put 4 oz of your starter in a jar and add 4 oz of water (I use tap water) and 4 oz of flour (KABF) mix and put on top of your refrigerator.
2) check it in 4-6 hours and see if has 2x in size.
3) if it has then at 12 hrs, mix, dump out 8 oz and add 4 ozs of water and 4 oz of flour (KABF) mix and put on top of your refrigerator.
4) repeat step #3, 3-4 times to be sure you are getting consistent results. If not repeat #4
5) Time your dough making for when the leaven has reached its maximum height. Mix it.
6) mix your dough recipe with 20% leaven. The Dough Tools can help here. Use the Preferment dough calculator. Review how to calculate Bakers Percentages if needed. King Arthur has some examples.
7) add 4 oz of leaven, 4 oz of flour and 4 oz of water, mix and put your leaven in the refridgerator to use next time.
8  Ball the  dough in the weight you will need to make 1 pie, put in a covered container and refrigerate (cf) for 1-3 days. I keep my dough in our vegetable refrigerator which is normal about 40°
9) rt ferment for 2-4 hours. I have found that more than that, with my leaven, results in a dough that is harder to manage.
10) make pizza

« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 09:40:58 AM by Dangerous Salumi »
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Offline the1mu

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2017, 10:27:23 AM »

19 hours rt ferment is a long time. Your description suggests over fermentation. Flour naturally has yeast in it and that yeast could easily overpower the leaven you are using. 0.9% leaven is very low.
 

Ummmmm.... no. The yeast on flour would not, in such a short amount of time “overpower” the leaven. Just not possible.

Offline the1mu

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Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2017, 10:33:37 AM »
I don’t think anyone has mentioned this, but it’s possible your starter has become unbalanced. Where it promotes a lot of LAB activity and very little yeast activity. Just a suspicion as I think I’ve had something similar happen to one of my starters.

Do you use this stater to make bread ever?

Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2017, 10:56:13 AM »
Ummmmm.... no. The yeast on flour would not, in such a short amount of time “overpower” the leaven. Just not possible.

I disagree with your disagreement :)
Mix flour and water together and see what occurs in 19 hours.
Have a Dangerous day!


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Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Sourdough culture that seems too active
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2017, 10:56:41 AM »
Thanks Craig..for tiny amounts I use this


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012LOQUQ/?tag=pmak-20


But honestly it usually stays in the drawer..my regular scale is fine for most items. When I refer to being hard to get the right tiny amount, I mean to try moving a gram or two of starter away from the tiny dollop being measured...often it's just fine as is, since the fermentation temperatures vary a bit anyway.

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