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Author Topic: How to increase starter's strength/activity?  (Read 3868 times)

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Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2018, 10:23:28 PM »
Thanks, Brent, nice resource :)

Starter was a bit over the "double" mark this evening it was quite exciting!  It looked like it could go another 2-3 hours before collapsing, and the gluten was strong.  In past, it would "give" and become like a slimey goop.  Aroma was good.  Taste, tart.  Tonight will also be cooler, and with the gluten build, I'm scaling back to 1:3:3, and hopefully this ratio will work for 12 hour feedings.  The anticipation is killing me!  ;D

Woohoo!

Offline Brent-r

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2018, 10:38:00 PM »
I have found the WECK preserve jars to be one of the easiest to use for starters.  They have straight sides and no 'mouth' so they are easy to stir inside and clean.   I never bother to measure and it works great.  I leave about 1" of the old mix in the bottom and add a heaping serving spoon of flour and add water to make the batch something between pancake batter and porridge .... closer to pancake than porridge.   I just realized a heaping serving spoon is a pretty wild idea so I just measured and its about 30 g.   If I am making a loaf of bread that could use as much as a cup of starter, I'll go with 3 or 4 of those spoons full.   Sounds like your getting close to what you want.   

https://www.crateandbarrel.com/search?query=weck+jars
I use the 24 Oz jar and keep two on the go in case I do something stupid and drop or otherwise lose one.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 10:41:11 PM by Brent-r »
Brent

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2018, 10:51:58 PM »
There's lots of stuff out there on the internet.   I have found this site interesting and
bought / downloaded each of his booklets and learned something from each of them

https://www.sourdoughhome.com/

on this page he has some calculators and there's a lot of other goodies
https://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=downloads

if we were not so far away I'd love to go to his classes

Keep in mind that pizza is NOT bread.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #43 on: September 05, 2018, 10:05:41 AM »
Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

I woke up stupid early, and watched the starter rise from 8h to 12h mark.  8hr was about double, 10 hours (pictured) more than double.  At 11h and 50 minutes, it rose just a wee bit more, but when I touched the glass to adjust angle, a few bubbles burst  then it began collapsing, so photo of top only.  It seems glossy due to lighting, but when I stirred it, plenty of gluten.  Smells mild, and tastes mild, too, very little tartness.

Because this seems like a very positive result, and that I don't have 5hrs free until Friday to babysit a loaf (no retarding suggestions please, I am testing first per vsteve's recommendation earlier in this thread, mix, bulk, proof, bake), and that I'm excited to try this, I am considering changing plans: make a 24hr pizza dough tonight in order to bake for dinner tomorrow (12bf/12ball, in my cooler with icepack**), and I'll try to get out of work early Friday to make a test loaf.  I have been mixing 24hr ADY neapolitan doughs, so this could be a nice comparison.

**I logged the cooler with icepack a few months ago: over 12 hr temp goes from 64 to 70.  I'll do it again and post the graph just for laughs.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 10:10:08 AM by ButteredPizza »

Offline Brent-r

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #44 on: September 05, 2018, 10:39:52 AM »
congrats   :)
Brent

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Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2018, 10:55:08 PM »
First sourdough NP pizza ;D  Sadly, not only was I out of cheese, sauce, basil, meat, etc, but also a neighbor stopped by to chat for ~30 minutes right before I was about to bake.  I forgot to recover the skins, and so they developed a crust - you can see it on the cornicone.

There was plenty of other stuff that could be better, but this is quite a leap for me considering I have over 2 years of sourdough failure. 

Next, going to make a loaf of bread with the starter, as another metric.  I am optimistic, as the starter was touching triple height this evening when I got home.

Thanks again for all the help, and vsteve for the jumpstart  8)

Offline vtsteve

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #46 on: September 07, 2018, 12:27:53 AM »
Congratulations!   ;D

Now that the starter's happy, you can make a backup: take a dab of ripe starter, mix it with the usual amount of water for a feeding, then mix in enough flour to make a stiff dough--probably 55% hydration--and stick it in the fridge (no RT after feeding). If your RT starter goes south, take a bit of the fridge starter, dissolve and feed to ~100% at RT, and you'll be back in business in a feed or two. Rebuild a fresh fridge backup every month or so from a happy RT starter, so it doesn't have a chance to go moldy.
In grams we trust.
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Offline Heikjo

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #47 on: September 07, 2018, 01:35:43 AM »
Well done! The pie looks good.
-Heine. Mostly Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in an electric Effeuno P134H.

Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #48 on: September 07, 2018, 10:24:00 AM »
Pizza taste was good, gave me horrid heartburn not fun :o  Hate getting old!

Thanks for the tip on storage.  I have a week-long business trip coming up so this is timely, thank you.  BTW, what is the history of the starter? :)

Bread test was successful, it was super lightweight out of the oven.  Stuff of course to improve, but now I've got a good starting point, woohoo!

Check out the tripled starter in the background ;D  (sorry for bread picture in this specific sub-pizza forum, I know there's an off-topic, but it's proof we've got the starter working, thanks to team effort here yay!).

Offline foreplease

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2018, 11:41:54 PM »
Your bread looks great!
-Tony

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Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #50 on: September 30, 2018, 10:37:18 PM »
I learned a lot in this exercise, thank you all.  I wanted to try making my own starter just one last time.  This one was based on the pineapple juice method, but instead of rye or whole wheat, I vitamixed spelt berries found in my freezer.  Starter went nice and slow.  I didn't try forcing the thing to handle a 1:5:5 feeding, and instead, let it find the best feedings for 12 hour feedings.. ends up just like the starter from Vermont that's working for me, 1:3:3 in the morning and 1:2:2 at night. 

With this 10-day old starter, I finally made a test loaf, and simultaneously attempted to make the exact same loaf using the vermont starter.  I did a blind taste of the two breads, and based on what on the internet discussions hyping up how every sourdough is different, I was expecting dramatic difference between the two.  Nope.  They tasted exactly the same.   :-D

For anyone who finds this thread via search and is struggling with similar issues such as dough falling apart, poor  rise, etc, one culprit to explore would be incorrect feedings - too high a ratio, although can yield a sour tasting bread, it can also cross the line and become too acidic, impacting the bread's structure.

Offline allabouthedough562

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #51 on: October 02, 2018, 09:27:39 PM »
i have a starter that is about 4 months old now, i was originally feeding it central milling bread organic flour and it has been great but i wanted to see a little more activity and just added sonora wheat flour to mt starter but now im worried its going to change the final product, what do you guys  think?

Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #52 on: November 25, 2018, 10:32:45 PM »
Couple month follow up on this starter thread:  txcraig's sourdough chart was quite helpful figuring out timings for pizza and I've had consistently successful 12, 24, and 36 hour fermented doughs.  Additionally, after a few weeks consistent feeding and baking with my own starter, it began to have the same problems that prompted this thread in the first place, so I threw it out and went to the backup in my fridge with the starter from vermont.

For bread I've stuck to 20% starter (baker's %) loaves that bulk for 2-3 hours and proof 2-4 hours (sometimes I through final proof into fridge).  I seem to have most consistency with 65-68% hydration doughs.

I'd like to experiment with smaller inoculations for bread now, targeting a ~12hour bulk.  With ambient temps in the mid 60F, what starting point would you suggest for a starter % (baker's)?  3%?  5%?  I'll be sticking with 65% hydration, and starter is ready to bake with a 1:2:2 feeding after 10-12 hours.  I know this will likely vary between everyone, I'm just trying to find a starting point with minimal frustrations.

Thank you!
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 10:34:36 PM by ButteredPizza »

Offline sk

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #53 on: January 21, 2019, 09:55:42 AM »
Craig: Heikjo above suggested using a pluviometer for observing doubling of dough.  I don't have one, so I made two. :D  The poppy seed idea was also suggested, however,


Buttered - How did you make the pluviometer?  All I see when I google are rain gauges.
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Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2019, 05:35:14 PM »

Buttered - How did you make the pluviometer?  All I see when I google are rain gauges.

A pluviometer is simply a graduated cylinder.  Find a skinnier glass jar with straight sides, and weigh water at some interval of stating height you like, draw line with sharpie, double water weight, draw line etc. In my case, I used a Hatch Organic Jalapeno jar, did solid lines at 30g intervals (30, 60, 90), and then dashed lines at the 15g intervals (45, 75). 

When I posted about the pluviometerspy glass last August, it was ultimately *not* helpful to me, because I had trouble even figuring out the right timing and my starter wasn't quite working, etc etc.  Eventually I figured out timing with a new starter by accident and have since maintained very consistent dough with a couple dozen loaves now. 

Recently, however, I wanted to change some variables (starter amount and temperature), so I used the pluviometerspy glass to gauge the rise relative to my consistent loaf - first I made a consistent loaf and watched what height I ended bulk, then what height did I proof/bake.  Then, when I made the next dough, I changed the variables to reduce starter and temp, and watched the fresh dough in the pluviometerspy glass.  When it hit the same heights, I ended bulk and proof respectively.  It worked! :)

You can see examples in the earlier post with the drawn lines, there I used two kinds of jars, one was for capers the other was jalapenos.
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=53740.msg541503#msg541503

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 09:23:52 AM by ButteredPizza »

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Offline Heikjo

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #55 on: January 23, 2019, 05:39:07 AM »
Buttered - How did you make the pluviometer?  All I see when I google are rain gauges.
That's what it is. You can, as ButteredPizza suggested, make your own, but they are very cheap. You may not want to use that pluviometer dough if it's plastic and not meant for food, but if you make your own or use glass, maybe you can make a tiny pizza with it. It's just 80g of dough. Could probably use less dough too. Here's a topic with some photos and info: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=48918.0
-Heine. Mostly Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in an electric Effeuno P134H.

Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #56 on: January 23, 2019, 09:32:39 AM »
I'm going to stop using "pluviometer", it's a spy glass  :P  pluviometer just sounds too close to the word for spit in the language of my peoples.  Post above edited  ;D

It's just 80g of dough. Could probably use less dough too. Here's a topic with some photos and info: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=48918.0

I've been using your 80g suggestion from earlier, it works for the volume of the jalapeno jars.  I have baked the resulting dough as a little bun, next time I'm going to fill one up with a stick of pepperoni and maybe some cheese and sauce, then bake it or stick it in the waffle iron.  Or or or... one of these days I'll deep fry it and slather some garlic and butter all over it  :drool:

All that said, this brings up a question as a tangent to this thread: with the understanding pizza is not bread, how does the overall fermentation time (both bulk and proof/balled) correlate between the two doughs?  I'm still trying to get a handle on proper timing for pizza dough, my results are less consistent than bread (for which I now have a near 100% batting average as far as edibility is concerned), even using the timing charts provided here as starting points - the charts are good once you know what to look for, so I guess it'll just take more experimentation.

Offline sk

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2019, 01:22:53 PM »
Thank you Buttered.  I just emptied an olive jar which I will test out.  As an aside, what is your starter feeding ratio today?

Thank you Heijko.  Looking at pics of your pluviometer, I can see it would be inexpensive.  Problem is, I cant find one on google or Amazon.  Do you have a web site you could refer me to in order to purchase one.
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Offline ButteredPizza

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Re: How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #58 on: January 23, 2019, 04:31:05 PM »
The olive jar may be a little wide, but give it a go nonetheless.  I'd suggest you monitor it with a recipe you know works, make sure to increase dough by amount you want to use in the spy glass, in order to get a feel for heights and volumes.

My current starter feeding is 1:1:1 - very cold in my house, ranging from 49-62F these days.  I've let it go 24 hours without collapsing!  My next learning project will be figuring out starter from fridge, and how many days after it takes to recover.

Offline DoouBall

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How to increase starter's strength/activity?
« Reply #59 on: July 06, 2019, 09:50:53 PM »
Just read this thread. If itís not too late to offer a suggestion. The biggest difference for me that led to an awesome, strong starter was switching to feeding it with a _malted_ organic AP flour. This practically made it explode and rise significantly faster than when I was feeding it with pizza flour - Caputo Pizzeria which, as you know is not malted. I believe malt gives the wild yeast faster access to sugars and supercharges their growth. In my case I am using Central Milling Beehive(available cheap in Costco), but any organic malted flour should do the trick.
Alex

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