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Author Topic: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice  (Read 1114 times)

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Offline halfprice

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2019, 07:36:11 PM »
I keep two ischia starters. Main one is feed when I think about it. 2-4 weeks. The other is fed every 4 or 5 months this is my back up starter just in case I kill my main one. Both are kept in the fridge

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Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2019, 07:49:51 PM »
Ok thanks.  New question regarding the loaf of bread I just made.  It came out very good, my wife loves it (which is always good).  There is a nice airy crumb.  But no sour taste to speak of.  I've read stuff online about how to adjust the sourness of the dough, such as making a lower hydration culture.  My question is - do you guys do this kind of thing and does it work?  I'm not sure how esoteric it is to try that, is it achievable to adjust sourdough sourness?

Offline HansB

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2019, 08:02:15 PM »
My question is - do you guys do this kind of thing and does it work?  I'm not sure how esoteric it is to try that, is it achievable to adjust sourdough sourness?

Some things that make your culture more sour (acetic) that I have found are to use some rye in your starter, keep your starter cooler, longer cold ferment, and as you noted a stiffer starter ~65%.

Here is some more info:

Bacterial Fermentation

Bacteria are primitive one-celled organisms. The types of bacteria common in bread dough consume the same simple sugars used by yeast cells. The primary by-products of bacteria in dough fermentation, though, are two types of organic acids: lactic acid and acetic acid. Lactic acid is also found naturally in milk and in concentrated form it produces the tangy flavor we find in yogurt. Acetic acid is found in all varieties of vinegar and is more sour than lactic acid.

ORGANIC ACIDS PROVIDE STRENGTH AND FLAVOR

The types of bacteria that produce these acids can thrive in temperatures of 50-90F and are collectively referred to as lactic bacteria. As bakers, we are concerned with two types of LAB, homofermentative and heterofermentative.

These names may seem hard to pronounce and even harder to remember, but it is important to identify them and explain a bit about their behavior. Yeast must be regulated to control how fast the dough rises, but the bacteria primarily determine how well your dough will mature and how the bread will taste. If you want your bread to develop good handling properties naturally and to taste good, you must pay as much attention to the quantity and type of bacteria in your dough as you do the activity of the yeast.

This is, perhaps, the one concept in artisan style baking that escapes bakers who look for easy, time saving ways to make bread. Unfortunately, bacterial fermentation almost always proceeds more slowly than yeast fermentation, much more slowly. Scientist have successfully isolated strains of the yeast saccharomyces cerevisiae that can speed carbon dioxide production considerably. Lactic bacteria have so far been much less cooperative; the bacteria in bread dough we make today probably arenít different from those present in the times of Moses.

HOMOFERMENTATIVE BACTERIA

Homofermentative bacteria prefer environments that are wet and moderately warm, perhaps 70-95F. Their chief by-product during fermentation is lactic acid which is fairly mild in it's sourness compared to the sharper acids contained in lemon juice or  vinegar. Homofermentative bacteria can survive in somewhat drier conditions and within other temperature ranges but they do better in the warmer range.

HETEROFERMENTATIVE BACTERIA

Heterofermentative Bacteria do better in somewhat drier and cooler environments, they prefer temperatures of about 50-65F. They produce both lactic acid and acetic acid as by-products as well as a small amount of CO2. Acetic acid is also found commonly in vinegar and itís flavor is much sharper that that of lactic acid. Heterofermmentative bacteria can survive in some numbers as different temperatures than specified and in wetter environments, but drier and cooler situations favor their reproduction and their ability to ferment bread dough.

Daniel T. DiMuzio, Bread Baking.
Hans

Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2019, 10:31:58 AM »
Thanks!  I had actually come across that same article (with its misspelling of "its") as well.

Assuming that the refrigerator is too cold to grow starter at a colder temp, I'm stuck with room temperature.  So that leaves rye flour and hydration level as the options available.

So if I grow my starter with 100% rye flour, and at a 65% hydration level - will that give me a more classically flavored sourdough?

Offline Fat_Tony

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2019, 11:41:45 AM »
Ok, I've been feeding my Ischia starter in two jars, twice a day, for a week.  I baked a loaf of bread with it, and it seemed to come out well.  Now I'd like to store the cultures.  I've read a lot of conflicting stuff on the net about how to do this.  When refrigerating cultures, some people say to feed it twice a week, some say once a week, and some say to just keep it in the fridge indefinitely - before pulling it from the fridge and reviving it for use.  And some people talk about just keeping some dried culture if you aren't going to be baking for a while.

Drying the culture seems easiest, if I can revive it within a day of needing it.  If I have to refrigerate the liquid culture, I'd rather not have to deal with feeding it.  But if liquid culture will keep indefinitely in the fridge, that wouldn't be bad either (many say it won't, but some people are saying they do that).

What should I do if I will be using it infrequently, but may want to use some with no more than a day available to activate it?

I just activated my Ischia starter this wk. I would not recommend drying it unless you have some experience with that. Honestly, you will be TOTALLY fine leaving the starter in the fridge, tightly covered, for long periods of time. It is recommended to take it out and revive it for a few days after the 4 month period. Your culture will lay dormant for quite some time past that but you would be better off feeding it at least every 4 months.

To activate, I also used my oven light even though Ed Wood suggests not to. I used a small digital thermometer gauge to track temperature. You can pick one of these up from Amazon (or otherwise) for like $10-$15. Well worth the investment. I also tested my oven temp before this process and used a small piece of metal to hold the door ajar to roughly maintain the 90F or 32C temp because if I left the door completely closed the temperature would rise quite significantly after a few hours to over 100F or 40C. This is getting dangerously close to killing your culture. The reason I am telling you this is because after your culture becomes dormant you will need to restart that activation process again by placing it in a warm environment for the first 24hrs @ 90F/32C. Then feeding it every 12-24hrs @ room temp (RT) until it rises up 2-3 inches in the first 2-4 hrs after feeding. I use a spatula spoon to scrap the sides after mixing so I can see evidence of the rise on the glass jar.

Keeping my starter at a 1:1:1 ratio has caused me to issues so far! (starter to water to flour).


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Offline andytiedye

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2019, 12:54:36 PM »
We like it sour too. The San Francisco strain may be sourer than Ischia, and we use lots of starter in the dough (for bread AND pizza).

Offline HansB

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2019, 01:20:01 PM »
About 5% rye is all you need, fresh milled if you can get it. After string your starter in the refrigerator you can revive it by feeding it every 24 hours for a couple of days, room temp is fine.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 01:22:14 PM by HansB »
Hans

Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Newbie at sourdough, could use some advice
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2019, 01:40:56 PM »
About 5% rye is all you need, fresh milled if you can get it. After string your starter in the refrigerator you can revive it by feeding it every 24 hours for a couple of days, room temp is fine.

Really?  Only 5%?  That seems too small to have an effect.

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