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Author Topic: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity  (Read 1964 times)

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Offline texmex

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2020, 07:41:31 AM »
Isn't that what's fun anyway  ;D :chef:
So much fun...except the worst of inedible doughs always present themselves when we are at the apex of hunger.   ::)
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Offline Yael

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2020, 08:20:18 PM »
Last time I was also fermenting at ~26°C, and I used 0.5% SD and it still was done fermenting ~20h. So I would say that your assessment of 5% being too much is correct :)

Only 0.5% for ~20H RTF?  :o Even at 26°C it looks a lot to me!

As I mentioned (somewhere), for 24H RTF I had successful results from 3% to 6% SD. I think 3% would have been good under this RT. 6% was for a cooler T°.
But 0.5% for you, I'm still surprised! Is your SD the "super active" kind? I'd love to see a pic of its peak.

Well, I tried 2% SD for a 22H RTF, and the dough seemed to be ready at 17H; when I baked, it started to be weak (gluten was breaking). RT 27°C, that was quite hot.
So your 0.5% shouldn't be so surprising then!
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Offline Icelandr

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2020, 09:43:38 AM »
So glad I found this thread, oh, and about 56 others dealing with stuck, cantankerous Or otherwise unwilling starters! I went from an overflowing jar to “ Hello, anyone home?” In the blink of an eye and am now working with, I guess, illegitimate sons of the original, some may be showing promise, while in the background “Try Me, Try Me” from the cute little foil package of IDY! Adventure!
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Offline Yael

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2020, 07:40:38 PM »
So glad I found this thread, oh, and about 56 others dealing with stuck, cantankerous Or otherwise unwilling starters! I went from an overflowing jar to “ Hello, anyone home?” In the blink of an eye and am now working with, I guess, illegitimate sons of the original, some may be showing promise, while in the background “Try Me, Try Me” from the cute little foil package of IDY! Adventure!

Haha, well, the more I learn about sourdough, the more I'm glad to see I'm not the only one struggling with it  :-D
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Offline ochsavidare

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2020, 05:06:37 AM »
Haha, oh boy do I recognize that feeling! :D The reliable (albeit boring) yeast becomes more and more tempting every time you end up with something going in the bin after spending 24h+ hoping for it to come out decent ;)

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Offline ochsavidare

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2020, 06:48:21 AM »
So glad I found this thread, oh, and about 56 others dealing with stuck, cantankerous Or otherwise unwilling starters! I went from an overflowing jar to “ Hello, anyone home?” In the blink of an eye and am now working with, I guess, illegitimate sons of the original, some may be showing promise, while in the background “Try Me, Try Me” from the cute little foil package of IDY! Adventure!

Btw, I recall that I read a professional sourdough baker that I trust saying that during summers with high humidity and extra warm temperatures the sourdough might like to be feed with a slightly lower proportion water than normal to perform at it’s best. So maybe try to make the starter a bit stiffer during feeding and see if that helps?

Offline Icelandr

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2020, 12:14:28 PM »
Yael, or others . . .there seems to be 2 different “camps” with sourdough use, yes I know there are more but there are those that keep the SD on the counter and refresh twice daily and those that refrigerate and take out, revive and use as they need. Once, if all goes well and it proves to be a viable starter, I will use it once a week or less. It seems a lot of feeding for that amount of use, but I don’t want to kill it!
What to do . . .  .
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Offline texmex

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2020, 12:21:38 PM »
Yael, or others . . .there seems to be 2 different “camps” with sourdough use, yes I know there are more but there are those that keep the SD on the counter and refresh twice daily and those that refrigerate and take out, revive and use as they need. Once, if all goes well and it proves to be a viable starter, I will use it once a week or less. It seems a lot of feeding for that amount of use, but I don’t want to kill it!
What to do . . .  .


First thing to do with your happy starter is set some aside, just a smear on a plate and let it dry out. That is your emergency backup.  If you don't bake with SD a few times a week, you will not serve yourself well to feed it constantly on the counter.  You can have 2 very small jars of 50g or less in the fridge, and feed once per week just before you want to bake.  The chance of both being bunk at once is slim.
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Offline ochsavidare

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2020, 12:29:35 PM »
I have yet to see a starter that is actually killed. I've kept mine unfed in the fridge for months and it got back to speed within a day or so in all those cases. It doesn't make sense to feed it ~6 times for every bake, too much waste! To be extra safe you can do as texmex suggested and keep an emergency backup.

Offline texmex

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2020, 12:44:51 PM »
I have yet to see a starter that is actually killed. I've kept mine unfed in the fridge for months and it got back to speed within a day or so in all those cases. It doesn't make sense to feed it ~6 times for every bake, too much waste! To be extra safe you can do as texmex suggested and keep an emergency backup.


Do you stir in the hooch, or peel off the top before using, or does yours get a crust after months? Just curious.  Mine get grayish on top after awhile. I pour off hooch, peel the skin away and dig for the soft white underbelly.


Definitely have killed a starter, even after washing, had to give up that hungry stink monster.

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Offline Icelandr

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2020, 02:14:36 PM »
Thank you both for your replies- as is obvious! SD is new to me. I am at a point where the two of them (not counting a backup I fed for a while in the fridge) seem happy enough, full of bubbles after a while after feeding, but no great increase in volume.  It is early days about 5 days now of a regular schedule of two feedings a day, the 50,50,50. I am not in a rush, thinking it likely gets trickier actually trying to make pizza with it!
Oh and it smells fine
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Offline Yael

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2020, 07:54:02 PM »
So far, here's my results and thoughts of the use of MY sourdough (info are scattered between this current thread + also this one: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=61049.20):

- When it's under a "normal" RT (let's say 23°C) and I feed it regularly, I can use it before or after refreshing and I have a good result with a relatively high quantity (30-40%*), for a 6-7H RTF or an overnight CF + 6-7H RTF, for bread or pizza.
- I get a sourer crust with low amounts (2~5%) for a 24H-RTF, which is not exactly what I want (a little bit too acidic). I may be able to correct this when using the SD just before its peak as Alex suggested in reply 34 of the link above.
- Now it's very hot in my kitchen (27-28°C), and sourdough lives and dies very quickly. I forgot to feed for a couple of days, it had a yellowish skin on top and a blue cheese smell... I refreshed 2 or 3 times and it worked back (ok for bread, I didn't make pizza with it).
- I'll have to CF in order to make less refreshes...

FWIW, I remember a technical director of a French mill I visited many years ago, he was taking his SD from the fridge, fed it with hot tap water (hot from the faucet, like 50°C), left on the counter a couple of hours then CF again... Using such hot water was making him gain some RT time.

*remember that I count this in the total flour and water %, so 40% SD in my formula already includes 20% from the total flour and 20% from the total HR
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 08:32:00 PM by Yael »
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Offline ochsavidare

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2020, 12:24:17 PM »

Do you stir in the hooch, or peel off the top before using, or does yours get a crust after months? Just curious.  Mine get grayish on top after awhile. I pour off hooch, peel the skin away and dig for the soft white underbelly.


Definitely have killed a starter, even after washing, had to give up that hungry stink monster.

I’m sorry for my lack of English skills, but what is hooch? 😅 After some weeks my starter usually separates and I get a liquid on top that smells sort of like acetone. When I want to bake I usually pour that stinky stuff away and then just feed it like normal, but I’ve read that some people stir it back in.

Of course it’s possible to kill it, I just think it’s difficult. I’ve had mine unfed in the fridge for ~6 months and it was ready to bake in a day. (Compared to 6-8h normally, so it will take longer to revive it)

Offline texmex

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2020, 12:36:47 PM »
I’m sorry for my lack of English skills, but what is hooch? 😅 After some weeks my starter usually separates and I get a liquid on top that smells sort of like acetone. When I want to bake I usually pour that stinky stuff away and then just feed it like normal, but I’ve read that some people stir it back in.

Of course it’s possible to kill it, I just think it’s difficult. I’ve had mine unfed in the fridge for ~6 months and it was ready to bake in a day. (Compared to 6-8h normally, so it will take longer to revive it)

Please don't apologize for language questions. I understand! Glad you asked.
Hooch is alcohol, the liquid on top created by the spent yeast.  Sometimes it dries out and then you have a skin. Sometimes it separates and ends up in the bottom part of the jar, and suddenly your starter is a grotesque goner. This is when you really have to wash it and try to save it.
My Ischia had that dreaded layered separation, and didn't like the many washings so I pulled the plug and called it dead.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 12:38:42 PM by texmex »
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Offline ochsavidare

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Re: Sourdough - problem(s) of activity
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2020, 06:23:06 PM »
Please don't apologize for language questions. I understand! Glad you asked.
Hooch is alcohol, the liquid on top created by the spent yeast.  Sometimes it dries out and then you have a skin. Sometimes it separates and ends up in the bottom part of the jar, and suddenly your starter is a grotesque goner. This is when you really have to wash it and try to save it.
My Ischia had that dreaded layered separation, and didn't like the many washings so I pulled the plug and called it dead.

Ah, I see. Thanks for the explanation! Then I guess that’s the smelly liquid I’ve gotten on top of my starter. I regularly get that if I don’t bake about once a week (I only feed my starter in preparation for my bakes), but I’ve never lost any starters because of it.

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