Author Topic: My 1st sourdough starter...  (Read 4289 times)

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Offline bbqnpizza

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My 1st sourdough starter...
« on: November 24, 2008, 06:06:08 AM »
Gee, 3 weeks ago I was making my 1st homemade pizza dough (mixed results ever since), now I'm tinkering around with sourdough starter!

I came across Goldrush S.D. starter (GrSDs) in a grocery store last weekend, and decided to give it a try.
As many have mentioned it was easy to start, at 24 hours the GrSDs was at the sponge stage very bubbly , with a nice sour yeasty aroma.  The consistency was like pancake batter.  First feeding.
12 hours later it only increased about 1/4 to 1/2 the expected doubling amount. Fed it.
12 hours later there was a thin layer of hooch on the surface, not sure what to do I mixed it back in, removed 1 cup and replaced with cup of flour and water.
12 hours, the hooch was stratified and froth of bubbles was on the surface but the GrSDs sponge didn't increase, also it had a thin more watery texture.  Again fed it.
12 hours, the GrSDs was darkish grey on top with froth and alcohol oder, again no doubling.  I decided I need to make some changes.
- Even though the Goldrush documentation didn't mention sterilization I decided I would boil for 5 min. all water, utensils, etc.
- No more tap water, instead went to bottle water.
- I reduced the basic GrSDs batch from 3 cups to 1 cup, also tried to remove all grayish/darkish matter.
The GrSDs rose almost 3/4 double in a little over an hour, yeah baby moving in the right direction now.  However several hours later the batch fell back to its original mark.  *Used some of the removed starter to make 2lbs of pizza dough.
12 hours, one last piece needed to be taken care of.  I never sterilized the main GrSDs batch container (it was thoroughly cleaned prior to initiating the starter, but not sterilized.  So I removed the starter and sterilized the container.  Again I started with 1 cup, and fed with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water.  A nice rise almost double!  *I started a mini batch using the following procedures:
-1 table spoon of GrSDs from the main batch, 2 tbsp of flour 2 tbsp of water.  I will double the feed amount every 12 hours, so 2nd feeding 4 tbsp Flour/water, 3rd feeding 8 tbsp flour/water, etc.  Until it double 3 or 4 times.  Will then use for pizza dough, and possibly try making some sour dough bread.
12 hours, the main batch starter appears healthy, back to sponge, lots of bubbles through-out the culture and frothy surface.  After I fed it, I left it  out for 30 min. to see that it would start to rise (it did).  I then put the main batch in the fridge for the first time.

I use the electric oven with light on to maintain temp about 85deg.

As others have said the Goldrush starter seems like it is very tolerant and easy to maintain.  There has been at least two occasions the GrSDs was left on the counter when someone used the oven, and the temp was high 60s low 70s.  At least once and possibly twice the temp went slightly over 100 deg. which is suppose to be sure death.

So how did my sourdough pizza dough turn out?
No yeast except the  20% starter was used.  I was surprised that even in the fridge the dough rose about 1/3.  I expected the dough when removed from fridge to take about 4 hours to double, it took about 3hrs. 
I believe at this stage I should have punch it down and let it rise a 2nd time, but I had to cook for the family so no time, plus from reading early stages of starter rarely will rise or double two times.
The dough was fairly mushy, required a lot of flour to handle and shape, if you picked up the dough it would stretch so fast making tearing a problem.  So I mostly shaped on a floured board.
There wasn't much rise about 1/2 - 3/4" on the rim of the pizza.  As for flavor I didn't expect a lot of difference because the GrSDs wasn't a strong pungent sour smell yet.  However there was a very pleasant flavor difference.  With very little spring, the pizza was almost a thin crust.  Cooked at 500 deg for 12 min. the crust was nice and crisp, with decent chew, and some smallish air pockets.

Overall I learned some new stuff, and feel I'm on track for making better pizza dough.

Any input on improving methods/procedures, etc.  is very welcome.

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: My 1st sourdough starter...
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 10:14:21 AM »
My experience with Gold Rush was that following the included directions worked well. The starter itself was easy to use but lacked the punch and flavor of the Sourdough International starters.

It sounds like you might not have accounted for the 20% use of starter in your formulation and you have over hydrated the dough - "mushy". Try dropping your starter amount to 5% and allow a long 12-24 hour room temp (65-68F) rise. Use the dough tools to adjust your hydration so you don't get too high. If the dough was so wet that you needed to shape on the board only, it was IMO too wet for an indoor kitchen oven bake.


Offline bbqnpizza

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Re: My 1st sourdough starter...
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2008, 08:37:16 AM »
Made two more sourdough starter dough pizzas.
This time I used about 1/8 tsp of yeast to get a bit more rise due to the colder weather.
I really tried to be more careful with the amount of starter, this time I used about 1/4 cup.
In addition I tried to follow Jeff Varasano's instructions for hand kneading & mixing dough.  I did a 20 min Autolyse with 75% of the dough and all the water, I had to add about 2 tablespoons more to mix in the remaining flour.  I then did another 15 min rest.  My hydration level was the lowest I have used so far 55%, and the 1st time with no oil.  Also I kept an eye on water temp and dough temp, the finished product was around 75deg.  The dough was hand kneaded for about 15 min. and immediately put in the fridge.

One sourdough ball came out 24 hrs later for a 13" pizza, and I think the texture during shaping was close to the best of any dough I made so far.  Easy to shape with a little elasticity, but not too much.  Unfortunately after putting the toppings on, the pizza wouldn't slide on the peel.  I didn't put enough flour on the peel plus I was slower than usual putting the toppings on. the result was pizza sticking to the peel.  I thought I had it solved before trying to slide onto the stone in the oven, but on 1st attempt toppings went sliding off and created a bit of a mess.  On 2nd attempt the dough stretched and my pie was a bit ruined.  The rim crust was nice about 1" but not enough air pockets, maybe this is a result of too much handling, not sure.

2nd sourdough ball came out after 5 days in fridge.  This time the pie slid nicely onto the stone.  The results were good again a ok rise, however one bit of crust was real tuff, not sure why.  I took it out about a minute early, and I'm glad I did most of the crust was a decent crispness with a nice chew.  However I'm not getting the air pockets in any of my oven pizzas.  On the BBQ the dough pops up almost as soon as it hits the stone.  So I quess higher heat is needed.

The flavor using sourdough starter is slightly better, but as many have said Goldrush just doesn't have that punch.  But I'm sold on using starter now.

This batch of sourdough pizza, didn't rise in the fridge, it pretty much stayed as when I put it in.  Once I took the dough out it only took about 1- 1.5 hours to almost double.  Both times I made the pizza with the dough only rising once.

A word on toppings.  I'm using 6 in 1 crushed tomatoes and love em.  The fresh tomato flavor is awesome.  The other day got 4 cans for a few pennys over $2.00 each.  The market is an older Italian store, I also picked up some fresh Italian sausage and pepperoni, from their deli/meat counter.  The fresh flavors verse packaged pepperoni and sausage is so noticeable, the great thing is the price for fresh is almost the same as packaged.  When I use mushrooms, I haved added a step to lower the moisture content by cooking them.  When the stove/stone is preheating, I douse the sliced mushrooms with either Italian dressing or evoo/black pepper/salt/dash of garlic powder, and put them in the top half of steamer (no bottom with water) with holes and a pie pan under to catch the liquid, and cook in the oven for about 15-20 min.  The extra flavoring seem to help bring out the best of the mushrooms.

Some questions:
1.  When cooking on a stone in electric oven at approx 500 deg give or take 25 deg. verses on stone in bbq at 600-700  deg, what should I do in my dough making process to get more rise/spring  in the oven/stone?

2. Air pockets in crust/rim, how do I get more/large air pockets? 

Currently I am using Stone-Buhr Unbleached White Bread Flour made from 100% select Montana Hard Wheat, this flour has a protein content of at least 12 percent.  I tried GM all purpose Unbleached organic flour, and like the flavor and texture of Stone-Buhr better.  However one of the best pizzas I made was using 75% Stone Buhr and 25% GM.
I really don't want to have to mail order flour.  Although I like the Stone-Buhr is this flour part of my elect. oven/stone problem?

I am aiming for more of a medium crust, not a thin Neopolitan crust.  The rim and bottom should be crisp, the rim should have a bread like flavor and texture with nice chew once you bite into it.  I would like a rim 1.5+".

Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: My 1st sourdough starter...
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2008, 12:56:28 PM »
Try feeding your Goldrush Rye flour - instant punch! Makes killer whole wheat sourdough bread too.

"... I say we ride some gravity." - Patrick Rizzo