### Author Topic: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator  (Read 8966 times)

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#### s00da

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##### Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« on: February 01, 2009, 09:54:16 AM »
Hi all,

I'm in the phase of resurrecting the starter I bought from Sourdo.com. Gone through the whole rituals of putting together a proofing box and then of course got my starter contaminated and now washing it. Let's hope all goes well.

I had a question regarding the hydration of the starter. It seems that Ed manuals will result with a starter that has a ~108% hydration. As he indicated on page 4, it will be 48 percent flour and 52 percent water. Initially, I think that this should be adjusted according to the type of flour used and the corresponding grams:volume(cup) ratio. For my case I will end up with a hydration of ~118% where it will be 45.8% flour and 54.2% water.

I see some member mentioning of the starter being 50:50. Are they basically mixing equal portions by weight of water and flour to simplify things? Would it hurt anything to go into that direction?

Another thing I'm trying to figure out is the Preferment Pizza Dough Calculator. Which percentage I should be using and where to plug?

Help is appreciated

s00da
« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 10:00:24 AM by s00da »

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2009, 11:13:34 AM »
Hi all,

I'm in the phase of resurrecting the starter I bought from Sourdo.com. Gone through the whole rituals of putting together a proofing box and then of course got my starter contaminated and now washing it. Let's hope all goes well.

I had a question regarding the hydration of the starter. It seems that Ed manuals will result with a starter that has a ~108% hydration. As he indicated on page 4, it will be 48 percent flour and 52 percent water. Initially, I think that this should be adjusted according to the type of flour used and the corresponding grams:volume(cup) ratio. For my case I will end up with a hydration of ~118% where it will be 45.8% flour and 54.2% water.

I see some member mentioning of the starter being 50:50. Are they basically mixing equal portions by weight of water and flour to simplify things? Would it hurt anything to go into that direction?

Another thing I'm trying to figure out is the Preferment Pizza Dough Calculator. Which percentage I should be using and where to plug?

Help is appreciated

s00da

s00da,
I am going through something similar.  My Calmodoli is working fantastic & last week I decided to I activate the Ischia.  When I proofed it yesterday, it rose in the 1st hour & then dropped right down with absolutely no activity which led me to believe that the culture was far too acidic.  I proceeded to wash it & now am hoping that it will come back to life within the next couple of days.  I guess it'll take time & patience.  In regards to your other questions, the consistency of your starter is up to you.  In my kitchen 3/4 cup of flour weighs 113 g & 1/2 cup of water weighs 111g, so for me that's pretty much 50/50.  In your kitchen your flour may weigh more or less & that's why some people prefer to go by weight & not volume.
For preferment, again it's up too you,  most people (including myself) use about 9%. I don't understand your last question, according to the information that you provided above, you will first pick the preferment expression (I use % of total flour to keep it consistent with the rest of my calculations) second you pick the % amount (In my case it's 9%) and lastly enter percentage of water which in your case would be 54.2%.  If you decide to change the consistency then you can choose adjust the final figure.

Hope this helped.

Matt

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2009, 11:16:17 AM »

If I understood your question correctly, I believe the starter hydration issue is discussed at about the middle of the post at Reply 2 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4996.msg42281.html#msg42281. Also, the preferment dough calculating tool itself, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html, defines which hydration figure to use. It is the preferment (starter) percent of water that is the number you use in the tool. So, in your example of the Ed Wood starter with 48% flour and 52% water, it is the 52% water figure that you should use. It is up to you whether it is better or more convenient to just use a 50/50 starter. Using equal weights of flour and water will yield a poolish consistency. My recollection is that Marco (pizzanapoletana) uses a stiffer starter for pizza dough and a wetter starter for bread dough. But it is all up to you.

Peter

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2009, 02:11:55 PM »
Thanks guys, that's exactly what I needed to know. I also believe going 50:50 by weight makes a lot more sense for calculations. Regarding my second question, it seems I will need to plug in the 54.2% into the "preferment's percentage of water" into the calculator.

Since me and Matt are on the same boat now washing the Ischia, let me ask this. How many times do we need to perform the washing procedure? As per Ed's manual, it says "Repeat the entire process several times until the original culture becomes active 2-4 hours after the last feeding". Does that mean that we need to wash+feed instead of feed-only until the starter is activated?  It's kinda misleading to me because first he says "several times" ....until what?     and then says "active 2-4 hours after the last feeding" which sounds like the final activation!

s00da

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2009, 02:58:20 PM »
You should only repeat the wash if your starter is contaminated.  If not, then continue to feed every 12 hours at room temperature until you see at least 2 inches of foam.  If it appears active in the first hour or so & then drops it's not ready yet so keep feeding until the activity is sustained.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 02:59:57 PM by Matthew »

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2009, 03:43:55 PM »
I washed the starter 2 times in a row, I hope I didn't kill it

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2009, 07:09:17 PM »
I washed the starter 2 times in a row, I hope I didn't kill it

No don't worry you can't kill it by washing it.  Just keep feeding @ 70 deg until it's active.  Make sure that you get it in the fridge at the peak of its activity.  I use Bill's preparation procedure described on reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6393.0.html.  It works really well, my Calmodoli is overflowing in less than 3 hours.

Good Luck

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2009, 01:15:37 AM »
Are there any threads regarding the theory behind washing the starter?

I'm kinda having a hard time understanding how washing the culture activates the Ischia rather than reactivating the already active invading culture!

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2009, 06:08:04 AM »
I am answering my own question here in case anyone else is interested. From http://www.sourdoughhome.com/startingastarter.html , I quote the following: "We are showcasing three different ways of starting starters. Links to these methods are in the navigation bar to the left, and will be repeated below. All of these ways of starting starters work, and in the end the results are very similar and the processes have a lot in common. In each case, the baker creates an environment that is favorable to the growth of sourdough friendly yeast and sourdough bacteria. As the yeast and bacteria grow, they displace competing organisms. Sourdough bacteria create an acidic environment that most micro-organisms have trouble coping with. The sourdough bacteria also produce 50 additional chemicals that have been identified as having properties that inhibit the growth of other micro-organisms."

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2009, 06:53:38 AM »
S00da,

As of last night my Ischia was fully active & ready to go.   In my case, the culture was too acidic which inhibited its growth.  As stated above, I washed it once & fed at 10-12 hour intervals @ room temperature & after about 34 hours it was fully activated.  The black line on the jar depicts the volume of the starter prior to the last feeding.

Keep me posted on your progress.

Matt

« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 06:58:06 AM by Matthew »

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 02:02:04 AM »
Matt,

I woke up this morning to find my starter with no dark or light colored hooch for the first time. It also had a nice layer of a fizzling foam on top with the smell dramatically less acidic and unpleasant. Actually it was smelling like some dairy product. This is my first time with a starter but all these look like good signs.

I gave it another feeding and left to work. I will feed it again when I'm back and expect a nice surprize then

s00da

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 06:30:59 AM »
Sounds like your on the right track.  To confirm what you see, you may want to taste it; you'll know right away if it's still contaminated or too acidic.

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 01:50:55 PM »
I really don't know what it should taste like to confirm it

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 04:06:21 PM »
The best way to describe it is like yogurt but more sour.  If it's bad you'll know right away.

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 05:15:20 PM »
On the last feeding the starter more than doubled

I put one jar in the fridge and I will keep feeding the other one. Will taste it and take some pics to post.

s00da

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2009, 01:15:25 PM »
Matt,

Good starter confirmed

Now after it got activated, it got me sitting there trying to figure out how much I should use and more importantly when. I thought before I tackle the "how much", I need to know how my starter behaves and what's a good maintenance strategy.

To do that, I selected 500g of non-fully activated starter as a starting point; the number is just a random number that fits nicely in the size of the jar. I poured the 500g into a jar and marked the level on the jar itself. I then fed it 150g water : 150g flour as to fully activate it. I will monitor it to know the full-activation mark. I hope this will help me to know when I can use the starter after I feed it.

After that, I will calibrate the acidity to my taste by adjusting the 500g starting point.

Figuring out how much I will use I guess won't be as easy. I've been using 0.50% ADY in my dough with a 72 hours cold fermentation. Now I need to figure out (how much of the starter + fermentation time and style) will give me the same characteristics in terms of oven spring and crust color while taste, texture and other things will of course be different.

s00da

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2009, 01:25:10 PM »
As I mentioned, I adapted Bills method which works great.  As far as how much you need, I think that you'll be pretty happy with 9%.  I always use that amount & have done both a 48 hour 64 degree bulk rise & a 24 hour room temperature bulk rise both with very good results.   The difference was mainly the flavor of the crust, both very good.  The cooler fermented dough was more mild in flavor.

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2009, 01:11:58 AM »
Matt,

I finished my first dough using the Ischia last night. I used 5% of water as per Marco's recommendation for a maximum. Before I incorporated the starter into the dough I made sure that it was fully active. It more than doubled after I fed it so that sounds good.

The only thing that worries me is this. I used the same steps that I use when making the dough using ADY. My practice is to make the dough balls and on to the fridge once the dough is finished. Usually with ADY and after 6+ hours when I look at the bottom of the dough ball, I would see some bubbles forming since I put the dough balls in plastic containers. This morning when I checked my Ischia dough, I didn't see any bubbles so I'm worried that something killed it

I will wait until it's 24 hours and if nothing is showing I will pull out the dough to room temperature and see what happens.

s00da

#### Bill/SFNM

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2009, 03:56:43 AM »
The wild yeast in my Ischia are almost completely inactive below around 60F. At 65F-70F, it takes my dough around 12 hours before I see any activity and then another 6 or 7 hours to double.

#### s00da

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2009, 04:53:52 AM »
That's makes a lot of sense! So basically while ADY and IDY can be active below 40, the Ischia will be inactive. This explains why everybody in this forum is using room temperature fermentation when working with sourdough cultures

Bill, I had a question that you could probably answer. When you 48 hours bulk rise and then 24 hour room temperature bulk rise, how come the dough doesn't get over-fermented?

I'm guessing here but it seems that me comparing fermentation rate and temperature of ADY/IDY against sourdough cultures is completely wrong. Can I basically think of it that 35F for an ADY/IDY dough in the fridge would be similar to a 65-70F for an Ischia dough?

s00da

#### Bill/SFNM

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2009, 07:19:46 AM »
That's makes a lot of sense! So basically while ADY and IDY can be active below 40, the Ischia will be inactive. This explains why everybody in this forum is using room temperature fermentation when working with sourdough cultures

Bill, I had a question that you could probably answer. When you 48 hours bulk rise and then 24 hour room temperature bulk rise, how come the dough doesn't get over-fermented?

I'm guessing here but it seems that me comparing fermentation rate and temperature of ADY/IDY against sourdough cultures is completely wrong. Can I basically think of it that 35F for an ADY/IDY dough in the fridge would be similar to a 65-70F for an Ischia dough?

s00da

I have never had a problem with the kind of over fermentation that commercial yeast doughs can experience. I use relatively small amounts of starter, so I think the culture always has adequate food to. Some say that large bubbles can be a sign of over fermenting and my pizzas do indeed have lots of bubbles. But that is how I like it. And they are produced regardless of how long the dough ferments. It is also said that fermenting too long can cause the gluten structure to break down. Not sure I have ever observed this either.

I stopped using commercial yeast from all my bread and pizza doughs and have found them to be very noble - producing great results over a wider range of conditions.

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2009, 09:40:41 AM »

When you are using only 5% (of the formula water) starter, you have to rethink all of the processes, which, to me, means discarding the notion of cold fermenting the dough immediately after it is made, as you might do with a commercially leavened dough. Marco (pizzanapoletana) never suggested that one use the 5% figure in the context of cold fermentation. It was always in the context of a room temperature fermentation and, more particularly, with respect to 00 flour (because of its low amylase activity). I am not saying that there cannot be any period of cold fermentation, as some members have used, myself included, but at low levels of starter you are going to have to subject the dough to one or more periods of room temperature fermentation at some point. Even then, you may not get optimal results. Marco discussed some of the aspects of the differences between room temperature and cold fermentation at Reply 125 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg13410/topicseen.html#msg13410. Several members have overcome some of the problems associated with room temperature fermentations by using a unit such as the MR-138 ThermoKool unit. Otherwise, you will have to make modifications to the dough formulation and dough management just as the Neapolitan pizzaioli do to compensate for variations in room temperature.

I once conducted an experiment in which I intentionally tried to "kill" a naturally leavened dough by overfermenting it. I had done this before with commercially leavened doughs and I wanted to see if the same scientific principles would apply to a naturally leavened dough. I concluded that they did, as I described in Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5505.msg46570/topicseen.html#msg46570.

Sometime you might want to block out a period of time and read all of Marco's posts on the subject of natural starters, as I have done several times before. Marco admittedly did not always lay things out in great detail, perhaps because he was contemplating writing a book on Neapolitan pizza (since put on hold or abandoned), but I believe that most of the pieces of the puzzle are there for the patient reader to divine.

Peter

#### Matthew

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2009, 04:04:56 PM »
S00da,
It's funny that you mention that, I wanted to try the same thing but using Verasano's method & recipe.  I'm a little confused with this; Verasano uses 9% starter & refrigerates his formed dough balls about 20 minutes after the final dough has been completed & doesn't remove the dough from his fridge until about 80 minutes prior to making his pizza.  How does he get such great results???  Am I missing something?  Is it because he uses 9% starter vs. 5%?

Matt
« Last Edit: February 12, 2009, 04:14:27 PM by Matthew »

#### Bill/SFNM

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2009, 04:53:00 PM »
Am I missing something?

Varasano isn't using Ischia. Each starter culture is different - e.g.,  different reproduction rates across  a range of temps. I've got a Russian culture that will blow the lid off a Cambro, even in the fridge.

#### November

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##### Re: Sourdo.com End-Starter Hydration % and Calculator
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2009, 04:54:16 PM »
I've got a Russian culture that will blow the lid off a Cambro, even in the fridge.

Sounds like cold war sentiment.