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Author Topic: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???  (Read 1979 times)

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2016, 03:24:23 PM »
Actually, for the past few months, I've been using a spontaneous culture that, in the jar has a really potent - to the point of unpleasant - acidic/vinegar smell but has wonderful smell and flavor when used in the dough. I may not go back to Ischia, and I never thought much of Camaldoli - certainly nothing wrong with it - I just prefered Ischia.  Camaldoli went down the drain years ago.

This brings up another interesting part about using a culture. Two people can use the same culture (and the same exact formula for that matter) and get very different results. My guess is that if Dylan made me his pizza with Ischia and Camaldoli, I'd prefer the Camaldoli pie too.  Likewise, there are literally dozens of people who have used my formula with Ischia and their pizza looks nothing like mine. There are simply too many variables that are difficult, if not impossible to identify let alone control.
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Offline texmex

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Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2016, 04:16:54 PM »
Actually, for the past few months, I've been using a spontaneous culture that, in the jar has a really potent - to the point of unpleasant - acidic/vinegar smell but has wonderful smell and flavor when used in the dough. I may not go back to Ischia, and I never thought much of Camaldoli - certainly nothing wrong with it - I just prefered Ischia.  Camaldoli went down the drain years ago.

This brings up another interesting part about using a culture. Two people can use the same culture (and the same exact formula for that matter) and get very different results. My guess is that if Dylan made me his pizza with Ischia and Camaldoli, I'd prefer the Camaldoli pie too.  Likewise, there are literally dozens of people who have used my formula with Ischia and their pizza looks nothing like mine. There are simply too many variables that are difficult, if not impossible to identify let alone control.

You remember my last maximum moby SD dough from 2 weeks ago?  It had gotten pretty ripe and acid smelling after about a week or more, so of course I  decided to try and salvage it by laminating it.  Thought it would be a disaster, but it worked out just fine and tasted so amazingly good!   
Reesa

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2016, 05:28:45 PM »
When it spontaneously appeared the first time, it had such a strong smell I just threw it out. The second time I decided to try it and see what happens, and I'm glad I did. I made a few loaves of bread with it that were surprisingly sour in a SF way. However each batch seemed to be less sour than the one before. After a couple weeks, it got to the point where it wasn't all that sour (interestingly, it still has a pretty strong vinegar smell), so I tried it in pizza and haven't used anything else since.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline MotoMannequin

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Re: Buying Ischia culture/starter vs. making my own???
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2016, 01:41:13 PM »
Like I suggested earlier, now is not the time to overthink this stuff.  Learning how to make good, let alone great, Neapolitan pizza is hard enough without confusing yourself over a bunch of stuff that makes no difference in the beginning. Rather than obsessing over what culture to use, forget about using a culture altogether and use IDY until you have a handle on the essential skills and techniques.

This is the best advice.

Pizza making will include hundreds of heartbreaks and failures, none of which can you experience by smiply thinking about it.

FWIW I maintain active Ischia and Camaldoli cultures. Both perform really similarly, but I slightly prefer the flavor of the Camaldoli. Sometimes I use the Ischia just to switch it up.

Commercial pizzerias, even in Naples, aren't necessarily where you want to draw most of your inspiration from. They have a number of constraints that won't apply to you - cost, storage space, need to roll out pizzas over several hours, need for predictability. Very few, if any, will do a 48-hour room temp sourdough ferment, which is where I think the sweet spot is.

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