The Fresh Loaf

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Soda Water in Starter Instead of Pineapple?

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edroid's picture
edroid

Soda Water in Starter Instead of Pineapple?

I just read the wonderful "pineapple juice solution" by Debra Wink. Wow. 

I have a question that the chemists or biologists on this site might know the answer. 

Wikipedia states that the ph of soda water is between 3 and 4, due to the formation of carbonic acid.

Would it work for the initial hydration of starter?

Would soda water work instead of pineapple juice? I am guessing that the ph rises as the CO2 bubbles off? 

Many of the store bought soda waters have buffers added, so probably best to use home made. . . 

Seems like it would be perfect. . . 

I will give it a try, but I am a relative nooby, so won't have a whole lot against which to gauge the results. 

 

mixinator's picture
mixinator

The crumb would have plenty of bubbles.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

But don't forget that Debra wink only suggests Pineapple Juice to start the starter but when active switch to plain water. Pineapple juice also has natural sugar in it so that will also feed the yeast. And i'm not sure what all the minerals would do. Don't forget that mineral water has salts in it which isn't advisable for sourdough starters. But i'm no scientist. Perhaps it's no problem.

mixinator's picture
mixinator

If you're feeling adventuresome, go on line and pick up any old cheap pH meter AND a bottle of calibration solution, or some old-fashinoned pH paper. You can then measure the actual pH of the liquid. You could then acidify plain water with just a few drops of vinegar. A little goes a long way!

I don't use pineapple juice. The pH of pineapple juice is 3.5. At that pH the growth rates of the yeast and the lactobacillus is slow. Their growth rates peak at a pH of around 5.5. At that pH you may get a little leuconostoc activity in the first few days but that will go away. You could start with, and do all your refreshments with, water acidified to pH 5.5.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC106434/figure/F2/

mwilson's picture
mwilson

The pH of pineapple juice is 3.5. At that pH the growth rates of the yeast and the lactobacillus is slow.

Based purely on the effect of pH. The data you provide shows that growth of yeast is not slowed by pH at all. And there is no growth of the lactobacillus strains at pH 3.5.

But besides your reasoning is flawed because you have neglected to take into account the buffering capacity of the flour. When you add flour to your acidified water the pH will go up.

Debra has not neglected this detail because she is a microbiologist!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Funny you mention it. In the wonderful book "Cresci: The Art of Leavened Dough" by Iginio Massari and Achille Zoia it is recommended that sparkling mineral water is used for the initial hydration along with a fruit puree. Massari says that the CO2 is essential for the mix to convert into an acid dough.

Who am I to argue with the masters...

Michael

mixinator's picture
mixinator

The data you provide shows that growth of yeast is not slowed by pH at all. And there is no growth of the lactobacillus strains at pH 3.5

I misread the graph :(

edroid's picture
edroid

mixinator's post recomending I buy a pH meter reminded me that I actually had one lying around from a no doubt ill conceived and long forgotten modernist cuisine folly of some sort. 

So I pulled it out and started testing things with interesting results. 

I am guessing that using soda water might be an improvement over tap water, but pineapple juice seems to make more sense to speed up the leuconostoc phase. 

pH of various things:

My tap water is 7.6

Pineapple juice 3.6

Various store bought sparkling and soda waters were about 5.5

My 3 day old starter was 4.4

So from this I would guess that my 3 day old water based starter is just past the leuconostoc bacteria die off (phase 2). It shows marked gluten breakdown, sour smell is somewhat mellowing. 

 

mixinator's picture
mixinator

At 5.5 pH you might be better off using soda water than pineapple juice. There would be less suppression of the L.SanFran growth rate. The leucs will go away after a few days in any event. Even if you suppress the leucs it takes a week to 10 days to get a mature, yeasty starter and by that time any leucs which may have developed are long gone, so you haven't really accelerated the process.

With your pH meter you can also measure the buffering effects of flour, which I suspect is less than 0.5 pH.

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

edroid,

I happy that someone else is looking into using the bottled soda water for use in breads, etc.

First of I am not a chemists, but will add the following:

Quite sometime ago I started using a local bottled 'auga mineral TopoChico' in my starter and as the water in all my doughs.  Reasoning was and is that the bottled water should be consistent which is not what our local very hard water is.

I have had very good results with the water and find no issues.  As a benefit I use it chilled in my doughs which allows me to maintain a good final temp after kneading.

My three year old sourdough culture seems to get along well with it during his weekly feeding/use.

I have recently expanded my use by trying a couple of bottles of the trendy 'S. Pellegrino' water.  Must admit I could not tell any difference.  Except that my wife stopped giving me that 'wifely look' when I went back to using the less expensive water.

If I were baking large amounts of bread weekly I might change my habit, but I only crank out about two batches of 900 ~ 1000 grams of dough a week.  So it is not a large expense and it makes me feel good.

Bottom line is that with all my doughs I try for consistency and repeatability and if nothing else the bottled bubble water helps me that.

edroid's picture
edroid

Gorgeous loaves! 

mixinator's picture
mixinator

Canada Dry Original Sparkling Seltzer Water: pH 3.8

edroid's picture
edroid

Something I did not know: 

Seltzeror seltzer water is carbonated water to which no other ingredients have been added. It contains only water and carbon dioxide. If you have a SodaStream or other home carbonation system, and you don’t use any added flavorings, you are making seltzer. 

Club sodais artificially carbonated water to which sodium salts and/or potassium salts have been added. These can include table salt and sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda). These alkaline substances are added to carbonated water to neutralize its acidity and to mimic the flavors of naturally occurring mineral water.

The next question is how much of the low pH of seltzer water persists once it goes flat. In other words does some of the carbonic acid stay in solution in flat seltzer water. I will do some experimenting. 

I don't have a soda stream, but it seems like that would be a good way to go. 

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

edroid,

Attached are shots of the label of the local mineral water I'm using.  I guess that it is called 'mineral water' because of the sodium and calcium in it.  Both seem to be in a low percent.

Again, I do not have any issues with the water and have been using it for a long time.  I just like the feeling of consistency using it.

Thank you for the 'nod' on my loafs…..