The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Some questions for the daily feeding of the sourdough ( From Italy )

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Some questions for the daily feeding of the sourdough ( From Italy )

Hi at all :-)


My name is Alessandro (Sandro for the friends). I'm a new member of this forum and I'm an Italian boy.


I have bought my sourdough from "Sourdoughs International". The name is Camaldoli starter and I use it for make the pizza.


Unfortunately in Italy there are not a lot of information about the sourdough, because in Italy the baker used the "Yeast of the beer", so I must find them in other language.


And this is not simple for me. In U.S.A. the people used the "Cup of... and table spoon of... and tea spoon of...  In Italy is more simple. We used the "grams" and nothing else :-). Grams of water,of salt,of flour...


Well. In theese days I have read so much about the sourdough care, but I have now a big confusion in my mind...


Fisrt trouble: Abouth the Ph of the sourdough. What is the best ph paramether for the lactobacilli growt? Ph 5.0 or 5.5???


Second trouble: My starter is composed by 50-50% water - flour mix. I would like to use it every day and feed my starter every 12 hours. What is the right temperature for store it? and what is the right amount of flour and water to add at it? 1-2-2 or 1-4-4 or 2-4-4??? I haven't understand this. Theese are for me only number!


Why some people used 2-4-4 and other used 1-2-2?


Please, somebody can help me to understand this?


Best regards Sandro from Italy. 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Welcome to TFL! 


The numbers refer to feeding ratios.   That is  1:2:2  reads:   1 part sourdough starter: two parts water: two parts flour.  Use any kind of weight scale you wish.  I also use grams.


Mini O


 

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Thank you Mini Oven.


But I have don't understand what is the best choice for the feeding... 1:2:2 or 2:4:4 or what else??? for 12 hours of starter proofing. And what is the right temperature in °Centigrade?


Please reply :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Feeding has been talked about here a lot.  Some like a 12 hour schedule.  I for one do not.  You can pick a schedule to suit your needs.  If you like 12 hours and your room temperature is about 20 to 22 °c  a 1:2:2  ratio would be about right.  Try it and see.  Put rubber bands around your jar to mark the levels and see what it does after feeding it.  If it rises and falls in 12 hours, then it is about right.  If it rises and falls in 6 hours, then you need a higher ratio to feed it more.  You will have to experiment with your room temperature and your starter to find out.  There must have been some directions that came with your specific starter.  Is that so?


Mini


 


 

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Hi Mini O, thank you for the help that you give me :-)


I think that it is not so simple...


This is my experiment:


I think that the firm point in the feeding is to achieve the ph of about 5.0


9.00AM --> I take 20 grams of old sourdough (12 hours of proofing at 30°C) and add 80 grams of water and 80 of strong flour, ph about 5.0. After I proof it at 30° centigrade for 12 hours. At the end of 12 hours the culture is deflate since more time. The ph is very low.


9.00PM --> I take 20 grams of old sourdough and when add 80 grams of water and 80 grams of flour, the culture have not the same perfume of yoghurt. (Because I have used more flour and water on a small amount of old sourdough). So this time I proof it at 28°centigrade.


9.00AM --> This time I take 20 grams of old sourdough and add 60 grams of flour and 60 of water and the ph became about 4.95 and the starter have a good perfume of the yoghurt. And I'm really happy.


Well, more hight is the proofing temperature, more low is the ph at the end of proofing, and more hight is the amount of water/flour in the feeding for achieve the 5.0 ph. But when the flour/water ratio is too high the perfume of yoghurt is lost :-(


I have read that the starter proofing temperature is about (20-27°C).  What is from your viewpoint the "Optimum" temperature?


Excuse me for my bad English. Thanks from Italy.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Please don't forget you are dealing with two basic types of growth:  the Yeasts and the Lacto. Bacteria.  Each of these has their own favorite growing temperatures.  Each can dominate the starter if allowed to grow too fast in ideal conditions, produce either a sour dense loaf, or a fluffy unflavored one.  The trick it to get the right balance in the finished LOAF. It is not surprising that some of the best loaves have dough recipes with multiple proofing times at diferent temperatures.  There is no one best temperature!


The starter normally contains both cultures but what you do to the dough is the deciding factor.  You can retard the dough at cooler temperatures or at higher ones to develop sour or "Perfume of yoghurt."  The higher temperatures also favor yeasts.  Lower temps do not favor yeast.


Lacto bacteria growth is not easy to see, it is an invisable aroma.  Yeast growth is seen as CO2 gas bubbles and raises the dough.  Just because there are bubbles, does not mean there is efficient lacto. bacteria to flavor the bread.  And the opposite:  if you can smell the aroma but the dough has not risen, then a temperature to favor yeast growth is now needed.


Does that help you?  


I know you want me to tell you in plain language what to do. Please read on down the topic.  I keep a starter in the refrigerator and take out what I need, when I need it.  Then feed that sample and let it sit 12 hour 21°c .  Then I mix it into a recipe and then develope the bacteria and yeasts to my liking. (The main starter in the refrigerator is developing more lacto. bacteria but when brought out into warmer temperature, the yeasts can then develop.)


Mini

Sandro's picture
Sandro

WoW Mini :-)


Thank you for the information about the multiply proofing times and for all the other words. Here in Italy nobody have give me these information. I'm really amazing to write with you! Thanks for all the time that you have give me.


Regards from Italy.


 

Kuret's picture
Kuret

http://www.wraithnj.com/breadpics/rise_time_table/bread_model_bwraith.htm


 


there you have a good time table, the percentages given are for the amount of flour prefermented, altough this one does not cover prefermentation amounts over 25%


1:2:2 is 25% prefermented flour
10g starter (5g water, 5g flour) + 20g flour + 20g water.

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Thank you Kuret I have watch the table and it is very,very interesting.


It is a very good work.


Regards from Italy.

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I bought the same package of two Italian sourdoughs about a year ago, and have been baking with both of them since then. I can't tell any difference between the two, and SI is coy about how they might differ. If you have revived both starters, I'd be interested in any differences you detect.


MiniO: It's interesting that the instructions that I received for these starters did not direct me to sterilize the medium (at least kill the yeast in the flour with hot water first), and as a result I have a sneaking suspicion that the SD starters that I now have are in fact identical. I have maintained them separate for over a year now, and I still can't detect any difference.


I keep my starters quite firm, in the refrigerator, and only feed them infrequently, sometimes waiting as long as three months between feedings. I do an extra build, however, when I want to use them, starting with about 20 g of starter, mixing it with 50 g water, then adding 50 g flour. I use mostly white bread flour, but will add some rye or whole wheat if the refrigerated starter is getting old, or if the bread will have rye or WW in it anyway. The amounts are not precise in my method, but I aim for a refreshed starter of about 100% hydration or maybe a little more, and I leave it out at room them overnight. By morning it is always very active, and I use it to inoculate another larger quantity of dough, again at 100% for my starter that I put in the final recipe. I keep track of how much flour and water I have used in this building process, and subtract that from the quantities in the final recipe. I assume the original starter is about 50% hydration, but since it's only 20 g total weight (flour and water) the precision of the hydration is not critical.


My method would yield a refreshment of 1:2.5:2.5, or 2:5:5. As you noticed, 1:2:2 is the same as 2:4:4. When I feel the refrigerated starter (mother) is performing poorly, I make up a batch of refreshed starter as above, and if it's really in trouble, I'll do what Sourdough International calls a 'washing', which is just a series of refreshments, repeated enough that there is very little of the original flour left, because it's been so diluted. Anyway, when I am satisfied that the starter is as vigorous as I think it should be, I stir in extra flour to make a stiff dough, put it in a container with more loose flour, and refrigerate it. My thinking is that the yeast are active, and I have given them lots of food and immediately slowed down their growth, so they should be able to survive for quite a while with no attention from me. I couldn't tolerate the need to feed daily or every 12 hours, not to mention the extra flour needed. I did make some great bread the other day from discard starter from both starters, so it's not a total loss, but I like not having to  care for another pet on the countertop.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Looks like we treat our starter about the same.  I couldn't have written it better myself!  I also will not be a slave to a starter, it works for me not the other way around.  When I take out a spoonful getting ready for dough,  I do need the 12 hours though, like just now.  I think my ratio is more like 1:5:5.  This is an ap/rye starter as of 30 minutes ago.  It is parked here in my warm kitchen next to the chimney between the stockings and wooden spoon jar. 


Which reminds me, I have to make a note to Santa to stay away from my starter, while it sits up there overnight Christmas eve.   "...The children (grown ups) were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sour dough danced in their heads,..."   But if he decides to drink down my starter with cookies, more power to him!   Who am I to argue with an Elf?


Mini

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Hi Leucadian.


Sorry, but I have activated only camaldoli starter (The ischia sourdough is in the package in mi fridge) And I think that the camaldoli is the best sourdough for make pizza. I have used French and San Francisco Sourdough (I have bought them from Sourdoughs international). But For make the italian pizza (from my viewpoint) the best is the Camaldoli sourdough.


Regards from Italy.

leucadian's picture
leucadian

Sandro, you sound like a techincal sort of person, so I have a technical paper for you. It describes a mathematical model of sourdough growth (San Francisco sourdough, consisting of cultures of candida millerii yeast, and lactobacillus sanfranciscensis bacteria). What I like about this paper in particular is a graph that shows the growth rates of the yeast and the bacteria at different ambient temperatures. The LB actually tolerates a higher temperature than the yeast, peaking at 33 deg C, compared to 27 deg C for the yeast. But you will be interested in the graph that shows growth rate vs. pH. It shows that the best pH for LB growth is 5.5 as you suspected, and the growth rate is reduced by 50% below 4.4  and above 6.3, quite a large range. Yeast growth is insensitive to pH.


http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/64/7/2616


And here is a discussion of starter maintenance between a couple of very knowledgeable TFL members, Pat and Bill.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3160/starter-wont-double-itself 

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Oh yes Leucadian ;-)


I'm a technical person. I love to "Know" all and "Why". I think that only with a big knowledge one man can became "Master" in his Work.


You have give me my best "Christmas gift". It is feed for my brain! These articles are very,very interesting for my knowledge.


If you have other links please give me them.


Have a nice day.


Sandro from Italy.

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I'm glad I was able to share. If you google 'GANZLE' you'll get more of this author's work. Also 'SUGIHARA' who isolated LB sanfrancisensis, I think.


By the way your English is very good. Don't worry about it.


Let us know how your experiments turn out.


Merry Christmas/Buono Natale

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Thank you Leucadian. I'm really happy to write with you.


Some days ago, I have load on YouTube one video. In this video I active the camaldoli sourdough starter. Unfortunately it is in Italian language. In my video I have meet some troubles with the contamination so I have execute the washing of the culture and it is became active. Please feel free to watch it. The url is:


http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=-xKnF-u9nrY&feature=channel_page


Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo --> Merry Christmas and an happy new year at you, and all the people on TFL.


I'm really lucky for have found this site.


Ciao Ciao --> Bye Bye ;-)

cbtj19's picture
cbtj19

Hello, Sandro.


In addition to Leucadian's awesome link for you on sourdough microflora, I just came across this page which discusses a lot of technicalities & experiments with sourdoughs & such.  It comes in 4 posts, so be sure to check them all out. 


http://stason.org/TULARC/food/sourdough-recipes/1200a-Long-Technical-Post-1.html


 


~Chau T.

Sandro's picture
Sandro

Hello Chau T and Happy new Year.


I have read the post of the above link and it was very very interesting, Specially the microbiological explanation for the three stage sourdough
processes.


Thank you for yor help.


Regards Sandro from Italy.

cbtj19's picture
cbtj19

You're very welcome, Sandro.  Happy New Year to you too!


 


~Chau

leucadian's picture
leucadian

Hi Chau, Thanks for the link. The same dialog betweern Daniel Wing and Michael Ganzle is contained in an appendix to Wing's 1999 book 'The Bread Builders: Loaves and Masonry Ovens', which I read a year ago, but forgot about this very informative discussion. Ganzle mentions he is about to publish the article I cited, so this is very fresh in his mind, and the insights are very useful.


His comments on European wheat are also interesting, and relate to the recent report on an experimental exchange between Janedo and SteveB. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10182/french-and-american-flour-123-formula
Maybe ash content is what we should be looking at rather than protein content.


A couple of things caught my attention:


Comparing SD to commercial yeast, Ganzle says 'but the commercial yeast only have to cough once' as opposed to the need for the smaller concentration of SD yeasts to be healthy and actively growing. I really like that turn of phrase.


The yeast and bacteria contribute about equally to leavening the bread.


Lactic acid from the bacteria in SD is not volatile, so contributes only to taste, whereas acetic acid is volatile, and contributes to aroma.


The acid concentration in an active starter is the same whether liquid or firm, - based on the flour weight. In a loose starter, the acid is diluted by the water.


LB sanfranciscensis (and Candida millerii??) has not been found on wheat. It may be a human borne bacteria. So much for 'capturing microbes'.


As I said, I read the book some time ago from the library, but I think I need to buy it. Thanks for reminding me.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

"Lactic acid from the bacteria in SD is not volatile, so contributes only to taste, whereas acetic acid is volatile, and contributes to aroma."


Any clue how to promote one or the other?  I can get a good aroma, but the taste doesn't live up to the promise of the aroma.  I always thought they were so closely linked as to be the same.  Apparently not.


Thanks for any suggestions.


:-Paul

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I don't know.  I believe that the acids are both produced by the bacteria, and that different bacteria might produce different ratios of acids. And it's also reasonable that the ratio might change with environment (temp, nutrients) as well.


I suspect that the 'great' SD cultures hcontain a LB that produces a particularly pleasing balance under a wide range of conditions.


It's these kinds of insights that made the interview really worth keeping.

cbtj19's picture
cbtj19

Hi, Pablo.  I'm not sure whether lactic or acetic acid is better for taste.  Acetic acid is said to taste like vinegar, which is what vinegar is made of anyway, and lactic acid is just sour, from what I read.  Anyhow, supposedly, keeping your SD at low temp. and adding a little bit of regular table sugar (sucrose) promotes acetic acid production.  The fructose in the sucrose is what the lactobacteria use to make acetic acid.  Also, I heard that if you want a more sour taste, refrigerate the dough or SD starter...I guess the low temp. does promote acetic acid production.


 


~Chau

cbtj19's picture
cbtj19

Hi Leucadian, some of the findings in that discussion are certainly intriguing.  The growth differences between SD yeast & commercial yeast come as no surprise as it makes sense that the "Schwarzeneggar" yeast was specifically selected for cutting down fermentation time for busy modern folks. 


I think ash is more important in SD fermentation in terms of flavor development?  But protein percentage is of equal significance in bread structure-wise.  With a weak protien or low protein content, the bread would be more flat & dense--less big air pockets.  I would say that protein or more specifically, gluten, is the "backbone" of the bread, so to speak.  Don't you think?


About what you gather regarding the acid in a looser starter being diluted by water, does that mean liquid starters would have a higher pH?  Although both types of starters (of equal flour mass) would theoretically have the same # of moles of acid, the acid in the liquid starter would be more diluted due to more water content, which = higher pH, right? 


Haha...yeah, "capturing microbes"...on our SKIN!!  Maybe some prank baker from way back when decided to cool off his tired sweaty feet in the tub of SD starter to give it a "unique" sour flavor?  "Francisco's Sour-Foot Dough"....mmmm delish.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"SF sf sd"  


I think most good sourdoughs are very complicated and contain more types of bacteria than I can keep track of.  The aroma vs taste is interesting...   I do believe grasses and other seeds that grow with the wheat (we didn't always have mono cultures) contribute greatly.  Feeding the starter an assortment of flours might contribute to more varieties of bacteria and maybe lead to more flavor.  Mine is very complex.  If you would like some, let me know.


About the foot thing,  those SanFran-Beasties might have even come from a chunk of meat or ham the accidently fell into the dough bowl or was cut up on the working surface and later got into the worked dough, a small piece got left to mother the great Sourdough we know today.  Possibility?  Who knows?  Will it ever be figured out?


Mini

leucadian's picture
leucadian

Mini, I'd really like to try your sourdough starter. After a year of baking with Ed Wood's Ischia  and Camaldoli Italian sourdoughs, I started my owh the other day, using some whole rye. I could never get any sourness from the Italian starters, but after only a week (about 6 refreshments) the homebrew made a deliciously sour bread. So now I'm curious about other peoples starters.


How can we communicate without posting addresses on the board?


Stewart

charbono's picture
charbono

A moderate amount of extra water will dilute the acidity, but not the pH.  A weak acid, such as lactic or acetic, will dissociate more in the larger volume of water.  Thus the pH will stay the same for moderate additions of water.


 

cbtj19's picture
cbtj19

Thanks, Charbono.  Oh yeah, that's right... those weak acid vs. strong acid rules in chem.  Weak acids sort of act as buffers, right?  One question though, how is pH (measure of H+ or H30+, I think?) different from acidity?  I thought pH defines the acidity of a substance?  I'm forgetting my chem....


 


~Chau