The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Old vs. New Starter & Food Flavor Enhancement

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Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Old vs. New Starter & Food Flavor Enhancement

I've noticed that bread made using an "over developed" poolish does not rise as well as that made with "fresh" (which is to be expected).  However, bread made from the "over developed" poolish seems to benefit the flavor of food used in combination with it.


As background the dough (low hydration - firm dough and starter) is retarded under refrigeration for approximately 12 hours before forming, proofing, slashing and baking. The only ingredients are water, poolish, organic flour and sea salt.


The yeast is certainly not as healthy as  compared to the lactic acid bacteria as identified by a fairly "feisty" sour taste.  I've also found that gluten development was lacking (higher alcohol content?).  Increasing the kneading time to 14 minutes (KitchenAid Pro) seems to have solved this. 


I've given this a lot of thought and haven't come to any firm conclusions as to what's behind it.


I'm left wondering if:


1.) Has anyone else noticed this?


2.) What's the theory behind the flavor enhancement?


3.) Any documentation?


+Wild-Yeast

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

There is so much going on in a pre-ferment.


On the negative side, over time, the yeast runs out of food and goes to sleep. If too much acid accumulates (more precisely, as the pH gets too low), yeast is inhibited. These detract from rising power. Moreover, proteases degrade the gluten, making for a dough with less elasticity. In moderation, this may be advantageous, depending on the kind of loaf you want to shape.


On the positive side, over time, bacterial metabolism generates aldehydes and esters that add to the complexity of flavor. I'd have to look up the exact metabolic pathways involved.


It's not a mystery, but it is complex.


David

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Thanks David.  I've read several papers from food industry researchers investigating sourdough's taste enhancing properties which point in that general direction but were inconclusive in their findings.  Protease limited yeast is something that I've seen exhibited by the dough becoming slack during proofing.  Longer knead times to develop additional gluten content seems to have solved this problem. Below are fresh loaves cooling on the rack...


+Wild-Yeast


P.S.  Any more feedback on lightly smoked Dungeness crab sandwiches from the Point Loma Seafood Company?  They also serve Anchor Steam beer which I always order with the crab sandwich.


Aged_Poolish_Loaves

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Nothing new re. Point Lomas. 


I need to ask my brother, who's a cigar smoking buddy of the owner.


David