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Soaker doubled -- use?

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sam's picture
sam

Soaker doubled -- use?

Hello,

Reading about amylase enzyme activity online, it seems the ideal temperature for its activity of converting starches to sugars is around 30C / 86F, thereabouts.   So I tried it.   Yesterday I mixed a preferment using my starter (100% hydration) keeping it at 10C, and separately, a flour soaker (80% hydration), with a pinch of salt and keeping it at 30C / 86F.   Both have been at it for about 20 hours so far.   When I just checked them, the starter-based preferment had doubled in size, maybe a bit more.   To my surprise, so did the Soaker.   Both have risen about the same size. 

This surprised me a bit, as I have done flour soakers before at normal room temp (20-21C), and have never seen it rise at all.  Plus, I added some salt to this soaker.  The soaker is full of bubbles, it looks almost identical to my starter-based preferment.   Both are a mixture of whole-wheat + spelt flour that I milled.

Since it appears I basically created the beginnings of a new sourdough culture, it was not what I intended.  I only wanted the amalyze activity, not any yeast or any other "beasties" going on.   It doesn't smell foul, but not the same pleasant "earthy whole grain" as I am normally used to with a soaker.

I had planned to mix them both together in a couple hours and make bread out of it, but now I'm not sure if it is "safe" to consume this soaker, if there is now a wide-range of stuff growing in there, that hasn't yet equalized out to a natural balance.

Any suggestions?   I'll probably go ahead with it anyway, the high heat of the oven should kill off everything that might be undesired (if any).

 

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I think it is called "spoiled dough".  See what Debra Wink has already written on the subject at:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1

Doc

sam's picture
sam

I got a whiff of alcohol when I uncapped the container of my soaker, which jives with what Debra's post said.   So I'm probably not growing yeast by accident, but this other Leuconostoc species of bacteria.   Interesting she said it is the primary leavening agent for an Indian bread.   But to read her description that this stage is a three-ring circus of stuff going on, doesn't make it so appetizing.   Hmm.  Still debating if I should abort this bread or not.  Maybe I'll make it anyway and try a little bit, see if I get sick.   Heh.

sam's picture
sam

Maybe I misread what I said about alcohol..  I did get a whiff of it, but it may not be from the Leuconostoc (if that's what this is).. 

--> "Then I learned that some leuconostocs are added to dairy fermentations (such as cultured buttermilk, and cheeses like Gouda, Edam, blue cheese and havarti) for their carbon dioxide and aroma compounds. Together, these pieces all fit what we were seeing, and according to the chapter on fermented vegetables, leuconostocs are quite common in nature and found routinely on all kinds of produce and plant material."

 

Cool, not so bad then.   I'll go forth with this bread.  Maybe I am making whole-grain Cheese Bread today.  :-)

 

 

sam's picture
sam

Scooping it out of its container, this soaker, with either the leuconostocs or who know's what growing in it, did have a bit of an off-smell to it.   Kind of pungent.   I should have ditched it and substituted regular flour in its place, but I am curious to see how it turns out.  I hope I don't end up hallucinating on some LSD chemical it may have created.  (what do they say about moldy rye breads?).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think it needs to be around 4% to have a slow down effect.   That is why it's tricky to combine a salted per-ferment with a salted soaker -- one ends up with too much salt in the dough.  Warm climates like India would have to consider this natural leavening and take advantage of it.  LSD? hardly.  If you're using grain with Ergot, maybe.

As far as moldy ryes, you'll have to ask the fish.  I tend to feed fish with it (light mold) or dry it out to burn like wood (serious mold) or bury in the compost pile.

One more thought...  Did you use the same spoon for both?  Possibly mixing a "dirty spoon amount" into the soaker?  That would also cause the soaker to react as it did.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

This is off topic just a bit, but the Indian application for Leuconostoc mesenteroides (its use really since it is a naturally occuring bacteria on the urad dal or black gram) is for a steamed dumpling called idli and a thinned down batter that is made into a pancake called dosa.  The ingredients are: soaked urad dal (preferably not split so properly urad gota), soaked rice (of a variety that contains an appropriate amount of amylopectin), water (in a narrow range around 2.2 x the weight of the dry ingredients), and salt (~5 gm for 250 gm of rice+dal). The soaked dal is ground to a paste and the rice is ground to a cornmeal consistency (it may be soaked before or after grinding), combined with the dal paste and salt and mixed to the right consistency with water and fermented (typically ovenight to be cooked in the morning) at a warm temperature (the food science crowd thinks 30°C is optimum).  First the pH drops and (only) then it begins to foam, growing to 2 - 2.5x the original volume after 12 to 30 hrs (apparently depending on the population of leuconostoc that is on your dal).  It is then steamed in special pans to make idli.  Idli have a tangy flavor (not sour) and are soft but easily eaten out of hand.  They are often served with a spicy vegetable soup called sambar and a green chili and cilantro flavored coconut chutney.  Yum. Oh yes, there is still seems to be some debate about whether the foaming is due to a leuconostoc bacteria or a yeast.  Often you see fenugreek as an additive - which seems to used for its thixotropic properties to stabilize the foam and reduce syneresis of the foam/gel (i.e., keep the liquid from draining out) before you can steam it.  If you are lucky you learn to make them from your mother.  If not, you struggle and ask lots of questions.  I find no reference to using a "starter" culture to regularize the process though I have developed a procedure that works for me to avoid the 3-to-1 variation in fermentation time.

Doc

sam's picture
sam

Hi there,

I made sure to use different utensils for the mixing of the preferment and the soaker.   I'm fairly paranoid about accidentally introducing things from one to the other.  Also, I keep a pretty clean kitchen, never had any breakouts of mold or bugs or anything else.

I did 1% salt by weight of the flour in the soaker.  I may try it again at a warmer temp but increase the salt percentage.  Though, I did read that too much salt can also inhibit the amylase activity.  My goal was to maximize the sugar conversions as far as it would go, or at least what happens in a 24-hour period, even if it resulted in a gummy bread.  I did add the 1% salt to suppress any beasties (assuming 1% wasn't too much for the amylase).

Well, I'm happy for this failure.  It provided whole new avenues for ideas.  It would be great to be able to measure the amount of sugars in a soaker at various points in time, to see exactly how much is created at different temps, durations, salt content, etc.   I think they measure it in %Brix (percentage of weight).   It might be possible to dissolve samples of soaker in water and take measurements.  I'd guess the amounts would be very small percentages, 1-5% at most, but that's just a random guess.

I went ahead and made the bread.  The final dough had a definite "off" scent to it.  The actual baked bread smells OK though.  It was 210F after it came out of the oven.  After it cools I will try a bite, but decided I'm not going to eat this one.  Probably that is irrational, but anyway...  :-)  

I kind of feel a little stupid, posting to the world, "Look at the spoiled bread I made.  Is that bad?".  Oh well...   :)

 

 

mariana's picture
mariana

You did the right thing. Spoiled dough is dangerous not just because there are unwanted bacteria, but because those bacteria release poison into the dough ( such is the case of salmonella poisoning). Baking will kill salmonella, but not neutralize the poison. Even yeasted dough fermenting long term at warm temperature can get spoiled and thus is not safe for use in bread making.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21333150

Soakers are best and safest when they are kept in the refrigerator. I.e. it is safer to soak whole grain flours for 24hrs in the refrigerator, than for 8hrs at room temperature. The beneficial effect of soaking will be the same, but without the danger of contamination and food poisoning.  A good example of correct approach to soaking is in the last issue of Cook's llustrated (March-April 2011) where they give example of Whole wheat sandwich bread made with biga and soaker.

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=27410

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/video/default.asp?newVideo=y&docid=27547

sam's picture
sam

After tasting it, and then spending the next 6 hours talking to the pink elephants in the sky...   :)

just kidding.   I did bake it, but after cutting it open, it still did not smell right.   Tossed it in the trash without tasting.   Now I am cleaning everything thoroughly.

sam's picture
sam

Thanks again for that information about the bacteria and the Idli bread.  I think I am a little over my head for these Leuconostoc waters.   Don't trust myself.