The Fresh Loaf

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old dough quantity - same as starter quantity?

sallam's picture

old dough quantity - same as starter quantity?


Yesterday I fermented a pizza napoletana dough in RT with a tiny 0.66g sourdough starter (0.2% of total flour) (direct fermentation, no preferment). It worked fine. The dough doubled in 27 hours. But since it was not easy to weigh such kind of quantity yesterday, I thought I better try today to use a bit from the dough itself, instead of the starter, to inoculate tomorrow's dough.

If I switch a recipe from using a starter to using the old dough/pâte fermentée method, taking a piece of today's dough to ferment the next batch, what quantity should I use? is it supposed to be an equal quantity of the starter in the original recipe? (My goal is for the dough to be ready in the same time frame)

Lechem's picture

If your starter was 100% hydration and the dough ended up being 80% hydration then the flour within the 0.66g of old dough would be slightly higher than in 0.66g of the 100% hydration starter. But we're talking such minute quantities don't sweat it. I only mention this in case you decide to do this in future with significant quantities where the pre-fermented flour within the old dough should be taken into account.

Wow! at 1% starter you're looking at a very long fermentation time already. Why 0.66% starter?

sallam's picture

I use 0.2% Because RT here is around 80F, and because I want the longest fermentation possible in RT. To calculate the percentage I used a handy spreadsheet called "sourdough prediction model". You enter the temperature of 1 or more stages of fermentation, and how many hours you would like for the dough to be ready, and it gives you the predicted sourdough percentage. If you like to give it a try, you can download it from :
It was made by TXCraig1, from pizzamaking forum.

DanAyo's picture

I have no real experience with a pâte fermentée, but I have 2 thoughts, maybe 3.

Refrigerated ferment would slow things down. You probably considered that.

I use an inexpensive 100g scale for things like salt, yeast, starter seed, etc..

Lastly, you could mix a larger amount of starter and match it with an equal portion of water. Then remove the percentage of that mixture that you need.

It is obvious that you are very exacting. I can relate. Close enough is never close enough. Am I right? If so, take a look at this.  This little baby is good to 0.01 gram. This is the one I use. Now that’s my kind of scale... {;-)


BTW Sallam, have you found the chart to be accurate? Is the flavor of the crust greatly enhanced?

sallam's picture

"you could mix a larger amount of starter and match it with an equal portion of water. Then remove the percentage of that mixture that you need." That's exactly what I do when I need tiny amounts.

Yes, I found the spreadsheet accurate, though Craig asks that we test and judge for ourselves. The flavor is very good, no tang, but delicious. The dough opens very easy, and oven rise is great (the dough is 70% hydration).