The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

effect of repeated feedings on starter strength

sallam's picture
sallam

effect of repeated feedings on starter strength

Greetings

I've noticed that when I take my starter from the fridge, before using it, the more I feed/discard, the higher the starter can rise before it collapses. For example, after first feeding, it rises 2x before it begins to collapse. After the second feeding it can reach 3x before it collapses. I did not experiment behind that. Did you, respectful TFLers, notice that too? and does that mean that the more we repeat starter feedings the more rise we can expect from our bakes?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think the repeated feedings activate the yeast and energize them to reproduce more aggressively. The population of the yeast increase causing more gas, resulting in a higher rise.

A highly active starter should produce a highly active Levain. That levain will produce a gassy dough. And if the gluten network in the dough is strong enough to contain and hold the gas, the bread will rise higher.

That’s what I believe.

Dan

sallam's picture
sallam

I don't currently use a levain, since my dough is usually pizza dough, and I've learned that levain, while suitable for bread making, is not so for pizza dough, which benefits more from longer fermentation times. A levain is simply a large starter as you know, and that will shorten the fermentation time. My target is to ferment my dough as slowly as possible. I currently use a tiny starter, 1.3% of the flour weight, direct fermentation in RT (no pre-ferment/levain).

What I need to know is: does using a highly active starter results in less final dough fermentation time? and does using a not-so-active starter makes the dough ferment in a longer time? my experiments so far say yes to those questions. Longer fermentation as you know allows acids and enzymes to develop more and more, giving the dough more healthy benefits and a better flavor profile. But what about oven rise and texture, are they both the same at the end? or does the highly active starter produce more oven rise and lighter crust?

I hope this is not confusing. What I want is to evaluate which is better at the end of the day (when direct-fermenting) : using a highly active starter, or a not-so-active starter?

jmoore's picture
jmoore

Hi sallam,

I actually got in to bread making in my search of making the best pizza. I figured that 80% of the pizza quality is in the dough, and if I can't make really good bread, I'll never be able to create really good pizza. I've now been on this tangent for like a year or so. :) Based on what I've read, almost all the guys making the best pizza in the US have a baking background.

I'd encourage you to explore making a sourdough pizza dough again: some of the best pizziaolos are using naturally fermented doughs. In my opinion, it takes the quality to a different level. The dough is typically fermented for 48 hrs or so.

Just my 2 cents. :)

sallam's picture
sallam

Thanks for your input. I totally agree. There is nothing like a sourdough pizza napoletana.

By the way, by starter I meant sourdough starter. Sorry for the confusion. I use no commercial yeast. I strive to ferment in 48 hrs, but its not easy where I live, since my ambient temp. is around 80F. The most I managed in RT is 30 hrs.

jmoore's picture
jmoore

I apologize, I misread your post, thinking you had given up on using sourdough for pizza.