The Fresh Loaf

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Threw out my starter by accident, how should I use my current pizza dough to recreate it?

Copernicus21's picture

Threw out my starter by accident, how should I use my current pizza dough to recreate it?

The unthinkable happened and I forgot to refresh my stiff starter. My current pizza dough is undergoing a bulk ferment in the fridge so it kind of lives on in there?? What's the best way to recreate my poor starter, should I hack off a large amount at the end of bulk and feed it? I'm mindful that the dough has salt in it.

Or will a short 30 g piece do for now, 8 hours into the cold bulk..

I know I could start a new starter but I really did enjoy how vigorous this one was :(

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

You've got nothing to lose except for some water and flour if you should use a 30 g piece of your dough to rebuild so give it a try. It may take a few feedings and discards to get what you think is an adequate amount of starter so have some patience. The salt content may slow down the first feeding but by the third feeding it will be negligible in percentage.

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

Is starter for new dough. No problem in taking some of your pizza dough and maintaining it as your starter. Don't worry about the salt. I've even made starter by adding salt into the flour from the beginning.

idaveindy's picture

If you want to keep the same strains/varieties/species of your old bugs,...  reduce, as much as possible, the addition of new bugs. That means avoid adding whole grains, because the bugs live mainly on the bran.

The people at Carl's Oregon Trail Starter recommend feeding only  white flour as a method of adding food with a minimum introduction of new/different bugs.

Temporarily upping the hydration % will reduce the salt concentration, which might benefit the wee beasties.

Replacing  a _little_ of the white flour food with table sugar and/or corn starch (corn flour in the UK) is one way to feed and add less "new" bugs at the same time. 

If adding table sugar (sucrose), you should increase hydration, and go easy on the amount of table sugar because it robs water and tends to dry out the organisms. High sugar acts as an anti-bacterial.

Using bottled _spring_ water (not filtered water, not distilled water) with its natural minerals helps the wee beasties too.

Plain regular feeding will still work, but I've found that the above tweaks can super-charge/quicken things, if used in small proportions. 

Good luck, and bon appétit.

phaz's picture

Just take a piece, any size, and treat as you normally would your starter. Salt won't hurt anything, I regularly throw mixed dough in my starters as feed - salt, olive oil, whatever else I decide to throw in a dough goes right in. No problems yet. Enjoy!

MontBaybaker's picture

Don't feel bad.  3 decades ago my in-laws returned from a trip to discover the refrigerator had died.  Mom headed out to buy a new fridge, Dad was in charge of cleaning out the old one.  Not being the baker he threw out Mom's vintage starter, figuring that anything that looked so awful was inedible.  She was not happy.  2 weeks later we happened to be headed to to the mountains to visit parents of a friend.  Mom had shared her starter with this lady a few years earlier, and Pat had been producing county fair award-winning bread with it.  We brought some back for Mom, and all was well (Dad forgiven). 

Copernicus21's picture

As I've also gifted my starter to a friend and was banking on reaching out to her for a solution. 

Copernicus21's picture

for your comments. As it turned out, 30 g of old (overripe) dough turned out great, managed to build back my starter after 2 feeds.

The reason why it was washed out - I tended towards building small volume levains and using 2-3 g of the remnants in the bowl as the seed for the next feed. Someone else in the house came along and washed up what looked like a dirty bowl. I'm sure many have faced this same issue haha!