The Fresh Loaf

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Starter is going, but best way to utilize it?

hotsawce's picture

Starter is going, but best way to utilize it?

With the help of the forum, my starter is finally going. It is rising and falling reliably, and instead of tossing the discard portion I used one part to make a starter with bread flour and the other to make a starter with rye and fed a backup starter I'm keeping in the fridge in case of emergencies. All are 100% hydration and being fed equal amounts of flour and water to whatever seed starter remains (example, 50g starter, 50g water, 50g flour.) So far, it's working out for me.

Now, because I'm using my starter primarily in pizza where toppings can obscure the taste of the dough, I'm looking for a noticeable sourdough flavor and aroma (but no funk or vinegar.) I've read the rye starter will help with that, as well as including whole wheat or rye flour in the final dough, but I'd love opinions on the best way to use the starter to achieve that result.

Would the forum recommend skipping the levain building stage and using only a larger portion of active starter in the mix, or should I do the Tartine method where I make a levain/preferment with a small amount of the starter before mixing the final dough? And, if making a levain (say, 15% of flour weight,) how much starter should I use for it (by percentage?) Tartine simply says hold back a TBSP, but I can't imagine that's the right for different size batches of dough.

Ideally, I would build a large amount of the flavor in the early stages and retard in balls that I could use for a few days (rather than the tartine method, which only holds the final shape for about 4 hours.)