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please help! - how to increase acidity of Lievito/ Pasta Madre?

thefermentingfolder's picture

please help! - how to increase acidity of Lievito/ Pasta Madre?

Hi everyone!

I've been maintaining a Lievito Madre for a couple of months now, but it seems to be a little finicky right now and may not be acidic enough. I'd previously been storing the LM in a cooler (16-18c) and feeding it every 1-2 days. As we draw near to December, I want to start practicing panettone and so have been trying to build up the LM. So since then, I've been following this process: 

1. The LM is kept in the fridge at about 4C for 6 days, cloth-bound.

  • When I take it out, the pH measures about 4.39. 

2. I then do a bagnetto (400g ice cold water and 3g of sugar) for 20 minutes.

3. Then refresh it at 1:1:0.35-7, before submerging it in water (28-30c) to do a warm fermentation for about 4-6 hours.

  • It takes quite a bit of time to float, sometimes more than 2 hours. This part concerns me, because I've read that should float within 1-1.5hrs? 

4. Then refresh it at 1:1:0.4, wrap it up with some linen cloth and leave it in the cooler for about 16-20 hours.

  • The last time I did this, the pH was about 4.15. I read somewhere that it should be quite acidic after this, at about 3.8-3.9? But I've not been able to reach this. Is this a matter of letting it ferment for longer? 

I sometimes repeat steps 1-4 twice, in a bid to strengthen the LM. 

5. Then when I start on the 3 final refreshments, it's usually at a 1:1:0.4-0.45 ratio, 3-4 hrs at 28-30c. The first refreshment doesn't triple, but the 2nd and 3rd does...I think. 

  • The last time I did this, pH was 4.49, which again doesn't seem acidic enough! 

So with this LM, I decided to go ahead anyway and started the panettone process, it took forever to leaven my first dough to 3x the volume (it took 15-16 hours at 28-30C). By the time it tripe, the dough then turned out too acidic and overproofed...I went ahead with the second dough anyway, and the final product didn't rise very much :|

I'm not sure which part of the process to tweak, or if it's just a matter of letting the LM ferment longer to bring down the pH reading? Is this process too complicated? I've been doing my own research and reading online and also following an online course, but it's quite hard to sift through the information. Is there an acidity difference between the bound method and the underwater conservation method? 

For context, I'm living in Singapore, so tropical and humid climate. 

Thank you in advance!!! And any help would be much appreciated.