The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pasta madre

Thanhnguyen's picture

Pasta madre

Sorry I'm not sure which forum topic this should be under. Also, I might not use the right terminologies so please correct me.
I have been maintaining two pasta madres. They both seem very healthy and strong. Both Ph are similar before and after conservation. Have not attempted Panettone yet.
Caputo Pasta madre, I feed with Caputo's Saccorosso (13% protein, W300/W320, P/L 0.50/0.60). She consistently gives me lots of beautiful elongated and opened holes (is that the right word ? or alveoli?). When I manage to get a bag of Agugiaro e Figna's Lievitati (14% protein, W400/410, P/L 0.50/0.60) from a local bakery that made amazing panettones I decided to make another pasta madre using that flour. Although Agugiaro pasta madre is also strong and healthy, it does not seem to be as big as the one I feed with Caputo's flour after storage. There are lots of alveoli but they are small and not as open.
I feed both the same. Twice a day, dry method, 6am at 1:1:0.4 at 27C, Ph 4.1, then night rest 1:1:0.4 at 17C, Ph range from 4.00 to 3.90.

These are my questions:

1. Does the size and shape of the alveoli of the pasta madre matter in making Panettone? Ideally, I don't want to keep two pasta madre. but which one should I keep?
2. I like the look of Pasta madre 1 with Caputo but Im not using caputo flour to make panettone, or can I? 

3. If I use the Caputo pasta madre to make panettone, but using Agugiaro's flour to make panettone, will it impact the end result? should the same flour be used in feeding the pasta madre and making panettone?

4. I have been feeding both twice a day for the last month or so without refreshments because I have not used them in production. I have not put them in long storage because I collect the discard and make sourdough and other baked goods with it and really like the results so I stopped using liquid starter. Does long conservation weaken the pasta madre? does it need to rest? should I do 3 refreshments every once a while even if i dont make panettone?

5. Im considering using Giorili's recipe, I studied it carefully, it said the first dough Ph needs to be 5.1 and triple in volume. What if the Ph is 5.1 and it's not tripled? do I wait? and what happens if i wait until it tripled but the Ph is below 5?

Thank you in advance

SueVT's picture

Oh lots of questions!

Both of your flours are good for PM, because the main thing is to use a high protein flour, which does a better job of feeding the microorganisms. I use Gold Medal All Trumps to maintain the PM, and then Petra 6384 or Dallagiovanna  Lievitati flour to make the panettone, which I think was one of your other questions.

Your maintenance pH seems good. You might want to give a bagnetto sometimes to reduce the acidity before feeding, then feed at 1:2:.4 once, to encourage the yeasts. Try to get pH 4.1.  Eventually you will get this pH.

The longer, elongated holes are fine, but this does not necessarily mean a better PM. It can also sometimes signal an imbalance, or it might just be because of the lower protein level. I am going to guess that both of your PMs will produce similar panettone results, but you will have to do the experiment to see.

Giorilli's recipe is a very good one, and produces a great classic panettone. Since your PM is rising well,, you probably will get the volume to triple. If you have a problem it will probably be due to too much acidity, or not enough mixing to develop the gluten. Be very sure to mix very thoroughly to develop the gluten to full windowpane. This is very different from what you do with regular bread baking. 

After you have done some panettone baking, it is ok to do long storage by binding and refrigerating, or freezing, or even drying the PM. I have not tried drying, but for me, freezind does damage the PM, and it takes time to re-develop into a useable PM. Cold refrigeration of a wrapped and bound PM works best for me, and I only keep it that way for a week or so. It will rebound from this storage very well, which saves on flour and effort.

mwilson is the resident PM expert here, I hope he will chime in.

If you can, read Chambelland's panettone book, and perhaps Montenari's Omnia Fermenta, Cresci by Massari

Sounds like you are doing well, hope you post panettone pictures when you are done!


Thanhnguyen's picture

Oh thank you SueVT for replying to my questions. I really appreciate that, I know the only way to find out any of my queries is to make panettone and see the results. I will find the courage one day and will post pictures.