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Camaldoli Starter questions - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

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Camaldoli Starter questions

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  • Camaldoli Starter questions

    I was given a camaldoli starter that was active and ready to go. I mixed up my dough with the starter according to jeff varasano with out the instant dry yeast.

    My dough didn't rise...

    Here are the steps:
    1. I filled up the canning jar with warm water and "washed" the yeast... I took out 1 cup and fed it will 1 cup of flour and some water to make it thick pancake batter.
    2. I let it get active at about 70 degree F for 2 hours and it rose 2 inches then I mixed that into the dough.

    My question:
    Was I supposed to separate that again and feed it then let it rise 8-12 hours?
    Is that why it didn't rise?

    Thanks for your help.


  • #2
    Re: Camaldoli Starter questions

    I have never had a problem with either of my sour dough cultures. If I remember correctly, once you wash it, you need to really get it going again. You should let it sit on the counter and let it feed/grow for a few days before you use it. Same thing when you take it out of the fridge after prolonged dormant periods, it will take a couple of days to "wake up".

    There should be no need to wash it, unless you suspect contamination.
    Wade Lively


    • #3
      Re: Camaldoli Starter questions

      Your culture may have been established but was unlikely to be in good shape. They typically need several days of feeding to several weeks to be really robust and ready to raise bread. Washing the yeast would have given you an even weaker culture. I would feed it for a week. And if you want to make bread I would highly recommend switching to measurement by weight or you will never get consistent results. For simplicity I strongly recommend using equal weights of water and flour (i.e. a 100& hydration starter).

      And finally, wild yeast is significantly less active than commercial yeast. You don't typically want to add more than 4X the weight of the starter in a given expansion. Most sourdough is made by having a first expansion (in my case 100 grams of starter to which I add 200 grams of water and 200 grams of flour). That will be at peak activity in about 13 hours (so if I do it at 6 pm it will be ready to make bread the next morning about 7). Then take that 500 grams and add 2000 (about 1250 of flour and 750 of water) to make the final dough. That will need about a 3 hour proof before shaping loaves and then about 2 to 4 hours additional proofing before baking depending on the tempertature.

      Good Luck!


      • #4
        Re: Camaldoli Starter questions

        What happened when you added flour to the starter and mixed? You might want to get the sourdough book at the website where the starter came from (I don't think I have enough posts to link to the website) - but that way you can be sure you have an active culture. I just used my camaldoli starter and it leavened the bread great - but I haven't tried it in a pizza recipe yet. When you add the flour and water to your starter and reduce it to a cup - put a rubber band around the jar to see how much it rises. It should rise at least 2-3" in around 3 hours.