#11  
Old 04-20-2010, 08:11 PM
heliman's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Location: Perth, Australia
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Looks really nice - well done!!
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  #12  
Old 04-22-2010, 04:51 PM
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Location: minnesota, usa
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Hi Big Phil. For some reason your post is just showing up now..., so apologies if this is late.
I typically use/feed my starter straight from the fridge, but it sees fairly heavy use every week and thus is quite active. If you're having an issue with excessively long proof times, you probably just need to refresh your starter more frequently. Also make sure you're feeding it enough relative to the amount you start with. I typically use all but the scrapings from my jar when I do my weekly bake and then add a minimum of 100g flour back to the jar, so I'd guess that is around a 4x expansion by weight. IMO, what is more important is after feeding, let it sit out on the counter until it has peaked before putting it back into the fridge.

So say tomorrow I bake or make pizza dough. Tonight I will pull my starter from fridge and either add all the starter to make a pre-dough/soaker with a portion of the flours and water from the recipe I'm using, or I'll do another 4x expansion to get enough starter to use in multiple recipes/batches. Either way, it will have peaked again by the a.m. and my final dough will be ready to bake off or retard in the fridge by afternoon.
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  #13  
Old 04-22-2010, 05:51 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Location: San Antonio
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Hi Big Phil!

Sourdough should go through a double expansion for most purposes. The first expansion gets it at peak performance and the second expansion is for the final dough (and yes there can be a third or fourth expansion but the volume of dough will grow amazingly!).

It sounds like you have tried to do sourdough in one shot. While that might reasonably work if you use a LOT of starter that is not really the best answer for you would have to keep a lot of it and it would never be at peak performance so you would not get a good rise. The double expansion is a normal sourdough activity. If two expansions are too much trouble then I would suggest simply using conventional recipes with instant dried yeast (IDY). Either the flavor is worth the trouble or it is not, so you do it or you don't, but that is a personal decision. While you may get similar flavor in with a large shot of starter you will be unlikely to get good, consistent texture. The easier way out is to use a good IDY formula. Very predictable. Great texture. And with an overnight retard the flavor is really good.

And note: while Splatgirl says she uses her starter straight from the refrigerator (me too), she uses it in the first expansion which goes overnight. The second expansion is done in the morning.

Good Luck!
Jay
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  #14  
Old 05-17-2010, 08:32 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Tempe, AZ
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Hi Splatgirl,

After reading your posting, I'm determined to give sourdough crust a try. Where did you get your starter from? What is the difference between using bread flour vs. caputo flour in your dough?

I'm really wanting to get a great oven spring as well a nice, crackly blistering of the crust (similar to what you'd find great sourdough bread). To me, the sourdough flavor is secondary to the texture of the crust and crumb. I have a wood fired oven that I plan to bake these in. Do you typically spritz your oven with water when cooking your sourdough pizzas?

I recently ate at Pizzeria Mozza in LA and fell in love...

fennel sausage pizza, the best! | Yelp

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
Sue
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  #15  
Old 05-17-2010, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Hi Sue
I birthed my starter from scratch. I had failed at the plain water and flour method of cultivation a couple of years ago, so I went with a variation on one of the techniques I read about and just plunked a (organic) raisin into a flour/water mixture and had activity within a couple of days. After that I just fed, fed, fed.

I have only ever used about 10# of Caputo but I found that I prefer King Arthur bread flour for flavor. Of course this is completely personal but that plus the accessibility and price factors make KA a win for me. I believe that recipe and how the dough is mixed and handled is a bigger factor than flour. Likewise oven heat management. Any old AP or bread flour if well mixed and handled and baked will make a crust that is superior to a poorly managed Caputo dough.

Spritzing the oven is not typically done for pizza. You wouldn't/shouldn't have time!
Great oven spring, big crackly bubbles and that perfect char are all about dough hydration, handling and oven heat. With practice, you will be able to get something that is on par with the best VPN style pizzas out there. That said, VPN style pizza crust, whether it be sourdough or IDY-based, is nothing like the crust on a good sourdough bread, IMO. Bread (partly because of that spritzing with water) has a thicker, chewier crust that is the result of gelatinization of the starches on the outside which you can't really get with the super hot, fast cook of a WFO pizza.

And just so we're clear, on-par with VPN was NOT what I was pulling out of my WFO on my first few-or several-attempts. Getting tuned in to pizza dough and WFO cookery takes practice, even if you're already an experienced bread maker or indoor pizza chef.

IME-based on what I've learned by doing and from books- the strength of the sour flavor of any sourdough bread product has much more to do with how the dough is handled and built than it does the starter itself. Since you say you don't care as much about the flavor, that makes it easier but... the characteristics you say you desire are not sourdough-centric by any means. You can get all of that with a yeast dough faster and easier.

Learning the rhythms of sourdough baking adds a whole nuther HUGE layer of complexity to the subject of dough. I don't want to discourage you, but IMO there are enough minute variables with pizza dough as it is. Swap sourdough into your repertoire once you've honed your yeast dough formula and skills. Besides, you'll need something to do while you grow your sourdough baby anyway, right?

cheers
s.g.
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  #16  
Old 05-17-2010, 09:57 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Hi splatgirl,

Thanks so much for the response! There's so much to digest (in more ways than one!), but I really appreciate your feedback.

Sue
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  #17  
Old 05-17-2010, 10:13 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Great response, SG!

A fired oven will always be too dry to give much gelatinization of the crust so WFO pizza will never have a sourdough crust/artisanal crust. That said, crust like that in the photos attached to the fennel sausage pizza link are readily available (as you know) and is probably more what Sue aspires to.

We did pizzas last night. Five inches of rain last week had the oven a little wet so I fired it Saturday and extra long on Sunday. The extra heat loading of the oven mass made oven management much easier than my normal one hour burn. After 2 1/2 hours I was still getting speckled tops and bottoms without recharging the hearth halfway through so I guess I will extend my heat up time to get more heat loading!

Oh...I also fully agree that WFOs have enough learning that people are better off with IDY until they get comfortable with the oven. Balancing timing for both the oven and the sourdough is IMO asking for trouble (or mediocre results).

Good to see you posting again!
Jay
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  #18  
Old 05-19-2010, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Quote:
Originally Posted by splatgirl View Post
... so I went with a variation on one of the techniques I read about and just plunked a (organic) raisin into a flour/water mixture and had activity within a couple of days. After that I just fed, fed, fed. ...
That's the technique I've used a couple of times, too. I think it is the way Nancy Silverton suggests in her book. Instead of organic raisins I use regular grocery store grapes. My twist in the technique is that I crush the grapes first. Don't know if that helps or not, but it never seems to have hurt.
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  #19  
Old 05-19-2010, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Crushing the grapes seems like it would be similar to the pineapple juice technique...delivers a little bit of sugar and acid.
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  #20  
Old 05-19-2010, 11:54 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 31
Default Re: Sourdough crust

I've been attempting to bring together a new sourdough starter the last few days. I'm starting with commercial yeast (which is the second sacrilegious food idea I've mentioned this evening) for dual reasons: 1) So I can just use the results of the starter doubling every 12 hours as a poolish for breads until the wild yeasts and LAB get up to speed. 2) I've had many failures with many different sourdough methods in the last few years, which leads me to throw them out a few weeks after they get going (they always veer in a weird acetone-y direction shortly after they come alive) -- a method with a little cheat to get the acid and alcohol levels right from early on might go in a better direction (I hope). It's an experiment.

Anyway, to respond to the first post in this thread, and whether that method will work comparably with commercial yeast... Lately, I've all but given up on bothering to use my kitchenaid for bread or pizza dough. My current method:

---------
100% Flour (King Arthur AP/Bread) (1kg)
70% Filtered Water (700g)
2.4% Salt (24g)
.3% ADY (3g)

Mix the dry together. Add the water. Mix with a wooden spoon until there isn't any raw flour sitting in the bottom of the bowl (but don't worry about it being really shaggy). Wait 10 minutes. Wet your hands and a dough scraper, and pull out the big lump. Stretch it out on a counter, massage out the big lumps, then fold it back up and put it back in the bowl. Repeat this 2 more times. Bulk rise 6+ hours at room temp (if you're in a hurry or didn't plan too far ahead), or (ideally) 2-5 days in the fridge. Makes about 1700g of dough, which I separate into 6 ~280g balls, for 6 14-16" pies.
---------

I wrote this on another site the other day, and put in a point about 70% dough being somewhat difficult to work with, and requiring a lot of bench flour. I can't imagine what 82% + the flour-weakening effects of 18 hours of sourdough action would be like.

I can't tell if I've reached some sort of zen state of dough production, or I've just gotten lazy, but this current method produces as good a dough (for me) as anything requiring more or more complicated kneading. It's easy, flexible time-wise, and produces an extensible, springy, moist, well-charred dough at 680 degrees in my home oven. I'll grant it's probably not on the level of your sourdough (with less than 2 days rise, the flavor can be a bit flat, and it starts to go stale pretty much by the time it's reached room temperature), but it's proof that the stretch and fold method works just fine for ADY/IDY.
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