Over-fermented starter?


I've been making my master dough with poolish these past weeks with good results. And I often use sourdough starter (100% hydration) as well with similar results. But the thing with using sourdough starter is that dough would become very active in that there seems to be a lot of fermentation already going on after only 12 hours of cold fermentation as each dough balls have doubled in size.

I wasn't sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing until today when I tried to bake one of my 3 sourdough dough balls (36 hours cold fermented). I baked the pie succesfully and since I'm not gonna bake another pie until the next day, I degassed the other dough balls and as I'm reballing it the gluten structures starts breaking down. The dough became very sticky it's simply unworkable I had to throw it away.

Has this ever happened to anyone else? What did i do wrong? The only i thing i did differently was that I feed the starter with less water to make a Tiga. I usually use my starter (100% hydration) 4 hours after feeding but this time I waited for 6 hours before I mixed it with the other ingredients. Is it possible that i have used an over-riped starter and it somehow weakened the gluten?

Yoppi Tan
posted over 3 years ago

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It's hard to say exactly what's going on since the starter and poolish are going to behave differently, even if the hydration is the same.

If your doubling after 12 hours of cold fermentation, I'm guessing that a 36-hour cold rise is way too long. Were I in your shoes, I would make another batch, identical to this one, and then use one of the balls at the 12-hour mark.

If you're tied to a 36-hour rise, you can cut down on the amount of yeast added in the final dough recipe. Or, you can cut down on the amount of starter, making sure to adjust the amount of water and flour used in the final dough recipe.

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Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 3 years ago

Yes I've been thinking of reducing the amount of starter used (5% instead of 20%) But i wonder how it will affect the flavor and the texture of the baked pie. I guess i'll find out soon when i bake my next batch.

- Yoppi   over 3 years ago

As a point of reference, I've used 10% starter by weight and still had very good results. The best way is to try.

- Raj   over 3 years ago


I'd recommend that you try Raj's first suggestion--leave the starter at 20% and reduce the added yeast. I use a natural starter and don't have the problems you describe, so it may also be temperature related (that is, your initial dough temperature).

Adam Sachs
posted over 3 years ago


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