Yeast quantities with starters?

Ok, another question. In the baker's quantities for the Neapolitan style dough, yeast is listed as .5%. And we've figured out that is for dry yeast. But my dough came out way over-proofed. It actually doubled in size and had bubbles in the dough, after 24 hours in the refrigerator, and after 1 hour at room temperature it became unworkable--tearing when I tried to stretch it. I suspect that I had too much yeast in the recipe. Note that I have a gram scale and measure things very carefully, so I'm positive I didn't mis-measure. My first thought is that I need to account for the yeast in the poolish, but then I started thinking: The yeast in the poolish multiplies, so should I even be adding yeast to the dough when I'm using a starter? Sorry to be such a pain.
My setup is this:
I'm a very serious amateur doing this in my home. Typically I make 5-6 dough balls. I have a 20qt Hobart mixer that I use, my dough balls go into proofing trays, and those go into a True 23 commercial refrigerator. They come out of the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking them in my Woodstone oven.

Dean T.
posted over 3 years ago

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Hi Dean,

For yeast, since it's measured in such small quantities, you'll require a greater level of precision than just grams. You can purchase a palm scale that can measure in tenths of grams.

What is the gram amount of yeast you're weighing? The other factors could be room temperature, water temp and friction caused during the mix. Was the room particularly warm?

I've tried measuring the same amount of yeast on a gram scale and a tenth of a gram scale and noticed a huge difference. This could be the cause of your problems.

The one I have is available on Amazon (American Weigh Scale BL-1KG-BLK) and is only $10:

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Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 3 years ago

Ok Raj, I was incorrect when I said "gram scale." I'm measuring my yeast down to an accuracy of .005 Oz, or .14 grams. Here's my scale:

- Dean   over 3 years ago

Got it. Sounds like the you got the quantities right then. Could be water temp or room temp. Were either of these noticeably different than your normal setup?

- Raj   over 3 years ago

The room was 73 degrees, just like in the past. Relative humidity in the room where I store my flour and mix it (yes, I track those things--I'm very anal) stays between 20% and 25%. I've started another poolish today--I plan on making enough dough for 3 8-9oz dough balls tomorrow. I'll see how it turns out and take photos this time.

- Dean   over 3 years ago

Raj I REALLY appreciate all your help. I can't thank you enough. To answer your questions, no, the room is climate-controlled and stays at seventy degrees, I'm using cold water from my tap (coming from a well--not municipal water) and I even give thought to the effect of the temperature of the mixing bowl on the water temperature. That's why I don't understand why there was such a drastic change in the dough. It seems the only thing I changed was to add the poolish. The book calls for the poolish to be 20% of the flour weight. Is that correct? It just seems to me that between the 20% starter and the .5% yeast added to the dough that it's a lot of yeast, especially when the goal is to get a 36-48 hour proof.

- Dean   over 3 years ago


First off there's a typo in that recipe. Yeast amount for ADY should read 2.3 grams, not 2-3 grams.

Second, you need to subtract the amount of yeast you use in the poolish from the total amount of yeast required in the formula.

So, 2.3 grams of total yeast minus 0.12 grams of yeast in the poolish would leave you with 2.18 grams of ADY to add to the final mixture.

Hope that makes sense and helps.

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Mike K.
posted over 3 years ago

Thanks Mike. Actually, I'm using the baker's quantities listed on pg 302 of the book, so I'm actually using the formula yeast weight=flour weight*.5%. What your saying is what I suspect, it should be (flour weight*.5%)-poolish yeast weight.

- Dean   over 3 years ago

Ok, I made another poolish yesterday, and made enough dough for 3 8oz-9oz dough balls this morning, accounting for the weight of the flour, water, and yeast in the poolish. To be on the safe side, I also took meticulous measurements, not only of the ingredients, but of temperatures and humidity levels also. The dough came out very nicely. Thank you guys for your help. By the way, if anyone is interested in trying it, I have put this dough recipe into an Excel spreadsheet. All you do is enter the number of dough balls you want to make and the ingredient weights are calculated automatically, including the poolish.

Dean T.
posted over 3 years ago

Dean, glad to hear it worked out. I'm working on a calculator for the site and would love get your thoughts at some point. Also, we'd all love to see pics of your pies. Post them if you're so inclined!

- Raj   over 3 years ago

would love the spreadsheet!

- Senor   about 1 month ago

Is the spreadsheet still available.

Bradley D.
posted 14 days ago

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