Friday, September 9, 2011

Sourdough Pizza

I used some of the sourdough starter to make another small batch of pizza dough.  I didn't use any yeast at all.  The dough took a little longer than usual to double in size, but it did rise!  I can't believe it worked :)

This time, I pre-heated the grill with the baking stone in it.  I popped the pizza on it and closed the cover (with all the burners on "high").  It really came out great!  The crust was really tasty and the bottom, though very thin, was nice and crunchy.  Perfect pizza.

click on the pic to enlarge it

Sourdough Starter Experiment (Update)

Looks like I'm definitely on the right track with my sourdough starter!  Here's what it looked like this morning (after 60 hours)

Very nice and frothy with a clean, sour aroma

I removed the two grapes I had in there and "fed" it with another cup of flour (AP UB white this time) and another cup of water.

I just checked on it and, in just an hour, it's looking very active.  I'll give it a couple of more hours, cover it and put it in the fridge overnight.  I'll repeat the feeding for the next 48 hours.  After that, I should be able to maintain this starter for years :)

Baker's math

 So here's the rub...  Say you find a good recipe but it uses enough flour to feed a third world nation.  What to do?  It's easy... just scale it back :)

I bought a cheap digital kitchen scale a couple of weeks ago and now do all of my measuring by weight.  I don't really think this is absolutely necessary but it does make scaling recipes easier.  There's nothing worse than trying to re-calculate cups, tablespoons or teaspoons (these are ridiculous units of measure :) ).   In my "formulas" or recipes, all of the weights of ingredients are in % of the total flour used (flour being 100%).   This  "baker's math" sounds like it will be complicated at first but it's actually very easy.

Example:  A Sourdough Pizza recipe (I'll try this next week with the SD starter I'm in the process  making).  As you can see, this uses a lot of flour; something like 5 or 6 cups I think.  Way too much...

           Ingredient                  Amount            Baker's %

  • Filtered water:               550 g               65.5%
  • Unbleached AP flour:    850 g             100.0%
  • Sea salt:                           30 g                 3.5%
  • Dry yeast:                        2.5 g                 .25%
  • Sourdough starter:          60 g                 9.0%

Look at the Baker's % column.   I want to make one pie and I'm thinking 150 grams of flour (about a cup) should do it.  To calculate the amounts of the other ingredients needed, I simply do the math based on the baker's % shown above:

Flour: 100% = 150 g
Water: 65.5% = 98.25 g (this is the hydration level)
Salt: 3.5% = 5.2 g
Starter: 9% = 13.5 g
Yeast: .25% = .375 g

The result is a smaller batch but one where each "ingredient to flour ratio" is identical to the original formula.  

If you remember the ratios, all of the amounts of ingredients can be calculated based on how much flour you are calling for.  So, if you're down to your last bit of flour and want to use it all up, doing so is a snap using Baker's Math. :)