Siff sourdough starter/ Pasta madre/ lievito madre is used in sweet egg and butter rich breads. As these dough requires slow ferementation. Here is methods describe how to make stiff sourdough starter.
What is Stiff Starter
Siff sourdough starter/ Pasta madre/ lievito madre can made from your 100% liquid starter.
Difference between a sourdough and brewer’s yeast
Sourdough consists of both natural yeast and bacteria, while commercial yeast consists of one major species Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Why do you need pasta madre/Lievito madre?
Pasta madre or lievito madre (lievito means ‘yeast’). It is a firm sourdough starter which is highly active, mild flavor profile (no sour taste) and able to work on egg and dairy-enriched doughs like panettone and pandoro.
Ingredients to make the siff starter
You can make stiff starter using
Stiff sourdough starter
- Bread flour : you can use all purpose flour
- Sourdough Starter : Use 100% sourdough starter
In a bowl, first mix liquid starter with flour until the dough become a shaggy mass. Continue to knead until the dough becomes smooth and firm and there are no dry spots.
Set aside for doubling the dough it takes about approximately 4-5 hours.
Then repeat this until 4-5 times.
Then convert the stiff stater into pasta madre, or liveto madre. By adding them into sugar water. This will enhance the growth of yeast over bacteria.
Again feed them 2 times before you start using it into the dough.
Can I make stiff sourdough starter from 100% liquid starter?
Yes, you can ,
For that you need to feed 1: 1: 2 starters: water: flour ratio. And let it ferment for 6 hours at 75-78°F (24-26 °C). For room temperature you need to refresh them for at least 4-5 times. Then you got base starter that you can convert it into lievito madre.
To concentrate more natural yeasts in your stiff sourdough starter and remove the acetic acid and bring oxygen to your starter you need to give a sugar bath to your stiff sourdough starter
For this you need to use 2g sugar in 4 cups of water. Put the stiff sourdough in this water and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
From here you can either proceed in two ways.
If you are opting for dry method
Feed equal amount of starter with equal amount of flour and 30% water. Make a dry dough ball and set aside for 3-4 hours, then do second refreshment.
For second refreshment use 40% hydration with equal amounts of starter and flour. Set aside for another 3-4 hours and then do a third refreshment.
For third refreshment
You need to make another 40% hydration starter with flour and 2nd refreshment starter.
This starter you can use to make panettone or pandoro or any other rich sourdough.
You can store the lievito madre at room temperature and refresh them and use. Or you can store in refrigerator as bound. And then take out every other week or 4-5 days and refresh the starter. If you are refrigerating the starter, then make it 50% hydration.
For refreshing refrigerated starter, you need to use only inside the starter remove dry outer covering of the starter.
If you are opting for storing lievito madre in water method.
The lievito madre should placed directly into a bowl of cold water. You need to use 5 times weight of the starter. As in water and under more aerobic conditions the madre remains less acidic because of less acetic acid development.
Compared to stiff starter kept as bound dough and under anaerobic conditions (more lactic) which relates to the variation in specified pH optimal.
You need to use a tall plastic or glass container with water should be 5 times weight of the starter. Water temperature 64 ° F/ 18° C.
In the beginning pasta madre remain immersed in the water as fermentation happens the dough will float and form a dome shape in the top. Leave to rise for 24/48 hours at ( 75-82°F ) 26 ° / 28 ° C.
After 48 hours, because of carbon dioxide, the dough will come to the surface. If this does not happen, repeat the operation, knead with the same weight of flour and 40% water.
What are characteristics of pasta madre/ Lievito madre.
when it is ripe, it will have slightly acid flavor, white and soft texture with elongated alveoli, pH 4-4.10, alcoholic scent.
If over fermented it will taste bitter acid, dun-colored, round cells, pH 3-3.8, smell pungent acid.
If it is too weak - sweetish acid taste, white color, poorly alveolate dough, pH 5-5.5, scent of flour.
If pasta madre is Sour - taste of acetic acid, smell of cheese (given by butyric acid), gray color, sticky and moist paste, low pH you cannot use you need to enhance the starter with egg yolk and sugar.
How to improve your stiff starter ?
If the starter is too strong or you stored the starter for long time in refrigerator
1) Cut the starter into slices and soak it in sugar water (2g sugar in 4 cups of water) at 20-22 °C,
2) Leave to soak for 10-15 minutes
3) Squeeze the water content from the starter and continue to the refreshing operation, with the following rate 1: 1: 2 Starter: water: flour ratio.
4) Proceed with the subsequent refreshments by measuring the flour until a starter of the right consistency means which matures in 4 hours at 28 °C.
If you find your starter is so weak:
1) Refresh the stiff starter in this ratio: 1.5: 1: 0.5 starter, flour, and water ration.
2) Combine everything to form dry and let it rise at room temperature.
3) Proceed to the subsequent refreshments, until your starter doubles with 4 hours.
If the starter has turned sour:
First do a washing in sugar water and then continue to enhance the starter by feeding, ratio 1 : 2 : 1 starter: flour : water + 20g egg yolk and 3 g sugar.
Knead well and set aside for tripled in volume and then procced with subsequent refreshments with flour, water, and starter until you get a strong starter which doubles in 4 hours. No need to use any egg yolk of sugar.
Once you made a strong stiff starter you can start making pandoro, panettone and other sweet breads.
You can use this stiff starter/ liveto madre in the following recipes
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How to Make Stiff Starter
- ¼ cup / 30g Sourdough starter
- ⅛ cup / 30g water at 78°F/ 25°C
- ½ cup / 60g bread flour
- 2 cup /473.2g water
- 2 tsp sugar
- In a small bowl mix together the sourdough starter and water first and then add bread flour mix well. Then knead to a smooth ball and insert to a small jar cover loosely and place on the counter at room temp 75-78F to ferment for 6 hours.
- Repeat this step 4-5 times, take 30 grams of the fermented starter and feed again 30 grams water and 60 grams bread flour.
- Now the starter is ready for preparing the Lievito Madre
- In a bowl add 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoon sugar and mix well. To this add starter sit for 15-20 minute. Squeeze the water from the starter and set aside
- In a clean small bowl add in 30 grams of the starter with 30 grams water at 78F mix in 60 grams bread flour mix well and knead well on a dry surface roll the starter and fold it few times to get a smooth dough like, fold both ends and roll again to a long strip, starting from one end roll it tight to a log (Swiss roll)
- Transfer to a tall jar (triple the capacity) and add water just to cover the roll. cover loosely and place on the counter at Room temperature (76-78F) let it ferment for 4-5 hours or until the starter float. Strain the starter and refresh it by repeating same amount starter, water, and bread flour.
- Increase the amount of starter to 100 grams starter + 100 grams bread flour with 40 g water. Knead smooth then roll same way as before. Let it ferment same way and time. At this point the Lievito Madre is ready for the mix.
- If you are going to make a dry starter then mix 100g starter+ 100g bread flour + 45g water and set aside for 4 hours and doubled in volume. You need to refresh 3 times before using it into the bread.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.