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Jul 14, 2011 12:09 PM

Italian Sourdough Starter

Does anyone know where I can get some Italian sourdough starter or culture in Toronto? I use it as an ingredient in my home-made pizza dough. It likely doesn't necessarily have to be Italian I guess.

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  1. If you can figure out how I can get in touch with you or where I can leave a piece, I'll give you some.

    1. If you're prepared to brave trying to make your own, Daniel Leader has instructions for making Italian-style starter ("biga naturale") in his book Local Breads. The book is available from Toronto public library.

      1. What would an "Italian" sourdough be?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sacherboy

          I'm no expert but I have read a lot about it ('cause I LOVE sourdough anything). Different strains of yeast provide different flavour, especially if developed using a sourdough method. Many however debate this and say it's the water, or flour, or method ...

          Famous yeasts : San Francisco bread yeast and Neapolitan Pizza yeast.

        2. With you 100% my friend !

          Even Romolo at Queen Margherita Pizza is using a dry yeast in the dough (it's very good and they won't say specifically what type they use). A pizza cook in Naples would laugh at such a thought.

          Finding a live culture and getting a piece of Sourdough is tough. If you want real Italian yeast, you have to get a piece of sourdough in Italy and bring it back (may be breaking some rules there though), or order a dry packet (which is also very hard to find) and then start your own. I've done it and it isn't that difficult. has Neapolitan yeasts and a great book. Some say that your yeast will be overtaken by local yeasts and won't be Italian after a while. However, others say that isn't so.

          PS use Capuo 00 flour too. It is best for pizza dough.

          1. You can make your own starter easily - there's a great book called "Tartine Bread" by Chad Robertson (It's in the Toronto Library system) that gives step by step instructions on making and maintaining a starter, and a recipe for using said starter for pizza (among other things). It's simple, really. I'd tried so many other starter recipes and almost given up, but this one actually works.
            Good luck!