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.
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.
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.
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.
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. www.sourdo.com 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.
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.