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Panettone first dough - how to keep PH at optimum level (above or close to 5)

Mugur's picture

Panettone first dough - how to keep PH at optimum level (above or close to 5)

I've struggled a few times (since I bought a PH meter) to get the panettone first dough not too acidic. 

If I want a 3X rise as recommended in all recipes, the PH drops below 4.

How can I keep the PH at the end of the first dough at an optimum level (above or close to 5)?

Is it the fermentation temperature, the mix, the ingredient's proportion, or probably a different factor?

mwilson's picture

In simple terms your LM starter is 'too strong'.

The remedy is to feed more flour i.e; 1:2 (starter:flour).

Let triple before reverting to 1:1 for the rinfresco (refresh).

You will likely have to do this several times.


Mugur's picture

Thank you! I'll try. I have a few other questions:

1. What should I look at to check if I'm on the right track?

2. For a long time I thought that my stater is too weak because I couldn't make it triple (not enough generated gas) in 3-4 hours @27-28°C refresh . window) When I am not baking what will be a good maintenance practice (I do now only cold refreshments @16°C once a day) I switch to warm refreshments a few days before baking day.

3. For the first dough a lower temperature (21°C) will encourage less acidity or a higher one (28°C)?

mwilson's picture

1. Lots of info available regarding this. You can start with my blog page, which includes some general information and links to other resources from professional sources.

2. The strength of LM, be it weak or strong is referring to the acidity only. The descriptor is not referring to leavening power. This often seems to be something that is misunderstood. Leavening power is assumed.

3. Probably negligible. Either option is viable, but a lower temperature would take longer to rise. You need to focus on getting a mother dough with the right properties to prevent too much acidification in the first dough.


In your case you need to first establish a firm starter that can leaven and peak (cease CO2 production) in 5 hours or less before moving to typical procedure for maintaining a LM starter.

I will reach out to @Abe to see if he can help you with this...

Mugur's picture

Although I am getting a very acid first dough, my LM is not in the best shape. I tried everything for a long time (more than a year):

- use a high/low feeding ratio. 

- everyday cold rest (16 C) followed by 2 warm stages (28 C)

- changed the flour. I currently use Petra for panettone, but I tried also Dallagiovanna for panettone, Caputo Oro...

The LM simply does not have enough leavening power.

Currently, this is how it looks after the second warm stage feeding 1:1:0.42 @28C - PH start - 4.9 PH end - 4.1):

I used a lower-than-recommended (0.44-0.45) hydration because a 0.45 is making my LM very sticky.


And this is my target:

Is there anything I can do to get even close to this stage?