The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Starter In the Tropics

Jaime's picture

Sourdough Starter In the Tropics


 I live in Mainland Mexico, I moved a year ago from Colorado.

What I have found is that there are no good rustic/artisan breads here, that I have encountered.

Most baked goods I have found consist of simply sugar, flour, yeast and water and are pretty close to Wonder Bread.

I am in the process of trying to create a sourdough starter, using the artisian method of gathering wild yeasts.

So that I and my friends can remember what a good loaf is like. Not to mention, I just came back froma short trip to France. My first thought on returning was, I need to get a better oven and start baking. So,

I started a sourdough starter two days ago.

What I have done so far is just mixed the flour and water and allowed them to sit with a layer of perforated plastic wrap out on the counter. With the feeding after 12 hrs. After another 12 hrs, the starter had tripled in size.

My question is, since the temperature here is between 85-95 degress F most of the time, including nights, is my starter going to become compromised from too much heat? And won't the heat accelerate the feeding of the yeasts?

Also, it is difficult keeping flys away from the tiny holes in the plastic wrap and so I have to cover it.

I wonder if it is ok to move my starter to the fridge now that it has been introduced to some wild yeasts.

 Any advice would be greatly appriciated.



dulke's picture

It sounds as if your starter is off to a great start. I would definitely try using it and leave the rest in the refrigerator. I'm sure the warmth is accelerating the development. I always cover starter I am refreshing on the counter, as I frequently have fruit flies and they love the starter.

SourdoLady's picture

While it is true that there are wild yeast spores in the air, there are a LOT more on whole grains. Therefore, if you are using wholegrain flour to start your starter you can cover it completely from the air and have no problems growing a starter. Living in the tropics, your biggest problem could be unwanted bacteria growing in your mixture. To keep that at bay, use pineapple or orange juice instead of water. The acid in the juice will help control bad bacteria from taking over. You also may need to feed it twice a day instead of only once in your warm climate. Once you get the starter established you can refrigerate it between using to keep it fresh.


 Read my sourdough starter entry on my blog for instructions and tips on growing a wild yeast starter. It will help you to better understand the process and know what to expect. Good luck with your starter and please come back to tell us how it is progressing!

beanfromex's picture

I live in Tabasco mexico. Just last week I found this site and have tried sourdough. The starter looked great, but it was not able to raise the dough. I plan on doing more experiments with this after my dinner party this saturday.

 I baked a corn bread and a buttermilk cluster. The buttermilk cluster recipe was from this site. It tasted wonderful and I will reuse this recipe in the future. The corn bread was the best recipe I have ever tried, but I have decided that we (husband and I) are not cornbread lovers. Aklso cornmeal is not readily available where I live for some reason. 

I look forward to future experiments with sourdough, sometime next week.  Thank you for all the tips and comments re sourdough in the tropics....


Regards from Villahermosa 

Jaime's picture

Thanks for all of your comments.

I unfortunately have a mouse problem and two times now I have had to make a new starter because a mouse had broken a hole in the plastic wrap and set a foot in the starter. And now I am actually having trouble getting the same lively starter results as before.

Now I am on my fourth and fifth starter, with marginal luck. Today I added a little yeast booster to my starter and baked a few loaves which looked terrible but tasted wonderful:)

Nice crumb despite the fact they didn't rise much.

And for those of us living in Mexico, there is no such thing as cornmeal here, and if you need some you must buy the dried whole kernels and grind them yourself! Odd being a culture that uses so much corn products....