The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from CA/pics of attempt SD #2

JLatimer's picture

Hello from CA/pics of attempt SD #2

Hi everyone.

I discovered this site about a month ago and have really enjoyed it. Ya'll have inspired me to get into artisanal bread baking. I've been baking since I was a little kid (everything from brownies to sandwich bread), but until recently I haven't tried making sourdough. I recently made my first starter and have now made two attempts at sourdough bread braking. I've attached a few photos from my second attempt (this afternoon).

I'm interested in pretty much anything fermented: thus far, I've tried my hand at sourdough bread, cider, and kombucha. I love microorganisms!

These were based on 50% Spelt Sourdough Batards (which has been on the home page here for a while). They were a little misshapen, but hey, I'm still learning (and having lots of fun!).

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, JLatimer.

Welcome to TFL!

It's definitely a place to learn and have fun. It sounds like you're in the right place.


flournwater's picture

"They were a little misshapen, but hey, I'm still learning"

Looks good to me and, let us not forget, taste is the more important virtue.

ananda's picture


It is certainly very difficult to get a natural leaven going properly in a cold environment.

If you could mix the flour and water at 32*C, cover it and wrap in a blanket, what would be the warmest you could hope to maintain it at?

If you drop below 20*C I'd say you'll not make it; otherwise you stand a fair chance.

Best wishes


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Don't forget your body is a source of heat.  Keeping the young starter inside a sweatshirt pocker or carnigan will keep it warm.  A freezer zip bag or two would work well burping often to exchange the air.  (And you might have thought it was granny's sagging girls she kept behind her tight apron strings!)

If this is the only warmth you can find... leave it out at night and feed in the morning to then carry around.  I hate to see a starter get squished at night.


Yumarama's picture

Don't forget that there's also warm spots outside of the kitchen, your starter isn't restricted to just that one room.

Many modern TVs are always a little bit "on" even when shut off, so they emit a little heat. Check around the sides and back of yours to see if it's a bit warmer there. A shelf right above the TV would then be a great spot.

Got a table lamp on a desk? Turn it on and set your starter nearby - though not so close it will bake. The space around the lamp will be warm.

I'll bet you have a computer (lol) and if it's a tower and not a laptop, and you keep yours on constantly, it will be generating a bit of heat too. Again, nearby may be a couple of degrees warmer, so that's a possible spot to park the starter.

I was able to put together a makeshift warming box with a small cooler (but really, any kind of box would do), a light socket (small lamp would work too) and a little 15 watt bulb that got barely too hot to touch. I dangled the bulb inside the cooler, covered the top about halfway - took a little testing with a thermometer in there to find the right size opening - and had a box that stayed ~78º - 80º F. Want it cooler or warmer? Make the opening larger or smaller to let more or less heat out. 

So there may be a few spots in your house that would work if you look outside the kitchen or you can rig up something with a few extra bits from the local Big Box hardware store. For example:


$12 at HomeDepot.

Bonus: also handy for lighting your area when taking pictures of bread.

A Hamelman BREAD baking group


SylviaH's picture

I've used a plant light with a dimmer switch to control the exact temperature I needed to keep a baby bird alive and growing..would work in a proofing box I'm pretty sure though I have not made one.