I have been baking sourdough for four years, and this past year had finally hit a kind of stride where my bread was turning out consistently how I liked. I was even having some success pushing the envelope at 80-85% hydration, doing weird recipes with sticky grains, etc...
This summer, however, is my first in an apartment without air conditioning. As soon as the weather turned, the same dough that I had been making all year long suddenly behaved quite differently. It's a sticky, unmanageable mess--even at 75% hydration--that melts all over my bench.
I am making the exact same recipe I always have. The only changes have been how regularly and how much I feed my starter (because it goes more quickly in the heat). But why should that make such a difference in the behavior of the dough?
I'm really at my wits end. It's been two months of flat bakes, when I can manage to bake them at all (and I mean, seriously, comically flat).
I am going to experiment with bulk fermenting in the fridge, but I'm wondering if anyone has experienced a radical shift like this, and if so, what might be the cause. Is it really the heat?
I worked in a bakery one summer where the heat was well above 90 almost all of the time. So why should my apartment being at 80 make such an incredible difference?
I'm totally lost here. Any help is greatly appreciated.