The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Do I need heat to grow a yeastless sourdough?

PaddyL's picture

Do I need heat to grow a yeastless sourdough?

I'm thinking of trying another starter, yeastless this time, though I do love my buttermilk starter.  I've found a good-sounding one in Martha Rose Shulman's bread book, one where I wouldn't have to pitch out most of the starter every time I feed it.  My problem is finding some place warm.  We have no control over the thermostat where we live, and room temperature, especially at night, dips down into the sixties.  Should I wait till the weather warms up a tad?

Yumarama's picture

Even if the temp drops to the 60's your starter will still go, it'll just slow down a bit.

You should walk around the house and see where you can park your little tub o' love. Top of refrigerator is usually toasty warm from the coils in the back. Above the TV if there's room and it's one of those that stay 'warm' all the time, or any other appliance that's plugged in and 'ready' to go.

Before you put your new friend there, though, plop a thermometer in that spot for a while first to see how warm it does get. Although it's unlikely to get to 100F, hot enough to kill your yeasties, you still don't really want it to get past 90F. 70's to 80's is fine.

And to avoid confusion later on, even with only-flour-and-water starter, you'll still have yeast in it. But this yeast comes naturally off the grain in your flour, not the commercial packaged stuff you sprinkle in.

Good luck with your new starter.

chez-jude's picture

During the cold weather months, my house is heated to about 65-68. I've had no problem building and maintaining a sourdough starter (without adding commercial yeast) at these temperatures. It may just take a little longer to develop. (I also rise my bread doughs at this temperature.)