The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Wretched sourdough in the tropics...

beanfromex's picture

Wretched sourdough in the tropics...

I used the starter than I have been carefully feeding since last thursday night. All indications were right, smell, bubbles etc..and baked somethng that looked great, and felt like a doorstop. It was a VERY dense loaf, not what I would choose to have again. So I fed the starter and popped it into the fridge...perhaps I will try again next week.

However, today I taught Ramona how to do the cottage loaf from last weekend. Again, excellent colour and crust and a reasonable crumb.  I sprinkled cornmeal onto a greased baking sheet and the bottom crust is wonderful. And used poppy seeds over the egg waah.

Ramona did not get the wash evenly around the lower loaf, so you can see where it dripped and where she missed. ...but she will see this tomorrow and learn from it...

Perhaps I should get her to have a try at the sourdough....

I am going to play with this recipe and introduce whole wheat and seeds into the loaf ..

stay tuned... 


SourdoLady's picture

I'll bet you anything that there was nothing wrong with your sourdough except that you did not let it rise long enough. Wild yeast takes much longer to rise than commercial yeast. It usually will just sit there and do nothing for the first hour or two. Then it will start to grow. Since you are in a warm climate it probably won't take as long as it does for me, though. Is your kitchen air conditioned? Most of the time my doughs take a minimum of 4 hours to rise, and if the house is cool it can take most of the day. Give it another try. 

andrew_l's picture


i agree completely - not long enough rise. I've had batches in the winter can take up to 18 hours to rise! In the summer, that can be as short a time as 4 hours. Prefer the flavour of the longer rise though!

beanfromex's picture

Thank you for the comments, I will try sourdough again sometime next week.

I did let it rise overnight, but that was in the fridge, was this wrong? Also popped it in the oven right from the fridge, ( I read that on someone's site) Perhaps I should have left it on the counter.

The kitchen is only about 28C now,no air conditioning.One a hot day for this time of year the temp in the kitchen will be about any suggestions would be appreciated for the next loaf.

Regards from Villahermosa

(sourdough capital of southern mexico...Not!!)

tomsbread's picture

I am located in Singapore, 1 deg North of the equator. That is as tropical as one can get. My kitchen is around 30C year round although it is hotter outdoors. I keep my starters in the fridge. However, when I feed them, I leave them out for at least a couple of hours to let them feed. After that, I put them back into the fridge again. I feed the culture once a week. They will still do well when fed once in 2 weeks. It is not necessary to leave the culture outside but if you chose to do so, you might want to keep the culture a little stiffer and at least 2 feedings a day. My culture is 100% hydration as I prefer to leave it in the fridge. Another way is to add salt into the culture to retards its activity in the warm weather. This is practiced by some bakers in summer heat.

When I bake, I inoculate 2oz water and flour with about a teaspoon of the culture. A further 4 oz water and flour is added when the culture is bubbly. This will take a further few hours to reach its peak. By then I will have 12 oz of starter. This will be 30% of my final flour weight. My starter is left out in the kitchen. Leaving it in the fridge will slow it down. When it is ready, it will be mixed in with the flour and I calculate the dough temperature to be around 76F like what the books recommend. This means using iced water. When the dough has been mixed, I will do the stretch and fold over the next 2 hours. The dough is left out on the counter all this time. After the S and F, it should have risen a fair bit. The dough is now retarded in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

After retardation, the dough is too cold to be shaped. It is left out for at least 30mins to warm up. During the shaping, the dough will still feel cool but 1 hour of proofing in 30C heat will warm it sufficiently for loading into the oven.

It took me a while to work out the right process to bake bread in the tropics. Almost all the books written are by bakers living in the temperate zone and the instructions and recipes assume a cool environment.

Good luck to your sourdough capital endeavor.