The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Winter - Keeping the temperature and humidity just right

Josh Khoo's picture
Josh Khoo

Winter - Keeping the temperature and humidity just right

Dear all

I live in Sydney, Australia and now that the colder months are upon us I'm finding it difficult to anticipate proofing time and the lenth of time between starter feeds.

Any tips on creating a DIY proofing cabinet minus the $$$$?  Ideally I'd like for it to be both humidity and temperature controlled.

In the alternative, when it gets cold, how do you make sure your yeast maintains a healthy appetite?


Josh Khoo

JessicaT's picture
JessicaT (not verified)

Stick some water in the microwave, nuke the water and put your starter in there with the door closed between feedings and when the microwave is not in use. Alternatively, you can also stick your starter in the oven with the light turned on. I have also heard of users putting their starters on top of fridges, microwaves, etc. Personally, I just put mine next to the computer since it is always in use. 

RobynNZ's picture

Hi Josh,

Welcome to TFL.

I'm in New Zealand and we too are suddenly feeling the cold (and lots of welcome rain to fill my water tank at last!). This week I have gone back to putting my starter, levain overnight and bread for bulk fermentation into the hot water cupboard. I used my instant read thermometer to check out the temperatures in different areas of the cupboard, to find the most suitable spot for each. Do you have a hot water cylinder? 

To help maintain humidity I keep the starter in a jar with the lid on. Levain in a bowl with a plastic showercap-like cover (made by Glad), bread too in a bowl with a plastic showercap-like cover.

Some TFL contributors prepare enough starter to last for a week or so and store it in the fridge (without feeding), then the day before baking remove a small amount, feed it a couple of times before using it for bread. I find I like to have the starter ready when I want to use it so have chosen to keep feeding it twice a day, but do find the fridge method handy when I know I won't be able to bake for a week or so. 

Use the search box top left to find more helpful ideas.

Cheers, Robyn