July 22, 2013 - 8:08am
I have been reading about sourdough starers and water baths and was wondering if I should use one? I do currently have my starter jar sitting in a slightly warm bowl of water. Is this a good or bad idea?
According to my research, I should keep my starter at 86-93 degrees Fahrenheit. Is that correct? Has anyone had good experiences with warm water baths and starters or maybe a bad experience?
I have posted about my success with the water bath below.
There are SO many different techniques and details about starters on the Internet you can become very overwhelmed. I do feel sorry for people that have problems, but I am a novice in the sourdough world.
I started an incredibly simple sourdough starter with rye flour and water and after 1 week I was able to make my first sourdough and now I have a great starter that almost triples every feed and I pop it often in the fridge and forget about it.
The simpler the better, work top is perfect and fridge works great when you want a break from Baking. 2 feeds a day first week then fridge and weekly feedings or even longer. They are strong creatures. Water baths, specific temps and other diverse tricks and techniques should not be needed.
Well, I have to agree with you, that diverse tricks and techniques should not be needed. But, our home is kept extremely cool and dry in the summer in which sourdough and other fermented products do not thrive well in. So, if man is changing the real temps, I think we might need to make some adjustments to our methods.
Thanks and Blessings,
we do adjust or methods. when cool, we don't need to feed as much, and we proof our doughs longer to get the same rise. when hot we feed more and proof less. that's about all that's needed. my starter was created when temps were low 50s, and made a nice loaf of bread. I'm using the same starter now, with temps in the 80s, still makes a nice loaf. I will say, large abrupt changes to food and environment will cause a starter to slow down, but only until it gets accustomed to the change. once it balances itself out it's business as usual. having said all that, if your comfortable with this type of maintenance, it won't hurt anything. just watch the feeding schedule. a starter can get very hungry when temps are elevated. happy baking!
Thanks for your advice. I found it very helpful! Makes a lot of sense.
reproduction rate at 82 F. At your temperatures the reproduction rate of yeast is the same as at 68 F room temperature. But Lab reproduction rate at your higher temperature promotes the maximum reproduction rate for sour producing Labs. You starter will be a sour one.
Another way to promote even more sour and not have to do maintenance feeding is to use whole grain flour, make the starter stiff 66% hydration and store 80 g of it in the fridge at 36 F. At that temperature both labs and yeast reproduction rates are much reduced but labs are reproducing at 3 times the rate of yeast - way more sour potential results.
A rule of thumb is you will produce the same amount of labs in 44 hours at 36 F as you would in one hour at 90 F. You will also produce the same amount of yeast in 50 hours as you would in 1 hour at 90 F. The good thing about low temps besides more sour is that you can store 80 g and use 30 g a week to make a couple of bread bakes and when you are down to 20 g of it you can make a loaf of bread from half and use the other half to refresh and build it back to 80 g. No, muss, no fuss, no maintenance,no waste and very sour.
Interesting take on it. Thanks.