The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Sourdough snowbird

Reedkath's picture

Sourdough snowbird

Hi, I’m new to the forum but have been baking really successful sourdough loaves for some time…. Until the past two weeks. I brought my sourdough starter with me to Miami from the Midwest, and fed it regularly on the journey. I bake only once every ten days or so, which means I generally keep my starter in the fridge (successfully). Now, here in Miami, I have baked three loaves, and each has come out very flat — nothing at all like my usual loaves. My last dough was as wet and unwieldy as pancake batter. Is humidity the issue? Should I cut way back on water in my initial mix of starter, water and flour? By the way, I’ve baked three entirely different loaves, and each has turned out flat.

thank you for advice!

alfanso aka Vito Scoreleone's picture
alfanso aka Vit...

Hi, I live several clicks up 95 from you in Ft. Lauderdale and never have any issues with my levain and bread being flat.  Even after well more than a week or two of not refreshing my levain.  The year round temperature in my apartment is ~75-78 with an indoor humidity of ~55-60 and either our A/C or heating.

Something else is going on.  All ovens are not the same especially if you've moved from gas to electric or vice versa. Although we are likely on different water supply systems, I can't imagine them to be that different, and I've always used unfiltered tap water.  

What type/strength of flour do you use at home and here? That could make a difference, although during the quarantine months I was using Walmart house brand AP flour, basically the only one I could find, and getting similar results to KA AP flour.

Could your bulk ferment times need to be adjusted?  Flatter breads are often a sign of overproofed dough. 

Reedkath's picture

I am using the same flour I’ve always used, which is King Arthur bread flour, and for the rye, Bob’s Red Mill. Feeding with Pillsbury APF.

I’ve moved from a gas oven to an electric, though, and I really had not considered the possibility I’ve overproofed my dough since I got here. Makes sense. I’m also going to also cut back on hydration.

thanks to all for the help! 

Benito's picture

Hi I live in Toronto Canada but have a place in Fort Lauderdale not so far from Alfanso who replied already.  You will noticed a difference in the water absorption of flour in south Florida vs. elsewhere where the humidity is lower.  When I’ve baked in Fort Lauderdale and mix my dough I start off reducing the hydration by 5% from what I would usually do in Toronto.  After the dough is mixed you can adjust things and bassinage some water/milk etc back in if the dough feels like it can take it.

Alfanso has also asked about your flour, that is another big variable.  Are you using the same flour in Miami that you’re used to back home?  I’ve had to adjust to using completely different flour when in Fort Lauderdale and again, it is a good idea to start with a lower hydration since you can always add more later but cannot remove it.

Finally as Alfanso has mentioned temperature, south Florida is pretty hot and likely warmer than where you live, so you have to adjust your fermentation times or get your dough temperature cooler by starting with cooler water.


GlennM's picture

We spend a good part of the winter in Naples and I have the opposite effect. My starter goes crazy in the warm temps, I get fast fermentation and great oven spring. I need to put my levain in the fridge to slow it down sometimes.  I wonder if your starter is past the peak when you mix or if the loaves are over fermented?