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Poochie

Question for you sourdough experts

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I made my first attempt at sourdough bread today after nursing the starter for 8 days. Do any of you use a piece of equipment to keep the starter at a steady temperature. I moved mine outside (in the shade) when the temps were around 80 this week. I'd bring it in after a few hours. I had great activity last night and this morning. But I'd like to keep it inside for the whole process. I've read where people use seed mats, reptile lamps and so on. Any advice? By the way, the bread was very good. 

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3 hours ago, Poochie said:

Thanks MacKenzie, I'll check it out.

David, is your house around 75+ most of the time or do you have a warm "spot" in the house that works best?

i would say 78 is my average with humidity. my outside environment is like south florida. 

if you want to expedite things, you can place the starter in the microwave or oven with a bowl of hot water. 

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If you have an Instant pot, use the yogurt "more"setting, or sous vide setting set to 100 degrees.  Fill the pot partially with warm water and set your sourdough container in it.  No need to put the lid on.  Or oven with just the light on.  Sourdough and yogurt like the same temps.

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I've used the proof setting on my oven; it uses the oven light to maintain a constant temperature. I say "constant" but I haven't actually checked it; I do know that it has a fairly large swing in convection roast mode.

I've also used my dehydrator to proof yeast bread but it tends to dry the top of the lump even with a dish of water included.

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I keep mine in the fridge. The morning before i'm going to bake i take it out and feed it. After feeding i leave it on the kitchen counter no matter what the temp is, 6 hours or so after feeding i will start making my dough and return the starter to the fridge. 

After i have done a couple stretch and folds the dough goes into the fridge to ferment overnight.

In the morning another stretch and fold and into the banenton bowl to proof. I proof in my oven on the Proof setting, 95 degrees, for about 3 hours. Then it is ready to bake.

 

 

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@Poochie

unless you are baking with starter every single day, keeping the starter outside in room temp or with a proofer will basically require daily feedings. it's more trouble than keeping a plant alive..so this is not necessary when you bake once a week or less. once you place an active starter in the fridge, the yeast goes to sleep. take it out from fridge to room temp and feed and it will be active again. 

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I took this starter out to room temp and fed it 1:1. it doubled in size in a warm kitchen in about 3-4 hours. 

for me, temp control for bread is more critical for preferments. sometimes i need to keep biga or poolish for 10-14 hours at 4c, 8-10c, 18-20c, 22-24c. i bread proofer is too hot for this, i find a wine fridge the best because it can perform cool, but not frigid temperatures on multiple tiers. 

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this is an example of 4 preferments for pan de cristal. 22-24c or 18-20c for several hours, then placing in a 4c fridge prior to mixing. 

 

and lastly, when baking you want a steam assisted oven. if not, you will need a steam tray and pour hot water over lava rocks or use a dutch oven. if you don't want to mess with any of that, buy an anova precision oven because this thing will proof bread too...

good luck and show us your results!

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Thanks again everyone for the tips and tricks. I made a homemade proofer/starter gizmo to take care of the sourdough starter. It's simply a seed starter mat with a controller on it. I set it to 80 degrees and my starter is happy and my dough rises like a champ. It's in one of the photos below. There's also a probe to keep the controller on point... just like for the KK.  You'll also see where I won first prize for the ugliest pretzels ever created.  However, my sourdough bread has come along fine in texture and flavor.  I made a sourdough banana nut bread for my son and his family yesterday and it came out very good. No photos of it....but it did happen. It's a fun hobby but I'm thinking about a wood fired oven now. Even though I know I don't need it. 

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One thing that I've never read on this forum is "Save your money. You don't need that!"

MacKenzie, you and Tekobo could talk a moose into buying a hat rack. 

David, my pretzel recipe called for "malt". I was sure I could find that at Whole Foods...wrong! I also thought I could find pretzel salt there. Nope!  Lye wasn't in the recipe...what function does that serve?  

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