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Still trying for sourdough...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, I've been trying to get a sourdough starter going. I follow all the instructions from a couple different good sounding sites. Just never got it going. All of the sites just say to let it sit on the counter at room temperature. Did that with every one. Then, I found another today that actually defined "room temp" as 75 to 85 degrees. Hmph.

I bought a cheap thermometer and checked a variety of places in the house trying to find something that warm. Nothing over 70. Not even on top of the fridge. Then, the light bulb went off. I have a separate small water heater that serves only the kitchen sink. I set the thermometer on top of that and my heart almost stopped! 75 degrees!

What got me to searching yet again for a solution was forgetting about a failed attempt for a couple of days. When I saw it, it was bubbling quite nicely. Apparently, my house is too chilly and it just took about twice as long to get any reaction. I'll be feeding it this afternoon and placing it on the water heater to see what happens.

My only question at this point is will a lack of light cause a problem? It's under the sink so there's no light. I'm thinking it should be fine since starters sit in a fridge for quite a while.

Many thanx.
post #2 of 8
I do not know about the light, but to have a place for it rise, use your oven. Turn it on for a minute or 2 then place it in there. Bassman gave me that one
post #3 of 8
Light will not affect it at all. I grew up with sourdough bread and pancakes home made by my pops. He always did it in a crock style bowl on the gas oven by the pilot light. Then cast iron pancakes every saturday.
post #4 of 8
The other way to use an oven is to simply leave the oven light on. That generates more heat than you might suspect. Gotta be careful that someone doesn't turn it on without looking.

On the temps, some build a proofing box, which in it's simplest form, can be a styrofoam cooler turned upside down, with a hole in the bottom (now the top) of it it for a 25 watt candle type light bulb. Rig the bulb to a dimmer switch and you can make a cozy little box the perfect temperature. The same box then works for proofing your bread dough at 65 to 85 degree temps.

I don't think light or dark has an affect.
post #5 of 8
I am an avid bread baker and have a sourdough starter that I've kept going for many years. I keep it refrigerated and about once a week I feed it and let it sit out until it starts to bubble and then back in the fridge it goes. I like to feed it every day for three days if I want a really strong sourdough flavor, otherwise it is not necessary to do that. kingarthurflour.com has some great fool proof recipes for sourdough breads. I am making brioche today! Yumm. Good luck!icon_wink.gif
post #6 of 8
Is this before you make a loaf of bread with it?
post #7 of 8
Yes, before I use it in a loaf. Keeping it "active" gives it a stronger flavor.
post #8 of 8
Thanks for the clarification. :)
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