Where do others put their sour dough starter to rise when the house gets cold at night? On top of the water heater is where I used to put it but, the new water heater feels cool on top. It is in a small pantry and may be warm enough but our house is allowed to cool to 65 at night. My last batch just soured and didn't turn out. I think I got it so hot that it killed the yeast because I put it on the hearth. Any help from you pros would be appreciated!
65 degrees at night is not cold at all. I bet the hearth was too hot. Try putting it in your oven (cold) and see how that works. Another warmish place is on top of the fridge.
Long slow rises are better for taste and texture than fast warm rises. Sourdoughs are tempermental. Sometimes they grow well, sometimes they die. Try it again.
I like to put mine in the (cold) oven, but I put the light on in the oven, which seems to keep it nicely warm.
I also put my sour dough into a cold oven with the light on & have had very good success. It works!
I use my microwave. I put a cup of water in the microwave and heat it for a few minutes. Then I put in my dough to rise. The cup of warm water keeps the dough nice and warm.
I've never done it. But my neighbor growing up baked bread every day and canned and gardened, etc. She always made it early in the day and sat it on a table near a window where there was plenty of sun with a clean dish towel over it and the bread always turned out perfectly!
I have a microwave over my stove and a light underneath it. I leave the light over the stove on and put the bowl into the microwave. It's nice and consistently warm.
I put mine in a cold oven along with a bowl of very hot water. This seems to give the dough the right amount of heat as well as moisture.
I put mine in a cold oven along with a pan of very hot water. This seems to help keep the temperature and moisture levels just right for the dough to rise.
If your oven does not have a pilot light, try using a styrofoam cooler. We use one for making yogurt. When the dough is ready to rise, put it in the cooler and put jars of hot water around it. Put the lid on tight and weight it with about 5 pounds of phone books, encyclopedias, or whatever you have. Check your bread dough in an hour and see how it is doing. Good luck!
I watch a lot of TV so I used to put mine on top of the TV (I'm 79.... I can if I want to). lol
I have a fairly well insulated kitchen, so if I need dough to rise within an hour or two, I will set my bread rising bowl next to the stove and then cook myself breakfast or lunch. Or sometimes I set it on the countertop above the dishwasher or laundry machine and do a load or two.
But if I know I'm going to be making bread several days in advance -- such as the fact that I know I'm going to need four loaves of bread all ready before sundown on Friday -- I will stir together the dough on Saturday night or Sunday morning, then leave it covered in the fridge all week. I then remove it from the fridge for about an hour or two, just to get it up to room temperature, then put it right in the oven around lunchtime.
Works every time, because cold doesn't kill yeast. Cold only slows the action of the yeast. So if you give it a full week in a cool or cold fridge, the yeast will still do its job.
You might try setting the container on a small heating pad on the lowest setting. If it seems too warm, cover the pad with a folded dish towel. I would only use the heating pad at nite when the house is cool, and when you warm the house in the morning, turn the pad off.
Harlean from Arkansas
I don't think 65 is too cold at night. I found the way I used to make the sourdough was not turning out like it use to. So I started making herman sourdough which uses more sugar in the starter and now don't have any problems. I start out with: 2 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2T or 2 packages dry yeast
Make the starter the same way and then everytime you feed it use or use some add one cup flour,1cup milk and 1/2 cup sugar
I found the extra sugar fed the yeast. In between times I keep it in the refer and just before I'm ready to use it take it out and warm to room temp. When it reaches room temp it should smell good and there should be bubbles on the surface. Use at least once a week and stir before using.
I think I worded my question incorrectly. I'm trying to get the starter going, not raise the actual bread. The starter has to stay somewhere 3-5 DAYS. I do fine with bread but it's been so long since I made starter that I'm having trouble finding a place where I can give it that amount of time undisturbed and warm.
Also, I can't remember how it should look when it's ready to use. I thought I remembered it being thick but what I've got is very thin and runny. It doesn't smell rotten but smells like sour dough should (my husband says GOOD!) so maybe it's ok? OliveOyl and others, help me out here, please.
I also put my bread on top of the warm hot water heater, it worked. The only thing I can think of is to put the oven on warm, and keep the dough over the warm oven.
If your home isn't really warm you can put a pan of hot water in an oven warmed to 200 degrees and then turned OFF. Put dough in pans you are going to bake in oven then to rise to size needed.
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