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The Surprising Benefits of Summer Sourdough Baking

The real reason to bake sourdough in the summer

Sourdough baking has become a popular culinary trend in recent years, and for good reason. The process of growing a sourdough starter and baking delicious bread from scratch is not only rewarding, but also allows for creativity in the kitchen. While many associate sourdough baking with the colder months, it turns out that summer is actually an ideal time to dive into the world of sourdough. In this article, we will explore the real reason why you should bake sourdough in the summer and provide you with tips and tricks to make the most of your summer sourdough baking adventures.

Hot and humid: The Perfect Environment for Sourdough

During the summer months, the weather in many regions tends to be hot and humid. Surprisingly, these conditions create an optimal environment for sourdough to thrive. Sourdough starter, which is a homemade yeast mixture of flour and water, benefits from warmer temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The higher humidity of summer also helps the starter ferment and grow faster. As a result, your sourdough dough will rise faster, resulting in beautiful, airy loaves with a distinct flavor.

Summer sourdough baking tips

While the summer heat and humidity can work in your favor when baking sourdough, it’s important to make a few adjustments to ensure the best results. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Feed your starter more often

Warmer weather causes the sourdough starter to use up its food supply more quickly. To keep your starter happy and healthy, consider feeding it smaller, more frequent meals. This will keep it active and ready to effectively leaven your bread dough.

2. Adjusting the rising time

With the faster fermentation process in warm weather, your sourdough dough will rise faster. Keep a close eye on the dough as it rises and perform the “poke test”. When you gently press your finger into the dough, the indentation should remain. This test will help you determine the optimal time to bake your bread. It’s better to bake a little earlier than to risk overbaking and ending up with flat loaves.

3. Keep your dough cool

If you find that your dough is rising too quickly in the summer heat, there are a few tricks you can use to slow down the process. Consider using ice water in your recipe to lower the overall temperature. You can also use a fan to cool the air around the dough, or cool the bowl and utensils before using them. These simple techniques will help you maintain better control over the fermentation process.

4. Explore Beyond Sourdough Bread

While sourdough bread is undoubtedly delicious, don’t limit yourself to just loaves. With your active sourdough starter, you can make a variety of baked goods. Try making homemade English muffins or cinnamon rolls with your sourdough starter. There are numerous recipes that use sourdough waste, such as sourdough pancakes, zucchini bread, popovers, and even a decadent sourdough chocolate cake. Get creative and experiment with different flavors and textures.

Bottom line

Summer is the perfect time to embrace the art of sourdough baking. The hot and humid conditions create an ideal environment for your sourdough starter to thrive, resulting in beautifully rising loaves with a unique flavor profile. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can make the most of your summer sourdough baking adventures. So dust off that neglected jar of sourdough starter, fire up your oven, and enjoy the wonderful journey of creating homemade sourdough bread and other delicious treats. Happy baking!


Is it true that sourdough baking is better in the summer?

Yes, summer provides ideal conditions for sourdough baking due to the hot and humid weather, which promotes faster fermentation and better rising of the dough.

Why does sourdough thrive in a hot and humid environment?

Sourdough starter prefers warmer temperatures (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) and higher humidity, which allows the yeast organisms to ferment and grow faster, resulting in a flavorful and airy bread.

Do I need to adjust my sourdough baking routine in the summer?

Yes, it’s recommended that you make a few adjustments. Feed your starter more frequently, monitor the rising time of your dough closely, and consider using techniques such as ice water or environmental cooling to control the fermentation process.

Can I bake anything other than bread with my sourdough starter in the summer?

Absolutely! Summer is a great time to explore different recipes using your sourdough starter. You can make things like English muffins, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, zucchini bread, popovers, and even desserts like sourdough chocolate cake.

What if my dough is rising too fast in the summer heat?

If your dough is rising too fast, you can slow it down by using techniques such as using ice water, using a fan to cool the air around the dough, or cooling the bowl and utensils before using them. These methods will help regulate the fermentation process.

Can I make sourdough in the summer if my kitchen is not air conditioned?

Absolutely! While air conditioning can provide a more controlled environment, you can still make sourdough in the summer by following the tips in the article. Adjustments such as frequent feeding and monitoring dough rise can help you achieve successful results even without air conditioning.

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