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I live in the UAE where the climate is hot and humid.

I started making a sourdough starter on the 28th of October and today, 30th October it seems to be doubling quickly. It has a strong acidic sweet smell. Even though I made a stiff dough when I fed it in the morning, the starter seems soupy now.

Does this mean that my yeast is growing rapidly?

Do I need to increase the feedings?

  • Define hot and humid in numbers. – Jan Doggen Oct 30 '17 at 10:51
  • temperature currently is at 32 deg C. we use airconditioner at home. so the temp is at around 25 at home – Zerin Oct 30 '17 at 13:28
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One of the main differences from sourdough to standard bread yeast is that it is composed by a complex fauna of bacteria and yeasts that do lactic fermentation as well as alcoholic fermentation. Therefore acidicity is indeed a positive sign of activity in your sourdough.

The tricky part is that as the pH of the dough lowers, it triggers the digestion of the gluten network, 'destroying' the protein structure that holds the air and making the dough look like pancake dough. So when baking with sourdough one needs to be careful with how long you ferment.

This will depend on the initial quantity of sourdough you use, the temperature of the place you leave it resting, the strength of your flour (protein/gluten content) and the humidity of the flour (typically 15%).

If you are in a very hot place I would recommend either letting the dough in a colder spot (e.g. top part of your fridge, or a wine fridge) or using a smaller quantity of sourdough. By trial and error you can gauge the initial quantity for the time you want to leave it unattended.

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25C is pretty mainstream as far as temperature goes - a warm kitchen in other places of the world is probably in the same range, +/- a few degrees.

If your starter is quite active, it’s a good sign, overall. Note that it’s still very young and especially in the first few days one sometimes observes „hyperactive“ yeast. That’s totally ok, just give it time.

You don’t mention what ratios you are working with when feeding and the amount of starter you add to the fresh flour/water mix varies depending on the recipe or method you follow. But if you are using „a lot“ (half, for example), the yeast & bacteria culture may grow fast enough for two feedings per day. If you are using a low ratio of, say, 10% starter, one feed per day should be just right. The general rule of thumb is that you can feed when the foaming starts to collapse - glass jars can be a great help for novice bakers. But overall, sourdough starter is quite forgiving and your growth conditions are pretty “normal”.

As for the texture, yes, what you are seeing is normal, even pasty mixes turn more liquid as the flour is broken down.

  • Thanks a lot Stephie. I use the proportions mentioned in the website of the perfect loaf theperfectloaf.com/… It starts with 40g flour with 40g water and everday from then removing 40g of the starter and adding 40g flour mix and 40g water. Yesterday I fed my starter three times and it seems to slow down the growth. the bubbles are minimal and the smell is kind of sweety acidic. So i guess I have got it under control. will try and feed it twice today to see how it fares. – Zerin Oct 31 '17 at 8:39

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