Baking Sourdough Bread with a Stiff Starter

Naturally leavened sourdough with stiff levain

Baking in the winter always presents problems here at my house: it’s cold! Probably not quite the cold you get in other parts of the world, but it sure is cold to me, and my starter. Kitchen temperatures are consistently hovering between 68º and 70ºF which inhibits yeast and bacteria activity. I’ll typically offset this by changing the percentage of mature starter carryover or by heating the water used in my feedings, but you want to try to keep your starter around 75º to 80ºF — this is not easy to do when winter is bombarding your area. You have to make do with the warmest spot you can find in your kitchen, for me this is next to my whiskey collection. Almost poetic.