The Goldilocks Zone for Sourdough Baking
For most sourdough bakers, the Goldilocks Zone of 75-82ºF is just right.
The sourdough yeasts and bacteria (we call them "the beasties") that live in sourdough starter are very sensitive to temperature. Temperature affects the rate at which they feed, reproduce and create the acid which gives sourdough it’s tang.
For most sourdough bakers, the Goldilocks Zone of 75-82ºF (~24-28ºC) is just right. It is the tempurature where sourdough beasties are most active and they produce a mild, crowd pleasing tangy sweet-and-sourdough flavor in our bread.
Too cool and the beasties expand feed and reproduces sluggishly and takes longer to prepare for baking. At fridge temps, the beasties are nearly dormant.
Too warm, and the beasties feed and expand very quickly, soon creating a very acidic dough quickly that breaks down gluten and leads flat loaves that are too sour without careful attention.
To make things even a more complicated the yeasts and bacteria respond to temperature at different rates. The trick to sourdough baking is in part balancing the needs of the yeasts and bacteria to create sourdough breads with the qualities your desire.
Temperature impacts the activity of sourdough beasties at every stage of sourdough baking. You can manipulate temperature at different stages to create different outcomes.
For most bakers, having a consistently active and mild flavored starter is ideal because it allows you to put your baking on a consistent schedule. You then have the flexibility to explore other temperature ranges while fermenting your dough in the "bulk" and "proofing" stages to express more sour flavors.
It can be challenging to control temperature while baking. Most of us live in homes that are just too cool for sourdough to be most active so we look for ways to warm up our sourdough starters.
To reduce the complexity of managing your starter, we designed Goldie by Sourhouse to make it easy for bakers to keep their sourdough starter in the Goldielocks Zone all year round...without warming up your whole house.