Andreas Jonsson's Weblog

Online Journal of Random Thoughts

Sourdough in the microwave oven!

with 4 comments

Generally it is recommended to let a sourdough starter develop in a warm place, with temperature slightly above room temperature. Our place is heated through air vents (we don’t have radiators) and the refrigerator/freezer is rather energy-efficient (it doesn’t emit much heat) so it has been a challenge to find a warm spot in our kitchen. One thing that occurred to me recently is to use the radiant heat from the light bulb in our microwave oven. It lights up when the oven door is opened. The temperature in our kitchen is currently 21-22 degrees C, while in the microwave oven (with the door almost shut) the temperature reaches 28 degrees C.

A sourdough in the oven, wrapped in a plastic bag.

I’ve been experimenting putting my sourdough starters in the microwave oven at this high temperature, and my doughs have definitely responded with more activity, however, perhaps too much so. Particularly my wheat sourdough became very thin (almost runny) overnight in the microwave oven. Probably it became so acidic that the gluten broke down.

The videos below show a freshly fed wheat sourdough (labelled “New”) and a the same sourdough after 16 hours at 28 degrees  C (“Old”). While the fresh sourdough is thick and sticky, the fermented sourdough is quite runny, like sour milk or thin pancake batter.

So after these experiments I’ve actually gone back to develop my starters at room temperature, but the microwave oven trick may become useful as the winter draws in and cools down our place a degree or two.

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Written by Andreas

September 20, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Posted in Food

Tagged with , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Isn’t it a good sign that it became runny? Doesn’t that mean that the sourdough works well?

    fabrivelas

    September 22, 2010 at 5:34 am

    • After having seen the video, I would suggest to bake with the liquid version. It seems ready to go, doesn’t it?

      fabrivelas

      September 22, 2010 at 5:37 am

      • I have baked two breads with this type of runny starter, with mixed results. In fact what matters is not so much the consistency of the starter, but the consistency of the final bread dough that you bake. In one case the bread dough after proofing in the microwave oven became too runny, it had no structure and little ability to rise when baked in the stove.

        Andreas Jonsson

        September 22, 2010 at 8:59 am

  2. Did the dough rise to double its size before you baked it? I don’t know how liquid you dough is, but if it is not you could try with a slightly more liquid dough and if it gets too liquid put it in a baking tin.

    fabrivelas

    September 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm


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