I learned that the missing link in my sourdough success was the temperature of my house. The starter needed it to be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, we keep our house at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and my hubby wouldn't be on board for heating the whole house just to make bread.
One alternative is to place the starter in the oven with the light on. While I found this to be very effective when letting yeast-based dough rise, it wasn't really feasible for ongoing sourdough starter care.
After some research I found the solution on Amazon (of course) in a product that is used to grow seedings, or to help ferment kombucha. It's the VivoSun Heat Mat. This has been a total game changer. Now my starters (I have three going now) are alive and bubbly.
I started another sourdough starter as insurance, and placed the jar adjacent to the jar with the mat wrapped around it. This turned out to be a very happy accident, and the glass acted as a conductor. Now this is the best jar of starter I've got going.
I also learned that by keeping my starter jars all touching, and in the corner of the kitchen with the coffee pot, that it created a nice and toasty environment. These happy starters ended up created the wonderfully successful sourdough that I'll share with you tomorrow. Yum!
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Kris Delaney is a marketing executive, foodie, travel enthusiast, and book nerd based in Atlanta, GA.