When I returned from San Francisco recently I brought with me a packet of “Mr Bakers Sourdough Starter” purchased in the Cable Car Museum.
I already have a perfectly good starter which has been going for about a year but I thought I’d like to try to get that very characteristically “sour” taste that San Francisco bread has.
Trouble is, it’s already getting a bit chilly in the UK. We don’t have an airing cupboard so I made up a warming cabinet from scrap in my workshop. I found an old 12 inch (60 watt) tubular heater – the sort of thing that is used in lofts to prevent pipes from, freezing. I mounted this in the bottom of an old plastic waste bin and adapted the grill from a discarded barbecue to fit. Added a thermometer from my workshop wall and the unit was complete.
Temperature could be adjusted by fitted some adjustable slats (like a venetian blind) but I simply cover the unit partially with a piece of hardboard and control the amount of heat that can escape until I achieve the temperature I want.
The starter was bubbling away merrily after 12 hours using this device. Remains to be seen what the bread will taste like. Could be good for proving dough in cold conditions?
I wonder - if you drill holes in the bottom of the plastic bin, and set it over a pan in which you pour boiling warter, you can up the humidity for proofing right before baking.
Just a thought...