Making sourdough in hot temperatures…

Heat can be great for proving dough, but only up to a point; once temperatures start to rise up and over 20C/70F at night, our beautiful overnight doughs risk over proving.

There are simple steps to prevent this from happening…I have a timetable on here which can help; it is based on proving the dough on the counter for a few hours in the warmth, then putting the dough into your banneton and into the fridge overnight; the dough can then be baked directly from the fridge any time the next day.

Or, what I do, which is the simplest solution, is use my master recipe exactly as it is, just with less starter. As the photo shows, I use 20g of my lovely active starter, which pretty much equates to a tablespoon. You do not need to change anything else about the recipe, just this.


🌟 less starter slows the dough down and allows you to still be able to prove your dough on the counter overnight. It works perfectly for foodbod sourdough bakers all over the world who live and make sourdough in hot countries all year round.

🌟 a thermometer in your kitchen will help you to be able to plan for when you need to do this but already around the Northern Hemisphere temperatures are rising and doughs are being challenged. If this is happening to you, use less starter.

🌟 you will know if your dough is over proving if it grows very quickly and is overly bubbly.

🌟 you will know if you dough HAS over proved if it fills your bowl, is very slack and fluid, very bubbly, impossible to handle and smells strongly.

🌟 this dough will no longer have any structure and will not be able to hold its shape. It will bake to a flat, dense, but tasty loaf.

🌟 the best thing to do with over proved dough is use it to make focaccia or flatbreads, something that doesn’t require structure.

Happy baking 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Please note: this does not work the other way round. If you are heading into cold weather, more starter is not the answer. If it’s cold it’s cold, dough will respond slower however much starter you use. In this instance just allow your dough more time to do it work. There’s full info and hints and tips on my site to help you.

20 thoughts on “Making sourdough in hot temperatures…”

  1. Lesson learnt. . This post was was me today 🙂
    I assumed starter makes my dough rise more
    Thank you 😊

  2. Hi, nice blog you have here, thanks for sharing, I live in Mexico were there is little knowledge on sourdough and its really warm, my starter triples its size in 3 hrs max 4. I will try the last step in the fridge as I believe my past loafs have been overproof as I dont have consistency in my rises. Im baking tonight, so Ill try the poofing at the fridge.

  3. Hi Elaine, I’ve been baking Sourdough all through lockdown, thanks to your helpful guidance & I’ve just baked a successful loaf using your ‘hot weather’ timing adjustments. I’d like to try the Focaccia recipe, does this work the same way in hot weather ie prove for 2-3 hours on the counter? Then would it go straight in the oven? Thanks!

  4. Hi, thank you 🙏🏻🙏🏻 yes, assuming you’re using less starter 👍🏻

  5. i live in a very humid place and i already know that for all recipies i have to use less water. I have never used less starter.
    some nights here we are at 27 C degrees and with high humidity

  6. Hi! When you let your dough proof in hot temps, on the counter for 2-3 hours before moving to the fridge for the rest, is it supposed to have doubled in size on the counter before moving it? Or once it’s in the fridge? Thanks!

  7. Hi, it needs to double on the counter before going into the fridge 👍🏻

  8. Just found your site! Thank you for these posts about high temperatures. I am on day 7 of my first starter ever. It smells terrible and something isn’t right. I should have researched high temps from the start, but oh well. I am going to try again with your instructions. My kitchen is anywhere from 28 to 31C day and night. I was doing feedings twice a day but not always as I tried to figure things out.

  9. Thank you, I hope it’s all helpful. You don’t need to start again, your starter is just hungry, give it extra flour and thicken it up and carry on as per the directions 👍🏻

  10. I am using my brand new starter that’s working really well in this heatwave we’re having – and the focaccia I made this morning was defo overproofed. Thanks for the tips – I’ll put it in fridge overnight next time, I think – and use less starter. As you said, it was floppy, and has made a flattish but tasty bread. Thanks for the info on this site.

  11. Thank you, I hope it’s helpful 🙏🏻
    Just as a note, can I suggest that you either use less starter OR put it in the fridge overnight, you don’t need to do both..

  12. Such a useful, well-written, expert resource – I have been making sourdough for 5 years of so in London, but have faced really strange happenings on holiday in the French Alps. All was explained here very clearly and my latest attempt is looking good! I saw a ‘buy me a coffee/tea’ link at some point when reading, but can’t find it now – please point me in the right direction! Thank you.

  13. Yes I woke up to a sticky dough this morning, it wasn’t a hot night particularly but obviously too hot for the dough- it was very tasty though

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