Cold weather can bring a challenge when it comes to taking care of our starter, but also proofing the dough enough. Especially if we have started our journey in the warm seasons, winter can throw everything we’ve learnt out on the window.

So here I am, sharing my baking schedule in cold days, but also some tips for sourdough baking in winter.

In winter time, the temperature in my kitchen will be around 20-21°C / 68-70°F, maybe slightly warmer when the sun shines. Temperature has a massive impact on the speed at which the starter, respectively the dough ferments, which means that in a cold kitchen, the process will be much slower.

Here is my go to recipe & schedule on a cold day.


500 g bread flour

100g levain

350g water

10g salt

11pm (before going to bed)Feed starter in a 1:4:4 ratio
(15g starter +60g water +60g flour)
10am (next day)Mix water (330g), starter, flour. Let rest covered on the counter for 1h
First dissolve the starter in the water, then add the flour. Mix well until no dry flour is left, nor big lumps.
11amAdd salt and remainder of 20g water. Mix well. Let rest covered on the counter for 1h.
This is the beginning of bulk fermentation
12pmFirst stretch & fold, cover, let rest
12.40pmSecond stretch & fold, cover, let rest
1.20pmFirst coil fold, cover, let rest
2pmSecond coil fold, cover, let rest
2.40pmThird coil fold, cover, let rest
3.20pmFourth coil fold, cover, let rest
4pmPre shape and let rest covered on the counter for 30min
4.30pmShape, place in the banneton and transfer to the fridge. If at this point the dough is rather small, leave the banneton on the counter for an extra hour.
The day after, at any time30min before baking your dough, pre heat the oven to 250°C / 480°F.
Score & bake
Sourdough bread making schedule in winter

*Should the dough be wet and require more folds, you can do them 30min instead of 40min apart. Should the dough be rather stiff and not allow 6 folds, do less folds 1h apart, instead of 40min.

**if your kitchen is much colder, extend the bulk fermentation. Sometimes it can even take up to 10-11h. Not giving it enough time, means that you risk having an undeproofed bake. An underproofed dough won’t rise much in volume, might not open up (no ear), will have a dense crumb or dense crumb with a few large holes usually close to the upper crust. Gummy crumb too. Pale crust. Feels physically heavy when you lift it.


For your dough

🌾Use warm water when mixing the dough. With the flour being most likely at room temperature and also the starter, using warm water helps compensate for that. I go as high as 27-29°C / 80-84°F. The dough temperature will decrease throughout the bulk fermentation if the kitchen is cold

🌾Move the bowl with the dough to the warmest spot in the house, can be close to a heating source, but not too close as you want to avoid overheating

🌾Place the dough in the oven, with the light on. Or just slightly preheat the oven to 25°C / 77°F or so before placing the dough in there

🌾Place the bowl holding the dough in a bowl is warm water (not too hot). This will help raise the dough temperature. Check on it from time to time, to avoid overheating it.

🌾Extend the bulk fermentation. [TIP] with regards to the folds, you can either increase the time between 2 folds, or if the dough feels slack, you can add more folds. if the dough is stiff, increase the time between folds, and do less.

For your starter

🌾Use warm water at feeding, it can be up to 36°C / 97°F (human body temperature)

🌾if the starter is slow and takes more than 10h to peak, use a lower feeding ratio, a 1:2:2 can make your starter happy

🌾Move the starter to the warmest spot in the house

🌾Place the jar in the oven, with the light on. Make sure you don’t forget about it and bake it!

🌾Use Goldie, the sourdough starter warmer. Use my code ‘SE23’ for 10% off at checkout.