The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye starter vs white starter

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baragouiner's picture

Rye starter vs white starter


This is my first post but I've been trying to bake sourdough for a few months. What I'm wondering is whether different starters are more or less active than each other e.g. is a rye starter is more active than a white starter?

I've managed to start and maintain a rye starter and am using it to make 100% strong white loaves but wonder if I'd get better results using a white starter with white flour.



bobku's picture

Usually I use a starter that is the same flour as the dough I want to make. But there are no set rules sometimes you can use a white starter for your white bread but also add a little rye starter to bring out a little more sour flavor. In the beginning I would stick to the same flour in starter and dough, then as you get more comfortable you can try experimenting.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

into a white (we are talking about white wheat, not white rye, correct?) wheat starter and see what it does.  Having a little bit of experience in the matter, I suggest you slowly increase the wheat amount in the starter feeds.  Then increase the wheat amount with each feed until the starter is 100% wheat.  Some conversions go trouble free, but others may experience a stand still when the change of food is too abrupt.  So take your time.

Let the starter feed on the flour mixture until it has adapted & peaked and started to fall back before feeding it again.  Although you haven't given any details on the starter maint. schedule, you may reach your goal in about 4 days at 26°C with 8 to 12 hr feedings.

Example:  Keep the starter above 20g and inoculate about 30g or more of flour.  Add enough water to be a familiar paste.   First feed 25g rye 5 g wheat flour, next discard and feed 20g rye, 10g wheat  and so on.  

If you see a big drop in activity, give it time to recover and repeat the same flour mixture before increasing wheat amount.   When you get to 100% wheat, go thru a few feedings to establish a pattern.  

You will find the rises higher with wheat so make sure it peaks out before feeding and use a larger storage jar.  Adjust the food amount to be peaking at about 6-8 hrs for 12 hr feeding intervals at 26°C.  When that is happening reduce the inoculation or double or increase the food amount for 24 hrs feedings or let the starter rise about a third before chilling.

Waiting to hear about the differences.  A wheat starter made from a rye starter has a little bit extra flavour than a pure white starter in my opinion.   

If however you want to improve white rye loaves...  stick to the whole rye starter.

baragouiner's picture

Thanks. I've gone for a rye starter because I lost a few white wheat starters, and the rye starter seems easier to get going and keep going. Once I'm more comfortable with a basic white loaf (with rye starter), I'll try to convert some rye starter to white wheat starter like you suggest!