The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR IN STARTER

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Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR IN STARTER

For quite some time now, I have been using HIGH-GLUTEN flour in REFRESHING/FEEDING my starters. But  now I read that high-gluten flour should be avoided. For sure, I do not care to retread on any of the confusing times that I have spent getting to where I am now in my sourdough baking. So, I guess my question is this, "will not using high-gluten flour and using ALL-PURPOSE flour make my starters better?" Isn't that always the question, "if I do this will my sourdough bread be better? If I so that, and, and, always trying to be better?

What say? I sure do not care to welcome back CONFUSION. I saw enough of that way back in the beginning.

I have two starters, one a San Francisco Original, DNA 1870, and a home grown one - you know the pineapple version made with Sir Lancelot Flour (14% Gluten). Both of these starters are refreshed/fed with KAF Sir Lancelot High-Gluten flour. Do I not continue this procedure and go to using All-Purpose flour? Moneywise the move would be better. KAF Sir Lancelot is not the most inexpensive and it has to be shipped from Vermont...

Thank you for any direction or suggestion that might be offered. I look forward to all replies.

Bruce

Brookings, OR

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

to feeding a starter expensive HG flour .  I started to feed my levains the sifted out 22% bran and what other nots  from the 78% extraction home milled flour and end up with a 100% whole grain bread in the end where the gluten cutting parts have been soaking at least 24 hours in the levain.

If you are using a liquid starter kept on the counter the waste is multiplied greatly every time you refresh.

I think AP would be fine and the starters won't suffer but they might happier with some whole grains throw aways too.

Happy baking and sorry it is so confusing. I've not seen anyone recommend expensive HG white flour for starter feedings - just the opposite. 

isand66's picture
isand66

I agree with DA.  Use AP and when you make your levain you can use the HG or other flours like I do.

phaz's picture
phaz

 my starter was created with hg flour, and has been feed with same since, going on 5 months now,  but I get my flour through a friend who owns a pizza joint. $16 American for a 50lb sack, so cost isn't a consideration for me. hg and ap flour is the same price, but I prefer hg for my breads. didn't see a need to have 50 lbs each of 2 different kinds of flour kicking around. happy baking!

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Thank you everyone for sharing your knowledge and suggestions.

 

DA, you're way ahead of me when you talk about "22% of this and 78% of that." I'm at a level that if my baking has "oven spring" to it I'm pleased. Too, as I'm getting older and because I read that high-gluten flour was to be avoided, I thought I could save the money I am spending to get flour from Vermont to Oregon from KAF. Thx

Phaz, if I had resources like  you, HG -$16 for 50# I would do just like you. Stay with HG. Having said that, maybe I should go and ask at our one bakery "what kind of flour they have," or find out if I can get HG like you. Thx

 

island66, when you say "use AP and when you make your levain you can use the HG," isn't LEVAIN the same as what I refer to as my starter? I didn't really understand your reply.

Again, thank you everyone for sharing your knowledge and advice. And thank you TFL for being here.

Bruce

Brookings, OR

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

when i sift it there is usually 22% of the total ground flour that stays in the sifter,  The bran and wheat germ etc that gets sifted out at the mill.  Rather than throw it away I use it to feed the starter and now also to feed the levains that are built up from starter seeds to make bread.  Starters and levains love it.  If you use 22% of the weight of your dough as the levain then you have effectively put back the stuff you sifted out and now have a 100% whole grain bread again but the stuff that cuts gluten strands has been soaking for a long time at least 36 hours in my case and less likely to do gluten damage once it hits the dough.....plus starters love whole grains to feed on.

 

phaz's picture
phaz

I live about an hour from king Arthur headquarters, but I make so much bread I just can't justify their costs.  it does amaze me though,  last I checked, 20lbs ka ap  was $20.  yet at a restaurant supply,  about $16 for 50 lbs. same exact stuff! make friends with your local bakery and see if they can add an extra sack next time they order. throw in a little for the help and you'll still get a great price.

isand66's picture
isand66

Bruce,  sorry for the confusion.  Levain is the French word ofer starter.  What I do is keep my Mother starter in the refrigerator and create a new starter in either 1 or 2 builds to use in the bread I'm baking.  If I am using HG flour in the main dough I may use that for the new starter.  If I'm doing a rye bread I will use a small seed amount of the Mother starter and feed it with rye over 2 to 3 build until I then have a rye starter.  I find this method works best for me rather than using expensive flour in my main starter.

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

We're on the same page. I do the same, except I just refresh my starter with HG and use bread flour for the dough. My MOTHER (STARTER) is kept in the frig also, both of them. Then when I get ready to bake, I'll bring out the oldest starter, take what I will be using and then refresh/feed the remainder. You bring up a good point. Just recently I brought out one of the starters to make sourdough pancakes. Took what I was going to use and then took enough to refresh/feed for the batch I put in the frig. The pancakes were great. That refreshed starter that I put back in the frig I used two days later. My sourdough baking cycle usually takes two days. One day to take the amount of starter I need from the MOTHER and then to refresh that and put it back in the frig. I leave the starter that I am going to use out for the night. Then during the night I get up and mix the dough. Get that 5 hour fermentation started, go back to bed, then bright and early I get up, do the stretch and folds (4X) then divide, pan, and back into the proof box (http://brodandtaylor.com/) for its proof time. But anyway, that starter that I had refreshed just two days prior behaved so fantastic, I couldn't believe it. After coming out of the mixer I put it in a 4 qt proof bucket. Within 3 hours it had increased in volume all the way up to the lid. In fact loosed the lid from the top. Then in the proof time, the loaves really increased in volume. Then again, the oven spring was better than I had ever experienced before. So for me, my thinking was - in the future, refresh the Mother/starter two days before and then bake with that as the starter. The only bum thing, I'd be using a lot more HG flour that way. But now with the idea of trying to get it in bulk I may not have to worry.

Thanks for sharing.

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Wow...you are ....how can I put this nicely....dedicated :).  Check out some of my posts on this site or my other site at www.mookielovesbread.wordpress.com

I follow Peter Reinharts method which is a lot easier that what you are doing and I get great results.  Some times i do a 36 hour or more method which I just baked off today.  My normal method just fits into my schedule pretty good, but hey, if what you are doing works for you, than keep with it.  I keep trying different methods just to experiment.  I do prefer an overnight retard in the refrigerator or up to 3 days some times of the bulk dough.

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Just checked you out. Talk about DEDICATED! That word fits you better than me. And add PHOTOGRAPHY to your list of interests.

Yes, Peter Reinhart in my mentor... Have most of his books and have tried to bake almost everyone one of his recipes that are in BBA. In fact, it was his "pineapple" sourdough starter that got me going a few years ago. Failed and failed, then I wrote him - got an answer that just about told me to "be patient with sourdough!" Next time around I waited for the starter to tell me when to move on. Amazing how things progress when you get some great direction. Since then, I kinda go a lot slower with things....give more time for the fermentation, the proofing, and the whole process. My two day cycle just goes into two days. First day is only about 30 minutes. Just the portioning of the stater and then the refreshing mixture. Then that mix goes into the proof box till it doubles (or increases in volume significantly) any where from 3 hours to 7 hours. Remember I live in the Northwest. We can have some very humid days. Then in the middle of the night I get up around 1am mix the dough. Wait 20 - 30 minutes for the autolysis mix it another couple of minutes, bucket it and into the proof box. Back to bed! Then I get up around 5:30 am and check on it. If its increased in volume then I do the stretch and folds, divide, pan and proof. Though it does go into two days, actual work is only maybe 2 plus hours. It's the fermentation and proof time (patients time) that accounts for all the actual time. Then the 40 plus minutes of baking.

I like Peter's recipes but found one on Northwest Sourdough, 1st Loaf that I have been sticking with of late. Right now, though, I'm prepping for a Swiss Farmhouse Bread, a raisin water bread if you will. Its from Hamelman's book. Speaking of Reinhart and Hamelman. There is the high-gluten and "avoid high-gluten" confusion. Peter is a BREAD FLOUR or HIGH-GLUTEN sourdough starter advocate while Hamelman is a, (page 146, at the bottom of the page) advocate of, "AVOID HIGH-GLUTEN!" So what's a guy like me to do? QUITE READING, eh?

isand, thank you for your reply. And, thank you for sharing with me that "mookie website." Great pictures, great write ups, and a very pleasant time spent.

Be well,

Bruce

isand66's picture
isand66

I am glad you liked my site.  I use 2 main methods for baking my bread which is teh method from PRH, Artisan Breads Every Day and the 36 hour method.  I have taken Peter's method adn tweaked it to my liking, mainly using a retard of the flour and liquid before adding teh salt.  This method allows me to mix the dough up and doing some stretch and folds put it in the refrigerator before I go to bed usually and the next evening bake it.

The 36 hour method is a bit more involved but not very labor intensive like your method and for certain breads really makes a difference.  I just posted a bread today using this method and it came out great.

Like I said, if your method is working, stick with it, but don't be afraid to try other methods and incorporate them into your routine if you prefer them.  We're not doing this for a living, so experiment and have fun.  You are right, sometimes you will read conflicting advice but the only way to see who is right is to try both if you can.

For the longest time I have read that you shouldn't use a large amount of levain in the final dough but that is contradictory to what PR advocates in his book and it works great for me.

Regards,
Ian

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

AUTOLYSIS, that 20 or more minutes rest between mixing water and flour and adding the salt and what ever else. Yes, I know about it. PR sent me a "heads up" about a filming he was doing for CRAFTSY which included the REST (autolysis; according to R.Calvel) and the STRETCH & FOLD. Which I have gravitated to completely.

You mention PR's Artisan Breads Every Day, I've got that book. Talk about a complete change in his STARTER (MOTHER) formula. I got that book and thought, "no way could that amount of starter get the job done. As compared to his Bread Baker's Apprentice formulas. That's where I got my start. In fact, my home grown culture, STARTER, is from there - the pineapple juice one. Heck, in that one the quanities are much larger, 4.25 oz compared to 1 oz.

As far as my process being labor intensive... Not really! I kind of gravitated to that, cuz of the amount of time the dough was taking to ferment and proof. Sometimes it would take 5 hours for its bulk fermentation. And then another 2 plus hours to proof. So if I started my bread in the morning, I'd still be baking bread when I was supposed to be making dinner. Point of fact... the very first time I finished my FIRST LOAF, I was so proud of what came out of the oven I took photos and sent them to Teresa (Northwest Sourdough). And she even replied! "MAGAZINE THAT!"

I'll look for your latest "bread posting." When you mention a 36 hour method. I tried a method some what like that some time ago. Where you mix the dough, put it in the refrig for how ever long you want - then you can take out a loaf amount and bake. The whole recipe was something like 4 loaves, small loaves, something like a baguette. But me, since my free standing loaves don't do so good, I put them in pans. It was pretty good, except that - that big container of dough in the frig got in the way. But now, I have a frig in the garage. Shame on me, eh? Next thing you know, I'll be having a dedicated frig for starters, eh?

Be well, Bruce

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Levain vs Starter what is the difference? I used to be confused about that till I just said to myself, "they're the same, leave it at that."  And like I said, DA you are way ahead of me. Grind your own flour! You, Fair Sir, go to the head of this class. I'll sit back here and take notes. I do thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Bruce                                              

Red5's picture
Red5

Bruce28 wrote:
Moneywise the move would be better. KAF Sir Lancelot is not the most inexpensive and it has to be shipped from Vermont...

 

The KA Bread Flour they sell at the store is the same as the Lancelot flour you are having shipped in, just different packaging.

 

 

 

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

How I came to use KAF Sir Lancelot was because the KAF Bread flour and the All-Purpose didn't produce a sourdough starter that I was trying to create, via the Peter Reinhart BBA book. So, I followed his advise and moved to KAF Sir Lancelot, the flour with the highest gluten percentage. I later found out it wasn't the flour that made it fail. I took PR's writing literally.... It said wait 12 hours, I did, it said wait 24 hours I did. "Aerate and be patient" is what I have now learned. But I had gotten started with Sir Lancelot and have stayed there. Then, like i said, I read that "high-gluten should be avoided" and I got confused. Too much reading eh?

You mention that that KAF Bread flour, and I guess the All-Purpose are the same as Sir Lancelot. Doesn't Sir Lancelot have something like 14% Gluten while the Bread and All-Purpose have something like 11 to 12%?

Thank you for your reply. TFL is a great learning aid... I find myself reading so many great and pointed pieces of information here. Everyone, to me, are so helpful.

Bruce

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

my starter maintenance as lazy.   I keep a maximum 80 g of 66% hydration mixed whole grain starter in the fridge that I bake out of 1-2 times a week.  I never feed it,  If we use an average of 15 g of it for every bak I have 20 g left of it after 2 weeks,  I bake with half of it and use the remaining 10 g to build the starter back to 80 g and then refrigerate it,  No muss, no fuss, no waste is my starter motto.  I feed it the sifted out portion of the whole grain flours I happen to be using.  Do the same for levains I use for breads.   It seems starters and levains, which are not the same, love mill tailings way better than any patent flour :-)

I also retard my starter for at least 2 days before using them to increase the sour and I routinely retard my levains for 24 hours after the 3rd build  bfore using them to increase the sour.  Today i will post another bread made this way.

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

That is KISS for sure. I am on the complete  other side of that coin. My starters... hey you say that starters and levains are not the same," educate me, please? Anyway, my starters are about 1021g to 1134g. I use 510g each bake. Then with the remainder I refresh based on 100% hydration. I'll take 510g to 567g of starter and add 283g of water and flour (Sir Lancelot 14% gluten) mix it for about 2 minutes on slow then into the proof box for anywhere from 3 hours to 5 or what ever it takes to increase considerablly in volume. Then back into the frig. I have two, a home grown one (the one with pineapple juice and Sir Lancelot) and an Original San Francisco (DNA 1870 year). I rotate between them. One this bake and the other the next bake. Usually about every other week. The bakes are usually two loaves and I use pans. Haven't had too much success with free standing loaves. They flatten out too much. The members of this house like bread size slices of bread not the flatten out size.

When you talk about 10g and 80g... we are way apart. You've got to know a lot more about this "hobby" than i. But then again, I'm kind of a self taught baker. Very confused at times and very timid you might say. This comes from a long experience with failed attempts. You can't imagine how many attempts went out with the trash. Yukky looking, dense, no spring, and, and. Now, at least, the loaves coming out of the oven are nice to look at, I think, taste good, so I'm told, and, and.

At one time I was trying to get into a class as SFBI but the cost kept me out. I'm older and don't have access to lots of money. If you can understand that. To that end, I read a lot. Which too, might be a source of my confusion. At this point and time, I am sticking with what I am having good results with... Teresa's 1st LOAF (Northwest Sourdough) and not throwing any rocks in the road. Though right now I am prepping a RAISIN WATER bread from Hamelman's book. I've got the raisins soaking. Looking for a Sunday bake... Crossing my fingers.

Enough rambling. I'll look forward to your coming post. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

Bruce

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

from which you take away from to make a levain.  I like to use between 10-20% of the total flour and water weight of the bread to be the SD levain.  If i am making a 1,000 g loaf of bread I might use 150 g of levain - 15% of the total.  I take 15 g of starter from the 80 g to make the levain.  That 15g has 9 g of flour and 6 g of water in it(at the 66% hydration I store it at).  I will feed the 15 g 10 g each of flour and water, making 35 g of levain.  2-3 hours later I will feed it 20 g of flour and water  making a total of 75 g of flour and water.  This I will let sit for 4 hours and it will usually double in volume at that time - if not I let it double.  I the\n feed the levain 38 g each of flour and water giving me a total of 151 g of levain.  This levain has 77 g of flour and 74 g of water in it - a 96% hydration levain.  After about an hour the levain will have risen about 25% in volume and that is when i refrigerate it for 24 hours.  Thee next day i take it out of the fridge and let it finish doubling in  volume and then use it to make the 1,000 g dough

If I want a 72% hydration dough using my 96% hydration levain I know that my dough will have a total of 581 g of flour in it ( 1,000 divided by 1.72) and 419 g of water in it (1000 minus 581)  Since my levain already has 77 g of flour and 74 g of water we want to add 504 g of flour to it (581-77) and 345 g (419-74) of water.  You want to add 20 g (2%) of salt too. 

By using a small amount of seed starter kept in the fridge and building a levain from it ensures there is no wastes, no muss, no fuss, no feeding and that the levain is at full strength when you use it.

I could easily make (100) 1,000 g loaves of bread out of each of your starters - you didn't say you were running a commercial bakery out of your kitchen:-)  You are using 50% of the weight of your dough as starter.  That starter of yours must be very weak indeed when 10-20% would be the norm.  It also must not be very  sour at all too.

Happy baking

 

Bruce28's picture
Bruce28

Okay, STARTER and LEVAIN, I think I finally have it. You, Fair Sir, are an acrobate with knowledge of the numbers and ability to manipulate starter hydration. That is way over my head. Well, not necessarily over my head. But for sure INTIMIDATING. The recipe I use for sourdough now is a recipe I got out of DISCOVERING SOURDOUGH, the FIRST LOAF. It calls for 255g (9oz) of starter that is 166% hydration. But since I only have starters that are at 100% that is what I use. Figured, since 100 and 166 were "hand granade close" what could go wrong. That was about a year ago. It's been working for me so I have not revisited it to change things. At my age, 72 y/o, when you have something that is working, I don't try to fix it (change it). But since writing here about this HIGH-GLUTEN issue, I've opened some books again. Whoa is me! And here comes the confusion again. Writers like Peter Reinhart, Jeffrey Hamelman, Michel Suas, Ed Wood, Raymond Calvel, and Teresa Greenway seem to confuse me in their contridicting statements. That's why some time ago, when I came up with a successful bake I said to myself, "self, close  your books, you are only serving to confuse yourself. This worked, stick with it." Then of course I bought another book JH's Bread. Shame on me, shame on reading, eh? But now you sir, with your acrobatic ability with STARTERS, LEVAINS, HYDRATION have shamed me into trying to understand it more. Leave the baking where it is, and try and read without getting to confused.

One great thing has come out of this whole "HIGH-GLUTEN" exchange. One of the replies mentioned that the cost of flour, commercially, was far more reasonable that what I am paying. So yesterday, I went to my local bakery. Only one in town. And spoke with them. Just so happens, way back when they were opening, I helped for a few days. Lugging stuff in, helping to assemble shelves... that kind of help. Anyway, they are willing to let me buy my flour through them. HIGH-GLUTEN for 13 cents a pound, BREAD flour for dirt cheap. Wow, at this point, all I can say is, 'KAF you just lost a customer," well a flour customer at least! So you see, this forum has got so much going for it. Why didn't I ever think of that??? The future of our world belongs to our youth!

Okay, so I'm going to "really try," to understand BAKER'S MATH, HYDRATION, and STARTERS (LEVAINS). Not all at once, one at a time. Thank you for the push. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

One other thing, NO, I don't do commercial baking in my kitchen :). But I sure would like a MIWE CONDO (0604)oven!

Bruce

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I know the kids today don't know algebra from Tonto, flip flops or Death Ray Gangsters but us older folks have to at least try to keep algebra alive for future generations.   I am counting on you to make this happen :-). At least the ladies got to learn something way more useful in school not too long ago - like how to make a decent loaf of bread in home economics!

For many, many years kept a 100% hydration starter going in a large mason jar in the fridge.  I always threw away way more starter than I ever used even though all the recipes then were written ..... take 2 c of starter and.....   Then one day i dropped the mason jar and it busted on the floor.  After that....Never Again!

Glad you found a good source for flour. After working in the food distribution business on the wholesale side for many years I can tell you that flour is cheaper than dirt and pro's won't buy anthing that doesn't work well no matter how cheap it is.  The reson it is so cheap is because we went directly to the mills and had them make what our customers wanted be they bakeries for pastry or breads and the really big one - pizza places.  You had to have a great pizza program if you were going to make it in the food service business.

My big beef with the mills was that their packaging was horrible and bags broke every time you touched them.   I had flour all over the warehouses and we had huge losses about 25% after we broke more bags on the trucks trying to deliver this nightmare it to our customers.

I ran across a guy who invented the plastic film called 'Tough Stuff'.  I used it as a vapor barrier under the insulation under freezer floors in my warehouses.  It was thin, could hold anything and was nearly puncture proof.  Plus, no moisture could penetrate it in neither direction.  So I got a roll of it, had it cut to size and went to aflour mill and had them bag up some flour on their #50 bag line using Tough Stuff.  It worked perfect in their machine, no changes needed at all to the nachinery.  We took a bag up on the top of the mill, pretty high up, and tossed it off the roof - no worries the bag didn't break.

I though i had solved one of the worse food warehouse and food waste problems of all time except for 2 things.  First, the bag  materilwould cost 5 cents more than what they were paying, an increase cost to them of 1% but that wasn't the real problem.

The mill quickly realized that if they used this great bag, their sales to us and all of their other customers would go down 25% since there would be no damaged bags of flour ever again.   Their profits would be hurt even more.  A loss of sales and profits of this magnitude just wasn't going to happen until they were forced to make this change.  The person at the mill who said 'OK, we will be the first to do it' would have been the first one fired.  They were not the ones bearing the cost of this waste everyone else downstream was though.  All they could see was higher costs and less profit.

So flimsy easily damaged plastic lined bags of flour are still the rule and we live with huge damages that make flour cost 25% more than it should at all levels of trade. There is also less food to go around and people are starving somewhere.  Still, good flour is very cheap if you buy it from the right folks as you have found out. 

Happy baking 

phaz's picture
phaz

 you have a very good bakery there! most won't even think of selling flour on the side, and some will charge more than retail. happy baking! 

Red5's picture
Red5

Bruce28 wrote:
You mention that that KAF Bread flour, and I guess the All-Purpose are the same as Sir Lancelot. Doesn't Sir Lancelot have something like 14% Gluten while the Bread and All-Purpose have something like 11 to 12%?

Sir Lancelot flour is the same bread flour sold in stores.

They have a flour called Sir Galahad for commercial sales which is the same as the AP flour sold in stores.