The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Starter - Plain Flour

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ktz84's picture
ktz84

Sourdough Starter - Plain Flour

I've been maintaining my sourdough starter with Plain Flour (All Purpose I believe is the US equivalent) and it works just as well as the Strong Bread Flour. It's a white starter. When I come to do the bulk starter for use in the bread I've always switched to the bread flour however I was wondering if the result would be affected by continuing to use Plain Flour for this also? Any thoughts?

Ford's picture
Ford

I always use unbleached all purpose flour for my white sourdough starter.  The critters do not need the extra protein in the bread flour.  When I make the dough for bread I still use the al purpose flour to build the starter, then I make the dough using a higher protein flour, bread flour.  For my whole wheat starter, I use whole wheat flour.

Ford

tchism's picture
tchism

I've used AP flour for the last three years to feed my starter with no problems.

ktz84's picture
ktz84

Thanks all. I'll be switching to plain flour for my starter.It's a lot cheaper.

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

but do keep in mind that in the US, most all purpose flours are just as strong as UK bread flours, while UK plain flour is too weak for bread, as mentioned by Andy not so long ago. This isn't a concern unless there is a fair bit of the formula's flour in the starter/levain.

ktz84's picture
ktz84

Ahh I hadn't realised that. The recipes are generally 40-50% leavens that I've been using at 100% hydration so I could have a problem if I done this.

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

you never know - it might be fine.

ktz84's picture
ktz84

Decided to do just that so we'll see.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

If your bread flour is strong enough, a 40-50% levain of plain flour should still be okay. If you find it isn't, you could revert back to a mix of the bread flour and plain flour in your levain build, using as much plain flour as you can get by with. It doesn't have to be just bread or just plain.

ktz84's picture
ktz84

Well this turned into a bit more of a trial than I orginally planned with a very long retardation thrown in to the mix.

The loaf is Dan Lepard's Mill Loaf which has a 63% hydration and is a 6:3:1 mix of white:wholemeal:rye flour and I'm using a 100% hydration starter this time was 100% plain white flour as opposed to Strong Bread Flour which was the reason for the initial post.

I also didn't use Dan's method for kneading the dough instead using a Stand Mixer for 13 mins on Level 2 until I got what I think window pane should look like (this was late Sunday afternoon). I then allowed the dough to rest 20 mins before shapping into a ball and placing in bowl covered with cling film in the fridge. Once in the evening and once in the morning I would do a stretch and fold and back into the bowl. I removed the dough from the fridge yesterday evening after returning from work about 6pm and allowed it sit for about 30 mins when I shaped the dough and placed into the bannetons and allowed it prove on the counter top until bed time and then back in the fridge again until this morning when it was removed from the fridge again and allowed to come back to ambient before going into the oven.

Not having made many loaves before I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Here's the result.

I'd be grateful for your opinions as I really don't know what I'm looking for. This was definitely more sour than my previous attempts however I liked the extra tang. I allowed my temperature to stay too high (250C) for too long and as result the loaves cooked much quicker than I'd wanted so I didn't get a deep a crust as I wanted however it did crackle well when cut. I found the shapping a bit of challenge and my seam didn't look great when I was proving it.

I tink I got away with using the just the plain flour on the sourdough starter however next time I think I will use the suggestion to mix some strong in with it.

ktz84's picture
ktz84

Oops thought I'd interested too photos. Here's it sliced.