The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using Rye starter with white flour bread?

balloon's picture

Using Rye starter with white flour bread?


I have a mature Rye starter that I use to make great sourdough Rye breads. Now I want to make white flour sourdough, and I wonder if I can use the rye starter for this purpose.

All the recipes that I have reviewed for sourdough breads use starters from the same type of flour that is used for the bread. Does this mean that the starter of each type of flour contains specific yeast and bacteria cultures that are needed for that flour? Or maybe on the other hand this does not matter and I can use rye starter with white flour?

I want to bake Hamelman's "Pain au Levain with Whole-Wheat Flour", it has 5% rye flour in the overall formula, and in the levain build, and I already started building the levain with my rye starter.

Feedback & comments will be appreciated.

Thank you

nicodvb's picture

I regularly use my rye starter for any kind of levained, regardless of the flour type required by the recipe; not only this: also a durum starter works well.
I have the feeling that these starters are interchangeable and easily adapt to the new flour used, with some exception (my rye starter could never give life to a barley or corn starter).

davidg618's picture
davidg618 can easily switch predominant flour types when you build your ripe starter for the dough.

I keep my starters in the refrigerator, so I have to "wake them up" before I bake. I usually do this over a twenty-four hour period. I start with a very small amount of refrigerated starter--usually around twenty grams--and feed it immediately, and  approximately every eight hours following with increasing amounts of flour and water, calculated to be at the needed weight, hydration, and ripeness after twenty-four ours.

Hamelman's Bread directs building your starter in approximately 16 hours, beginning with a small quantity, about 2 Tblsp, and feeding it immediately with all the required levain's flour and water.

Other bakers use similar tactics. They all work well.

David G.

balloon's picture

Thank you nicodvb and David for the feedback, I have just baked the breads and they look great. They are cooling now......and I'm anxious to taste them.....