The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

whole wheat starter--suggestions?

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LeahM's picture
LeahM

whole wheat starter--suggestions?

I have been keeping a 100% hydration, white, sourdough starter since the summer. A few weeks ago, I started another, because I thought I'd accidentally killed Sebastian. However, he's recovered, and now I have Mortimer, that I'd like to experiment on. (cue maniacal laugh) The past couple of feedings, I've kept the same 100% hydration, but used white whole wheat flour for the additions. He seems to LOVE it--rises even faster and more energetically than old Sebastian, who's continuing the usual white regime. It's been a couple of days with the wheat flour, and so now my thoughts are turning to actually baking...


So, my question(s) is(are) this--what benefits do I get from a whole wheat starter? I have baked partly whole wheat (up to 50%) with the plain white starter, so I'm curious what the difference is if I use a whole wheat starter. Also, are there any changes I should be aware of in terms of timing, techniques, formulas? And if I'm not planning on baking 100% whole wheat bread, does which starter I use even matter? Also, I used the white whole wheat flour just because it was what I had on hand, but what effect (if any) would that have on either the starter or the breads?


Any good whole wheat bread recipe suggestions/links also totally appreciated! I have bookmarked a few already!


Thanks!


Leah

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I've been finding that the whole wheat starter seems to mellow the flavor of the whole wheat, decreasing that "bitter taste" some people find. I often sub to 100% whole wheat with a combo of WWW and WW in my sourdough breads and do just fine, getting good crumb and rise. The benefit of sourdough with whole grains, I think, is the nice slow rise that you can give them.Try making a lean bread using the "1,2,3" formula and you will probably be very happy. 1 part starter, 2 parts water and 3 parts flour. If it seems dry (sometimes, depending on the whole grains, it will need a bit extra water, I will add more water after letting it rest for 20 minutes. I think the whole grains like a lot of hydration. Work gently with them, doing stretch/folds instead of vigourous kneading. (I do 4 sets, 30 min apart on this bread)


With your extra starter, the whole wheat sourdough english muffins are awesome and I make them in the oven, flipping halfway through the bake. I've made with either WWW or WW, or a combination of both. Never tried with white flour.


Enjoy!


Tracy


 


 


 

LeahM's picture
LeahM

The 1-2-3 formula is my usual, so I will definitely try it, perhaps with some more WW and see how it goes. And I'll definitely start saving the discard for the english muffins. Is your 100% WW recipe similar to the white sourdough english muffins posted over here? I've made those and love them.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I use the white recipe on here and simply replace with either WW or WWW and they always turn out awesome. I've never put any white flour in them at all. When I started baking them, that's when they got really good. I bake about 10 minutes each side on 350 or until they look slightly browned and done, on a cookie sheet. Your oven might be different as I'm cooking in an RV right now.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I use the recipe for white muffins found on here and just sub the WW or WWW and they turn out great. I started baking them as cooking on a griddle in the RV was a hassle with the limited counterspace. I like the better use of my time and think they turn out better in the oven. I cook them on 350, flip at about 10 minutes each side or when they are slightly browned.


In using the 1,2,3 recipe, you really have to eyeball the water. I live in AZ and some of the WW flours seem to really suck up the water. I like to have a lot of hydration. Remember, WW loves water and loves sourdough. Don't be afraid to work with a high hydration dough and you'll love your whole grain breads.


I rarely add white flour to anything and I sub WWW or WW into so much of what I bake. I'm one of those who decided from the start if I'm going to bake bread I may as well start with what I like-whole grains and rye. I've made a total 3 loaves of white bread and not counting a couple of sweet recipes. Those three loaves were given away.


My very first loaf of bread was about 50% rye, the rest whole wheat. I didn't even know it was supposed to be hard. It was so sticky! But, I kept on working at it, made sourdough from the start and kept reading/practicing. Anyone can do it!


Just don't be afraid to fail, don't be afraid to try something different. Try to figure out why things work instead of just following recipes and you'll be ahead of the game in a hurry.


Tracy