The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Seeking Advice on Creating a Whole Wheat Starter from Carl's Dried Starter

Adrian.Walton's picture

Seeking Advice on Creating a Whole Wheat Starter from Carl's Dried Starter

Hi Everyone.

I recently received my Carl's starter in the mail and I would like to use it to create a whole wheat starter.  The instructions to revive Carl's starter indicate to use all-purpose flour (here is a link to the instructions if you are interested,  Please correct me if I am wrong, but what I have read on this forum is that whole wheat and all-purpose flour seem to need different amounts of water because of they way they absorb water.

What I am wondering is how should I adapt the instructions to create a 100% whole wheat starter?  Alternatively, is there a different procedure or instructions to create a 100% whole wheat starter from a dried starter originally cretaed using all-purpose flour?  I have searched through the old forum posts but I couldn't find anything that exactly laid out what to do (and I really don't want to do anything wrong!). Of course one of my options is to revive the starter using all-purpose flour, then convert it to whole wheat, but I thought that it might be better just to go straight to 100% whole wheat.

As you probably guessed, I am a beginner when it comes to bread making.  My interest is in making 100% whole wheat bread and I am really enjoying Reinhart's Whole Wheat and Sprouted Grain Bread recipe.  Now I would like to take that next step and try using a wild yeast starter.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


Ford's picture

The instructions given seem good.  I would delete the next-to-the-last paragraph about adding vinegar and/or commercial yeast.  That is unnecessary and may even be harmful.

You may use all-purose, bread, rye, or whole-wheat flour.  I suggest you get the starter going to the point where it will double its volume in four hours, then switch to any other flour that you want.  After a few refreshings the starter will be  essentially only the flour that you are using for refreshing.  I find that equal weights of starter, flour, and water make a good recipe for refreshing.  I like about 70°F to 80°F as the temperature range.  Use unbleached flour and chlorine free water.

If you do not have them, get a thermometer and a scale that will detect a change in weight of 0.1 oz. or 1 gram.

I hope that answers your questions.  Have joy in baking!


lacuna's picture

Hi Adrian,

I am a beginner, a total amateur, and only "started" my Carl's dried starter on 3rd May. So big disclaimer here, and I'm sure the experts will correct my mistakes.

But I thought my experiences might be useful or at least soothing if you're as anxious as I was of killing the yeasties when I first started.

Regarding whole-wheat feeding: I followed the revival instructions in the link you've posted.  I started with unbleached AP flour and boiled, cooled water for 2 weeks, feeding twice a day using an approximate volume ratio of 1/2 c starter to 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup flour.  After 2 weeks, I switched to whole wheat flour with exact same volume ratios, and the starter still thrived, with no appreciable differences.  The daily weather/temperature seems to have a much bigger impact.  I think after about 4 feeds, it was essentially a WW starter (for my purposes, I'm not a purist).

As a whole, I think starting with AP, or WW, or switching halfway would all work.  I did find using AP at least reduced the variability in the beginning and allowed me to find more sources of information about why my starter was behaving the way it was.  (The "one less thing to worry about" factor.)

I did find the packet of dried starter I was sent had enough to start three batches per linked instructions.  So maybe you could do one of each if you really wish, and still have 1 lot of starter in reserve.

Using a food scale would have been much better.  I just don't have one yet.

I made the same bread using a sourdough whole wheat recipe twice, once with the AP flour starter, then with the WW flour starter.  Roughly same rising times for both doughs.  I found that the second version tasted more sour.

Hope you have as much fun as I've had.


davidg618's picture


here is a link you may find useful. It's only a starting point for further research, but there are a lot of softwares named and compared

David G

Please ignore this post. I put it in the wrong thread.