The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Starter to White

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brewninja's picture
brewninja

Whole Wheat Starter to White

My starter (creeping on a year old now) is kept around 75% hydration and 100% whole wheat. I feed it weekly at a 2:3:4 ratio.  It always respond great to feedings and when making bread with a greater proportion of whole wheat it rises very quickly.  I've noticed recently however, that when adding it to a bread that is primarily or entirely white flour, that it seems very sluggish.


Is this typical?


I'd suspect that there are more nutrients in the WW environment, and when the starter is thrown into an AP mix, it is a bit depleted.  But I wouldn't have thought it'd be so dramatic.  I recently fed the starter, it doubled in about 3 hours.  I recently used the starter in a bread with solely AP/Bread flour, and it took close to 12 hours to double.


Would a starter fed only AP, eventually be "stronger?" or would it merely adapt to that environment, and when converting to a WW bread experience the same sluggishness I find now?


 


Thanks for any info,


Gerard

Ho Dough's picture
Ho Dough

Maybe not more, but perhaps different? I've seen a similar response to a food change with my starters, so now my normal routine is to start converting them over a few days before a planned bake. Gradually upping the percentage of white or wheat to get to a mix similar to what I intend to bake with. That way the livestock are acclimated to the new food source and when the dough is mixed, they dig right in and go to work.


At other times, I'll use an all white starter on a dough that is maybe 30% whole wheat and rye. That doesn't seem to be enough difference to matter.

brewninja's picture
brewninja

I'm just starting to think that I should convert my whole starter to white flour.


Most breads I make will contain a majority of white flour, so it'd be a more similar environment.


I just like whole wheat better :)


Also, the ww is sourced locally and I like the idea of supplying some local microflora to the starter at each feeding.

Ho Dough's picture
Ho Dough

Not sure if that was intended to mean you like whole wheat........or some whole wheat in the mix. If the former, I suppose it is doable. A starter fed nothing but that would likely work with the right kind of whole wheat flour. Those tend to run pretty dense.


More likely you mean some whole wheat and almost everything I make runs somewhere around 25% to 40% whole wheat. I went so far as to mix it up several pounds of these flours and that is what I use to feed one of my starters. I bake from the same mix. For the actual dough, I also throw in some steel cut oats, cracked wheat or multi grain cereal to give it some texture and crunch. And a little wheat bran for color and flavor. Good stuff.


The local microflora would be a good topic for mythbusters. I know people swear its true, but then others, folks who can quote research.....claim that established cultures will remain stable. How else can you take a culture like Carls or one of the many commercial versions and send them all over the country and perhaps the world, and have them remain stable and true?