Bran in Starter
Hi, I'm new here, so please pardon and gently instruct if I'm posting int he wrong place, etc. I've been reading for days and don't *think* I've seen anything about this anywhere in the forum.
I've been baking for 20 or 30 years off and on, mostly with white flour and only once or twice with sourdough, and then with a starter someone gave me. Just recently I've purchased a home milll. I much prefer the idea of "natural" yeast to genetically engineered, and so would like to not only make the switch to home milling and ww, but also to soudough. Oh, and I want to start my own starter. I've never been a tiptoe kinda person. I'm well aware of the admonitions to change only one thing at a time. I dive in head first anyway and take responsibility for the frustrations along the way.
So.... The starter was started with "Manuel's" method from the Laurel cookbook, using organic whole grain Rye 11 days ago. It had rye the first few days and then changed to ww, sometimes KA brand and sometimes my own grind which is organic hard white wheat (I think Spring, not positive.) It's had mixed success, mostly due to ignorance of course, but is getting there. I used it too early, and while the bread was pretty good (certainly not a brick), it about killed my starter to have that much removed and then be bombarded with that much new flour. So Im back to just feeding once a day without removing anything for a few days, as it slowly revs back up. I'm happy to report some growth (though not double), bubbles, and a nice smell today, when yesterday was flat as a flitter.
To the question:
One of the things I struggle with in using ww, is the effects of the bran on gluten. While I have friends who seem to make nice, light loaves, I have yet to reproduce that with my home milled flour without sifting out the bran, which I'd rather have in there in some form, just not to where it wrecks my gluten. I'd experimented with soaking a bit, and it occurred to me that I might "soak" my bran in my starter so that it would "soften" before going into the daily dough for consumption. At first I thought I'd use the bran to feed, but then it occurred to me that the yeastie beasties eat starch, which is not in the bran so much as the rest of the grain, so that's probably not a good food source for them. so now I'm wondering how it would go to feed with ww flour AND ADD extra bran to that. Will it still bubble and do its thing, or will the bran wreck that? Will it soften enough to matter? I tried splitting my starter and feeding one of them with extra bran, and that seemed to go well at first, but then when I added it to both, they fell. That was about the time I used it too early. Yes, I know... too many things changed too soon. I'm realizing the mistakes there, but I still think the bran thing is a viable question not specifically related to my wanton ways. Once REALLY established this time, I plan to split and feed bran to one (along with ww to eat) to see how it goes, but I'd love to know if anyone else has ever tried this or what they think the result will be.
Bottom line: What do you think about using the starter to soften bran?
Thanks- I look forward to your input.
Tami in TN