The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New from old?

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Wanderer's picture
Wanderer

New from old?

I have a very strong white sourdough starter that has been going for about eight months.  I'm now going to begin a whole wheat starter.

My question is, do I start from scratch or just keep feeding some of the white starter with whole wheat flour?

Wanderer

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Take a portion of your white starter and start feeding it an increasing percentage of whole wheat and a decreasing percentage of white flour.  For instance, do a couple of feedings with 20% whole wheat and 80% white.  Then a couple of feedings at 40% whole wheat and 60% white.  And so on until you are feeding 100% whole wheat.  That will give the yeasts and bacteria in your starter an opportunity to adapt to the changing conditions instead of hitting them with an entirely different food source all at once.

That said, sourdough starters are remarkably resilient.  If you did go to feeding it straight whole wheat, it might be somewhat sluggish for a few days but would eventually bounce back to full strength.

Do expect that the whole wheat starter will smell and taste different than it's white brother.  The whole wheat brings a lot more and different compounds to the party than does the white flour.  Once it stabilizes, the population of microbial life that thrives on the whole wheat will also be different than the population that thrives in the white starter.  You may also notice that the whole wheat starter ripens faster and requires more-frequent feedings as a result.  Or not.

Paul

Wanderer's picture
Wanderer

Thanks Paul I'll give that a go.

The reason I asked was answered in your reply - I hoped that the taste and smell would be different, but thought that using my original starter would mean more of the same in a different colour.  However if it is down to the flour I can save some time by using the method you describe.

Wanderer

 

Wanderer's picture
Wanderer

I decided to just mix the whole wheat in straight away - 100g white starter 100g whole wheat flour 100ml water.  It never even hesitated, it doubled in size in about 4 hours and looked like it may spill out of the pot - my white starter doesn't do this. 

I shall look forward to 100% wholewheat sourdough bread much to the kids' disappointment.

Wanderer

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Enjoy!

Paul