The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starters using bleached all purpose flour

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Starters using bleached all purpose flour

Why is it that I read people say stay away from bleached all purpose flour? 

Does it affect the starter in a bad way? bad taste? 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Theoretically, it should be much harder to "start a starter" using chemically bleached flour as many would presume that the bleach has killed most, if not all, of the organisms living on the grain.

Not saying it's impossible, just probably much harder. Many have difficulty enough starting a starter with unbleached and even whole grain flour as it is.

(Probably)not as crucial using bleached flour to feed an already established starter, although I'm sure that many are against using bleached flour for any purpose.

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Thanks, I am on my second try with this flour I have on hand (my anxiety makes it hard for me to just get up and go to the store for the right materials.)  I am using bleached all purpose flour and everything seems to be going according to plan, I'm on day 3, I have bubbles and sour smell.

Guess I will just have to make sure I get unbleached flour next time, maybe rye or something else. But for now I just wanted to make sure that there was not going to be a real bad affect from using this flour. I am not expecting great results from this starter, just more of an experiment and practice, learning what to look for, how it acts and how to manipulate it.

BettyR's picture
BettyR

but I have used bleached AP flour to make a starter in the past. It was back before I knew any better LOL but it worked. I kept it for about a year I think but I eventually lost interest in it. My youngest started Intermediate school and I wanted to go back to work so I went back to using yeast in my bread.

I don't remember if it was a lot of trouble or not to get it started but since I really didn't know anything about starters except for the directions I was given to follow....I really wouldn't be a good judge of that.

Ford's picture
Ford

I go on the principle, if it works for you , that is the right way.  I err on the side of caution: don't use 1/ bleached flour, 2/ brominated flour, 3/ water containing chlorine, and 4/ do scald any milk that you use.

But you are NOT wrong, if you violate any of these principles, as long as you do not have problems with YOUR way!

Ford

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

Impecunious, I got the impression from your post above that maybe you thought you needed a rye flour "or something else" to be used as an "unbleached" flour. When most of us say unbleached flour we mean white, all-purpose (AP) unbleached flour. Unbleached AP flour is easy to find in any supermarket. Rye and whole wheat are also "unbleached," if we're being technical, but they are never bleached and are not the same as AP flour. If you use rye flour in your starter, and keep using rye flour to replenish, you will end up with a rye starter. That's not a bad thing, but it's not a white starter. I keep both a white and a rye starter going. 

jaywillie

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Thank you for your response. I am thinking of using rye, just don't have any yet. But that is a good Idea to keep both. 

On the rye starter, do you ever stop feeding it rye and just feed it AP?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

The starter eventually becomes what you are feeding it. If you don't eat much rye bread, a rye starter is probably not needed. Some people that have problems starting the starter, or are not pleased with the way their starter performs or tastes, try rye. Even if you just want to make rye breads occasionally, you can still start by using your ap starter.

Starting your starter was not difficult(apparently), so you can just see how it performs and tastes. Give it plenty of time to get it good and established before you make any judgements about how well it performs. Give it 2 - 3 weeks(or more). If you start too early, it may not raise the bread well, and may taste horrible(mine did).

Conversely though, if you know you like breads that are good and sour, then you probably will want to keep a rye or ww(whole wheat) starter.

Personally, I started out keeping all three types(white, rye, and ww) but decided to just keep white. My white starter is 2 years old and has no sour characteristics at all, that I can taste. It raises very well though.

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

Like many others, I started my original starter with rye flour, as widely recommended on TFL. (See this long but very instructive thread.) But after the starter was established, I switched to white flour. I use only AP flour for my white starter, and only rye flour to replenish my rye starter. 

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Ok, so the other day I added a couple tablespoons of orange juice and three tablespoons of flour. The starter is looking good and smells good. Fed it like I was supposed to on day four and today was final mix. Cant wait till its ready for use.

Ford's picture
Ford

Patience is not only a virtue, but it is an absolute necessity in making sourdough.  It will take a couple of weeks before your starter is ready to make bread in a reliable manner and a few more weeks before it is really mature.  Scary, isn't it?

Ford

 

 

 

impecunious1's picture
impecunious1

Well... I couldnt wait. I used it, all but 1/4 cup and made a loaf of bread. It was ok, not much difference from any other bread I have made without a starter. Thing I dont understand is how its supposed to get better when your supposed to throw away (or use) half, and then add same amount of fresh water and flour. Seems to me that the starters flavor would just get thinned out. Guess I have to take the word of others who have been doing this for a long time. There was a reply from some one else said that his white sourdough starter doesnt have much sour flavor, I wonder if that is a big difference between a white flour starter and a rye flour starter?

Ford's picture
Ford

The essence of baking is patience.  The essence of sourdough baking is patience squared.

Mike Avery, internet sourdough discussion group, 24 Sep 2007

drips's picture
drips

I recently made up my first starter using the pineapple juice method. After 3 days of Heckler's WW flour I switched to Gold Medal bleached AP and by day 10 had very strong growth with the starter more than doubling in about 4 hours. I normally buy unbleached but the Gold Medal was on sale and didn't even realize it was bleached when I started the process. Thought I might have messed up my first attempt but I couldn't be happier with the results.

Of course, I haven't bake with it yet...