The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

whole wheat starter first attempt

ringopaul's picture

whole wheat starter first attempt

Sorry if this has been discussed in a previous topic I have searched but wasn't able to find a definite formula for a whole wheat starter. I decided to try my hand at WW starter and I found a ratio of 1/3c flour to 1/4 water for a rye starter but this ratio gave me a dry ball of paste. I ended up with a 50/50 ratio (5.5oz KAWW/5.5oz of bottled water) which gave me the consistancy of a thick oatmeal. I'm hoping that this will result in a good healthy start to a hearty starter.

I guess my question is how many people have tried this and does my ratio seem ok?

Again sorry if this has been dicussed my search abilities are a bit lacking as I am new to the forums.

dabrownman's picture

require patience and the just a little more patience.  I like the ww method that Joe Ortiz uses with a tinge of milk and some cumin.  But, just watch it and feed it and next thing you knew it will devoure the house :-) 


Red5's picture

There isn't a definite formula for starters, just minor variations spread over the thousands of ways that end up working or not. 

Your flour/water ratio is fine, just keep feeding it daily. I got my whole wheat starter going on just flour and water, using a 50/50 flour/water ratio. My way was to mix 3 oz of each, let it sit for two days, on day 3 refresh with another 3oz each flour/water, day 4 I discarded all but 2oz of the mix and refreshed with 2oz each flour/water. From there it was beginning the daily routine of tossing out 4oz so I would end up mixing 2oz starter/2oz water/2oz flour.  I remember seeing activity somewhere between day 5-7, then it seemed like nothing was happening for a few days, then it just started rising and falling on a regular basis  I like keeping the starter at that 2/2/2/ level and at 6 oz total because it's less to throw out, more than enough to feed the yeast and bacteria daily, and versitile enough to be thickened into a biga or thinned out to a liquid levain, while leaving enough to be refreshed and ready for the next day. 

If you keep the starter on the thicker side, you won't see it bubble the way a white flour starter would. It'll be really thick and it will rise, but not have the same kind of bubbling on the surface. It also needs more attention than a white starter. It's more sensitive to temperature and time so you may notice some black/green, or white discolorations on the top if you go too long between feedings, but that's ok...just throw that layer out and feed like normal. 


Nickisafoodie's picture

is in the upper left corner of the web page.  if you type in "whole wheat starter" you will see a lot of post pop up that you can open.  its a great tool too if looking for a certain recipe like "semolina" or whatever comes to mind.  Start there for any questions and you will be amazed at how much content is there, all of which over time will make you a better baker.  There are also a variety of tutorials on the home page...  good luck

ringopaul's picture

Thank you everyone I appreciate all the info I have recieved thus far. This is the main reason I got into this web community, everyone is so willing to help and offer every bit of info they have. Hopefully one day I can amass enough knowledge to reciprocate and help this great community continue.

Thanx again!

ringopaul's picture

Hey all,

I posted earlier that I was starting a new WW starter using KA WW. Well on day 2 I went to feed the starter and noticed a few bubbles and a yeasty/acrid smell. I figured the bubbles we due to settling as my starter was a little thick. I continued on to feed the starter 3oz of KA WW with 3oz of water (my well water I ran out of bottled) this was at 10 pm at 5am I went into  the kitchen to make my lunch for work and noticed the starter had TRIPLED! quite a strong smell was coming out of the caontainer as well. When I came home from work 6:30 pm the starter had collapsed. Tonight the plan is to reserve 2oz of starter and feed it 2oz of KA WW with 2oz of water.

So my questions are, is this a viable starter? can a starter really take off that quick?

I guess I will see how Henry I will do after tonight.

pics of starter the bottom of red tape is original level

placebo's picture

You're probably seeing the activity of gas-producing bacteria. In the next day or two, the starter will appear to go dead, and you'll wonder what you did to kill it. Fear not. Though nothing is appearing to happen, the starter is still developing. Soon the yeast will awaken. You just have to have patience. 

ringopaul's picture

thanks for instilling some peace of mind. I'm on day 5 now and the starter is now rising and falling in small incriments and starting to smell better too. Whew! patience patience patience....