The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can changing flours effect starter?

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Can changing flours effect starter?

My starter is fed 50% All Purpose and 50% Whole Wheat.  It is a 100% hydration starter.  I follow the one in Tartine's Book.

I recently changed my whole wheat flour that I feed my starter and the bread I was making didn't feel the same.  During the "turns" in the container it didn't increase in size and the dough was very sticky, it just wasn't the same.

I changed the whole wheat I was feeding it 2 days before I made a leaven with it.  It seemed ok and my leaven floated, so I don't understand??

What happens to a starter when you change some of the flour?

Thanks for your time!

Jaydot's picture

I once bought a different flour by accident (I buy flour from a mill, and I got a bag of non-organic instead of the organic I normally buy), fed my starter with it once, and the starter died the following day. Went from a nice, active starter to a lifeless smelly puddle within 24 hours. Took me days to figure out what happened, because the bags looked the same, just the tiny label was different.
So yes, changing flour can have an enormous effect on your starter.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I have read many articles on this issue as I had the same problem when I tried feeding my rye sourdough with whole wheat.  My healthy starter slowed down and eventually died within days.  Apperently the starter doesn't like change.  I now keep a few different types of starters; Rye, WW, White.


JOHN01473's picture

A couple of weeks ago I changed my flour to feed my starter. I went from wheat to rye. The wheat flour I was using was a very cheap one. I changed to rye because I was getting loads of brown waste liquid. Since using the rye this has stopped. I feed it once a week and keep it refrigerated. I would say that the final loaves have not really changed.