The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye starter vs white starter

baragouiner's picture

Rye starter vs white starter


This is my first post but I've been trying to bake sourdough for a few months. What I'm wondering is whether different starters are more or less active than each other e.g. is a rye starter is more active than a white starter?

I've managed to start and maintain a rye starter and am using it to make 100% strong white loaves but wonder if I'd get better results using a white starter with white flour.



bobku's picture

Usually I use a starter that is the same flour as the dough I want to make. But there are no set rules sometimes you can use a white starter for your white bread but also add a little rye starter to bring out a little more sour flavor. In the beginning I would stick to the same flour in starter and dough, then as you get more comfortable you can try experimenting.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

into a white (we are talking about white wheat, not white rye, correct?) wheat starter and see what it does.  Having a little bit of experience in the matter, I suggest you slowly increase the wheat amount in the starter feeds.  Then increase the wheat amount with each feed until the starter is 100% wheat.  Some conversions go trouble free, but others may experience a stand still when the change of food is too abrupt.  So take your time.

Let the starter feed on the flour mixture until it has adapted & peaked and started to fall back before feeding it again.  Although you haven't given any details on the starter maint. schedule, you may reach your goal in about 4 days at 26°C with 8 to 12 hr feedings.

Example:  Keep the starter above 20g and inoculate about 30g or more of flour.  Add enough water to be a familiar paste.   First feed 25g rye 5 g wheat flour, next discard and feed 20g rye, 10g wheat  and so on.  

If you see a big drop in activity, give it time to recover and repeat the same flour mixture before increasing wheat amount.   When you get to 100% wheat, go thru a few feedings to establish a pattern.  

You will find the rises higher with wheat so make sure it peaks out before feeding and use a larger storage jar.  Adjust the food amount to be peaking at about 6-8 hrs for 12 hr feeding intervals at 26°C.  When that is happening reduce the inoculation or double or increase the food amount for 24 hrs feedings or let the starter rise about a third before chilling.

Waiting to hear about the differences.  A wheat starter made from a rye starter has a little bit extra flavour than a pure white starter in my opinion.   

If however you want to improve white rye loaves...  stick to the whole rye starter.

baragouiner's picture

Thanks. I've gone for a rye starter because I lost a few white wheat starters, and the rye starter seems easier to get going and keep going. Once I'm more comfortable with a basic white loaf (with rye starter), I'll try to convert some rye starter to white wheat starter like you suggest!