The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat starter ratios...

airam88's picture

Whole wheat starter ratios...


I'm trying to build a new starter with 100% whole wheat. I tried this recipe but the 'starter' turned into a dry dough since ww absorbs more flour than white.

Any ideas? Follow if you could tell me what I need to do the following days (how much to add), that would be great!


ghazi's picture

does absorb a little more water than white, if your beginning a starter just make sure its wet enough so like a thick paste. 100% hydration is what you want. If you feel needs more water just add a little more do not make it soupy as when starter ferments it gets more loose

So first day 50g WW with 50g water (beat this to incorporate air encouraging yeast growth) and let this sit in a warm place. Next day if you see a few bubbles whisk in another 50g flour and 50g water. Then again once you see more bubbles discard half , so keep 100g starter and feed 50g water and 50g flour again. Keep smelling this and keep it at room temp now. 70-75 F. You never want your starter to get warm once it has developed some.

After about a week of discarding half and replacing once a day you should taste and smell a big difference. Now of course this all depends on factors. Different country, Flour , temp etc..

Once it smells very nice after about 2 weeks. Start feeding what is called 1:1:1 (starter:flour:water) keep amounts small so maybe discard all but 50g and add 50g flour and water

In about a months time once you've been feeding daily, sometimes even twice a day depending on how happy it gets. You can start using your bread.

I know it might sound little confusing , though once you get the hang of it you notice that just need to keep you starter healtly and feed when it needs food which is when it has doubled in size an started to collapse a little bit. There are tons of articles on this so wont get into it.

It takes patience but the reward is for life.


airam88's picture

This like more like something that could work. That's a little over half a cup. I'll try it. 



doughooker's picture

The consistency of a milkshake is what I go for.

airam88's picture

I meant that this *looks* like something that could work...and seems to have worked

...I think.

I added a half cup of flour to a half cup of flour (obviously this is a mistake since I am not using grams). I felt it was too wet (pancake batter but more on the wetter side, but not like soup) since you all said it should be thick. I added about 3 tablespoons and it got a bit thicker so I just left it. It does seem to have become more airy and increased in size in less than 12 hrs. To be sure I just stirred it more and left it. Now, four hours after the stir, it is almost triple in size. 

Should I wait a full 24hrs or just mix in more flour and water.... actually I'm not even sure how much to add since it was too wet at first (1/2 water plus 1/2 flour + 3 tblsp?).

I should have been more clear in my question and asked for a proven ratio in cups specifically for ww. 

Also, can I use the discard or is this too early?

Thanks again!

ghazi's picture

to use in bread. Once you see bubbles just add the same initial amount again. Always better to weigh

50g flour, 50g water this way you cant go wrong

Over the next few days it should start to smell more sour and its a distinguished smell you will learn to love

Keep discarding half and feeding same amount that you have left in container. So if you have 200g , take out 100g and feed 50g flour and 50g water. This way you have 200g again and so forth.

After about a week you should be able to bake a loaf of bread. I actually feel that your best bet is after 1 month. This is when there should be no reason you have good yeast activity if its bubbling and doubling on daily basis and getting fed accordingly. This is when it starts to show its wings


Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

And if you are impatient for a loaf of WW bread I strongly advise the WW Buttermilk and Honey loaf.  JMonkey has instruction for the loaf and it is delicious!  

Not so long ago I was at the same place you are.  But it is an obsessive hobby.  I'm no expert but I can turn out a nice looking loaf that I am not ashamed to offer to company.  The hardest lesson for me was and remains to practice patience.  It takes patience and some blind trust to imagine you will actually get a loaf from this gooey mess.  

As for my starter I have never had to build another from scratch.  It is amazing how little starter you really need to build up a suitable amount again.  What it does take is a bit of planning ahead if you are a wknd baker like me and you are not using and refreshing starter every day.

Very good luck to you.  

airam88's picture

I messed up.

I discarded half and added 1/2c flour and  less than 1/2c water. I was focusing so much on making this new addition thicker (hence the addition of less water) that I forgot that I should just double on day 1. What do I do now? I have 1:2:2...


I'm actually looking forward to when I can use the discards in recipes, Jane D...not to much for bread. I'm willing to take ghazi advice and wait a while before that. But I'd love to have the discard to make pancakes, muffins etc healthier.