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White starter with WW loaf

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home_mill's picture
home_mill

White starter with WW loaf

I am getting my first ever starter ready to use this weekend, it will be my first try at sourdough. The thing is I never make white bread always WW. Is it OK to use white starter with WW flour? All of the recipes for WW sourdough I see use WW starter without any explanation why? I don't mind converting my starter to WW, but not until I know it works and I know how to use it. I don't see any set recipes for WW sourdough, I did find the one that Jane posted. Why does hydration of starters vary? Mine is 50/50 flour/water by volume and is very wet and gooey. I can see how a lower hydration would make it less gooey.

 

Thanks - Joel

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

It'll work fine! I keep a whole wheat starter because I almost always make 100% whole wheat bread. But I also keep a white starter around because I like to make white breads on occasion as well.

Truth be told, all you really need is one starter. Some of us keep multiple starters because we're ... obsessive ... but that's our issue, not yours.

So go ahead and use the white starter in the loaf. Can't wait to hear how it turns out.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Joel,

You can use a white starter with WW recipes. I blogged a recipe that uses a very small amount of white starter and is otherwise all whole grain flours. The flour choices are a little odd, but you can use the same recipe with any whole grain flours substituted for the spelt and red and white whole wheat flours. It will work about the same, regardless of flour choice. I only keep one white starter at the moment and use it for all recipes, with whole grain or without.

Bill

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Bill,

 I have a question about your recipe. You use only 11g of starter. I found another recipe on this site as follows: 

Whole wheat flour 1000g, Whole wheat starter (100%hydration) 400g – This is my first trial – will increase more starter next time to see what will happen, Water 760g, Salt 24g,

Why such a big difference in the amount of starter, 11g vs 400g? I am concerned I won't get much rise with such a small amount of starter.

 Thanks - Joel

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Bill,

I just found your write up on maintaining a 100% hydration starter. It looks like a treasure trove of information and I think it will answer a lot of my questions. In fact there is so much information there it is going to take some time to study and absorb it all.

 

Thanks - Joel

 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Personally I am not sure that the substance that remains a few days after the starter has been refreshed can really be called "flour" whether the starter was fed with 100% whole wheat flour, 100% refined white flour, or something in between. It is a chemical substance with leavening and souring capability, and I count it as mix of flour and water because that is how recipes are written. But it seems to me that it is more of an organism distinct from the feeding flour at that point.

sPh

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Here's a few on the site:


And here's a recipe that I use an awful lot for simple sourdough whole wheat sandwich bread. You can use white starter, or, if you wish, take some of your white starter and feed it with whole wheat flour. If you do use white starter for this recipe, I'd recommend cutting the water down to 150 grams.

Ingredients:
  • 300g whole wheat starter at 100% hydration
  • 300g whole wheat flour
  • 200g water or milk
  • 9g salt
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1.5 TBS Honey

Dissolve the starter in the water, then add the salt and stir until dissolved. Melt the butter and add it to the bowl with the honey. Last, add the flour and stir until everything is hydrated.

Cover and let it rest for an hour. Then, do a stretch and fold. Cover and then, at 30 minute intervals, do two more stretch and folds. After the last, shape the dough into a ball and let it sit for two more hours, for a total of four hours for the bulk rise.

After about four hours, pre-shape and then shape it into a sandwich loaf. I then put mine in a cooler on an upturned bowl and throw a cup of boiling water in the bottom, so that it's in a humid environment at about 80-85 degrees for the final rise, but it's not necessary. You can just cover it and let it rise. It'll take 2-3 hours to crest about 1/2 inch to 1 inch above the pan. Then, slash it and bake at 350 for about 50-55 minutes.
home_mill's picture
home_mill

That looks like a good recipe to start with, but do you mean reduce the water to 150gm, not 250gm? Also all the instructions I read about starters is to add equal volumes of flour and water when feeding it. By my calculations that results in a starter with hydration of 188% (236 gm water, 125 gm flour). Should I be feeding less water so the hydration is closer to 100%?

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Yes, that should be 150 grams. I've corrected it.

As for feeding the starter, 100% hydration is more conventional, so you'll have an easier time using your starter with more recipes, but your starter will churn along just fine at 188%.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Joel,

The proportion of starter to flour and water in the dough affects the rise time, but a tiny amount or a large amount of starter will eventually raise a dough by about the same amount. In fact, a small proportion of starter in a large dough sometimes will raise the dough higher in the end than a large amount of starter added to a dough. Also, some breads have intermediate "starters", which I would call a levain, and some do not.

A starter delivers a certain number of organisms to your dough, after which the organisms multiply, doubling very roughly every hour plus or minus a half hour, depending on temperature, hydration, salt, and other conditions. As they grow in number, they also produce acids and gas. If your gluten is well enough developed, the gas will be held in, and when the numbers of organisms is large enough and the production of gas large enough, the dough will rise. It will also eventually fall or collapse, if you don't bake it soon enough.

So, you can put a tiny amount of starter in a dough, and it will still rise over a much longer time, but it will eventually produce enough acids and gas to raise and flavor your bread. Or, you can separately grow your "starter" to a larger amount first (which I'd call a levain) and then add it to your dough. In that case, the rise time of the dough itself will be shorter, although the overall total time including the building of the larger starter is about the same. Which one works better in the end, and the effects on flavor and texture of these approaches, is a point of much discussion.

In the case of this recipe, the "starter" provides a very small inoculation of an intermediate "levain", which is just a larger starter that uses whole grains in this case. The levain is then mixed with the soaker, which is whole grain flours mixed with water and allowed to rest for a few hours or overnight, and the rest of the dough ingredients, to make the final dough.

I hope that helps explain why some recipes may specify a tiny starter and very long rise times or an intermediate "build" or "levain" that then is added to the dough, while others may specify a larger amount of "starter" and shorter rise times for the dough.

I'm glad you found my "maintaining a white flour starter" discussion. It has grown to include a fair amount of information, and you may end up having a few more questions than answers after reading it. Good luck wading through it.

Bill

home_mill's picture
home_mill

My first loaf of sourdough sandwich. It exceeded my expectations being very light and fluffy, could be due partly to the white flour starter which made up about one third. My wife commented that it looked pefect like store bought bread, but expected it to be more sour tasting (it was only mildly sour). I tried putting the dough into the refrigerator as per Jane's recipe but after 4 hours it did not rise at all. It took another 6 hours at room temperature to double and I had to coax it at the end by putting it in a slightly warm oven. The final proof went well and took about 2 hours. Thanks to Jane, Bill and JMonkey for all the help. Boy do I have a lot to learn especially the timing involved with getting the starter active and the long rising times.

 

Joel

 

 

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