The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough starter from milled 'waste' flour?

AustinNewbie's picture
AustinNewbie

Sourdough starter from milled 'waste' flour?

Totally new to sourdough baking. I'm working on my starter and so I went to a local miller who stone mills the best einkorn and red fife organic flours. He gave me a huge bag of flour that he gathers from the bottom of the mill (looks like heavy in bran/germ and much less white flour) to use to make a starter. The question is, has anyone worked with this, because the water to flour ratios that I am trying to use are making an extremely stiff dough. I tried a 1:1 by weight and couldn't even mix it, so went to 1:1 by volume and it's just a thick, but light dough. It's fermenting after several days and bubbly inside the dough and smells pretty strong like vinegar, but no bubbles on the top and no 'frothy' look at all. Should I add more water? Just keep going or try a different flour? I'd love to use this because he gives it to me for free and feeding a starter with good organic flour is kind of expensive otherwise. Thanks.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

what you have going but feed it with flour until you know it is established. Then you can go ahead and use the bran to feed it. I often do that but be aware that you need to go by the smell rather than the look of things as the bran levain just sort of sits there... you might see some holes but generally nothing much happens.

AustinNewbie's picture
AustinNewbie

Thank you! I'll try that. 

jcope's picture
jcope

I'd think you aren't doing anything wrong.  You could forget the ratios for the time being and just go for a thick but mixable starter, by feel.  A bit more substantial than batter.  I'd think the more important concern is that you add new flour to at least match the amount already there when you feed it.  The water/flour ratio in the flour seems not to be critical and you and choose this based on preference.

pcake's picture
pcake

you can make a starter that's thicker than batter but has too much starter and too little flour.  just a thought.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think I read dabrownman on a post write that bran is great in a starter but the starter also need starch. Maybe you should mix some white flour with your bran.

If anyone knows different, please correct me.

Dan

Lechem's picture
Lechem

However, bran seems to have a significant amount of starch in it. Or so I read. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

grain rye not bran.  I never feed my starter plain bran - it is stored in the fridge for up to 6 months at a time with no maintenance and it needs whole grain flour.  I make bran levains all the time though - sometimes using only bran like today but that means the mix of flour in the bread will be at least 50% whole grain to get enough bran.

Most of the time the feeding of the levain is all the bran in the mix plus some high extraction flour.  The reason I don't feed mu starter only bran is because it only has 20% starch and regular flour has between 70-80% starch.  The we beasties need sugar to eat and it is the breaking down of the starch into sugars by amylase enzymes in the flour that supply it. 

The 2 great things about bran is that has all the great minerals and vitamins that living thongs need to thrive and perform at their peak just like humans  - plus it acts a buffer to allow LAB to continue to reproduce and make acid at lower pH's than normal.  But, it makes for a bad starter food for the NMNF starter, one that is totally not maintained for half a year and needs all the food it can get while retarded:-)  Whole grain flour is far and away better for that.

Hope this clears up any mis-understanding about what Lucy does  I wish i could figure that out myself?  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I wished I could find the post. But I think it was dabrownman that mentioned that a starter would benefit with bran and whole bits, but some of the finer flour was also good to incorporate. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the particulars.

Hopefully Dab will see this and comment to clear things up.

Abe, you keep me on my toes. I had no idea what a mavin was, so I looked it up. And I learned a new word :D

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of milled grain will absorb water like a sponge but contain more wild yeast and bacteria than the endosperm or what makes up the flour bulk.  It is also full of fiber, minerals and vitamins.  

So keep going with this super food.  Add enough water to keep it wet and if there is a little separation in the first few days with water on top that will soon change as yeast multiply.  They have a way of stirring the starter when there are enough of them to make gas.  A little stirring a few times a day and temps above 75°F helps too.  You're off to a good start.

You can also just put some flour in a jar, cover with lots of water (about 4x and don't stir) cover and let it sit for five to six complete days (less in warmer temps) and do absolutely nothing and the starter will grow on its own in the wet layer.  Just make sure it doesn't dry out and remove any schum that forms on the surface.  (This is a cool way to watch tiny changes happening in layers.). Set up this one near to your play-with-me  starter and compare or race them to pass the long wait.  

You can easily check new starters after a few days for gas by covering the jar with a deflated sandwich bag secured tightly with a rubber band.  Gas will slowly inflate the bag.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks for the clarification, Dab.

Dan