The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye starter vs adding rye flour

FrancoisCoppens's picture
FrancoisCoppens

Rye starter vs adding rye flour

Dear forum members,

I just created my account, so this is my first forum post. I have a few questions that I was not able to find using the search nor a general web search. I will put different questions into separate forum posts, since they are unrelated.

So, for the first one. Did anyone try to make two sourdough loaves, both containing the same percentage of rye four (compared to the total amount of flour) but one has the rye flour added as a rye starter and the other with the rye flour added as flour during mixing? I'm not trying to make a rye bread, so let's say 10% rye flour max. All other variables are kept the same.

The question is, would there be a difference in the structure and taste between the two loaves? If so, I might keep an extra rye starter next to my white wheat starter, or use a mixed rye/wheat starter. If not, I wont bother with maintaining an extra starter and add the 5-10% as flour during mixing.

Thanks in advance!

pintolaranja's picture
pintolaranja

Would say the main difference in taste would come from the fact that rye is fermented in one of the loaves but not in the other.

To what extent this is noticeable I wouldn't know, but feel fairly certain it would be different. Need to try! :)

Yippee's picture
Yippee

instead of maintaining a rye starter. This way your bread will get the extra flavor, but you don't have to babysit an extra starter.

Pre-ferment the rye flour in the formula using your wheat starter. And beware that the liquid used here is part of your overall hydration.

Yippee

P.S. The rye levain is a second sourdough in addition to the one you've planned in the formula.

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee
Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

Being descended from highland Scots I'm frugal and I normally use the discards from my rye and my wheat starters in the loaf I'm baking. With the recipe I'm using the rye in the starter, 50g, is 10% of the total flour. If there's a timing issue, say toast for Sunday morning, I'll 'cheat' just a wee bit and throw in a teaspoon (level of course - rounded teaspoons are extravagant) of IDY. Did that today and got a beautiful loaf. In addition I recently mistook my jar of wheat flour for my rye flour and put a does of hard white in on top of my rye starter. The resulting exuberance has got me thinking about a creating third, married starter. Many hybrids are stronger and have greater endurance than the stocks they're bred from, the mule for example. I am using home milled flours but I can see no reason to believe that the store-bought stuff would behave differently. What the heck - live dangerously and mix things up.  

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

I prefer keeping a small wheat starter (to build a levain) in a pint jar and a actual rye sourdough in amt larger enough for a crock.  That way I have options.  I've been known to throw caution to the winds and use a bit of this and some of that rather than toss any starter.  

FrancoisCoppens's picture
FrancoisCoppens

Thank you everybody for all your reactions.

I've actually did the experiment this weekend (I was about half-way through the build process of a rye starter at the time of the initial post). I made sure that the final amount of rye flour was just 10% of the total amount of flour (by mixing in some white wheat starter to have the total amount of fermented flour at 20%). The loaf turned out great.

I must say that I was not able to tell the difference between adding 10% rye during mixing or as a starter. Maybe because 10% is not that much to begin with. So I will keep my white wheat starter and not continue the rye starter.

I found Yippee's suggestion interesting though. I never built a levain before so that is going to be fun to learn. Is the idea just mixing the starter with a part of the flour and water in the recipe and let it ferment for an extra day before final mixing?

As I am Dutch, I share Justanoldguy's frugal habits. Since rye flour is kinda expensive here in France compared to the standard T55 and T65 (about 3.30 EUR/kg compared to about 0.60 EUR/kg), throwing away the excess rye starter just feels wrong to me (even if the wheat-rye-sourdough pancakes I made were kinda tasty).

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

The step of building a levain with a small amount of starter is common and works well.  That is what I do most of the time rather than maintaining a large amount of starters...I just am on a rye kick right now and am trying out new recipes having picked up some books at the library...and some use a 1 2 or 3 step build...and seems I always underestimate.  Left over rye starter...I make rye biscuits or crackers usually.  But now I have an excess...and have too many biscuits in the freezer.  LOL.  I don't waste any starter ONCE I have a good established and frequently used one.  I only discard (meaning down the drain) when I am re-establishing or starting a new one.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

..."Is the idea just mixing the starter with a part of the flour and water in the recipe and let it ferment for an extra day before final mixing?"...

Yes. You can even let it ferment for more than one day.  Please review Dabrownman's "No Muss, No Fuss Starter" post for tips on how to minimize flour waste when maintaining a starter, and apply the same principle to build your levain.  If you have any questions, please ask (Dabrownman).  He's the starter guru. 

Yippee

 

FrancoisCoppens's picture
FrancoisCoppens

Hi Yippee,

Great! Yeah I already stumbled upon Dabrownman's build posts, and was slightly intimidated by the number of variables. I think my strategy for now will be to perfect (within the bounds of pragmatism) my sourdough starter bread making from a starter process and find a good schedule that fits with my work habits. Once I have full control over this process I will move on to the next level and dive into that magical realm of multi-stage levain building.

I have derived some equations that eliminate the problem of throwing away any excess starter, giving the correct amount to start the next bake for a given number of feeds, but it requires the next and current recipe/dough yield to be the same. From what I understood of building a multi-stage levain, the idea of discarding any excess doesn't seem to exist or is negligible.

In any case, many thanks!

Yippee's picture
Yippee



Good luck!

Yippee