The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Which flour for the starter

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Which flour for the starter

Could someone clarify for me which flour to use when? I have started with rye flour in my starter. Am I then supposed to switch to All Purpose or Bread Flower after the starter gets going?

I am making a rye bread from Hamelman's book.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Hamelman says it doesn't matter much, and my experience is that is true. I keep two starters, one fed with 80 white/20 rye and the other with 80 white/20 whole wheat. The one with rye in it is stickier and doesn't rise as much during feeding cycles; the one with no rye is a bit creamier, easier to handle, and has a more crisp rise.

There is a theory that one should maintain a high-fraction rye (or 100% rye) starter for rye bread, but I have made a rye loaf (up to 40% rye) every week for about a year and I haven't found much if any difference (except for the flavor - the white/ww is more sour). That is also what Hamelman reports.

I am no biochemist but based on my observations I don't think a mature starter that has been fed more than a few hours ago has much relationship to "flour" regardless of what it was fed with - it transforms the raw material into a 5th element.

sPh

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Many thanks for the answer, however, I need clarification on the type of white flour.

Is the white flour All Purpose or Bread Flower or WW or does that not matter?

sphealey's picture
sphealey

The type of flour doesn't seem to matter much. I have taken to using the best brand I can find that is on sale, be that King Arthur, Gold Medal, Hodgon Mill, etc.[1] I have used bread, AP, KA Artisan White (lower protein), various KA whole wheats, and KA white whole wheat. The only difference I have noticed is that when using bread flour (which I do most of the time) the starter is a bit more stretchy as would be expected. But no significant difference.

I do use a bread-type flour rather than a soft cake/biscuit flour. 

sPh

[1] I am constrained to only nut-free products; your choice might be wider. 

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

I use all purpose in all of my starters.  Add rye or ww during feeding when I need it depending on what I am baking.

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

if you are making rye bread (jewish type) the starter is all white rye 100%

you can get a darker rye bread by using Medum rye again 100%

for other breads it depends on what kind of bread you want

that alone is the main factor.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Thanks sPh and everyone; most appreciated.

Everything is ready to go for tomorrow.