The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

quality of different flours

MsLisa's picture

quality of different flours

Has anyone had this happen?

Because flour has become difficult to find, I purchased a bag of supermarket brand white flour, rather than my usual King Arthur brand (couldn't find it anywhere!).  When I tried to use the cheap flour to feed my sourdough didn't work!  After several days of this feeding and the starter not rising, I was able to get some King Arthur brand and it worked just fine.

Can anyone explain what happened?


breadforfun's picture

If the brand you got is bleached or brominated, I think it could affect the starter. 

VRini's picture

You should use unbleached flour for sourdough baking.

hughesdr's picture


Another possibility is that it could be working, but just not rising due to the lower gluten content of the flour.

I had this problem. I started making sourdough during the coronavirus lockdown and the only flour I could buy was hong kong flour (a very bleached and finely-milled flour with a gluten content close to all purpose flour), though I did have a tiny amount of coarse ground Irish wholewheat left that I used to seed the starter. After one week. I would see bubbles and it had a nice sour smell, but never rose at my starter's 100% hydration - I guess because the starter mixture lacked the gluten strength to trap the air bubbles; instead, they'd rise and escape.

Nevertheless, my starter did a great job of raising with my first sourdough recipes: english muffins and bagels at their lower hydration levels.

Since then, I see the same behavior whenever my starter is fed with lower gluten flours, and it rises again as soon as I switch to higher gluten varieties.

So maybe try baking something small at low hydration, and see if it works for you?

Best Regards,

 - Danny