The Fresh Loaf

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help! feed starter unbleached flour or wait?

the first ashley's picture
the first ashley

help! feed starter unbleached flour or wait?

I brought my starter to my parents house so I can bake bread while I'm here, but all my mom has is bleached flour.

 

Is it ok to feed my starter using bleached flour, or should I wait until I go to the store tomorrow?

 

I fed my starter at 122 last night at 9, and by the looks of it, it's ready to be fed again. I won't be able to go to the store until tomorrow night, so it'd be roughly another 20 hours until I'd have the right flour.

 

Any help appreciated!

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

But if you have a mature starter I don't see why it can't be fed bleached flour. The reason we don't use bleached flour to make a starter is because it's been stripped of all the goodness it needs to become a starter. However it can still be food for the bacteria and yeasts. All they need is the sugar within the flour. 

I live in the UK and we don't have bleached flour so it's never been an issue for me. Logic tells me it'll be fine. If you wish to get started and keep your starter but still concerned then why not split your starter in two and feed one with bleached flour. Should it work it'll be ready to make bread with tomorrow. If all goes wrong you've still got the other half which can be fed non bleached flour when you have time to buy it. 

Edit : I've just re-read your question and my idea would mean you'd have to store one half in the fridge. Why not, if you're concerned, keep your starter in the fridge till you have time to buy more flour? You don't have to continually feed your starter. Unless you want to be ready for a bake tomorrow. 

the first ashley's picture
the first ashley

I did want to start a loaf tomorrow, but given my starters strength, it will be fine to throw it in the fridge and do a quick feed tomorrow if I can get to the store soon enough. Not even sure why that never crossed my mind!

 

 

I did save some of my starter back home, with the idea of throwing this one out once I am done (my parents smoke, and all I can think about is smoke in my starter).

 

It sounds like feeding should be ok though (I did even start this guy with bleached before switching over, but it took me like 3 weeks before it really kicked off).

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

Either split in half and feed one half having in mind it'll be ready for a bake tomorrow. 

Or... if you have enough starter ready for a recipe you can keep it in the fridge and it'll be good to go tomorrow. You don't have to use a starter that has just peaked as long as you keep it in the fridge. Just bear in mind it might take a little longer to bulk ferment. 

Or refrigerate and wait till you have bought more flour.

Very flexible. 

the first ashley's picture
the first ashley

Thanks! Appreciate the help!

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I sometimes use a little corn starch, maybe 20% of the feed.

Up to 10% (of the feed amount) white table sugar shouldn't hurt. I don't know at what level, but at a certain level/concentration sugar is an anti-bacterial. 

Powdered dextrose or maltodextrin, up to 20% of the feed.

Dried malt extract, if anyone in the family is a brewer. Up to 20% of the feed.

Whole wheat flour is okay up to 25%. (It can add new strains of bugs, so that's why I say up to 25% of the feed, if you want to maintain existing strains.)

Pure, no additives, unflavored potato flakes, up to 10%.

Any of these would serve to dilute the bleaching agent in the bleached flour.

I'm just guessing at the percentages, making them low to be on the safe side. Because you want to "select for", or encourage, bacteria that prefer and thrive in wheat flour, not the other stuff.

I read somewhere to not use rice flour. 

 

 

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

Now you've got me thinking. How about the water potatoes have been boiled in (and cooled of course). All that starchy goodness should keep the little critters happy. Do you think pasta water would have the same effect? 

Rice flour does work but it seems to give the starter a bit of a shock and it 'goes to sleep' for about 24 hours. Eventually it takes but not before you think you've killed your starter off and begin to panic. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I've read somewhere about using potato water.  Don't know about pasta water.

You'd want both to be salt-free if you do use them.

the first ashley's picture
the first ashley

Ha, I would definitely be panicking!

the first ashley's picture
the first ashley

Oh That's interesting, that's got me thinking now.

Thanks!

phaz's picture
phaz

Bleached won't hurt a thing as food, especially if it's only here and there. Good to see it's still kicking!. Enjoy!

the first ashley's picture
the first ashley

Thanks, phaz! It's been going pretty strong :-) the midway stir is the most helpful thing!

phaz's picture
phaz

Stirring is a good thing. A note on stirring - when feeding - stir like crazy till you see the gluten forming (it'll thicken up noticeably). When ya don't get the gluten, or it feels different, somethings up. Just think - if the starter won't allow gluten to form, adding it to a pile of flour may not be a good idea. Enjoy!

Sabina's picture
Sabina

I feed my starter bleached flour all the time and it's never been a problem.

Bleached flour is unfortunately the cheapest option around here.

the first ashley's picture
the first ashley

Thanks!