The Fresh Loaf

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100% rye vs 50/50 AP

DeeBaker's picture

100% rye vs 50/50 AP

I’ve been keeping my starter 100% rye and have started feeding 1:2:2. After doing more reading, I see people doing 50% rye and 50% AP for the feed. What are the advantages of this? I’m about to put Sisyphus to nap in the fridge today after the next feeding, just trying to decide whether to switch over or not,

idaveindy's picture

1. AP flour (even bread flour) is cheaper.

2. whole grains fed to a starter introduce more and new natural/wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria (comes in on the bran), and will, over time, likely change the strains/species of the little critters.  This can change both the  flavor and performance of the starter.

3. the extra enzymes in whole grains (compared to refined/white flour)  promote faster breakdown of starch to sugar.  My starter, even when kept in the fridge, goes longer between feedings when fed just white/refined flour. 


Those who distribute dried starter culture,, and, use and recommend maintenance feeding with white refined flour in order to maintain the strains/species of the culture.

pmccool's picture

my starter is fed a combination of whole rye, whole wheat, and AP or bread flours.  It's entirely eyeballed, although the white flour usually is the larger amount.  Consistency is usually somewhere between a thick paste and a medium dough. 

My unscientific rationale is that the starter denizens are now accustomed to all three of the flours.  Since the bulk of my breads feature at least one of the flours, there shouldn’t be a shock when they go to work in the dough.  And I don’t have to maintain customized starters.  

The bottom line is that you can feed your starter almost any flour that is high in starches and it will thrive.  So, feed it whatever makes you and your starter happy.  


DeeBaker's picture

Thanks. I fed Sisyphus this morning with half rye half AP. Phoenix is in the fridge all rye. Further down the line I can decide whether to switch to all AP, if rye is even available again. I have around 5 pounds frozen in plastic right now. If I am reading you and others right, we make preferment instead of just using our starter to get those yeast used to the flours in the recipe, and your technique appeals to me for that reason.