Adding rye to my starter


Got my hands on some rye flour and would like to add it into my starter. I saw the beginners starter recipe uses 70:30 white/rye. Is that the generally recommended ratio or can I use more rye? 100% rye? Do I need to introduce it gradually?

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farinam's picture
farinam 2011 December 27

Hello redrich,

The 30% rye feeding regime will give you an 'off-white' bread depending upon the other flours in your recipe and the proportion of starter used.  And rye is said to have useful yeasts and bacteria to give a starter a boost though from your description, yours is almost supersonic already.

Some people favour matching the starter composition to the make up of the loaf that you are going to make.  I would think that you would only use a 100% rye starter if you were planning a pure rye loaf and that can be a bit tricky because of the low gluten content of rye.

You can introduce the rye gradually if you like but if you start feeding you culture with the 70:30 blend it will take a few cycles for the composition to stabilise in any case.  There have been reports of the beasties sulking for a day or two if you change their diet but generally a mature starter is a pretty robust system and will soldier on through a range of misfortunes.

As I said before, I think the best bet is to continue to make the same simple recipe bread until you get your technique right and can produce a consistently good loaf.  There is no magic bullet out there.  An active starter is an active starter and will make good bread regardless of its composition.  When your starter is mature and your technique is good, then you can ring the changes and enjoy the infinite number of breads that are possible using the four basic ingredients (plus a few others from time to time).

Keep on bakin'


RobCollier 2011 December 27

Second what Farinam says.

Personally, I keep my starter using 100% rye. I think it's the most nutritious flour, and maintains a vibrant, stable starter- you don't get any of the 'hootch' separation that ya get with white flour.

If making a white loaf, the single teaspoon that I put into the preferment is indiscernable in the final dough.



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