Multiple grain starters



I'm picking up a few comments over the past about adding other grains to a plain white starter. 

I've thought of running a multiple grain starter (dough or levain) with say White (70%, Wholegrain(15%) and Rye(15%) for example. 

I"m wondering who has tried this and the long term pros and cons. 

Anyone had any experience trying this?



377 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2015 August 16

Hello raymontigus,

I am assuming you mean wholemeal flours rather than whole grain.

I routinely add 15% wholemeal rye flour with the balance white bakers flour to my culture and I could see no problem using whatever combination you feel like provided that you are prepared to put in the extra effort that would be needed.

As to the effects, I think the consensus would be that it is likely to be beneficial to the health of the culture by introducing an ongoing injection of 'new blood' into the stock of yeasts and bacteria.  Rye is seen to be particularly beneficial as it also contains larger amounts of a beneficial enzyme that enhances activity as well.  One potential downside is the fact that the rye changes the colour quite significantly and that carries through to the crumb of the loaf and if you want a particularly 'white' crumb then you need to 'dilute' it by building your loaf starter/levain from a very small amount of culture with white flour but that is no real problem as by and large the beasties don't mind the source of their food supply.

So, why not give it a go.  It's unlikely to cause any harm and you can always go back to the old ways whenever you want.

Good luck with your projects.


raymontigus 2015 August 18

I've actually been doing it, with no apparant side effects.  I don't care about the colour, it's taste I'm sure we all want. I was interested to know if I was setting myself up for problems down the road... but as you said farinmam,  give it a go. What have we got to loose. We can always start again. 

Incidently, my reason for doing it is, that many say, it's best to feed a starter with the bread flour you intend to make with it... implying that it works better.  I figured that if the starter contains a bit of  everything ( so to speak)  it's ready for what ever you throw at it. 

Faulty logic?

farinam's picture
farinam 2015 August 18

Hello raymontigus,

As I said before, by and large, it doesn't matter much where the source of food comes from as long as your culture is stable and active and the 'food' is basically carbohydrate etc.  You can 'acclimatise' it if you wish but whether the result would be any different at the end of the day is open to debate.  As for feeding a bit of everything, well I don't think it is the same as kids and greens.

Good luck with your projects.


Post Reply

Already a member? Login