Starter Question


My starter's a week old now and i decided last night to change from a 30:70 rye:white mix to 100% white. Today though, it hasn't risen as much as previous days. Are changes like these acceptable or do the organisms need more time to adapt to the new conditions? I've got some of the old stuff stashed in the fridge, so if tomorrow the starter's not going strong I might revert back to that.

David (still hasn't baked yet(':(')

254 users have voted.


SourDom 2006 August 6


my starter (like yours) likes a bit of rye in the mix.
Don't worry - it hasn't died.

It may be a little slower with all white flour, but if you keep refreshing it for a few days you will find that it regains its activity.

Alternatively make the starter happy and add back in a bit of rye!


Croc 2006 August 6

i remember reading that when you change "food" those little pricks called yeast get really mad and it takes couple of feedings before they get used to new food and i guess with young starter change is even more of a problem but the good news is that it should go back to normal quite quick.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 7

Its best if you change a starters food over a couple of feedings so the shock is not too great. Don't expect the all white to act as vigorous as with the rye.

lightningbolt 2006 August 7

Cheers. So Bill are you saying that in the end of the day a starter with a bit of rye is always going to be faster? Is there something in rye flour that helps this? Also, what if I wanted to make an all white loaf, with a mixed starter? I might have to diversify into a second starter...

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 7

I don't delve too deeply into the technical side of "why" things happen, but it is to do with the enzymes in the rye flour.
It's perfectly OK to do a white loaf with a rye starter, and a lot of people have only rye starters. Personally I prefer to have a starter that matches the flour mix in the dough I am going to make. This is why I maintain one of my starters with 1/3 rye 2/3 white, as this is the mix in my regular rye loaves.

carla's picture
carla 2006 August 7

My starter is all freshly ground wholemeal rye. I have never had any other until I read all these english forums and found what nice "white" bread with big holes you can make with wheat sourdough.

I have found though that it is easier to maintain a healthy rye starter than a good white one (because it has more acids which keep molds at bay), so I stick with the rye and if I want a wheat one (or a rice one or any other fancy one) then I just do a Detmold 3-stage feeding cycle and I have a wheat sourdough (or a rice sourdough or whatever).

It seems to adapt that way much better than to just "feed" it and leave it on the bench.

lightningbolt 2006 August 7

I left my newly-all-white starter for 48 hours to see if there would be any activity, however tonight there was little. It was also giving off a different, more chemical-like odour. So I binned it and went back to the 30% rye from the fridge.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 7

Well Carla, I must do things the hard way because I've always done my starters with white flour. None of this easy rye starter stuff for me.

carla's picture
carla 2006 August 8

Yes, I do admire people who can keep the wheat ones going, especially the non-wholemeal wheat ones. Amazing! Must be really hardy MO's in there!!

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