Monday, 19 December 2011

Developing a Sourdough Rye Starter

Since I’m focusing on Sourdough this month, I decided now would be a good time to revive and repurpose two of the sourdough starters that I’ve been neglecting.

I’ve been using my Apple Starter exclusively for the past several months and hadn’t even fed the other two starters. They were begging for my attention. So I gave it to them.

My first experiment was to convert the starter we created in the BBA Challenge to a sourdough rye starter. The BBA Starter was a mature starter that I created in 2009; it just wasn’t active at the moment. Rather than getting rid of it, I wanted to bring it back to life and convert it completely to a rye starter. The BBA Starter was originally created with a portion of rye flour so it seemed like a natural progression to convert it to a sourdough rye.



Developing a Sourdough Rye culture

Adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman

Day One: Initial Mix

If you are making the starter from scratch, for the initial mix, use 450 grams or 6.4 oz (1 3/4 cups) of whole rye flour and 450 grams or 6.4 oz (3/4 cup) of water. Mix the ingredients to a smooth paste, cover with plastic, and let it stand in a warm place (75 to 80 degrees F.) for 24 hours.


Day Two: One Feeding

I already had a mature starter so I began the process of converting it to a sourdough rye at this point.



I took 3.2 oz of my mature starter, 3.2 oz (7/8 cup) whole rye flour, and 3.2 oz (3/8 cup) Spring water and mixed the ingredients until they formed a smooth paste.  Then I covered the bowl with plastic, and let it stand in a warm are (75 to 80 degrees F.) for 24 hours.



Days Three, Four, Five, and Six:  Two Feedings

Take 3.2 oz of the initial mix (one-third of above) and mix it with 3.2 oz (3/8 cup) of Spring water to break it up.  I use Spring water because tap water has chorine in it.  If you want to use tap water, leave it out overnight to remove the chorine. 



Add 3.2 oz (7/8 cup) whole rye flour and mix until it forms a smooth paste, cover it with plastic, and let it stand in a warm place (75 to 80 degrees F.) for 12 hours.



Repeat the feedings every 12 hours for 4 days. The culture can be used to make bread on the 7th day, but will develop better flavor if you continue the feedings for 2 to 3 more days.



My next experiment was to convert my first starter to a stiff levain cuture. I’ll tell you more about that in a different post.

Now, I have three different types of starters, a liquid levain, a stiff levain and a sourdough rye starter. You don’t necessarily need three different starters; I just wanted to go through the process to document how it worked. It was fun.


Thanks for visiting The Bread Experience bread baking blog.  Be sure to check back to find out what bread I made using bread crumbs from the 66 Percent Sourdough Rye Bread and my newly converted sourdough rye culture.


Happy Baking!


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