How to make a wheat sourdough starter

 

Make your own whole wheat sourdough starter. All you need is flour and water. There are really no excuses not to! Generally speaking, you don’t have to make a wheat starter if you already have a rye starter to hand. You can simply use the rye starter as a basis for a wheat refreshment if you wish. However, if you don’t have a rye starter or rye flour to hand, or you’d like to bake an all-wheat sourdough bread, you can quite easily prepare a wheat sourdough starter from scratch.

Wheat sourdough starter wholemeal
Wheat sourdough starter wholemeal

This is based on Andrew Whitley’s step-by-step guides in his books Bread Matters and Do Sourdough – Slow Bread For Busy Lives.

Wheat sourdough starter recipe

This sourdough starter recipe uses both stone-ground whole wheat flour as well as white flour.

Day 1

  • 30g stoneground organic whole wheat flour
  • 30g tepid spring water (35°C/95°F)

Use a medium sized plastic bowl with a lid to mix the flour and water. Try to use bottled or spring water as chlorinated tap water may impede the fermentation process. I tend to use a silicone scraper to mix the starter as it makes it really easy to wipe the inside surface of the bowl. Cover the bowl and keep at a warm temperature for about 24 hours. The ideal temperature for the wheat sourdough starter is 28°C/82°F.

Day 2

  • 30g stoneground organic whole wheat flour
  • 30g tepid spring water (35°C/95°F)

Add the whole wheat flour and water into the bowl which contains the 60g starter mixture from Day 1, cover and keep at a warm temperature for 24 hours.

Day 3

  • 30g stoneground organic whole wheat flour
  • 15g tepid spring water (35°C/95°F)

Add the above ingredients into the bowl which now contains 120g whole wheat starter mixture from Day 1 and 2. This time, you add slightly less water to tighten the dough consistency. Cover and keep at a warm temperature for 24 hours. At this point, you may already start to see signs of the starter fermenting i.e. small bubbles may be visible.

Day 4

  • 90g strong organic white flour
  • 45g tepid spring water (35°C/95°F)

Add the above ingredients into the bowl which now contains 165g starter mixture from Day 1, 2 and 3. Cover and keep at a warm temperature for 24 hours.

Day 5

You should now have an active wheat sourdough starter that has bubbled up overnight, slightly subsided again and smells fruity and / or acidic. You’re ready to start using your sourdough starter for wheat sourdough bread baking.

Wheat sourdough starter
Wheat sourdough starter

Please leave me a comment with any questions, happy to help with any trouble shooting. And please note: Your wheat sourdough starter will behave differently to your rye sourdough starter. It will lead to a production sourdough three times its size while the rye sourdough starter leads to a production sourdough ten times its size. Your wheat production leaven will fully ferment in only four hours while the rye sourdough leaven will take longer.