How to make a wheat sourdough starter

 

Last updated on August 24th, 2016 at 11:11 pm

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.