From leftover cooked rice to oatmeal, you can get creative with feeding your sourdough starter! Watch, listen, or read to learn exactly how to do it successfully if you ever run out of flour!
If you don’t have flour… can you feed your sourdough starter anything else?
Yes, you can!
On today’s #AskWardee, I’m sharing how to feed your sourdough starter with leftover cooked rice, oatmeal, or other non-flour options.
Including particulars you need to know to do it right.
Keep reading or watching below to learn more!
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The Question: What Else Can I Use To Feed My Sourdough Starter?
Meghan R. asked:
My mind is blown about the option to feed other things to the starter! Cooked rice, too? My husband loves to cook rice. It is very plain with just butter and salt but he always cooks the same amount regardless of how much we will eat so there is almost always extra. This would be something to feed the starter just once in a while? Would the butter and salt impact the starter? So any cooked grains, maybe apples, potatoes; is there more?
So many new questions are coming to mind. If you haven’t already, maybe you could do an #AskWardee about it. With the flour shortages on grocery store shelves these days, many people are asking how to keep their sourdough starter alive. What are the different foods that you can feed a starter? What differences will alternative foods make to the starter? Why does it work? Is this something you would do occasionally or regularly? How would you go about feeding something other than flour to the starter?
Meghan, thank you for your question!
Because we’re featuring your question on today’s #AskWardee, you’re getting a gift — a FREE eBook and Video Package! Our team will be in contact with you so you can choose which one you’d like!
More Than Just Flour!
You can use various flours to feed your sourdough starter and I shared more about that in Can I Feed My Sourdough Starter Different Flours? #AskWardee 021.
Today let’s talk about other things you can feed your sourdough starter beyond alternative flours: whole, cracked, or rolled cooked grains like leftover rice, quinoa, barley, spelt, or einkorn. Or, hot cereal like oatmeal or a cracked grain hot cereal.
All of these are options for feeding, too!
Just keep these things in mind…
#1 — Keep Up The Same Feeding Schedule And Amounts
Keep feeding your sourdough starter twice daily. Instead of feeding with ground-up flour, feed with leftover oatmeal or whatever else other cooked grain you have.
Add the cooked grain and water and mix into the starter.
It will probably be a little chunky, but that’s okay. The starter’s organisms will break it down more as it sits.
#2 — It Should Be A Starch-Based Grain
Since a sourdough starter’s beneficial organisms (yeasts and bacteria) eat the starches and sugars in flour… whatever you feed the starter needs to provide that starch.
Which means that non-starch alternative flours like almond flour or coconut flour are not options (none or limited starch in those).
In addition, the sourdough starter we use and teach (here) at Traditional Cooking School has organisms that are nurtured and fed by the starch in grains, rather than the sugar in apples or potatoes or grape juice.
Not to say that the apples, potatoes, or grape juice are bad… just that if you are using my starter instructions and my recipes, you’ll want to stick to grain-based starches because that’s what your starter is likely used to.
#3 — Pay Attention To How Your Starter Reacts And Performs
Your best guide on what works or doesn’t is going to be your starter’s behavior. How does it react to a different food? Less or more activity? How does it perform in your recipes?
You might notice that your starter does just fine with oatmeal and less fine with something else. Or, maybe it really takes off with cooked barley.
Take these observations into account when feeding in the future.
#4 — Plain Is Better
Ideally, the leftover foods you feed your starter should be plain… or on the plain side. This means less to none added fat, salt, or sugar.
Does it mean your cooked rice or oatmeal can’t have anything added? Not necessarily.
Try it and be sure to pay attention to how your starter acts. Adjust accordingly!
Free No-Knead Bread And Sourdough Starter Instructions
If you or anyone you know might want to know more about a homemade sourdough starter and/or a no-knead artisan bread recipe, click here for my free instructions.
Any Questions Or Comments?
If you have other questions or comments about your own experience with feeding your sourdough starter with alternatives to flour, be sure to leave them in the comments!
More Sourdough Posts from the #AskWardee Show:
- Does Sourdough Bread Get Moldy? +Troubleshooting Dense Sourdough Bread #AskWardee 110
- 11 Tips For Lighter, Less Dense Sourdough Bread #AskWardee 053
- When Is A Sourdough Starter Ready For Baking? #AskWardee 145
- Sourdough Tips, Troubleshooting & Frequently Asked Questions (KYF092, 167)
- The Best & Healthiest Flours For Sourdough #AskWardee 065
- Sourdough Troubleshooting: How To Know When Your Starter Is Strong Enough For Bread-Baking
- Is Aged Flour *Really* Better For Sourdough? #AskWardee 122
- Can I Use Reverse Osmosis Water For Fermenting, Culturing, & Sourdough? #AskWardee 138
- How To Transition A Sourdough Starter To Einkorn #AskWardee 069
- Can I Feed My Sourdough Starter Different Flours? #AskWardee 021
What Is The #AskWardee Show?
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Vincent Sabatino Sr. says
I accidentally left a bowl of Pizza dough in a refrigerator in our garage for about a week or so and when I took it out it smelled like sourdough should smell so with a little TLC I used it to make a few pizzas and it worked out really well, great taste, nice crisp bite !
I’ve been looking up lots of Sourdough starters and came across a recipe for Levain so I experimented a bit on my own with Plain Greek yogurt ,Apple Cider Vinegar , small amounts of rapid rise yeast , sugar and sea salt and mixing by hand (Lots of Kneading and folding ) and not all in the same bowl however I made one mix using a small amount of yeast ,a teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar two teaspoons of white sugar, and two pinches of Kosher Salt starting with about a quarter cup of warm water and adding flour about a third of a cup and some water till I achieved the consistency I was looking for , coated it with Olive oil,and placed it in parchment paper in my instant pot (Yogurt setting)
for 2 hours then placed it in an oiled bowl ,covered with plastic wrap and left it on the counter overnight (It has risen to about three times normal size) and is just begging to be baked ,so I will get out my trusty Dutch Oven and oblige !
Kelly Pratt says
Hi – I’ve just baked my first sourdough loaf today. It looks awesome! Starter question- why do you keep removing some before adding more flour and water?
Great job!! We only remove some when you are just getting your starter going. Once your starter is established you no longer need to do this.
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team
Courtney Shaw says
Hi there! Is it ok to feed a starter with all purpose gluten free flour that has xanathan gum and a little cellulose? I can’t find any answers online as to wether the yeast can break down the cellulose (I did find a site where a baker makes GF starters with flours that have xanathan gum). I hope I didn’t ruin my starter! I was feeding my starter today which is used to organic all-purpose flour. I measured out 85 grams starter, added 100 grams water and mixed together. Then realized I only had 75g flour left, and had to make up the extra 25 grams with King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free flour. The ingredients are all starches except for the xanathan gum and cellulose which are the last 2 ingredients. I read online that humans can’t break down cellulose. Hope the starter yeast can! Thanks for reading this! Next time I run out of regular flour I will know that I can use cooked rice or oatmeal!
None of our team members have had experience with feeding our starters with this but we have seen some recipes online that call for xanthan gum so I would say if it is in the blend it’s okay. As far as cellulose, the starter may break it down but I am not sure. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team
Cheryl Wilson says
I did not read anything about how much starter to use to start the feed, how much flour and water. This does not answer the question, How to feed the starter.
Wardee covers that in a different post, here is where you can find how to feed the starter:
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team
Anne Schnedl says
I have some Potato Starch (from Bob’s Red Mill) – could I use this to feed my sourdough starter? Does anyone have experience doing this?
Hi, Anne: Potato starch is not a grain, so I don’t think it would work for feeding a sourdough starter. —Sonya, TCS Customer Success Team