“Can I feed my sourdough starter different flours? If so, how often?” Pam F. asks on today's #AskWardee. I'm sharing my answer below!
Pam F. wants to know:
Do you always have to feed the same kind of flour each day such as wheat, spelt, etc.? Or can you change that daily or weekly? I noticed that you said you could bake with any kind of flour. but can you feed it with different kinds of flour? We grow our own grains so I am wondering how to change flours when you need to in the starter and how often you can change it when added to the starter?
Yes, you can feed your sourdough starter different flours.
The sourdough starter’s organisms are looking for a food source, and that is starch. Starch is in all the grains, so any will do. Our friend Katie from Kitchen Stewardship even feeds her starter with leftover oatmeal. That’s frugal!
There are some things to keep in mind:
1. How Is Your Starter Handling It?
When I have changed flours (wheat to spelt to einkorn), the starter took to it right away.
Others report that their starter took it hard. 😉 And then took a few feedings to bounce back.
2. Don't Neglect The Starter When Changing Flours.
Keep it warm and keep feeding it regularly.
IF the starter is going to be shocked by the new flour, you don’t want it to be stressed in any other way.
3. Change Flour As Often As Needed, Or As Often As Your Starter Can Handle It.
There are no rules other than:
- Your needs and desires — what flour do you have on hand?
- The starter's needs — what experience has it shown you it can handle?
Although it might go without saying, I'm going to say it anyway.
Because you can feed your sourdough starter with whatever flour you'd like, this also means it might be different from the flour in the recipe. And that's fine — yes, you can feed your starter with a different flour than you use in the recipe.
(However, if you're gluten-free, you'd want to stick to gluten-free flours for feeding and for the recipe.)
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Do you ever switch flours with your sourdough starter? How does your starter handle it?
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