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I have found a recipe for sourdough starter culture that calls for 50 grams of flour with 50 ml of water, but the recipe does not state what specific type of flour you should use. Can you use any type of flour for the sourdough starter or are there types of flour that will give a better result?

EDIT: I'm especially curious if Self-Raising flour would be suitable?

  • Self-rising flour uses baking powder, not yeast. Different types of leavening. – Luciano Oct 3 '18 at 14:04
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Tartine Bread by Chad Roberts (which is a wonderful book, by the way, and the bread is fantastic), recommends using a 50/50 mix of white and whole wheat bread flour. He also says all-purpose flour is fine for a starter as well.

Self-raising flour would definitely not be appropriate, since it has baking powder in it.

  • For the starter, the main concern is getting the culture the nutrients to live, thrive and multiply, so there would be no need for OP to use a higher-gluten, bread flour (not contradicting anything in the answer, just a bit of elaboration). I've never used whole wheat in mine..... seems like maybe I should start a second culture..... +1 – PoloHoleSet Oct 3 '18 at 16:09
  • How important is the fact that the flour is not bleached? – Neil Meyer Oct 3 '18 at 17:06
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    @NeilMeyer - bleaching is largely one of convenience (flour naturally "bleaches" as it ages, so the companies are just speeding up the process of whitening the flour when they use bleaching chemicals), but the bleached flour doesn't carry any kind chemicals with it, or, at least, not enough to make a difference. It would make a difference, overall, in the texture of a baked product, but I don't think it makes any difference for your starter. – PoloHoleSet Oct 3 '18 at 18:28
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    @PoloHoleSet I suppose he recommends that for a similar reason to that in brewing, where, if you make a yeast starter, you want the yeast to acclimatize to an environment as close as possible to the one that they will eventually be doing their "work" in. I agree, bleaching vs. not won't matter for the starter, for exactly the reasons stated. – Chris Macksey Oct 3 '18 at 20:22
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    @ChrisMacksey Yes, that is his stated reason which I am too lazy to walk the three feet to my book case to look up and quote. – Rob Oct 3 '18 at 20:24

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