Sourdough Starter

Bread & Sourdough

Can I Feed My Sourdough Starter with Spelt Flour?

Yes. You can feed a sourdough starter with spelt flour and get a very tasty outcome. Spelt flour is a great substitute for whole wheat flour and supplies a higher nutritional value. 

When using spelt flour for a sourdough starter, it’s crucial to get the mixture precise, specifically when starting from scratch. Before achieving this perfect starter for sourdough, we must, first, take a look at sourdough to understand all its historical-bread benefits.

Quick Recap on Sourdough History

Sourdough breads have been well-documented, dating back to 1500 BC with the Egyptians. Although sourdough’s history has probably been around longer than that, it’s easier for historians to follow the trail of where it went since then. There have been many methods of flour, including spelt, used to achieve the perfect sourdough starter, which is also known as ‘Mother Dough.’ 

When sourdough recipes reached Canada and Alaska before the Klondike Gold Rush era, there was worry over the starter not being able to survive the deep freeze of the arctic-like temperatures. 

Sourdough handles extreme freezing, but high heat temperatures will kill a starter off very quickly. So, with proper storage, ‘mother dough’ can last a very long time. San Francisco Heirloom has one of the oldest recorded sourdough starters, dating back to 1840.

Packed with Vitamins

As sourdough bread grew in popularity, it was time to find out the health benefits of this tangy bread. In 1905, it was discovered that Bacillus Bulgaricus, along with other sources of good yeast and natural bacteria, are exceptionally beneficial to overall gut health.  

Later, it was confirmed that sourdough is packed with essential vitamins that our bodies need daily. Sourdough bread tastes good and is packed with gut-healthy goodness. It has also been believed that the fermentation process of sourdough breaks down gluten, making it easier to digest. 

Don’t be mistaken; even with spelt flour, the bread isn’t completely gluten-free. However, the fermentation helps neutralize some of those anti-inflammatory compounds that can be found in other breads.

Let’s Get it ‘Starter’

There is nothing quick about making a sourdough starter, especially if you are starting from scratch. If you already have leftover sourdough starter in the refrigerator, you can skip this part and go on to the next to see how you can feed your starter with spelt flour. 

However, it will take several days to get the perfect ‘Mother Dough’ that will be ready to bake amazing sourdough bread when starting from scratch, so patience is ke

Once you have the concept of how spelt handles, preparing the spelt sourdough is easy. Using spelt flour is drier and lighter than other wheat flour. Although, when wet, spelt can be much stickier than other doughs.

Measure it Out

It’s crucial to have the correct balanced mixture of flour and water to get the proper consistency. Use a kitchen scale or measuring tools to get the most accurate measurements when working with spelt flour for your sourdough starter.

Day 1

Ingredients for spelt sourdough starter:

Large mixing container that has a lid

1 Rubber band

½ c. Spelt Flour

1 c. Water

In a large mixing container, add ½ cup (50 grams) of spelt flour. Next, add 1 cup (100 grams) of water. Use a bread spatula or spoon to gently mix spelt and water. The water will turn milky as it fuses with the spelt flour. Mix until there is no more white powder seen. 

Put the lid on tightly. Wrap a rubber band around the base of the container as a measuring line for where the dough starts on day 1, which will allow you to visually see the rise in the starter as you continue for the next days ahead. Leave the container on a counter or shelf, away from high heat or low, cool temperatures.

Day 2

Only check on the container. Do not open it. You will probably notice a good rise in the dough, but it’s not ready yet. Today, it is creating and growing those gut-healthy elements that will be super beneficial in taste and health.

Day 3

More ingredients for spelt sourdough starter:

½ c. Spelt Flour

½ c. Water

Remove the lid from the container. Add ½ cup (50 grams) of water to the starter. Add in ½ cup (50 grams) of spelt flour. Gently mix new water and flour into the current starter mix. Continue to mix until all white powder from the spelt is gone. Replace lid and seal tight. Move the rubber band to a new level, and place the container back on the counter.

Day 4

Today is optional, but it has been proven to give the best results in making delicious sourdough bread. By now, the starter is packed with live cultures that will allow the sourdough to rise and taste amazing, but if you want the recipe to be foolproof, add more ingredients and let the starter set for one more day.

More optional ingredients for spelt sourdough starter:

½ c. Spelt Flour

½ c. Water

Once more, it is time to remove the lid on the container and combine ½ cup (50 grams) of water and ½ cup (50 grams) of spelt flour with the starter. Just like before, mix the dough well, until no white powder is left showing. Replace the lid and leave it on the counter for one more day. By this time tomorrow, you will be ready to start making a loaf of sourdough bread.

When the Starter is Ready to get Started

The most challenging part of making sourdough bread is making a starter. So, now that the hard part is over, it’s time to prepare the loaf of bread. You can use your favorite sourdough recipe or try an easy, online recipe for spelt sourdough bread. Just remember not to use all of the starter in the sourdough recipe. It’s unnecessary to use all the ‘Mother Dough’ when making bread. 

The leftover starter will be available to make baking the next loaves of bread that much faster. Place the leftover starter in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare your next loaf of sourdough.

Running Low on Starter? Keep Feeding It.

If you already have some leftover starter, you don’t need to start from scratch again. It doesn’t matter what flour was used in the original starter; you can start feeding the starter with spelt. Ensure you follow this step or start at Day 3 or Day 4 to feed your starter.

Ingredients for adding to spelt sourdough starter:

½ c. Spelt Flour

½ c. Water

Remove the lid from the current spelt sourdough starter container. Add ½ cup (50 grams) of water into the leftover starter. Next, add ½ cup (50 grams) of spelt flour. Gently mix new water and flour into the current starter mix. Continue to mix well until all white powder from the spelt is gone. Replace lid and seal tight. 

Consider moving the rubber band to the new start level, and place the container on the counter. Being able to visually see the rise in the starter will let you know when the starter is ready to be used. Leave out overnight for the dough to rise and feed. 

New cultures should grow quickly off the previous starter cultures, making the starter ready to use the next day. Repeat this process whenever your starter is getting low or older than three months. It’s essential to continue to feed the cultures to make the starter work properly. 

If the latest starter is older than four months, it is best to make a new ‘Mother Dough’ from scratch because the cultures and yeast have probably become inactive. It’s necessary to keep in mind that dead cultures will not rise.

Final Thoughts

Creating the perfect starter for scratch will take about three to four days before it is ready to bake some bread. Don’t worry, though. Next time, you’ll already have some starter left over from this original batch to make a loaf of bread within a day or so. And if you remember to keep feeding your starter every few months, you can have sourdough available at any time.