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I have been using fresh ground Kamut berries for my starter. However, when I bake the bread, I do not get much rise. It rises when I do the first rise, but when I shape it into the loaf and let it rise again, it doesn’t rise much. I am wondering if it is the water I am using and should check for chlorine. What else could be causing the bread not to rise?
Good question Allison! Using 100% whole wheat is naturally a bit trickier because it’s a heavier grain and has a different gluten formation than white bread flour. The first thing I would check is how much flour and water are you adding. Whole wheat needs more water, so I suggest making it a higher hydration dough to help give it extra lift for those heavy wheat breads. If you’re still having trouble after that, the next thing I would check is my starter. I’m not sure what method you’re using but you can also try giving it a longer autolyse. So that first step when you add flour and water and starter – let that sit for a couple hours before adding salt and beginning bulk fermentation. Hopefully one of those tricks help!
What do you usually cover your starter with? Also, if I use half wheat flour and half all purpose flour on day 1 do I continue to use the half/half mixture feed it?
I usually cover my starter container loosely with the top of a mason jar lid (without screwing it on tight). If you’re using a different container, anything will do. You could even cover it with a kitchen towel. I just don’t like to screw any lid tight to allow it to get oxygen. And yes, during the building process of an initial starter, I try to be consistent with what I feed it – so I’d stick with the half and half combo you’re doing. Once it’s active and ready to use in bread (so after day 7-12ish) it’s a lot easier to convert to another kind of starter by feeding it a different kind of flour blend. It won’t kill it if one day you feed it something different, but as a general principle, the starter is used to the specific bacteria from the kind of flour you’re using and it likes to be comfortable with that same bacteria its getting used to. Hopefully that helps! Good luck on your sourdough journey!!