Best Flour for Sourdough Starter Feeding

You’ll find tons of opinions online but let me tell you organic, unbleached all-purpose is the very best flour for sourdough starter feeding. It allows the wild yeast to thrive creating a strong starter that produces beautiful baked goods. Need I say more? Let’s dive in, I’m sharing my favorite brands and answering all your flour questions!

bag of flour spilled over on a counter top
Source: Plum Branch Home

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What is the Best Flour for Sourdough Starter Feeding?

The best flour for feeding your sourdough starter is undoubtedly organic, unbleached all-purpose flour. It allows abundant fermentation creating strong starter cultures. By eliminating any chemicals present in the flour, the wild yeast can thrive.

Why I Choose This Flour

I chose this flour for my starter because it allows the cultures to thrive and my baked goods always come out so good!

bags of trader joes unbleached all purpose organic flour in a cabinet
Source: Plum Branch Home

My Favorite Brands to Use (in order)

  • Costco’s Kirkland Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (My favorite brand for cost and quality)
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • Kroger’s Simple Truth Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Other Flour Options

You can use all types of flour for your sourdough starter. It’s a misconception that only all-purpose flour can be used but that’s far from the truth. Here’s some ideas, just make sure it’s unbleached if possible:

  • whole wheat
  • rye
  • 50/50 white and wheat
  • millet (gluten-free)
  • sorghum (gluten-free)
  • buckwheat (gluten-free)

What Flour Not to Use

I do not recommend using bleached flour. It will slow down the fermentation process of your sourdough starter making it weaker. Many people will use bleached and it’s not the end of the world. Your starter will not die but for the best results in your baked goods, I recommend switching to or using unbleached all-purpose flour.

bag of floured tipped over and spilled on a counter
Source: Plum Branch Home

Flour FAQ

What’s the difference between unbleached and bleached flour?

Unbleached flour after milled is sat out to naturally oxidize and age which causes the wheat to turn white. Bleach flour skips this process and is treated with chemicals for a white-colored result in less time.

What’s the difference between organic vs non-organic flour

Wheat for organic flour is grown in soil that has only been naturally fertilized and the crop has not been sprayed with pesticides. The organic certified label means additives are never chemically or artificially processed. This is why organic flour is the better, natural option.

Can I mix my flour for a 50/50 feeding of white and whole wheat?

Yes, you can mix your flour for a 50/50 white and whole wheat. This will create a white whole wheat starter.

Why don’t you use bread flour to feed a sourdough starter?

Some people opt to use bread flour once their starter is completely established and mature. It contains more proteins allowing for a higher formation of gluten (aka better bread). I don’t use bread flour as a personal preference, organic unbleached flour is easier to find in bulk at my local grocery stores. But you can if you’d like.

What is the best flour to make a sourdough starter?

I always say the best flour to make a sourdough starter is organic, unbleached all-purpose flour. It develops a strong starter from the beginning without any bleach, pesticides, or chemicals getting in the way of fermentation taking place.

Is white or wheat flour better for sourdough starter?

You can use either type of flour, they will both work really well. Just make sure you’re using unbleached if possible. This will help your starter stay strong.

Can I used bleached all-purpose flour for sourdough starter?

You can, although I don’t recommend it. Many people do use bleached all-purpose flour and don’t have any issues. In my personal experiments, I’ve found it causes the starter cultures to be weaker than if you used unbleached.

Will bleached flour ruin my starter?

Using bleached flour or switching to it will not ruin your starter but it will make it slow and sluggish. This means the fermentation will take longer and will cause a weaker strength but will not kill it.

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