Did I ruin my starter with Wild Hive flour? What went wrong?

Did I ruin my starter with Wild Hive flour? What went wrong?

I’ve been baking artisan bread (using Ken Forkish’s recipes) with a Levain for a few months now and haven’t really had any problems until yesterday when I think I may have ruined my starter with some new flour.

Before today I’ve been exclusively using King Arthur flour. I wanted to experiment with some local grain (I live in New York City) so I picked up this stuff called Wild Hive Flour. The two flours I picked up and used are labeled as such :

1.) “All Purpose Flour – Stone-Ground Soft White Winter Wheat with 100% of the wheat germ intact

2.) “Whole Wheat All-Purpose Flour – Stone-Ground Organic Soft White Winter Wheat with 100% of the wheat germ intact”

I have no idea what “stone ground” and “white winter wheat” mean, but I’m guessing that’s where I went wrong. Are these not equivalent to good ol’ KA All-Purpose and Whole Wheat? 

So, what happened when I used these flours to feed my Levain? Basically my Levain turned into a soupy runny mess after feeding it and so did the dough I tried to make with it.

Here’s exactly what I did :

– I store my Levain in the fridge while not using it daily.

– The day before mixing my dough I took out 200 grams of my Levain bring it to room temp and then added 100 grams of Wild Hive whole wheat, 400 grams of WH white, and 400 grams of 95 degree water.

– 24 hours later my Levain was runny and liquidy. Definitely not as thick as it normally is at this point. Still I re-fed the Levain with this recipe : 100 grams of Levain, 100 grams of WH wheat, 400 grams of WH white and 400 grams of water at 85 to 90 degrees. 

– 12 hours later the Levain was extremely liquidy like a potato soup or something. At this point I knew something was wrong. I mixed the dough anyway (804 grams of WH white, 26 grams of WH wheat, 50 grams of rye, 216 grams of Levain, 684 grams of water), folded it four times (it had a very sticky and not slack consistency) and 12 hours later it was a liquid mess. Un-shapable. Tossed the whole thing in the garbage


I did save 300 grams of the liquidy levain and threw it in my fridge, but is it ruined at this point? Is there anyway to bring it back? Also, what the hell happened? Is this flour not suitable as a KA replacement using Forkish’s timings? If not, are there any other New York local flours? None of my fancy local grocery stores have anything but the big brands. KA works great, but everyone says the local stuff is always better.



Source: Fresh Loaf