How to Make a Brown Rice Starter from a Wheat Starter

converting wheat starter to brown rice

Whether or not you can eat wheat, natural yeast fermentation is an amazing ally for your body’s defenses. My largest concern with the gluten-free “movement” is that switching grain sources is a temporary fix unless you prepare them properly before eating them. I am now seeing people in my natural yeast classes who have developed allergies to their gluten-free grains because they were never taught the importance of grain prep.

So it is that The Bread Geek, defender of wheat, has delved into the world of gluten-free baking. I used my whole wheat natural yeast starter”Peeta” to clone a brown rice “brother” that has been dubbed “Meow-Meow” by the 6-year old.

I know some of you are on wheat-free grain diets and are eager to follow along my experimentation process, so I thought we would embark on this journey together. And since it all starts with the starter…. that is where we will start!

Note: while rice starters behave differently than wheat starters, a lot of the same technique will apply to this starter. If you have not read my first book The Art of Baking With Natural Yeast, I highly suggest you check it out from your library, borrow it from a friend, or order it on Amazon to understand the process better and maximize your success.

Disclaimer: The method below is NOT recommended for those with severe gluten issues. Although we flush the wheat out over a few feedings, I have no way to determine at what point this method would be "safe" for those who cannot risk even the slightest contamination. In this case, GF certified brown rice starters can be purchased online or in health food stores.

Converting a Natural Yeast Wheat Starter to a Brown Rice Starter

You will need:

1 Tablespoon of wheat natural yeast starter, from your own or a friend

1 quart canning jar

3 cups brown rice flour, ground at home or purchased

Water

Stirring utensil

Instructions:

Day 1

  • Pour 1/4 cup water into a jar
  • Add 1 Tablespoon starter and stir to dissolve into water.
  • Add about ½ cup brown rice flour, or until your starter looks like soggy sand when stirred.
  •  Place in the refrigerator for 3 days, checking occasionally for bubbles to appear in mixture.

 Note: Unlike wheat starters, it is more common to find water on top of your rice starter (there is no gluten to hold the water in). This is not a sign of  rice starter “hunger”. Often this water will settle back into your starter as it rises, so instead we will look for bubbles and count days.

brown rice starter dissolve

 

brown rice starter texture

brown rice starter bubbles  Day 4:

  • Pour out liquid if there is any. Stir starter well, then add ½ cup water and 1 cup flour.
  • Mix (adding water or flour if necessary) until you have that soggy sand texture.
  • Put back in fridge, checking occasionally for bubbles to appear in mixture.

Day 8:

Your starter should have developed bubbles by now (even tiny ones!). If you have no bubbles at all by this point you might want to scroll up to day one instructions and start over :).

  • Pour out liquid if there is any. Stir starter well, then add 1 cup water and 2 cups flour
  • Mix (adding water or flour if necessary) until you have that soggy sand texture.
  • Put back in fridge, checking occasionally for bubbles to appear in mixture.

At this point you should have a bubbling starter in good quantity ready to bake and experiment with. If you only have a few bubbles, stir your starter, reduce it to 1/4 cup, and use the feeding chart below, feeding every 4 days as above. If there are no bubbles at all, start over and try again. Don’t feel bad, you are creating an entire ecosystem in a jar! The fact you are doing this at all is amazing!

brown rice starter ready

Continue feeding your starter every 4 days after a feeding.

Your starter size will vary depending on how much/often you use it, so here is a rough feeding guide:

To Feed Your Brown Rice Starter:

one part starter + one part water + 2 parts brown rice flour

ex: 1 cup starter+ 1 cup water +2 cups flour (or 2+2+4, etc.)

Well now you have what you need to get your starter going! In 2 weeks I will have a wonderful post for whole grain, gluten free, naturally yeasted pancakes that is going to knock your socks off, so get your starters ready!

brown rice starter ready top view

How to Make a Brown Rice Starter from a Wheat Starter
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Convert Wheat Starter to Brown Rice Starter
Disclaimer: The method below is NOT recommended for those with severe gluten issues. Although we flush the wheat out over a few feedings, I have no way to determine at what point this method would be "safe" for those who cannot risk even the slightest contamination. In this case, GF certified brown rice starters can be purchased online or in health food stores.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon of wheat natural yeast starter, from your own or a friend
  • 1 quart canning jar
  • 3 cups brown rice flour, ground at home or purchased
  • Water
  • Stirring utensil
Instructions
  1. Disclaimer: NOT recommended for severe gluten issues. Possible wheat contamination. GF certified brown rice starters can be purchased online or in health food stores.
  2. Day 1
  3. • Pour ¼ cup water into a jar
  4. • Add 1 Tablespoon starter and stir to dissolve into water.
  5. • Add about ½ cup brown rice flour, or until your starter looks like soggy sand when stirred.
  6. • Place in the refrigerator for 3 days, checking occasionally for bubbles to appear in mixture.
  7. Note: Water on brown rice starter is OK. Water will settle into starter as it rises.
  8. Day 4:
  9. • Pour out liquid if there is any. Stir starter well, then add ½ cup water and 1 cup flour.
  10. • Mix (adding water or flour if necessary) until you have that soggy sand texture.
  11. • Put back in fridge, checking occasionally for bubbles to appear in mixture.
  12. Day 8:
  13. Your starter should have developed bubbles by now (even tiny ones!). If you have no bubbles at all by this point you might want to scroll up to day one instructions and start over :).
  14. • Pour out liquid if there is any. Stir starter well, then add 1 cup water and 2 cups flour
  15. • Mix (adding water or flour if necessary) until you have that soggy sand texture.
  16. • Put back in fridge, checking occasionally for bubbles to appear in mixture.
  17. At this point you should have a bubbling starter in good quantity ready to bake and experiment with. If you only have a few bubbles, stir your starter, reduce it to ¼ cup, and use the feeding chart below, feeding every 4 days as above. If there are no bubbles at all, start over and try again. Continue feeding your starter every 4 days after a feeding.
  18. To Feed Your Brown Rice Starter:
  19. one part starter + one part water + 2 parts brown rice flour
  20. ex: 1 cup starter+ 1 cup water +2 cups flour (or 2+2+4, etc.)

 

Comments

  1. Tammy Feland says

    Melissa, do you think this rice starter would work the same with wild rice? I have a baby who is allergic to every grain except wild rice. I’m trying to find some different options for when I start her on solids.

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