– What’s up you guys? Chef Billy Parisi here
from BillyParisi.com and I’m going to show you
one of the fundamentals of bread baking. And it’s how to make a sourdough starter or yeast starter recipe. That’s right, I’m sitting
down for this recipe video and the next four
because I’m getting ready to embark on a five
part video recipe series all about baking bread and
the way it should be made and the way it used to be made. But we’ve kind of lost that art. If you’ve read my blog
or you’ve heard me say, maybe a few times, that I
originally went to culinary school to be a baking or pastry chef. And looking back at
that time 20 years ago, I was 18, super thin on patience, didn’t want to wait for bread
to rise or cakes to cool but now that I’m 37, it’s perfect timing because my patience are
way better these days. I mean, after all this
sourdough starter, or levain, takes five days to make. That’s right, five days. And you’re probably asking yourself, why does this take five days to make? Well, if you look back at
the history of bread making, I’m talking about thousands of years ago. Bread consisted of three
ingredients, that’s right, three. Flour, water, and salt. So a sourdough starter in the
culinary world is really known as a levain, or a leavening agent. It’s spelled L-E-V-A-I-N. So, le-vain if you want to sound it out exactly how it’s spelled. But you may be wondering,
what on earth is this for? This is the natural yeast. This is what will help
make your bread rise without using commercial yeast. The flavor is so much more intense. And, again, I cannot stress enough, it is so important for
that fermentation process to take place which helps
break down that gluten so your stomach doesn’t
have to break it down. You hear a lot of folks
that are gluten-intolerant, gluten-free such a big
popular thing these days, is because it upsets a lot of stomachs and, of course, in the gut. For some reason now you
go to the bread aisle in the grocery store and
look at all the ingredients. See if you can pronounce half of them. I bet you can’t. So this has been really interesting to me because I actually haven’t made a starter since culinary school, it’s been 20 years. So I’m really excited about this series. I’m super grateful that you’re here. There’s going to be a lot of
information thrown your way and the two things, or three things, I would recommend getting
before making this so you’re not super ticked off at me, is a thermometer. I know some of my
buddies love ThermoWorks, if you want to grab one
of those that’d be great. Second is a gram scale. When measuring bread
it needs to be precise. This is baking, this is science. Get a really good gram scale,
they’re not horribly expensive because I’m not going to
be doing to many ounce or cup conversions here. And then last but not least, a nice big tub that’s got a nice tight lid that fits over top. You’ve got those three things,
you’ll be in good shape to make this levain and some
of the other bread recipes. So let’s get started in this because we have five long days to make it. And before I start, it’s not hard. You just got to wait,
it’s the waiting game. So the first thing we are
going to do is we are going to measure everything out. I’m going to be using 600
grams of whole wheat flour. And I’m going to measure
out 600 grams of water. Now, we want the water temperature
to be a little bit higher and since my studio is
cooler, like around 65, I’m going to go up to in
between 93 and 95 degrees. I’m doing this, again, because
my normal standing room temperature is a little bit cooler and I need that water
to be a little warmer to help activate everything. So let’s go head and add our water. Next, we’re gonna hit it with
flour to that nice big tub. What you want to do is
stir it with your hands, do it until it is just
combined, don’t over-mix. There’s no need to do any
of that in this recipe. And what you want to do is let is sit out for about two hours. Let some natural yeast
collect in that mixture before putting a top on
it and letting it sit in a warm place. Now, I’ve got a secret place in my studio that’s up top and high,
next to where the vent it. You want, again, to try to
get this to a warmer place like, gosh I don’t know,
anywhere above 70 degrees and then no more than,
say, maybe 90 degrees. And let’s stop right there ’cause let’s talk about using whole wheat. So, most of the flour
these days you’ve seen, well it’s definitely getting better, tends to be white flour. Which just uses the
endosperm of the kernel. So you’ve got the endosperm,
the bran, and the germ. The bran and the germ is
what it gives it’s color and a lot of nutrients and fibers. We’ve cut that out of the
process for some reason so we’re bringing that back and it’s going to be
in all of these breads, don’t you worry, you’re going to love it. And then some people ask what
kind of flour are you using? What brand are you using? And I’ve just always used Bob’s Red Mill. Even long before I ever
started working with them, I always looked in my cupboard,
it’s like man I got a lot of Bob’s Red Mill products in there. I’ve been to their facility,
I’ve met Bob himself. Great company, great guy, I
trust them wholeheartedly. So I would definitely
recommend using Bob’s, it’s just a great flour
and especially to use, obviously, in this recipe. So now, one more thing is, I didn’t mention it at the beginning but I want to throw it in there because I just think it’s a great book, called Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. This, dude, is legit one
of the best baking books I’ve ever seen. Honestly, ever since culinary school, we have a really good
bread baking book there. This is fantastic. So let’s get into this next part. So after in between 20 and 24
hours of this starter resting, obviously, it’s going to be overnight. What we want to do is come back, we’re going to discard about two-thirds to maybe three-fourths of it. At every process throughout
this five day process of making this levain, I like to smell it, I like to stretch it, I like to touch it. I just want to know what
everything smells and looks like. You’ll kind of get this
leathery, slash, I don’t know, I don’t want to say hoppy, but defitniely a fermented smell to it. I actually like it. (chuckles) I know that may be weird to you. But maybe over time you’ll like it too. So at this point what we want
to do is, again, discard that. Go head and throw it away and
the reason we’re doing this is because if we don’t
throw some of this away, and I know it’s wasteful, you’re going to have the
biggest starter on earth. Unless you own a bakery, you’re just doing this at home, trust me, it’s not worth it. So after we discard, what
we’re going to do is re-feed it with another 600 grams
of whole wheat flour. We’re going to add in
600 grams of warm water, again, I’m between 93 and 95 degrees here because, again, my studio
is a little bit cooler. Go head and give that a mix with the leftover levain that
was in there at the beginning, or beginning to our starter. Once that’s mixed, we’re
going to let it sit out for about two, maybe
two-and-a-half hours this time, and get some of those
natural yeast back in there. And at that point, we’re going to put a lid on it. Go back to that nice, warm place. We’re going to let it sit
for another 20 to 24 hours. And as you can see by
looking at this video, obviously, the clothes are changed. I’m literally coming in here
every day to make this with you because I haven’t done it in 20 years, again, I’m super excited to do it. So let’s keep rolling
because we’re gonna be on day three here in just a second. After that 20 to 24 hour
process you’re going to notice that, hopefully, hopefully you’ve done
everything to the T here, that your levain has doubled in size. And you’ll see it’s got some
nice air pockets in there and if you take the lid off,
again, you’re going to smell that leathery, acidic, I don’t know, just this interesting smell,
this fermented smell to it. But that’s gonna help,
again, break down the gluten in the flour and, of
course, help let it rise. We’re going to do the same process here. We’re going to take away
two-thirds or three-fourths of it. You can just eyeball it, no big deal. We’re just gonna get rid of that. And, again, I like to touch and smell, I want to know how everything
should feel and smell and look through each of these steps. Go head and discard all that. Just like yesterday on day two, what we’re going to do is add in 600 grams of whole wheat flour. And then 600 grams of water
in between 93 and 95 degrees. Give it a really nice mix
and stir with your hands. Once it is combined, let it sit. Collect those nice yeast. Pop a lid on it, go back
to that warm, dry place. And we’ll see you on day four. So before I started on to day four, I wanted to chat really
quick with you about this. While the container lid is off for that two to three hour period and you’re bringing in
those natural yeasts that are just in the air. This is completely normal, I know it sounds crazy but it is normal. You could actually maybe
put a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band over the
top and take it outside. Get some of that really wild yeast that’s growing around outside. It will completely change the
flavor profile of your bread. It would be absolutely
amazing if you did this. It’s still a little chilly here in Chicago so I’m not going to do that. But, just want to give you that option. All right you guys, day four. Let’s keep moving on. You should see that the levain
has doubled in size again. Those great air pockets, that nice smell should still be there. What we want to do at this point is get rid of all but 250 grams. So, I hope you’ve measured out
your weight of your container on that gram scale before
you did any of this. If not, don’t worry,
because what you could do is just put it into another container and then put it back
once you’ve emptied it. So we’re going to get rid of all but 250 grams leftover of the levain. And at this point we
are going to add back in 600 grams of whole wheat flour and 600 grams of warm water. Again, I’m using in between 93 and 95 degree temperature water. We’re gonna just mix those,
again, with our hands. Just until it’s combined. At this point we can put a lid on it, no need to let it sit out for that two-and-a-half hours. So we’re going back to
that warm, dark place for 20 to 24 hours again. And then we’re finally
gonna be on day five and this is gonna be our final day before we can start hooking up
some fresh, delicious bread. All right you guys, day five. Thanks for sticking with me, I know we got a lot going
on but we are finally here. And what we’re going to do
is, just like yesterday, discard all but 200 grams
of the levain this time. So get rid of all but 200 grams. And then we’re gonna do a combination of white and wheat flours. What we’re gonna do now is add in some white flour followed up
with some whole wheat flour. And last but not least, we’re
going to add in some water but we’re gonna change the temperature. We’re gonna go down to
about 90 degrees this time, maybe 88 to 90, no need to go
back up that high like before. We’re going to mix it in with that levain that’s already in there, that 200 grams, just until it is combined. We are going to pop a lid on it and boom. What we’ll do is make bread the next day after that 20 to 24 hour period. We will discard some, we’ll feed it, and then we’ll get to bread making. So when it comes to a
normal feeding schedule, what I’m going to do is
take out all but 150 grams and then replace it with the white, wheat, and water mixture from before. And that will be my
regular feeding schedule. Now, if you are not going to
make bread every single day, honestly after this week
of everyday bread baking, I probably will need a break. But if you are going to
make it a few times a week in between, say you make it Monday then not again til
Thursday, then on Sunday, after you’re done with Monday, pop it in the fridge overnight. It’s okay, pull it back out
Wednesday, the day before, start the feeding process again. You’ll be in the great shape that way. It will actually hold, maybe if you brush a little bit of water on the outside of it, get it
in a really airtight container, for probably, I’d say two to three weeks. You’d be pretty good on
this homemade levain. So that’s the process and if you want to see an amazing bread recipe
that doesn’t use a levain but does use similar methods
to what I’m going to be using in these next video series,
check out my artisan bread loaf. It’s super popular on YouTube. You will love it, check it out, make it. We’ll see you tomorrow.