Food, Home & Lifestyle

Sourdough Starter

Apollonia Poilâne

Lesson time 13:01 min

Apollonia demonstrates her French at-home starter, demystifying how to build and maintain a leaven and explaining the richness it lends to loaves.

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Topics include: Day 1: Build Your Starter · Day 2: Feeding Your Starter · Day 3 & 4: Discarding & Feeding Your Starter · Day 5: Ready-to-Use Starter · Beyond Day 5: Maintaining Your Starter


APOLLONIA POILANE: When you're baking bread, you have four ingredients-- water, flour, salt, and a rising agent. That rising agent is either yeast or a starter. People think of sourdough as a type of bread. But here, sourdough is actually the rising agent. When you use a sourdough, you get the richness and the heritage of the different generations of loaf's it has fed. What we're going to create right now is a little bit akin to the journey my grandfather embarked on in 1932. Today is a starting point for your journey creating sourdough. [MUSIC PLAYING] Today we're going to make the sourdough starter. This process takes five days to complete. And we are going to start it off by mixing yogurt, water, and flours to create a start point. In this recipe, I use and ingredients that we don't use at Poilane. I use yogurt think about the yogurt as an ingredient that's there just to kickstart your process. It helps boost the fermentation. In this recipe, I use both wholegrain flour and all-purpose flour. The reason why I mix both is to recreate the style of stone ground flour we use at Poilane. If you're starting this recipe at home for the first time you can use glass, stone, or a plastic cup for these first fermentations. What is important at this point is that you use a scale as you start getting your sourdough starter going. Weighing ingredients allows for more precision than measuring by volume and will make for a better starter. So I'm going to use yogurt. You want to have this rich culture yogurt you will add water to. The water is at room temperature. And that should be about 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. I use a whisk to put these two ingredients together, especially if you're using a Greek yogurt. It'll just make your life easier. And then I'm going to add the two types of flours. This is the all-purpose flour, and then the whole-grain flour. I'm going to bring this together using a spatula. You should be mixing for a couple of minutes. And we're looking for the ingredients to come together. As you twist and turn, scoop it, like I would scoop some ice cream. And bring it together for all of the ingredients to bind. If you are working in a really hot environment, you may need to add a little bit of water, say a spoonful. As this comes together, it will have a texture in the spectrum of a thick yogurt and a doughy texture. And you're just going to let it rise there for 24 hours at 20-25 degrees Celsius, covering it with a cloth. And this sourdough, what looks right now like a ball will flatten out and rise. The cloth allows a little bit of air to go through. We're always trying to balance between air, which slows down the fermentation, and the lack of air, which fosters it. 20 to 25 degrees Celsius may be not your normal room temperature. And if that's the case, try and look for spaces that are warmer. I've been told stories about Italian mammas that keep the sourdough under their bed because that's the warm...

About the Instructor

As a third-generation baker and CEO of the renowned Parisian bakery Poilâne, Apollonia Poilâne keeps time-honored traditions alive with every loaf. Now she’s sharing the joy of making bread from scratch with her recipes and hands-on demonstrations. Learn how to make your own starter and a variety of French breads, including rustic wheat, rye, and brioche. Taste, smell, and feel your way to fresh, warm bread at home.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Apollonia Poilâne

Poilâne CEO Apollonia Poilâne teaches the renowned Parisian bakery’s philosophy and time-tested techniques for baking rustic French breads.

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