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The Chef

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/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) 20 percent bran wheat flour

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/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) spring water

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Pinch (less than 1/16 teaspoon) moist yeast or dry yeast

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DAY 2

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/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) 20 percent bran wheat flour

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/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) spring water

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DAY 3

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/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) 20 percent bran wheat flour

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/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) spring water

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Day 1: Combine the flour, water, and yeast in a tall 2 to 3-quart clear

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plastic container with a lid. Stir well to make a thick, soft dough. The

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exact consistency of the dough will vary with the brand of flour or water

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at this point to adjust the texture. Scrape down the sides with a rubber

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spatula, cover tightly with lid and let stand in a moderate (about 70

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degree) place for 24 hours. Day 2: The chef should have almost doubled in

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volume. You will see tiny bubbles on the surface, and you might notice a

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slight musty smell. Add the flour and water to the mixture and stir

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vigorously to distribute the fresh ingredients and add fresh oxygen to the

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chef. The texture will still be like a soft dough. You may add a little

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more flour or water to make this texture, if necessary. Scrape down the

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sides, cover and place in a moderate (70 degree) draft-free place for 24

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hours. Day 3: It will have almost doubled in volume and be quite bubbly.

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Add the flour and water, and stir well to make a thick batter. (You may

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have to add a little more water if your flourís absorption level is high).

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With a marker pen, mark the level of the chef on the side of the

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container. Scrape down the sides, cover tightly, and let stand in a

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moderate (70 degree) draft-free place for 24 hours.

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It should now be loose in texture, like a pancake batter. It will have

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doubled in volume from the last addition of flour and water. The chef may

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rise and fall, but as long as it doubles at some point during this last

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period, itís fine. You now have a fully ripe chef ready to transform into

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a levain. If you donít want to make the levain immediately, the chef can

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be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Servings: 1

Yield: