Sep 16, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

C-CAP Spotlight 4

“C-CAP was a guide into a world I never knew existed. It has and is always helping me find my way around the food industry. Thank you for continuing to give me support to helping me move forward in my career.” —Alvy Hyppolite


Alvy Hyppolite

Bread Baker, Metropolitan Bakery

Alvy Hyppolite recently moved from New York City where he was a bread baker for Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s acclaimed Eataly NY to become a bread baker for Philadelphia’s award-winning Metropolitan Bakery, the leader in breads made with all-natural starters, a long-slow-cool rise and crackling crusts and the “shop local, locally sourced and whole grain” movements. The bakery has five retails outlets, a café, and a busy online business. There breads are served in many of the city’s finest restaurants—including Iron Chef America Jose Garces’ Tinto, Eric Ripert’s 10 Arts, and Lacroix at the Rittenhouse.

C-CAP Alumnus Alvy Hyppolite, Bread Baker of Metropolitan Bakery
C-CAP Alumnus Alvy Hyppolite, Bread Baker of Metropolitan Bakery.

Growing up in Queens, New York, Alvy never imagined himself becoming a bread baker. Then came C-CAP. He discovered that he had an interest in the culinary field, but it wasn’t until he enrolled in a C-CAP class in his high school that he became attracted to bread. According to Alvy, bread baking gave him the sense that he was creating something from scratch. He realized that one of the simplest skills in this industry is ironically the hardest skill to learn. It was the science behind it that caught his attention and put him on the path to baking bread every day. He actively participated in C-CAP programs including Cooks Club, college 101, job training and C-CAP events. In 2012, Alvy competed in the C-CAP NY Cooking Competition for Scholarships and was awarded the George Lang Scholarship to attend the International Culinary Center. He interned for B.R. Guest, and while working at Eataly honed his bread baking skills.

We asked Alvy to tell us why he has chosen to be a Bread Baker, “Something about the logistics of being a baker excites me. The chemistry and science behind it keeps me going in everyday. And it starts with knowing the purpose of all the flour. All-purpose flour, bread flour, pastry flour, whole-wheat flour (fine and coarse), durum flour, spelt flour, and rye flour all have different textures as well as different flavors. Bread is a world of its own, nothing like the culinary field or the pastry department. Being a baker means being the one in front of the line getting the rush ready for the day. And by the time you know it, restaurants will begin their service (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with the bread I helped produce. As a baker the day is measured by timing all the doughs needed from mixing, proofing, shaping, and baking, all while making sure the orders are accounted for before they leave the building.”

With the chocolate he produced, he made small batches of bonbons and confections. According to Chellaoui, “The bonbon is the final step in my eyes: the final transformation of the cacao bean and the culmination of all this work. It is where I connect to what inspired me at the start of my career at the age of 15. The bonbon is where I can highlight the amazing aspects of cacao. I highlight the subtle and bold aromas and textures, rarely using more than five ingredients.”

C-CAP Profiles of Success

A starter is simply flour and water, both measured equally, and combined to form a smooth batter. To create a starter from scratch, you must allow the mixture to rest for 24 hours. After it rests, the starter begins to show a slight activity due to the carbohydrates producing carbon dioxide. The microorganisms that live in the air are also in the flour, and this gives the starter a breath of life. Feeding it flour provides it with the nutrients found in a flour grain. As the carbohydrate feeds through the bran, it begins its “multiplying” phase of doubling in size. Maintaining a good starter means maintaining it at the right temperature. For an average temperature, I’d recommend a room at low 70’s (Fahreheit).

When making my starter, I wanted to use a flour with a bold characteristic, and one that I find has a unique flavor is pumpernickel rye meal. Rye has a higher pH level (acidity) than all-purpose and wheat flour (whole wheat and all-purpose flour work just as well if that’s your preference). When you begin your starter, do keep in mind that is it a process and all the right steps are needed to get the right starter going for weeks. Proper feeding with steady temperature will determine how well and strong your starter is, based on the pH level (which is indicated by a vigorous amount of air bubbles).

Alvy Hyppolite Bread with Vigorous Air Bubbles Alvy Hyppolite Bread

Getting started, I took the liberty at saving myself some time by making a flour mix consisting of 2.5 ounces of pumpernickel rye meal and 6.5 ounces of all-purpose flour (I refer to this a the all-purpose and rye mix or APR). I use this mixture in the days my starter lacks any acidity.

It’s best to use stainless steel bowls or microwaveable bowls for your starter. Acid is something strong that can eat away at anything, so for something that’s less harmful to the environment, it’s important to use the right bowl.

Always discard half of the starter after the full development is done. Discarding encourages a consistent pH level and a healthy feeding for the microorganisms. Be sure to feed it with the same amount you discarded, or more if you intend to increase your volume (what you’re discarding can either be thrown away, used to make bread, used to make another strand of starter, or given to someone else who wants to make bread). Discarding makes it easier to manage the starter, since it only takes 8-10 hours in ripening. A lot of acidity can cause the starter to slowly eat into itself. Be sure to loosely cover the bowl after mixing the starter.



Day One:

Alvy Hyppolite Bread Starter Day 1
  • 3.5 oz/100 g APR Mix
  • 3.5 oz/100 g water

Mix everything together to create a smooth batter. Cover with a tea towel and let stand for 24 hours. This yields 7 oz/200 g of culture.


Day Two:

Alvy Hyppolite Bread Starter Day 2
  • 7 oz/200 g culture (from above)
  • 3.5 oz/100 g APR Mix
  • 3.5 oz/100 g water

Place the culture in the refrigerator for 2 hours before mixing all ingredients. Since rye flour has a higher pH than all-purpose flour, which speeds up the feeding process, resting the starter in the cooler will slow down the cycle a bit.  (This yields 14 oz/400 g culture.)


Day Three:

Alvy Hyppolite Bread Starter Day 3

Refrigerate the culture.


Day Four*:

Alvy Hyppolite Bread Starter Day 4
  • 14 oz/400 g culture
  • 3.5 oz/100 g all-purpose flour
  • 3.5 oz/100 g water

Combine all ingredients, cover with a tea towel and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours (yields 21.16 oz/600 g starter).


Day Five*:

  • 21.16 oz/600 grams culture
  • 3.5 oz/100 g all-purpose flour
  • 3.5 oz/100 g water

*Note: On days four and five I feed the starter with all-purpose flour. Continue normal feeding until the starter is ready and has completed its development, ready to be used.  Try to feed the starter at the same time every day. It will rise up after feeding and then eventually collapse. When the starter is behaving in a predictable manner, it is ready to be used.  Discard half of it and feed it with an equal amount of water and all-purpose flour twice in a 24-hour interval before making your bread; this will bring the pH level back up.


  • If feeding becomes too much to handle after a week or so, a once a week feeding is fine if you refrigerate the starter.
  • You may see liquid on top of the starter. This liquid is a form of alcohol released from the fermentation process. This can be a result of adding too much water to the starter. Simply add a tablespoon of flour and stir the liquid back into the starter. If this continues, increase the amount of flour to water. Thickening the starter can help give it body.
  • If your starter is ever red or pink, discard the whole thing. It has been contaminated with mold or bad fermentation. No worries at starting over.


Making Your Bread

I’m a fan of the no-knead method, which is relatively simple. A very long fermentation helps the dough build its gluten strands, which is what gives the bread its texture. In this recipe, I will add a pinch of yeast to cut a fraction of the fermentation time off. With no yeast added, it just means a longer fermentation is needed for allowing the dough to rise.

Country Sourdough (makes 2 loaves):

  • 30 oz/850 g all-purpose flour
  • 0.21 oz/6 g salt
  • 0.03 oz/1 g (pinch) dried yeast
  • 12 oz/340 g water
  • 10 oz/283 g starter

1. Mix flour, salt and yeast well before adding the water and starter. When dough is formed, rest it in an oiled bowl for 20 minutes.

2. Pinch a piece of the dough from the underside of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it back over the rest of the dough. Rest for 20 minutes. Repeat the folding and resting two more times so that all the dough gets evenly developed.

3. After the dough has rested, divide it in half and pre-shape each piece into a boule. Rest the boules for 1 ½ to hours in a warm place that is free of drafts.  

4. Line two bowls with tea towels and dust with flour. Place a boule in each bowl, seam-side-up. Let the bread proof for 3 to 5 hours (time depends on the temperature of the room), until the dough has doubled in volume.  

5. 30 minutes before baking, place a cast iron pan in the oven and a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Flip the dough into the pan. Score the top of the boule as desired. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes. The bread is ready if it sounds hollow when you knock it on the bottom. Cool on a rack.

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