Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bread from Levain

DSC00630.JPG, originally uploaded by defmonk2007.

I've screwed around extensively with the Sullivan Street no-knead method. More than pleased with consistently delicious results, subject to the amendments in my earlier post, bread from levain is my new challenge.

A close cousin of sourdough, this bread's irresistible appeal is the simplicity of ingredients: water, salt, flour. No yeast - the first step in producing this loaf is "hunting" the wild yeasts already carrying on in my kitchen. The wonderful starter I've captured is the sort of thing I hope to pass on to my children, along with my indestructible Dutch bike, my watch and my Saddleback Leather case, provided I can keep up with the weekly "feedings" for the next thirty years or so.

The result of this new project (and my recent acquisition of a French lame) is this beautiful two-pound boule. The lame, basically a double-edged razor on a stick, paid for itself in the marital harmony engendered by the flamboyant "V" inscribed on the top of the loaf. Suddenly, the lovely Vanessa is a bit more tolerant of the cloud of flour dust I throw off each weekend.

Two weeks after building my starter daily, I'm rewarded with a loaf of exceptional substance, complexity and depth of flavor. Reinhardt's recipes from Crust and Crumb are excellent. Kudos for the simplicity and purity of his work.