The ol’ levain is back to humming along with great consistency, and producing loaves that are super sour. Super, like, not as in unpleasantly sour, but as in superb, magnificent – delectable. Super, as in the boy is eyeing the loaves as they leave the oven and imagining a grilled cheese – his favorite use of such a loaf: Hide the fontina!
This is perhaps the finest made to date, might even exceed the Greatest Loaf Ever Made – in terms of flavor, bead and consistency: Nice, crunchy crust, with chewy, moist interior – a good bite on the bread; nice resistance, but not tough. Modest air pockets – not too big and perfect for sandwiches.
The sour is spectacular, but overwhelms the purported purpose of the bread which was said to cater a whim for garlic and rosemary – forgiven, though.
The initial flour hydration seems wholly unnecessary, and incorporating the levain and water was so difficult that the dough had to be thrown into the ninja for that purpose. That started off well, but eventfully nearly sent the machine across the room as the dough enshrouded the hook! More reasonably, just add water and levain to the salted flour and leave the challenge to tease free well adhered dough off the hook.
The initial rise spent overnight at about 70F, the second for nearly six. Final proof took about three hours and the lid was eschewed in favor of a water pan and a few spritzes of the wall in the first few. Called done after 25.