Boule au LevainDec 30, 2011Posted by Forno BravoPrint
This recipe constitutes graduation day. The formula uses a wild yeast starter and a long, cool rise to develop maximum flavor from the grains. Often called a sourdough, barm or levain, there are many, many ways to cultivate a wild yeast starter. Some seem to involve voodoo or late night incantations. Neither is remotely necessary, and simple is better. The easiest and most successful method to propagate the yeast and bacteria cultures needed for characteristically sour breads is contained in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, p. 229-32. Making the seed culture takes four days, but the amount of time involved is miniscule. The seed culture is then turned into a barm that, cared for properly, will last indefinitely.
On our Resources page, you’ll find a source for purchasing dried sourdough starters. Although there is a lot of talk about the superiority of one dried starter over another, it’s important to know that once you hydrate it and expose it to the air in your kitchen, the dominant yeast strain in your area will take it over eventually.
For a donation to your favorite local charity, he will send you a free portion of his starter. Although our methods differ somewhat, Jack is a master baker, and this thread will also introduce you to his very well illustrated demonstration on artisan bread baking. Joining the eGullet Society is free and highly recommended.
*This recipe has been adapted for wood-fired baking from the formula given in Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the LaBrea Bakery.
Show here is a variant of this recipe that includes brine cured olives, Kalamata olives and fresh thyme, all kneaded into the dough during the last two minutes.