Attempts 5 & 6: Darker Crust

Work related travel to Chicago took weeks away from baking. But now it was time to get back. In an effort to learn new techniques, I started reading the book Matthew got me months ago — Bien Cuit by Zachary Golper, who runs a bakery at Brooklyn. The idea seems to be to develop a thick, crispy and dark crust.

There is a lot less kneading involved, but a much more prolonged fermentation process. First, ½ cup of flour and a ¼ tsp of yeast are mixed with ⅓ cup of room temperature water. This starter is left to ferment for 8 to 11 hours in order to get a head start on fermentation. This starter is then added to the rest of the flour and water mixture. After a little action, the dough is let to sit for an hour. Following this, it is rolled and tucked three times at 1 hour intervals. Then the dough is transferred to a baking loaf for the final proof — which is done in a refrigerator overnight. Bake in the oven extra long at a high temperature along with a ramekin filled with ice.

It takes a certain amount of courage to let your loaf sit in the oven longer. As you can see, the first effort still ended with a light crust although it was a winner when it came to flavor. In the second attempt, the crust was darker with some even darker spots here and there (desirable). Although the crust had a mildly burnt flavor, this was actually good!