The newest member of my bread-baking family has driven the creation of a new kind bread in my kitchen. It's something more rustic than the simplest of American Sourdoughs yet more complex and coordinated than the plainest of back-of-the-flour-sac recipes. It's called a Miche made with something called a Levian.
Levain: sea monster, right?
No, not Nessy.
A Levain is a naturally leavening pre-ferment not unlike a sourdough. While a leviathan may well be soothed by its sweet product, it is not nearly so delicious or attainable.
Now I love to bake with sourdough. The distinct sourness of the acids, the nurturing of the bubbly culture, and the tremendous rise it produces within the loaf in question - what's not to like?
Well exploring an older style of baking and using only salt, water, and whole wheat flour a great piece of baking history can be brought into the present.
The Risen Loaf: Pre-bakeThanks to Local Breads, a great cookbook from one of my favorite bakeries in scenic Rhinebeck, New York I've found a whole new world of old loaves to explore. I truly implore you to read this tremendous book; it's a bit daunting in some places but really gives a good feel of where bread baking has been and is a definite next-step for the experienced baker.
With a week or so of feeding and nurture, several hours of proofing, fermentation, a few kneads, and a spell in a hotter-than-usual oven, the product of one recipe for Rustic Miche produced wonderful results.
The sadly fallen loaf, delicious nonetheless. Look at that gluten!
Buy the book, Bake some bread, Enjoy!