Sunday, I demonstrated the baking skill of a lemur. My wild starter was used prematurely which (maybe) resulted in a miserable failure of a boule. I then threw together a straight dough American style wheat for the week for sandwiches. Would've been great if I took it out of the oven before it fossilized. I've contacted the Smithsonian, they may want to shellac it and use it in their Julia Child installation. Still waiting for the call. Sunday night, I had the nerve to start a poolish starter; the way Dan Leader does. I then propagated it for a couple days and got an awesome starter with only 1/8 teaspoon of dry yeast. I know it's cheating and it's not Mother Earth and all that, go to hell, it's my blog.
So, last night, I took some of my poolish (300 grams), tossed it in the bread machine and added water (300 g), unbleached white flour (450 g), salt (12 g, kosher, lent you know - and hey go confess) and another 1/8 teaspoon of dry yeast. The machine kneaded for 30 minutes and let rise for an hour to give a nice sloppy dough (slack). I plopped it out of the machine, degassed (the dough silly) and let it rest for 15 minutes. I then took my cloth lined basket (pic 1 of 4) and dusted it liberally with flour, rounded the dough blob into a boule and plopped it in the basket and covered it with a moistened muslin towel and let it rise for an hour while the oven preheated (450F). I turned the dough out onto the peel (pic 2) and slashed it. I then slid it into the clay tile-lined oven, gave it a steam shot (60 mLs from a squirt bottle) and closed the door and let it bake about 50 minutes. Didn't turn it once. America's Next Top Model was on, couldn't be bothered. Took it out probably a tad early. I like my breads dark on the exterior but it still had a pretty good crust, even this morning.
Yeah, I know the yeast thing is sad crutch but I really like the results. I'll keep cultivating the wild yeast thing to see if I can bring it to same level of behavior as the poolish. If you get Leader's Book and want to try it, I have some serious modifications that I think make his methods better. Contact me if you're interested.