But it's Christmas break, and without lesson plans to prepare and papers to grade I have a bit more free time, PLUS there's very little going on in the kitchen since we 're feeding only the monastic community instead of 300+ students, faculty and staff. This constitutes an ideal situation for me to play around. The foundational idea of the book is that one mixes a rather large batch of a wet, slack dough with no kneading, and the dough will store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You pull out a pound of dough at a time, and make a loaf of fresh bread easily and more often. The bread is very crusty, with a tender crumb on the inside (they refer to it a a "custard" crumb) and the large interior holes characteristic of artisan loaves.
Let me admit that I have not gone very deeply into this book. I've tried the master recipe three times, with slight variations each time with regard to the shape of the loaves. Let me also admit I AM HOOKED! While I'm not ready to give up my "baking-like-my-grandma" methods, this technique does produce wonderfully crusty, chewy loaves with exquisitely complex flavors and soft interiors. If you've ever wanted to make that kind of bread but don't have the patience or persistence to learn how to knead, this book is for you.
There are lots of other recipes in the book as well, and I may get around to them eventually. Right now I'm content that I can get a loaf of Italian bread with a chewy crust and this kind of interior . . .