I thought I was going to be writing another “bread fail” post today. Happily, I am not. Against all odds, my Auvergne crown was a relative success.
This bread uses the sourdough starter I’ve been nursing for the last past month or so. The starter was my first source of potential bread drama. You see, at any given time, there’s about half a cup to 2/3 of a cup of starter in the fridge. You need a quarter of a cup to keep the starter alive. This recipe called for half a cup. But if I took half a cup, then I wouldn’t have enough to keep the starter going. See my problem?
I’m sure a bread master would have a logical solution to this. I did not. I scraped every last morsel of starter out of the container and ended up with a very scant half cup. Step one for messing up bread: use insufficient quantities of ingredients.
Speaking of ingredients, the Auvergne crown calls for a whopping five cups of flour. The fact that I devoted such vasts quantities of flour to a single bread was what kept me from giving up on it.
The second – and third and fourth – disaster(s) had to do with timing. First, I had to let the dough sit in the fridge for 12 to 16 hours. Counting forward, that then required me take it out sometime between midnight and 4 AM. Not going to happen.
I pulled it out of the fridge when I woke up at 6 AM and hoped for the best. I ate breakfast. I went to the gym. I showered. I took my sweet time. Suddenly, it was 9 AM and I realized that I was supposed to be doing something with the dough – not just letting it sit at room temperature. WHOOPS.
Normally, that wouldn’t seem like a huge deal – but I’ve learned that leaving bread out for several hours can make it do some crazy things, like eat its own yeast, producing a pale, lumpy mass like this previous fail:
Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. After some more tossing around, the recipe called for another 12 to 16 hours in the fridge. Again, this would result in me baking in the wee hours of the morning. Nope.
So I left it in the fridge longer than it called for once again.
And it still turned out!
I missed the memo about how you’re supposed to dust the top of the loaf with flour, but otherwise, I think it turned out pretty well. And the taste – oh, the taste! I actually like it quite a bit better than the regular sourdough loaf. It is chewy and substance-y and has the distinct sourdough… tang? I love it. I really love it. And I love that it can stand up to my flexible timing adjustments.
For those who want to know how the ring is made, it’s actually quite easy. You make a ball of dough, as you usually do. Then, using your fingers, you tear a hole into the middle and stretch it out until it’s about 5 inches in diameter. You sling it over an upside down 4 inch bowl, then you let it rise. Pretty cool!
The Auvergne crown is delicious, forgiving, and has a little bit of a “wow” factor – this is going in the keeper pile.
Update: I have since made this loaf again, and it turned out even better! This time, I remembered to score the dough twice – once close to the inner ring, once towards the outside – an error I hadn’t even realized I made the first time around. I also gave it a pretty dusting of flour. Ooh, rustic.