A good reminder
I had a good experience that reminded me of the reason why natural leaven is so much superior to commercial yeast and how using different flours add to the depth of flavor.
My nephew had a recipe he wanted to try that called for Focaccia buns and asked if I knew what they were. I explained that it was a flatbread simular but not exactly like pizza crust and suggested he make his own. Him not being a baker and having never made it myself a formula was needed so I pulled out Peter Reinhart’s BBA and walked him through the procedure including the overnight rest in the refrigerator. The recipe was followed almost exactly except for using 20% white whole wheat instead of all AP and using S&F instead of kneading. Commercial yeast was the leavening agent. It turned out really well for a first attempt at least as far as looks go but when I tasted it something was missing.
Using the same basic format but substituting natural leaven for the commercial yeast, adding some fresh ground Einkorn, a larger percentage of white whole wheat and letting it slowly rise on the counter instead of retarding in the fridge I made a half batch.
Comparing the two bakes the only thing that is superior in the original was the crumb was more open. The complexity of flavor and texture of the more whole grain was world’s better. Of course I could be a little prejudice.
One other good thing that came from the experience is that my nephew enjoyed the process, hopefully the spark will ignite and a new baker will emerge.