Back home after a long visit overseas and itching to finally get back to baking after a 6-month hiatus, I took out the levain nuggets I had made in the fall to jumpstart the rebirth of my starter. (To make these nuggets, I cut up my 60% hydration starter in small pieces, let them air dry until completely dessicated and then store them in an airtight container). The whole process is normally a no-brainer: I cover two or three nuggets with water, let them sit for a while, add flour, mix and let rest, feed again, etc., until the thing come back to life. It usually takes between 36 and 48 hours.
Well, now I know. The yeast-based miche (made with a dough that had fermented 24 hours after the initial mix) turned out just fine but the aromas were muted, barely perceptible. Nothing like the fragrant music we have grown accustomed to. I am not bashing yeasted dough: I love tasty baguettes and other prefermented breads way too much for that. I am just saying that this 24-hour bread came in very handy (it made great breakfast toasts) but that it wasn’t the same, which means that I will happily remain on levain duty for the foreseeable future.