Sourdough enthusiasts may consider straight doughs to have less flavor, character, and aroma than breads made with a natural starter or pre-ferment. The raised eyebrows that straight doughs receive are an important part of the definition. “In 1980, when I [opened the bakery Bread Alone], nobody had a clue about sourdough, and neither did I,” says Leader. A few years ago, while on research trips for Living Bread in Europe, Leader saw just how significantly Robertson’s book (and bread) had influenced the culture. But the intense focus on sourdough, and specifically Tartine’s sourdough, has made bread-baking look more and more like a monoculture.
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