It sounds like Rice Krispies!
The crackling was intense as the loaf was removed from the oven. My observations thus far:
1) Flour counter lightly? Ha!
It may be different on stainless steel, but despite comments about how liquid this was, I was not prepared, being more accustomed to adding flour to the bowl when dough is in the state mine was in after about 20 hours, not pouring it out on the counter. Fine and easy to control especially after watching the video in which JL advises you to pat it down, then fold it. Still, there was watery residue on the bottom of the Pyrex bowl and a lot of warm moisture in the air from simmering stock exacerbated the "problem".
Breeze to handle, fold over and let rest, but after 15 minutes of resting, once plastic was lifted, the dough had absorbed all the flour on top and on the bottom. Stuck to counter a bit, though that, too, easy to remedy. Therefore, I ended up incorporating quite a bit more flour by sprinkling surface twice, the second time to shape the loaf.
Verdict: I don't think it would be a bad idea to put waxed paper on the counter and flouring it before dumping out contents of the bowl.
2) Will try to eliminate the floured towel perhaps next time, though I am curious and wonder why some of us had soggy patches on the bottom of our towels, while most posts don't mention a bad clinging effect.
I suspect I overcompensated for the fear that the dough would spread out if I left it just on the counter, wrapped in a single towel. (I should have tried it anyway since the loaf really is shaped once it hits the hot pot.) So, I put the wrapped dough inside a different glass bowl. The glass, in turn, encouraged moisture to build and when I unwrapped the towel, a sizeable amount (1/3 cup?) was stuck to overly floured towel. I scraped that off and put that on top of my loaf, sort of like a Sumo wrestler's topknot. Fine. Spread into a free-form, rustic flourish. So, I will also try eliminating the bowl during attempt number three.
3) Trust your nose
Ten minutes after I took the lid off the Dutch oven, I could smell the loaf in the other room. Since the top was such a light color when I got my first peep, I decided to wait five more minutes. By then, top looked great, but bottom has a couple of black patches that are better for pizza than bread.
Verdict: See if I can raise the rack in the oven, i.e., if the Dutch oven will still fit. Also:
4) Double the recipe for my Dutch oven (6 quart?), or at least move up to 4 1/2 to 5 cups of flour and so on. Loaf looks beautiful, but many of the slices will not be very tall. Others seem to have noticed the same thing.
I'm looking forward to trying it in the morning. The crust does look amazing.
ETA: I just read the post right above this. Seems my first attempt is in keeping with the experience of others, given the advice my resolutions echo.
Edited by Pontormo, 21 November 2006 - 10:37 PM.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath