I made mine yesterday.
I made it exactly per the recipe except that I didn't have instant yeast, and instead used active dry.
My two observations about the recipe are: too much water and not enough salt. I sort of knew about these issues, as there is a lot of discussion of this recipe on other foodie sites.
Salt is a palate thing, but I think it needs a bit more.
The water thing was a slight problem. It was humid when I was making the bread, so I probably should have adjusted, but I wanted to follow the recipe.
The "sponge" worked great. Took it out of the bowl the next morning and turned it out onto a floured countertop. It was really runny. I needed a lot more flour than the recipe called for just to absorb pooled liquid.
I didn't want to add too much flour (IMO it could have taken at least a cup more) so I turned it onto a floured towel in it's "loose" state.
It really didn't rise as much as it doubled in size outward.
When it came time to plop into the heated LC oven, it was so wet that it soaked through the flour and stuck to the towel. I had to rip the towel away, which deflated the bread somewhat from its already flat state.
I baked for less time than it called for both covered and uncovered because I thought the time seemed too long and I was right. Bread is done when it achieves an internal temp of 210 degress.
Mine browned really well and came to 210 in about 10 min less than the recipe called for.
The bread had excellent, excellent crust and a wonderful texture. Clearly the best bread I have ever made
, except for the fact that it's only 2 inches thick at it's highest. Oh well.
And there was a small problem with a slight garlic taste, possibly because I had justy made Jambalaya in the french oven....
I think I'll use less water, a bit more salt, and am considering using parchment paper instead of a towel. Anyone have an opinion on parchment paper?
I am a bit worried that it will be too slippery and will cause the dough to slide outward instead of rising up.
Anyway -- it's fantastic bread
and I'm going to make it again for Tgiving.