I've been making bread for decades so bear that in mind when I say that I found this recipe easy to make! It's very delicious!
This is a wonderful, fragrant bread. It is very time consuming, so read the whole thing through and plot out your timing before you start. You will be rewarded with delicious chewy bread and a crisp crust. One bit of suggestion that I was going to give appears to already have been addressed -- when I printed out the recipe, the step-by-step instructions never mentioned that the sponge needed to be divided in half, and it was only briefly mentioned in the intro. Consequently, I forgot to divide it. Since I am not an artisan bread baker, I have no idea what would have been different had I made it the way the recipe (which has since been corrected, in step 4) now says to make it. What I do know is this -- my dough expanded during the last rising time but never really rose. It was too gooey to be able to slash. I followed the instructions (in my earlier version) exactly as they were written, step-by-step. I got 3 loaves that tasted almost like sourdough, but were rather flat and spread out. No problem, though, because I am not a stickler for appearances. We immediately gobbled up the first loaf (only waiting 14 minutes instead of the prescribed 30) and dipped it into herb/garlic-infused olive oil. That was my bite of heaven tonight, never mind that the recipe I made is substantially different that the recipe that is now here. I will have to try this again another time, and then I will follow the new directions. I will update this review if it needs updating at that point. Thanks, 2Bleu.