There are few things as good as a fresh, hot loaf of real sourdough bread but, due to its finicky nature, it can be a hard thing to nail at home. Luckily, Epicurious has a cheat for us, and it involves fresh yeast.
Photo by Fredrik Rubensson.
The method, which comes from baker Adam Leonti of Brooklyn Bread Lab, and it is one of the easiest, most elegant ways to get tangy, chewy bread that is pretty close to the real thing, without having to deal with wild yeasts or strict temperature management. All you have to do is swap out instant or dry active yeast for fresh cake yeast. This type of yeast — which comes in a solid, compressed block and has a fresh, sour smell — can be purchased in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores or online. Once you've acquired it, throw it into a no-knead bread recipe and bake it like you would any other simple, rustic loaf. The result won't be true sourdough, but it will be fairly close, and whole lot easier.