Tonight I baked off Normaís Sicilian with 25% soaker added in. The sauce was an uncooked tomato sauce and cheeses were a blend of fresh mozz pearls (not marshmallows) and young pecorino. The pie was baked off at 550F.
Getting straight to business, I found that the soaker did not add a strong flavor, as with some preferments. However, the addition of the soaker was noticeable without being bready. It imparted a slightly sweet, nutty and mature flavor only achieved through a long and low temp fermentation. Is this a flavor improvement on the quick doughs or overnight doughs? Absolutely.
As shown in the photos below, I found no noticeable defects crust due to the addition of the soaker. The dough had an open hole structure and was light and airy.
Would I say that it is superior to a preferment methods using yeast, probably not? I will let Norma and David comment further about those aspects, as they are both using direct comparison methods with preferment doughs. However, I do think this dough had a demonstrably mature flavor, with no noticeable consequences to the structure or texture of the crust.
As a final comment, Norma this formula of yours rocks. L&Bís can eat their heart out, this is one of the best tasting Sicilians Iíve had, seriously. With or without the soaker, this is my new ďgo toĒ Sicilian recipe. Fantastic job getting this far, your customers are going to love this pie, and I canít wait to see what your findings are.