Mr. Golper, who oversees the ovens at Bien Cuit, a bakery in Brooklyn, is part of a starter culture of obsessive, boundary-pushing bread makers in New York City and around the country. Connoisseurs consider his miche, a French-style country loaf, something of a crown jewel. But it certainly doesn’t shine like one; bulbous and heat-bludgeoned, it looks more like something that might have been used as a shield in a Stone Age skirmish.
Which makes sense. After all, Mr. Golper, like many comrades in the revolutionary salt-flour-water brigade, is engaged in an ancient and ceaseless battle: against the whims of working with fermenting dough whose personality can shift on a daily or even hourly basis; against the high costs of making bread in what he considers the purest manner; against decades of commercialization that have trained the American eye and palate to expect bread that is soft, gummy, pale and tasteless.