This is the most exciting part of the year in Athens, Ohio and the starting bell is truly the rise of the ramp. Soon the morels, asparagus and strawberries will follow. It’s been a cold one but the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom around here and I am waiting to steal some to pickle “Sakura no Shiozuke” style from my neighbors very, very soon.
Here’s some baking I did last week because…it’s how I make my living and I love it.
My potato bread is sort of a hellish mix on the table but well worth it when you eat it.
Then I have the baguettes with a nice crisp crust and open crumb.
Or some fabulous “Ramp Schiacciata” with aged provolone and Valoroso tomatoes and a thick and airy Pizza Romana.
Anyway, its all in my crummy video. (The last with this sorghum molasses-soaked phone.)
Sometimes my frenzied life leaves some documentation of my culinary absurdity in the dust. This happened last May when I filmed the making of a fabulously unconventional batard. I made over fifty loaves and sold them all in under an hour. The resounding question from customer-guys like me was…”Ahhhhh yea man, ARE THOSE RIBS?” As I say, “Of course bro, and local ones at that!”
Obviously, because this is A PIZZA BLOG, these videos probably need an introduction from John Cleese saying – “And now, for something completely different!” (but I figure, if you are a real pizza professional, you’re a better baker than most bakers so why not get crazy!)
Well, here it is, a batard made with an eighty-five percent hydrated dough with a flour that was fourteen-percent protein to which I added a thirty percent of a sticky pre-ferment gotten from organic wild Ohio grapes. I added about five percent old dough, (pate fermentee), some malt syrup for a deeper crust, salt and retarded it under refrigeration for forty-nine hours.
The interlopers in this dough are onions that I roasted with chipotle peppers in adobo) at 475 degrees. When they were hot, limp and roasted, I added dried blueberries and they re-hydrated just enough to infuse a balzy taste of spicy-sweet! The other stuff in the dough is chorizo meatballs, (King Family Farms natural pork, smoked Spanish paprika, cinnamon, garlic, onion, cilantro, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and egg as binder). And finally, I added some whole roasted garlic cloves and fresh basil and cilantro to the dough.
I then took half the chipotle-blueberry mix and ground it up with a little cinnamon, extra virgin olive oil and coated the ribs and roasted them.
Then I took the ribs and Frenched them halfway down the bone for insertion. (see vid).
So, do you see? The hydrated dough not only let me impregnate some killer ingredients into the gluten net during the initial mix of the original dough and then it sat in suspended, cold-fermented animation with slow yeast consumption of sugars providing time for the gluten and gasses to build around the items. In the end, I was able to fold the new item, (Mr. Rib) into the batard by just snipping with scissors and folding over the more-than-willing dough. The final proof was enough to encapsulate the bones into the balls.
Then I baked the shit out of these culinary killers at 3:50 a.m!
Man, I love my job! Thanks always to Joel Fair, Jacob Seidel and my staff at Avalanche for putting up with my madness in the early a.m.!