Archive for the ‘Dough Recipes’ Category

Kimchi and Pizza; a Match Made in Heaven!

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Kimchi, the traditional condiment of Korea combined with cheese on a pizza or (as above), on a Turkish Pide? Yes, yes, yes I say. The textural crunch and aggressive flavor of kimchi is a perfect match for combinations of cheeses such as aged provolone and mozzarella, gruyere or even cheddar curd. Combining kimchi with textural foils like nuts and crusts is heaven especially with fatty meats such as bacon, guanciale and even Prosciutto di Parma, (Yes, that may be construed as sacrilegious in pizza Puritan circles but it sure is a killer taste!)  I like kimchi with sweet fruits such as orange, blackberry and even pear. In fact in my high-volume pizzeria, I’ve made kimchi a distinctive part of my menu-mix with two pizzas that sell well: The Crouching Kimchi, Hidden Chicken has Mandarin orange, Teriyaki, Local King Family Chicken and Cashew and the Chicken Yakitori has an Asiago-Bechemel as well as Onion, Teriyaki, Chicken and Mandarins.

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Lets start with what gives Kimchi all the attention these days. The turn-on for most people like me is the fermented zing you get when crunching on a nice piece of kimchied cabbage or root like daikon. The turn-off is this same spicy zing for folks who are not used to it…simple as that!

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Here I took a boatload of Amish Daikon from Chesterhill, Ohio and cubed it to make Kkdugi, (daikon kimchi…daaaa). I just salted the little cubes for twenty minutes then squeezed the salt out and dried them as best I could then I added Korean pepper paste, raw garlic and Thai fish sauce with a few anchovies for a rough and tumble marinade. After adding some fresh hot peppers, scallion and cilantro, I let the soaking daikon sit at room temperature until my wife said, “Get that crap outta here.” So I finished up with the jar outside. After twenty-four hours to kick start the fermentation at higher temperature, I set in my refrigerator.

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Last week I was glad I had the Kkdugi because I added it to some great Asian long stemmed Taiwan Bok Choy and also known as Wa Wa Tsai that I obtained from Deep Roots Farm.

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The preparation for this beautiful kimchi was fairly simple: I made a kimchi sauce with Thai fish sauce added to Korean pepper paste with Sicilian anchovy and a few dashes of Sicilian Garum, (fish sauce). Then I threw in a handful of raw garlic, juice from three lemons and grated ginger. Then I salted the cabbage and tossed for thirty minutes until it became just limp then rinsed, squeezed and transferred to another container. I then added some shredded carrot, scallion and the Kkdugi for a final mix.

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Then it was to the jars for the final ferment-set and a cool trip to the fridge for a few months.

Here is how I made the Turkish Pide at the top of this page:

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First, I cooked some polenta then mixed Parmesan and roasted sweet Toro peppers from Cowdery Farms into it. I let it cool and then rolled it up. I salted some romaine lettuce, let it wilt then rinsed and squeezed the juice out.

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I then combined some napa cabbage kimchi I had with the romaine and formed a roulade with the polenta and for a spicy-sweet finale, added some pickled Cowdery Cherry-bomb peppers to the top of each roulade! This made a fine packet ready for cooking!

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When the time was right for baking, I used an 83 percent hydrated, high protein dough that aged for 30 hours in cold holding and formed a Turkish style pide. I placed some aged mozzarella and some Gruyere on the Pide with the extra polenta and more sweet-roasted peppers.

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I hope you can try using kimchi on pizza.

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It’ll give you another dimension of taste to your menu…after all who doesn’t want more spice in their life?



WOW! Puglian Grano Arso-Black Ash Flour Pizzas


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Puglian Arso Nero crust above, (left) with San Marzano sauce, fresh spinach, guanciale, pignoli and Puglian burrata. (Right), the greyish coricione with perfect irregular cell structure and that unmistakable smoky, umami taste…bad ass!

My introduction to Arso Nero, or Black Ash flour all started when I met Chef Antonio Esposito and Alberto Busi of Pivetti flour at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas four years ago. They were cutting up dough balls for a demonstration of Neapolitan pizza and I had just finished preparing for a bread demo.

“Hey Guys, need some help?” I said overly friendly-like.

“Ahhh, no.” Antonio said smiling.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, we are sure, but we can let you stand there and watch us for no extra charge.” Alberto said. They both laughed sadistically and I instantly liked them. I stood there for the next 20 minutes (more to annoy than anything), asking question after question about their flour, dough, hydration, mixing etc and they were some of the most knowledgeable and friendly Pizza guys around.

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This year I was lucky enough to meet up with them again in Las Vegas and in Columbus Ohio at the awesome RDP Foodservice show. They showed me their new product called “Skura” (by Pivetti). They were cooking pizzas and breads in my all time favorite pizza makers mobile oven from GoreMade Pizza, owned and operated by fellow Ohioan and outstanding pizza maniac Nick Gore. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with this dough. Nicks oven was just over 800 degrees because he had just set up but still this great dough stood out. It had the same oven spring as a typical “00” flour and charred nicely on the bottom leaving some killer leoparding, (spots) but the distinguishing characteristics were the juxtaposed qualities of  a nice light, airy cell structure and a deep, smoky, back-of-the-throat finish.





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Chef Antonio Espisito at work and with Pizza Legend Bruno di Fabio at the exciting RDP Foodservice show in Columbus.

Out of the ashes: The low down on Arso Nero:

In 18th century Puglia, Italy, wheat was first harvested then the fields were burnt to the soil for next years fertilizer. After the burning, the peasants would scour the fields and pick up the arso, or charred wheat berries left behind. They ground them up with semolina to make grano arso or “ash flour” then baked them in bread that produced a toasted flavor. Pivetti has successfully replicated this famed flour by slow-roasting the wheat for the same grey-black appeal.


Check out the beautiful charred flecks of wheat floating all around the gluten net of my windowpane test, (above).

After repeated begging Chef Antonio sent me a bag of this glorious product and I went to work. I mixed it the way I would any of my high-heat, Naples-style pizzas; with just the dough, salt and water with a little pre-ferment from the Dolomite Mountains. I then aged it for 30 hours under refrigeration.  I just couldn’t wait to stoke my oven up to ultra-high heat and blast some pizza!

Here are some pies I made with Arso Nero flour.

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 First pizza was a San Marzano sauce with fresh spinach, thin slices of my homemade Red Wattle guanciale, pignoli, and some glorious Puglian buratta. Then I made a Teleggio and Portobello pizza with white truffle oil and balsamic.

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I used some aged Piave Vecchio I had and paired it with a ballistic three-year old Brugge Prestige, roasted fingerling and leek then topped with Prosciutto di Parma. For a really awesome worldly pizza, I topped the Arso Nero dough with aged provolone, curry roasted onion and cauliflower, raison, spinach and finished with fresh cilantro and Calabrian Chilies! Wow, not that’s the BOMBE!

Here’s the action packed video from my wrecked phone, (fell into some poolish a while back).


I finally wanted to bake an ash-flour pizza with a truly Roman flavor profile of anchovy, tomato and garlic. I used salt-cured Sicilian as well as white anchovies as well as some sliced garlic and San Marzano sauce.


All I can say now is that these pizza really rock! Thank  you Pivetti and Antonio and Alberto! Now I am going to try to replicate this dough with charred speltberries. (More on that later).