Archive for the ‘Pizza Recipes’ Category

Maitake Knotted Pizza on Old Baguette Dough

fall 2015 2613xx

Maitake mushrooms are one of the many but nuanced signals that summer is ending and fall beginning. They are called “Hen of the woods”, (not to be confused with “Chicken of the woods) because of the featherlike attributes of the numerous caps. The Japanese translation for maitake is “Dancing Mushroom” and it grows in clumps right near big oak trunks meet the earth. I got mine through a trade with a great vendor at the Athens Farmers Market.


fall 2015 2537ii

This is a nice clump. When Maitake are young you can cut well into the trunk but when they are older, the trunk gets tough. Today, I’ve decided to use some four-day old, cold fermented baguette dough that is a blend of all-purpose or lower protein flour and another flour that is up to 14 percent protein. This will be a good balance of texture and crunch when I bake it at a high temperature.

fall 2015 2623xx

Our baguette dough is naturally leavened with almost 50 percent starter which gives it an modest sourdough flavor profile and a great deep, golden crust along with waxy, irregular aveoli, or cells.

fall 2015 2577ii

The maitake mushroom contains L-glutamate which is natures flavor enhancer that produces umami or “The fifth taste” which is that back of the palate pleaser that both tomatoes and  Parmigiano Reggiano exhibit so the toppings for this foray into savory land have to be great partners for this particular mushroom. I’ve chosen my all star cheese- Gruyere, along with sprouted Puy (or French) lentils, local Harmony Hollow bacon,  Jerusalem artichokes that I’ve been growing in my garden and some fresh spinach for color and crunch after the oven. All of my toppings for this pizza are going to be cut thin and raw because I want them to just cook through with the high heat of 600 degrees.

Four days before hand, I filled a container with water and the puy lentils and swished them around then left them to soak for three hours. I then rinsed them in a colander and placed them back in the container. Each eight to ten hours, I returned the moist lentils and tossed them, rinsed them again and drained, leaving them in the moist environment to sprout. After just two days, they sprouted. Yum


. fall 2015 2060ii fall 2015 2072ii  fall 2015 2578ii

Then I dug up the beautiful Jerusalem artichokes. These are also called “Sun chokes” and are an amazingly aggressive rhizome which shoots everywhere under the ground. (Some old time farmers warned me about growing these massive plants and now I see why…think bamboo.) After digging them up and washing, I sliced them very thin to just cook through on the pizza.


fall 2015 2580ii fall 2015 2584ii

I cut the maitake’s small leaf-like mushroom feathers that were sure to cook through on the pizza and made a football shape that I topped with the Gruyere.

fall 2015 2586ii fall 2015 2589ii

Then I topped with the sprouted lentils and the mushroom feathers followed by thin strips of the bacon and the sun choke. Now, because I am a knotting freak, I just had to pull and tie this dough in a knot at the end. This is in the form of a Turkish Pide, (Pee-DAY) that I am so fond of.


fall 2015 2592ii fall 2015 2598ii

After the knots were done, I took both ends and stretched the dough out. This creates a larger platform


fall 2015 2602ii   fall 2015 2605ii


I baked this bad boy at 600 for 11 minutes until the cornicione puffed up like the Hindenburg and this baby was ready to enjoy. It was delicious.

Schiacciata with Mozza-egg and Caviar

april 2015 1653ii

 “The opposite of success isn’t failure, it’s conformity.”

                                                                                            Alan McMillan, author and motivational speaker

I love eggs, but in my busy schedule I’d neglected to post one of my successful and non-conformist pizzas that I made in April. It was an ode to spring with those little orbs of life that bring so much flavor to a great pizza.  Let me tell you how this delicious monster was constructed!

I decided to make a long  schiacciata of naturally leavened, high-protein dough made with Manitoba wheat, then made a  mozzarella egg, (Just like the one I posted earlier) chicken skin bacon, Osetra and salmon caviar with Teleggio cheese and sweet, pungent spring ramp leaves. I then topped it in Sardinian fashion with grated Bottarga di Muggine; the dried egg sack from the grey mullet. It was once known as the poor mans caviar and has that wonderful whip-crack of umami you get with salty caviar and is particularly delightful on wheat, either pasta or, in this case, a pizza.

This is the time for all you pizza bloggers, purists and know-it-all “seafood doesn’t belong on pizza” scumbags to just go away. I love seafood on pizza and with cheese. Life is good, you are haters and no one likes you. Ha!

april 2015 1603ii

It took a lot of strength to hold myself back from dipping into the caviar while taking this picture.

april 2015 1588ii april 2015 1589ii april 2015 1590ii april 2015 1610ii

I bake off hundreds of pounds of local, King Family Farm chicken each week at Avalanche Pizza Bakers and subsequently have a lot of chicken skin on hand. To make the chicken skin bacon, pre-heat an oven to 475. Take the cooked chicken skin off making sure to get as big a piece as possible, season with paprika, Chinese five spice powder, garlic powder, coloratura (Sicilian garum or Thai fish sauce), fine pepper and a little salt to taste. Adding a little teriyaki will produce a very nice char on the skin, just be careful not to overcook. Put the seasoned skin on a parchment lined tray and place another sheet of parchment on top of the skin, then weigh down with another similar tray and place two to three aluminum foil bricks on top. I have many trays in my pizzeria and just pile four trays on top. Cook in the oven for only 8 to 12 minutes. Keep taking a peek so as not to burn it. When nicely “baconized”, cut with scissors to resemble bacon.

april 2015 428ii april 2015 436ii april 2015 439ii april 2015 002ii

Now for the Mozzarella egg. Pre-heat the oven to 475, (or do this while the chicken skin bacon is cooking) Using fresh mozzarella from a log instead of mozzarella in brine, cut several pieces and overlap on parchment pressing down to form an oval the size of a Hobbits hand. Quickly heat up the mozzarella and press again once hot. When just melted, push an indent into the lower middle, crack and egg and place the yolk in the indent. Using a spatula, pull the top over the bottom and lightly press down to shut. Let cool and judge just how much it looks like a cooked egg! Or see just how much you have screwed it up and try again.

april 2015 1605ii april 2015 1613ii

Using a 20 ounce dough ball, bang out an oval. This may take some time but let the dough proof in between pulling. You will get there eventually. Place the Teleggio and chopped ramps on the dough and place in a 550 degree oven. If you are doing this at home, try to get your oven up to 500 with either a pizza stone or a preheated, upturned, heavy cookie sheet on the middle rack. Use parchment to transfer the pizza to the sheet pan.

april 2015 1633ii april 2015 1624ii

Cook for 12 to 14 minutes until cooked. Take out of the oven and place the cooled mozzarella eggs on the schiacciata. Put this back in the oven for two to three minutes. DO NOT COOK THIS TOO LONG OR THE MOZZARELLA WILL SLIDE OFF THE YOLK!

april 2015 1635ii april 2015 1641ii

When the mozzarella egg has sufficiently warmed and the pizza is cooked, place the chicken skin bacon, caviar and microplane the Bottarga on the pizza…

april 2015 1652ii


…cut into the mozza egg and have an ooze-tastic taste of eggsistential delight.

april 2015 1658ii