Posts Tagged ‘artisan bread’

Winter Wonderland of Baking

 

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Sometimes inspiration comes at the weirdest times. This last weekend, I decided to bake my ass off again just to ward off the winter doldrums. The weather was forecast to rise to a whopping forty degrees which in Ohio terms is beach weather.  During the week, I foraged for all the fodder I would need to make some great pizzas and breads. Joel Fair and Torrey Evans got the ball rolling to make some killer dough for the Athens Farmers Market and at eleven on Friday night the baking began.

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First order of business was to collect all the frozen chilies that were thrust upon me from various farmers this summer. This is a moment of the greatest questioning in my pizzeria; “Does this look like a Ghost or a Hab?” says I. “I don’t know?” says Torrey. “Fuck it, how’s about I toss six of dem in this mix?” says I. “Sounds good to me.” Torrey responds laughing and shaking his head, (He is my ‘hot-as-hell-sauce-taste-tester’.) This weeks ‘Beelzebub’ pizza had the following chilies in the sauce: Paper Lantern, Fatalli, Red Habenero, Pickled Jalepeno, Red Jalepeno, Green Ancho and those lovely little Ghosties swimming in our organic tomato sauce with roasted garlic and a little red onion. Then I blasted out some thin pizza crust and topped the pizza with some Asiago Cheese and a few pickled cayenne peppers.

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This week I was also particularly proud not only of the fabulous local spelt dough that Torrey made but that I could use it to make some fabulous vegan Napoletana pizzas. Here I topped the spelt with filets of San Marzano tomatoes, (DOP), fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, Trapani sea salt and a vegan mozzarella cheese that I have been working on for a very, long time. I baked these babies at 650 degrees. (You know you’re a pizza psycho when you just stare at the melt from any given cheese…like I did all weekend!)

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On the same spelt crust (Grown only 20 miles away and milled in our town by Shagbark Milling) I spread a bright San Marzano sauce then made a spoke with local polenta with pine nuts. This was finished off with another pickled pepper and local arugula from Green Edge Gardens. (Upper left). On the right I made a Cornetta with fresh spinach, curry-roasted cauliflower with macerated cashews and macadamia nuts and finished off with vegan mozzarella and roasted red peppers.

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I also made my favorite. I call it a “Scaletta” with ciabatta dough in which I slice and impregnated with Calabrian Chilies, Castelvetrano olives and local King Family Bacon.

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And last but not least, was a Turkish style Pide made with local spelt that was topped with a roasted garlic pudding, roasted leek and then local Yukon gold and rose potatoes.

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So, along with some killer sourdough boule, mushroom schiacciata, baguette and several types of fougasse, we were off to the races. Below is a video of our repertoire. I may seem a little out of it because I had to set everything up in 20 degree weather grumbling the whole while about my lousy little baking life…which I love!

 

 

 

 

Bones and Balls Batard

 

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.!