Posts Tagged ‘best pizza blogs’

Bumblebee Batard 2.0

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This is an exciting bread I have been baking all year. Its striking visual aspect of black on yellow rewards the eyes followed by the two tastes of nuanced squid-ink with pine nuts and saffron-onion-potato in highly hydrated dough wrapped around an outstanding potato-garlic pudding. Although it sells very well, making this dough is always a study in patience and dough fortitude for me as I fight the primal thoughts of wallowing in a giant batch of mud.

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I’ve been doing bumble bee breads for some time now, here is a blog entry from long ago. This baking session, I made over twenty loaves. The key for me is to get this dough on trays to proof as fast as possible. I’ve also found that flouring the bottom of the dough dulls the colors more than I liked.  Here is a video of the bench-mixing process. The potatoes and onions were already cooked with the saffron and fell apart nicely in the dough.

 

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After the kneading, I let the dough rest then it was time for the cutting. This is where the high hydration became an asset. I’ve found that strips of different filled dough adhere nicely (given enough time to proof).

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The oiled trays were filled with the strips, covered with wrap and I put them into a cold fermentation stage for almost 48 hours.

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When I pulled the cold fermented dough out, I was able to cut sqaure (ish) strips. The tough part about this process is not getting too much of the black dough in the yellow. It is a constant battle with sticky gnarly dough but is worth it. Once I got the squares cut, I filled a line of ground Yukon Gold potato and roasted garlic pudding inside the square topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Now is the fold; the most crucial part of making this batard.

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After a gentle roll and lift. I adjusted the batard and let it proof on a parchment fitted tray.

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I made three slits in each loaf to let the steam out.

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I am very happy with the bullet-shape of these batards after cooking at 550 degrees. Then I completed with some stingers.

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My friends at Cantrell Honey sold me some great light Russian Olive honey and I infused a boatload of Paper Lantern chilies at 130 degrees.  This honey luxury heaven turned into a hellish sweetness that made me beg for mercy but kept me coming back for more like a workout with a good Dominatrix without the whip marks… just sayin’!

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In each slit, I put a large chunk of Cantrell honeycomb for shits and giggles with the stingers of Paper Lantern infused honey as… the stingers!

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Once cooled, the crumb exhibited a moist cakeness, (Is that a word?)  without giving up the irregular cell structure of a great bread. The pudding brought a nice éclair-like texture with a garlicky savor of potato and matched well with the pignoli and especially the saffron. This bread, as they say these days, “has a lot going on.”

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So, until I bake some more bumble bee batard this spring, I’ll just have to deal with the dull, drab brown crunch of pizza and bread crumbs.

Maitake Knotted Pizza on Old Baguette Dough

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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

 

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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.