Posts Tagged ‘blueberry bread’

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.!

Some Psycho-licious Fougasse

I always looked forward to Sunday nights when I was young. That was when Public Television hosted a few hours of the best British shows of all time. These shows taught me that another, more cultured civilization existed across the great ocean as our big Magnavox with faux wood trim beamed Benny Hill and Monty Python’s Flying Circus  into our packed living room. I never understood Benny Hill’s humor but because I was at the height of puberty AND his show always featured a quick shot of a woman taking her blouse off, I was riveted. Monty Python on the other hand, was just downright outrageous. The part I enjoyed the most was when John Kleese announced “AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!”


This summer Chef Nally and myself have been using local, organic ingredients to make some killer schiacciata as well as pizza and bread like the “Triple Pork Paradise,” (above left) featuring imported pancetta, Harmony Hollow Farms pork belly and King Family bacon paired with fresh spinach from Rich Organics, provolone, local maple syrup and Blackberries from Vest Berries. On the right is our Tuscan Schiacciata with mozzarella, provolone, fresh Amish Basil from Chesterhill, fresh mozzarella and small heirloom tomatoes, (that taste like candy,) from Cowdery Farms in Longbottom Ohio.

And now for something else completely different… All apologies blokes, but this entry is about fougasse. It’s a bread made famous in the south of France, essentially a flatbread formed in the shape of a leaf or wheatstalk.


Today I have two styles that I sold this week; a boomerang-shaped fougasse with pearl onion, King Family bacon and Cowdery Farms pablano peppers, (Right picture.) and a sunburst fougasse with basil, La Quercia lardo, blueberries and pistachio nuts, (Left picture.) Optimally, lardo is the fat from the back of a pig that has been fed only acorns and apples the last three to six months of his/her fantastic life, but the best Italian lardo is from pigs that also are allowed to watch cable reruns of Mr. Ed and Green Acres for at least six months!

Here is also an insightful trip into the nocturnal activities of a pizza madman and his outrageous breads. This is another reason for you to stay in school, get a degree and stay away from really hot ovens.




Thank you for hanging out with me. I promise next time I won’t use the term “Glorious,” (I get carried away.)