Posts Tagged ‘couronne’

Bread of the Week: The Flintstone Wheel

It’s a freezing Saturday here in Athens, Ohio. What better bread to make this weekend than my  popular2.5 pound Flintstone Wheel?

Now you might say, “Hey, what kinda idiot would name a beautiful loaf of  bread a “Flinstone Wheel?” Simple answer: me.

I wanted to be like the Native Americans  ( the ones with the loose immigration policy). They named their newborns after the first thing they saw, or could relate to. So, when I pulled this massive 40-ounce monster from my conveyor deck ovens, all I could think  of is Fred hearing the scream of the bird as its tail was pulled, to notify him that his work at the stone quarry was over. Fred then decends down the Brantosauraus tail and jumps into his car with the big wheels to get as far away from Mr. Slate and his crappy job as possible. There you have it.

I make alot of Couronnes, as some of you may call this one, or  Tortanos. If I was to  put eggs in the shell into the top of this loaf, like the southern Italians do, I would call it a Casatiello. But my healthy distain for tradition bubbles to the surface when naming things. Besides, you never forget a name like Flintstone Wheel.

This loaf is made with a really wet 70 % hydration, which made it a pain in the ass (Fred would not want me to beat around the bush). I used only a natural levain to levean it and used 30% spelt wheat flour to highten the flavor. I had been feeding this monster for the last week and a half to keep the rise on a regular schedule.

After the final mix, I retarded it for 36 hours on a tray with extra virgin olive oil. When I came in at 10 p.m. last night, I took it out, let it come to room temperature, then re-kneaded it, incorporating as much air as possible to probel the crumb from small cells to a mixture of small and great big ones.

I put a hole in each blob and let let them proof in my all-too-cool kitchen for approximately 3 hours, turning them every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours, then every 30 minutes once they started proofing.

Then  I put them on trays for 30 minutes longer, near the 500 degree F. ovens for a last blast of proofing. Nothing blooms bread better than the top of a pizza oven. Then I scored them with razor. Yes, I don’t use a typical “Lame” or even a typical razor blade. I like the way the old Exacto knives cut because of the length of the blade enables a deeper and more meaningful cut. I also tend to lose smaller blades.

Man, this is a big, heavy, nutty, carmelly hunk of bread. My kids love it, and I am a very happy guy.

Bakesgiving for United Appeal

Wow!  That’s all I have to say about this years bake-fest to benefit United Appeal of Athens County. I am so thankful for all the people who came out from 5:30 a.m. until noon to buy our bread products.  By our unofficial count, Avalanche Pizza raised over $2500 from the people of Athens on Thanksgiving day.

John Dillon, (left), United Appeal Board member and AFSCME Union President, came in at 3 a.m. and formed a monstrous amount of spelt rolls. Randy Davis (right) became adept at forming ciabatta, egg-washing croissants, proofing ciabatta and together, he and John even made some pizzas.

Aaron Thomas, United Appeal Board President, did the dirtiest job of washing hundreds of trays that had piled up over the night. He took time away from his business, Class A Sounds, to help in this great cause.

Even got the sheriff’s department came by to show their support. Is it me, or does Aaron (middle) look like he’s been cuffed?

Joel Fair, Patty Nally and Danny McVicker volunteered to work through the night to produce some great baked goods. Patty nailed her fabulous croissants and even the stuffed croissants filled with nutella, pecans and bananas. Joel and Patty did a great job making croissants, baguettes, ciabatta and baking over 500 loaves.

A special shout out goes to Chris and Angie Pyle, who donated coffee for us, and to Constantine Faller, who donated cheese to be sold. Robin Barnes of Power 105 F.M. was spectacular for getting the word out, along with all the fine folks at the Athens News. Starline Organics donated vegetables. We used Harmony Hollow ham in some of the fougasse.

If you see this man, hold him (please use bailing wire.) He is my dad, Tom Gutekanst. He played a major role in what he called “testing the product,” which entailed consuming at least 17 cheese-topped croissants while exclaiming “This better be imported Brie!”  Then he ran off through the darkness.

Here are a few sights of this year’s bake for United Appeal of Athens County. Here’s a video of a burnt out middle aged freak who, despite his goonish appearance and spacy presentation, can still handle baking all night (barely).

See you next year!