Posts Tagged ‘Gutekanst’

Bresaola Pizza

2014 657yy

Hello there!

I just got back from the International Pizza Expo where I did two cooking demonstrations; Vegan and Vegetarian Pizzas and Beyond Bread sticks which included all sorts of breads that I sell here at Avalanche, in Athens, Ohio. The Expo is held in Las Vegas and is the most interesting venue for all things pizza…and more.

Today, lets do the Bresaola Pizza. In the last blog entry, I showed you the easy and fast way to make bresaola which we will top this pie with.

This fabulous pizza will start with what should be a dead dough. In fact this dough has sat in cold fermentation an incredible 13 days!

2014 575ii 2014 577yy

If my awesome baker Torrey had used commercial yeast, this dough would have died two days ago. So now I’ve pulled it an look for activity from a companion dough on the same tray. The alveoli, or cells (above right) that have formed from the gasses give my nose that sour-sweet wheat that hasn’t turned to an acidic nightmare yet. As it heats up in my proofing cabinet, it acts like an old racehorse that is gonna give it his ‘all’ to win one last race! This is what I live for, to push the limits of dough making and conventional wisdom to see what new flavor, textures and crust an old dough can enlighten me with. Enough with the sappy, egotistical B.S., lets roll baby!

2014 588yy

Because I am using an aggressive dough, I need a great strong cheese to compliment the chew and sourness of the disc. I was lucky enough to cop some great cheese named Everton from Jacobs and Birchford in Indiana. It’s one of those iconic cheesed that you never forget with a melt like an aged Gruyere. I loved the competing grass and incredible tangy depth of flavor this cheese has and wish I had a Jackie O’s beer to go along with it. Along with the Everton, I have some fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms, lemon cream and watercress.

2014 592yy 2014 594yy

I decided to cook the pizza at 630 degrees in my Matador oven. This would quick cook the mushrooms melting in the Everton and mozzarella for an old school pizza.

 

Check out this time lapse and see what a naturally fermented dough that is one third all purpose and two thirds high gluten can do. (Holy smokes, was that a sentence?)

2014 618yy

Here is the pizza right out of the oven. Now is time to dress this pie up.

2014 629yy 2014 634yy

First I mixed up the lemon with local Snowville Creme Fraiche to give the pizza a bright note to go with the watercress. I let the salty bresaola just melt on the cheese and mushrooms then topped the pizza with more Everton, watercress and then the creme.

2014 663yy

Wow, this baby is the bomb! Salty sour crunch with acidic and smooth cheesy notes followed by the umami of the mushrooms…paradise!

 

 

Steely Pan; Naturally Leavened Sourdough Pizza!

jan 2015ii 098iiiii

“The spore is in the wind tonight, you won’t feel it til it grows.” – Steely Dan, Rose Darling

Sourdough has been around as long as that small bacterial spore of lactobacilli landed in someones porridge that was left to ferment in some warm place. The ancient Egyptians coaxed the flavor from milled grain and water to make their breads and the Greeks used basil leaves to create the starter for their traditional sourdough.  This bread product has a long history of bakers, pundits and scientists dissecting the types of bacteria that make great sourdough but the basic premise is that sourdough is long fermentation of dough containing natural lactobacilli and yeasts. Like the yeasts, the weaker lactic acids and stronger acetic acids ferment some of the sugars and create carbon dioxide gasses. Acetic acids contribute to the wonderful flavor in this dough as the sour taste. The carbon dioxide pushes against the gluten net forming the cell structure of the finished product.

 

January 2015 862tt                 Picture1

I’ve been working with sourdough breads and pizzas for 12 years now using straight natural starters as well as old dough, levain, biga, poolish and commercial yeast and any/every combination there is. I’ve found through massive fails and celebratory bakes that there is no single way to produce a fabulous bread or pizza dough. It all depends on time, temperature, flour, yeast, ovens, moisture and for me, what level of finesse my customers expect from me. Above left are the boule and above right the long, naturally fermented Pizza al Metro with fresh spinach, basil, Valoroso tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with ramp pesto and chorizo meatballs.

 

baking in late may 065iixxx

It takes a certain type of confidence in nature as well as a boatload of patience to not only make but especially to sell  naturally-leavened sourdough pizzas. The time involved in coaxing the dough to optimum sourness is just one aspect making a great sourdough pizza. The technique involved in mixing, holding, forming, panning, proofing, par-baking, baking, cooling and serving is hard to explain to a cost-complaining customer who wants their pizza fast but also to heavy handed employees with other things on his mind. The intricate nature of making a great pan pizza is hard but the reward is in the smile achieved each and every time that beautiful square gets coaxed from the steel pan with its bark riding high.

 

oct-2011-082iiiii

 

I have found in my very unprofessional experiments that I can get a better, more sour flavor from the acetic acids by having a 60 to 70 percent hydration level as compared to a more hydrated dough. As with my starter, it is derived from wild yeasts from the Dolomite Mountains of Italy which can tolerate more acidity than commercial yeasts. I’ve refreshed it every other day because the lower hydration (more like a wet biga or sloshy levain) enables the yeasts to eat slower. I do not use commercial yeast in the sourdough, only the starter, salt and water. The key to all this becoming a great bread and pizza is time and temperature. My baker Torrey Evans has also perfected the sourdough process and does it very well producing hundreds of crispy sourdough boules and batards and baguettes each week.

Here we go.

jan 2015ii 018ii jan 2015ii 019ii

This is a steel pan. Some jamokes in Detroit call these.. ‘Detroit Steel Pans’ but most of mine were made in Pennsylvania.  Nonetheless, they can be found anywhere and everywhere. They are fantastic for baking a great deep dish pizza in. First though, they need to be seasoned. Seasoning is the black coating of carbon on the inside and outside of every steel pan as it produces a better, more intense bake for any dough’s that are encapsulated in it. To season the pan, wipe with a very thin coating of oil. Vegetable oil seems to work best. Then cook the empty pan at high temperatures, (we prefer 550-600) but look out, the pan will smoke something fierce. Do this a few, maybe ten times for a deep, dark, black sheen of carbon on the steel and you are in business.  To bake a pizza, add a coating of good extra virgin olive oil in the cooled pan and you are ready to make a great pizza.

 

jan 2015ii 015ii jan 2015ii 021ii

For this pizza, I used a 30 ounce dough made from Manitoba hard wheat flour and a starter of local Amish spelt and 14 percent protein flour. It was cold fermented for over three days and had a hydration level of 65 percent.

 

jan 2015ii 023ii jan 2015ii 026ii

Taking the dough while still cold, I formed a square on a stainless steel table. Because the dough was cold, I was assured I wouldn’t do any damage to the gluten net that would have already formed (by the rise produced by the yeast) if I had let the dough proof in the warm air. I pulled the corners to accommodate the pan.

 

jan 2015ii 027ii jan 2015ii 029ii

Then I used Corto olive oil made by my friends, the Cortopassi’s of Stanislaus Tomato Company fame. These guys are as psycho about quality as I am and I switched to their olive oil because simply, it is the best. After stretching, I used my fingertips to “dopple” the dough. This bears down on every internal part of the pizza making sure that a single mega-bubble of carbon dioxide will not blow up in the dough when I bake it.

 

jan 2015ii 063ii jan 2015ii 064iii

After covering with plastic wrap I set this pizza near my oven in 70 to 75 degrees to proof for an amazing nine hours. Because I am using natural yeasts that are converting sugars to carbon dioxide in a high-protein environment, the proof is warm, slow and steady. This gives time for the lactic acid as well as the acetic acids both time to thrive on the sugars. Both will create the carbon dioxide that will fill the high-protein gluten net creating the rise in this pan. The sides of the pan will push the cell structures toward the middle of the pan in a small hump. (Note- if I was to try to ‘correct’ the pizza now by sticking my fingers, a spatula or even a small knife near the edges or sides of this proofed pizza, I would ruin it by displacing the gasses and letting some excape creating a dropped or bowed effect anywhere I touched….leave it alone!)

 

jan 2015ii 068ii jan 2015ii 067ii

To create a level top to the pizza, I use an old technique of putting a hard-aged cheese around the side of the steel pan. Here I spread a few ounces of aged Asiago. This will act as a glue to keep the dough pushed against the side of the pan in my 550 degree deck oven.

 

jan 2015ii 069ii jan 2015ii 070ii

Before par cooking, I put  some aged mozzarella all over the sides and top to help hold the dough down as it hits the heat of my hot oven.

 

jan 2015ii 074ii jan 2015ii 075ii

As you can see, after 12 to 15 minutes in a 550 degree oven, the area that I left bare of cheese “popped” up tremendously. Still, the Asiago glued to the side of the pan and held the pizza together. If I hadn’t done this the pizza would look like a mountain.

 

jan 2015ii 076ii jan 2015ii 077ii

I let the pie cool for five minutes then topped with more aged mozzarella and provolone and some natural casing pepperoni that will ooze out some glorious juices cooking under the cheese.

 

jan 2015ii 078ii jan 2015ii 081ii

I then returned the pizza back to the oven for the final bake, (12-20 minutes should do it, just remember, you have to cook the interior of the pizza dough, there is nothing worse than cutting into a pan pizza and finding dough- this is why I use a long proof time.) I’m crying now….it is a thing of beauty!

 

jan 2015ii 086ii jan 2015ii 087iixx

I let the pizza sit for at least seven minutes to set the bark along the edges. The key to any sourdough pizza in my neck of the woods is to have a bark that is intact and not fallen down by taking out of the pan too soon. I topped this with some crushed Stanislaus pear tomatoes and some local Snowville Crème Fraiche mixed with just a touch of ricotta as well as some chopped fresh basil.

 

jan 2015ii 095ii jan 2015ii 105ii

I suggest leaving the pizza intact just to gloat at the magnificent thing of beauty you have created.

 

jan 2015ii 104ii jan 2015ii 093ii

Then slice away and pig out on the crunchy corners first saying to yourself, “All good sourdough comes to dems dat wait.” Amen!