Posts Tagged ‘mushroom pizza’

Phyllis

First, I do recognize that the term “fanatic” should never follow the words “kind-of,” or “probably kind-of” in any given sentence. These qualifiers, or quantifiers of the degree of fanatisism are a way to leave an “out” or a quick stage-left exit for the person extolling these virtues of being a fanatic. Using this terminology is probably, kind-of wimpy on their part because either you are a fanatic or you are not.

Now, with that messy paragraph over with, I will say that I am infatuated with making ciabatta. I love push the limits of hydration, natural levening, pre-ferments and flours to produce the perfect cell-structure under the crunchiest crust and yank as much of the wheat taste out of the loaf as possible. I guess that makes me a ciabatta fanatic.

I think I’ve  read every book on the subject of ciabatta and all the recipes seem as different as the bakers themselves!  This is why a year ago, I decided to go my own way, take the ciabatta path less travelled, beat the bushes and mix the dough my way and then NEVER WRITE IT DOWN! This may sound utterly insane to the nitpicky and anal-retentive bakers and thier weight-based percentages but isn’t insanity approximately 84 percent of fanatisism?

           

I made the above mushroom pizza with a DOP Montasio cheese and porcini/white truffle pudding with my ciabatta dough fortified to a lesser hydration with some more high-protein flour, (left). My spinach, English Stilton and red pear schiacciata was rendered the same way, (right).

This weekend I kind-of came to the conclusion that my ciabatta fanatisism is deeply rooted in experimental lack of knowledge instead of the tried and true path of absolute, documented knowledge, (the latter path usually begins with; “never…” or “don’t…”). I still don’t understand why some bakers stick to thier mixing and baking routines in such tight parameters. Isn’t that freakin’ boring? Why not just do it by feel? What would the world be like without ugly people and animals?…freakin’ boring!

So I am here to tell anyone who is listening; To hell with negativity, measurments and conjecture, I’m just gonna feel the dough. 

My ciabatta now talks to me in different ways every week when I cut into it. Either with a whimper saying, “I coulda been a contender…” or shouted out with a, “You a badass ciabatta man John!”

Doing bread and pizza dough by knowledged-based feel instead of recipe is so much more exciting because it’s about creation dude!

Crazy huh? Well here’s Phyllis, the ciabatta.

 

Brioche, Polenta Roulade’s and Chorizo Meatballs; Jan. 12th Baking

 

Even though this global warming is scary, it’s nice to get a warm Saturday to take hundreds of loaves of bread, pizza and gluten-variants from my pizzeria, Avalanche, to the Athens Farmers Market to sell to my neighbors. One of my favorite items to make is my banana brioche with Nutella and almond pudding with roasted almonds, (above.)

             

Once I knew that it was going to be a warm day, I kicked my preparation into overdrive. First was the chorizo meatballs made from 10 pounds of King Family Pork, which is local, free of chemicals and raised humanely. On tuesday, I mixed a batch of 70 percent pre-ferment made from natural yeast to 30 percent high-protein flour with a pinch of diatatic malt and salt to a 70 percent hydrated dough and it sat in cold fermentation for four days to achieve a great bread.

                              

To this stellar fresh ground pork, I added smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cilantro, basil, pepper, salt, lemon zest, little gems of La Quercia lardo, some cut-up Caputo tipo “00″ pizza cornicione, (crust) soaked in paprika and egg. (above left.) I then combined the crust with mozzarella and manchego cheese, toasted almonds, fresh spinach, Stanislaus Valorosso tomatoes and cilantro for a wonderful spanish pizza, (above right.)

I also had some ancho chilies from Patterson Organics here in Athens and whipped up a tikka masala sauce to roast with onions and those chilies. I used this mix on some great schiacciata topped with green beans and cheddar with cilantro made with some ciabatta dough with high hydration, (above.)

                                 

For the breads, along with the usual suspects like Italian sausage ladder bread and “Leek-a-choke,” with leeks, artichoke and parmesan, I made use of local spelt from Shagbark Seed and Mill for a Lebanese Barbari, (above left,) with ground coriander, sesame and sea-salt and some French style couronne with dried cherry and walnut, (above right.)

            

I also made use of several pounds of local parsnips, combining them with King Family bacon, roasted garlic, lemon zest for a knotted fougasse topped with fresh cumin seed and sea salt, (above left.) The other couronne and my personal favorite is packed with kalamata olives, rosemary and roasted garlic, (above right.)

                             

Some other pizza variants are the Turkish-style pide, (Pi-DAY) with mozzarella, provolone, basil pesto, fresh spinach and cherry tomato, (above left.) I also made a really cool schiacciata with two types of swiss cheeses and pork to boot. On one half is imported pancetta, (Italian cured bacon,) and French Emmenthal and the other is Finlandia swiss and King family ham.

Now, if none of those float your boat, then get a load of this honkin’ hunk of flavor- My  mushroom pizza with porcini, portobello, shiitake, oyster and button mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano, thyme, fontina, provolone and teleggio cheeses with a sprinkle of white truffle oil and some cherry tomatoes.

Okay, here is a quick video of most of my baked stuff before the rush. It lasted about two hours before selling out…then I took a nap.

Oops almost forgot this great roulade of Shagbark polenta with ricotta and mascarpone with Reggiano, cilantro and sun-dried tomato topped with Gruyere cheese. yum.

See ya next week!