Posts Tagged ‘pizza blogs’

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.

 

Winter Butternut Pide with Bellwether Crescenza and Teleggio

I love cooking butternut squash with vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup, so when Rhonda from the Athens Farmers Market unloaded a huge one upon me, I knew exactly what to do. Since I had a pair of wonderful creamy cheeses; Teleggio from Italy and Bellwether Farms Crescenza from Sonoma, I thought I’d make a delicous Turkish-style Pide, (Pee-DAY,) with pancetta, roasted hazelnuts, fresh spinach and some local Cantrell honey. This pide is quite perfect for these cold winter days.

                    

Recipe:

One- twelve to fifteen ounce dough from the Schiacciata dough recipe on this blog.

One ounce or half a handful of fresh whole spinach leaf.

Two and a half ounces of imported Teleggio, (DOP) from Italy.

Five to six ounces of  butternut squash. (Recipe below with equal amounts of cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup with nutmeg and water)

Three and a half ounces, (one thick slice,) of Italian style pancetta. (Bacon is too strong for this recipe.)

One ounce raw hazlenuts or “Filberts” as they are sometimes called.

Three ounces Bellwether Farms Crescenza.

Local Cantrell honey poured on after oven.

For the squash, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. To render the butternut squash, I usually keep the vegetable peeler on the bench and cut the butternut squash first across to obtain round sections that are two inches high. Put these sections flat on the cutting board and trim the skin off of them. Then cut them into quarters so you can cut the stringy inside off also. These can then be cut again into smaller inch wide chunks.

Place the butternut squash chunks in a bowl and coat with the same amount of  honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and vanilla essence. Add a little hot water and toss in the bowl. Pour the mix on a foil-lined tray and insert into the oven on the middle shelf. Cook until fork tender, tossing occasionally. Take out of the oven, and cool, then slice into small thin squares that will spread nicely on the pizza. Turn the oven up to 495 degrees and place a heavy, upturned cookie sheet or pizza stone on the middle shelf.

                    

Cube the pancetta and the cut the raw hazelnuts with a sharp knife. Cook the pancetta over the stove in a saute’ pan or pot, (as I used here because I couldn’t find a saute’.) Briefly saute’ on medium high heat until partially cooked. 

        

Add the copped hazelnuts to the pot. Toss under the same heat for one minute, then add two tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan. Cook in the pancetta juice for one minute more. Remove and reserve for the pizza.

       

Using the dough from Schiacciata dough recipe, you will have a 14 ounce dough ball, (I used a 12.5 ounce dough for this recipe.) Place on a piece of parchment and form into an oval. Add the spinach, the Teleggio and the sliced butternut squash.

                                      

Then add the pancetta, the hazelnuts and lastly the Crescenza.

       

Now is time to pull the dough from the middle of the dough disc toward you and work it to the end. Using gentle pressure, pull the dough and twist into a cable-like rope. Next, wrap the dough around your finger and pull the dough through the hole forming a simple knot. (here, I had to be careful becuase the dough was quite sticky but it still held its shape.)

Transfer the parchment with the Pide on it to the oven using another tray to slide it on the stone or cookie tray and cook for at least 15 minutes. This is a large Pide and will take a little more time to cook. Keep an eye on the bottom of the Pide and the outer crust.

Drizzle with honey and serve to an astonished crowd!

Nice, and look at the crumb on this cornicione.