Posts Tagged ‘schiacciata’

Cool Pizzas and Breads in February

Yea, it’s cold standing in a giant parking lot in February but as I monitored the weather channels over the past few days, I saw a window of opportunity this Saturday to bake some killer breads and pizza variants. I made the pan pizza (above) that was my ode to a pizza I saw at the Campo di Fiori in Rome, Italy. This pizza carried sliced zucchini and Peruvian purple potatoes tossed in egg and Parmesano and baked on a wonderfully creamy and crunchy Sicilian-style dough with an aged mozzarella and provolone.  The best part was the creamy Bellwether Farms Crescenza, from Sonoma County, California.  In spite of the cold weather, we sold out in a few hours. Thank you sunshine, farmer’s market customers, Avalanche General Manager Joel Fair, the staff and Laura for hanging out in the cold.

    

I recognize that my culinary efforts sometime skirt the realm of madness but I ignore it because the Italian kimchi I made (top left) was the BOMB! Just like Korean kimchi, I used the traditional combo of fish, garlic and chilies. My creation consisted of napa cabbage, roasted garlic, lemon zest, sun-dried tomato pesto, anchovies ground into a paste,  some excellent imported Calabrian chilies and oil for a great zing. I used King Family pork to make some fabulous meatballs (above middle) with chopped garlic, pizza cornicione breadcrumbs, red onion, rosemary, fennel seed, fresh basil, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. I made a a poolish on Tuesday of almost 100% hydration that spent the night in my mixer. On Wednsday morning, I mixed a Bianca dough with a high protein flour and 70% hydration using the autolyse method. See the gluten net as I tested the window pane (photo above right).

 

You may think this is high-maintenance but the glorious pizza these maddening combinations produced was spectacular! The Bianca dough came out great (above left) and I topped the dough with aged provolone and mozzarella, the Italian kimchi, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella for a big OMG! The pizzas sold out incredibly fast (above right). Man, you should’ve smelled these bad boys as they popped out!

 

Along with the above monstrosity, I had time to put together my favorite combo: Gruyere cheese and curry (above left). I roasted onions with curry powder and then added raisins to re-hydrate. I used a 16-ounce schiacciata dough topped with fresh spinach, the curry mix and imported Gruyere! Holy Moly is all I can say. I also made a smaller but equally potent schiacciata with a harder dough called “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Swiss” (above right). Ironically, this had absolutly no cheese made in Switzerland. The Finlandia Swiss and the stronger French Emmental paired with local ham, bacon and some shaved imported Serrano ham I just picked up.

  

The breads I made included the massive Flintstone Wheel (a Tortano-style uber-couronne, photo top left), my lebanese Barbari using local Amish spelt from Shagbark Milling and Seed with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and toasted cumin seeds (shown in the middle), and the sea salt and herb fougasse with extra virgin olive oil (above left).

  

I just love making ciabatta loaves! This weekend we made some large loaves (left) with a local spelt couronne studded with cherry and walnut. We also made a small ciabatta (middle) into two types of sandwiches: the first an imported Serrano ham from Spain with arugula, pistachio pesto, tomato and imported brie, and the second a Caprese sandwich with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato. I especially love looking at the crumb on ciabatta because of the irregular cells and the shiny gluten strands that indicate a killer loaf!

  

Last but not least is the always popular Leek-a-choke fougasse (above left) with leeks, artichoke and parmesan cheese. A very special fougasse I made this weekend included a Thai-inspired flair (above middle) and included pad Thai, roasted napa cabbage integrated with local peppered bacon, pickled local Amish daikon and tons of black and white sesame seeds. As the fougasse rested, I topped it with a four-month-old curried kimchi that I marinated in a Thai peanut sauce for three days. Man, talk about FLAVOR in capital letters!

Anyway, if you’re still with me and my mania, check out this video before the market at set-up time. I screwed up some introductions like saying ‘Fiore del campo” instead of Campo del Fiore and some other stuff but that’s what you get when an old man bakes all night. For those of you wondering, yes: my hands are sanitized.

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!