To be an interesting baker these days takes a little thought, some digging for ingredients, a little technical knowledge and a lot of denial! That last part comes in handy at three a.m. when you shout loudly, channeling the Talking Heads, “This is not my beautiful bread, what have I done here?”
The natural progression of my wee-hours-baking-thoughts start like this; “Damn this was stupid!”, to “It’s not as bad as I thought!”‘, to “Wow, that baked up well!”, to “I meant to do that!”, as I gloat at the finished product and get bolted out of bakers ego-stroke by a burning fougasse or baguette I have forgotten about.
Luckily, this wasn’t the case last week when I made some killer Bumble-Bee ciabatta.
I got this idea from the pasta class that I had just finished at the Athens Farmers Market. It’s a great class called “Junior Chefs School” and Jacob Seidel, Joel Fair and myself made some squid ink pasta.
These kids were the best chefs I’ve worked with…quiet…no attitude…lacking in guttural vocabulary… and they said “Eeeeewwwwwww” with the perfect amount of authentic distain when I brought out the mushroom stuffing for ravioli and tortellini.
First, I took some squid ink that I found whilst visiting Boston and kneaded it into some 80-something hydrated dough. Then cut it into alternating strips with some equally wet dough that I had kneaded white onions roasted with aromatic saffron.
I thought an interesting stuffing for this would be a roasted garlic pudding with ricotta and parmesan and a hint of mascarpone paired with some great local cheddar. My plans were almost waylaid by a broken rib, (or ribs-it’s hard to tell…) brought on by holding a metal sheet-pan, rib high and walking really fast into the corner of my Lincoln triple-stack conveyor pizza ovens….crack goes the weasel.
Well, here are some videos of this grand event. I pounded the initial oven rise with steam under 530 degrees then took it down to 420 to cook the guts, then down for a dry finish with doors and vents open at 320 degrees.
Okay guys here are four small videos of making this great bread.
1. The mix…Very down and dirty. Yes, I am used to having highly hydrated dough on my hands but this blackened color drove me nuts!
Then into the wee hours just after breaking my riblet…
Now stuffing the proofed dough strips with garlic pudding.
The final cut. Showing off the crumb of this wonderful squid ink and saffron ciabatta stuffed with wonderful garlic pudding and cheddar!