Artisan Schmartisan. Bread Quackery, 2010

This Saturday promised to be a big day at the Athens Farmers Market so I took my triple stack of pizza ovens for a spin. They hummed all night long, taking only 9 hours to bake over 400 loaves.

This time cooking not only breads, but fougasse (French flatbreads), ladder bread, pizza al taglio, na’an, stuffed fougasse, Afgani Bolani, Turkish pide, pizza Margherita, ghost chili pizza (the hottest chili known) and lots of loaves of Italian ciabatta turned into two “Sang-wich” forms: one with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil (some call a Caprese sandwich,) and the first of this year’s best tomatoes topped with extra virgin olive oil and Trapani sea salt; the other with a teriyaki-braised pancetta, cilantro, fresh spinach and Italian Prosciutto crudo.

Because of the absence of the locally aged cheddar this week, I had to lean heavily on imported Gruyere, Fontina, Asiago and a Mozzarella Provolone mix.

All of my breads were baked with either organic whole wheat, organic all-purpose or “All Trumps” flour. I used a major pre-ferment as approximately 60 to 80 percent of any single batch, depending upon the flavor profile (or items kneaded into the dough.) The pre-ferment was started with 6-day old pizza dough, mixed with a poolish of whole wheat and high gluten.

You may notice my reference (in the video) to Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. He was not only the person who started the first smallpox vaccinations under Napoleon, but brought into France the use of the potato for food. The potato was first introduced in Europe in 1640 and was only used as pig food. In 1748, the French Parliment acutally banned the use of the potato, reacting to the widespread rumor that it cause leprosy. By 1772, Mr. Parmentier got the Paris Academy of Medicine to declare the potato edible.

Thanks for the help of Patty Nally, who comes in at 6 a.m. and assembles all the sandwiches, makes pizzas and puts up with a spastic guy who’s been baking all night. Joel Fair also helps me until the wee hours of the morning. He is the na’an master and helps me blast throught all the fougasse. Others who start the whole process from Tuesday on are Matt, John Mitchell and the management staff at Avalanche Pizza.

I hope to see you all at next Saturdays market with even more bread, (we sold out an hour early.) I promise to have some curry bread, brioche and pissaladiere.

Semper Pie,

John Gutekanst

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