We love arugula on pizza and flatbreads. Last night it was time to harvest the arugula from the salad table. (The link shows the salad table one month after the initial planting in 2015, with yet another arugula pizza. I sense a theme. Here’s a link to the Making The Salad Table post.)
The first picture is last night’s arugula pizza with a garden tomato sauce from the freezer, goat cheese, and red pepper flakes. The arugula was strewn on top after baking:
The sauce was rich and on the sweet side. The frozen tomatoes that we used were labeled “2018 Tomato”, so the base was likely a combination of Oregon Spring and whatever else the garden provided that day. The dough itself was a little on the sweet side too — I substituted out 10% of the water and replaced it with a Riesling.
Another picture. I stretched the pizza by hand rather than rolling it out, making a point to leave it thicker at the edges. The pizza was a little more 3-dimensional than the picture might show:
This flatbread is topped with pancetta, red onion, and an arugula pesto made with arugula, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and brie. The arugula pesto was the sauce, so it was added at the beginning:
Using arugula pesto meant that the end result was light and savory at the same time. The flatbread itself was somewhat crackery which complimented the zip of the arugula and red onion.
I’m getting more comfortable with the bannetons. I think they’re getting more “seasoned” too.
A boule “born” on the 4th of July:
The Recipe – 600 grams bread flour, 390 grams refrigerator water (baker’s percentage 65%), 13 grams salt (2.25%), 6 grams diastatic malt powder, 3/8 tsp instant yeast.
Combine ingredients and mix on low speed 8 minutes.
Cover and let rest 18 hours at room temperature. (65F – 70F)
Lightly spray oil the work surface. Remove the dough from the workbowl and stretch and fold the dough four times, once from each from top, bottom, left, and right. Gather the dough into a ball and place in a well-floured banneton, seam side up.
Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rest one hour. Place a baking stone in the middle of an oven, put a sheet tray on the bottom shelf. Preheat oven to 460F.
When the dough is ready, toss 7-8 ice cubes into the sheet tray. Turn the dough out onto the baking stone and slash the dough as you see fit.
Bake ~35 minutes or until the internal temperature is 200F.
This bread was a little bit of departure for me in a few ways:
It’s 600 grams rather than 400 grams. 400 grams has been my comfort zone.
This dough had a higher hydration (65%) than I’ve been able to “smoothly pull off” in the past when using a banneton. There has almost always been some sticking during release from the banneton. Not this time. I made a point to “aggressively and confidently” turn the dough out onto the baking stone. No sticking! That’s good thing!
The larger dough mass combined with the diastatic malt (and not using a dutch oven) created a relatively dark, thick, attractive crust.
The slashing was less than perfect: I need to swap out the razor blades for something newer and sharper a little more often.
Authors write about “Twelve Steps” (or more) to baking bread, which sounds like a lot of processes:
Bulk or Primary Fermentation
I “simplify” it in my head into four groups of “Activities”:
Bulk or Primary Fermentation
At the end of each Activity there’s a natural rest break.
In effect then, Twelve Steps become Four Activities:
Weigh and mix the dough, and let rest.
Divide and shape the dough, and let rest.
Shape/pan the dough, and let rest.
Bake, cool, and eat.
That sounds pretty manageable, doesn’t it? If you don’t count the baking step it’s only three Activities. Easy.
I bring all this up because I’d gotten into the habit of skipping Activity #2 when making focaccia. I’d mix, then coax the loose dough into a parchment-lined tray, allowing for one rise in the tray.
And that was fine, sort of. The focaccia were well-received, though I thought they had the potential to be better. As it turns out, if you don’t skip an Activity that people having been doing for thousands of years the results improve! Behold the power of trial and error!
A two-pound focaccia from Easter dinner:
A one-pound focaccia we ate with dinner last night:
Re-introducing the initial bulk fermentation gives a better crumb structure — the bread becomes more airy, with uniform bubbles throughout. I think that’s partly because the extra rest and handling means that the bubbles get redistributed more evenly. I’ve cut back on the oil too. The end result is a lighter, less oily focaccia.
Both breads: 70% hydration, 6% oil, 2% salt (not counting the pink salt), about 1% diastatic malt, baked at 425F for 24 minutes.
Here’s a Cheap Seat Eats post from January of 2016 talking about a good result due to allowing for an initial 30-minute rise before transferring the dough to the tray. Which means I’ve re-re-learned something. That’s good, right? The biggest difference between that one and these two is that the oil percent for these two were 6% rather than the 3% in the 2016 post. That, and I allowed for a 30-minute pre-ferment in 2016. These two got ~1 hour.
These don’t skimp on the butter or the cheese — the butter weight is 25% of the flour weight.
The recipe: 600 g AP Flour, 150 g room temperature butter, 300 g refrigerator water, 12 g kosher salt, 1 tsp instant yeast. (1+ cup of Grated Pamesan is applied to the dough sheet in step 5, below.)
Add the flour to the work bowl of the mixer. Add the butter and break it up into the flour with your fingers.
Add the other ingredients (except the Parmesan) and mix on low speed for 8 minutes.
Refrigerate, covered, for 1-3 days.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Roll out the dough on parchment paper to 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. It should come out to a rectangle around 10″ x 15″. The parchment paper will make it easier peel up the dough in step 8.
Spread the grated Parmesan evenly over the dough rectangle. Use a rolling pin to sort of mash it into the surface of the dough.
Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough across the short dimension into pieces 1/2″ wide and 10″ long.
Twist the individual slices and place on Silpat lined baking sheets. I was able to fit these onto two baking sheets.
Let rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F.
Let cool on a cooling rack.
The finished weight of the breadsticks is somewhere North of two pounds — seven people wiped these out in no time. The nice thing about this recipe is that it will hold in the refrigerator for a few days, then be ready to eat in about an hour.
I recently came across The Pizza Show (Vice Network, part of their MUNCHIES series). It’s a fun and informative show, and it’s less.. guarded than the programming on some of the other networks — it’s more relaxed and it seems less scripted and far less premeditated. Recommended.
The show featured a “bar pie” at one point. A “bar pie” has a thin, crackly crust and is traditionally square cut. (As opposed to the triangular slices seen on most pizzas.)
Which inspired this:
There’s no red sauce, so I’m hesitant to call it a pizza — it’s really more of a flatbread thing. It came out nice and crispy/crackly. The toppings are spicy salami, pesto, and feta.
As I’ve “discovered” over the years, it’s important not to work the dough too much when the target is a crispy or crackly end result. Working the dough encourages gluten development, which is the arch-enemy of crispy. (Digression: Perhaps not surprisingly there’s a Queensryche-meets-death-metal band called Arch Enemy. Meh. Nothing new to see here, other than the female lead singer doing death shouts. I’m guessing that’s the “hook”. (YouTube link))
Combine 300g AP flour, 180g water (60% of the flour weight), 6g kosher salt (2%), 12g olive oil (4%), and 1 tsp yeast in the mixer.
Mix for 6 minutes.
Stretch and fold the dough (once from each direction).
Lightly oil the mixing bowl. Rub the dough ball around in the oil in the bowl. Cover and let rise 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500F for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thick. The diameter will be around 12″. Transfer to a baking sheet and let rest 10 minutes.
Dock everywhere except the edges of the flatbread pizza with a fork. Brush the edges with olive oil. Top with the salami.
Bake for 8 minutes. Top with the feta.
Bake for 5 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and let rest a minute or two.
Dollop pesto over the top of the pizza.
For posterity — The first pass at Hamelman’s Pain Rustique. It could have gone better in a number of ways. The fatal issue was that it was vaguely underbaked.
And all of the other problems were caused by some variety of user error:
Epi Bread makes an appearance at the Iron Chef Leftover Annual Lasagna Party (cell phone pic):
I feel like everything came together pretty well this time around. The color was better than usual due to the addition of egg wash — two eggs were beaten then strained and brushed onto the doughs before the doughs were cut into the Epi shape. The egg wash created more contrast between the light and dark parts.
Each individual Epi was around 15″ long. The finished weight of all of the breads put together was around five pounds.
As far as the actual “mechanics”:
Each “batch” was three breads at 150 grams of flour each.
This time around I used a refrigerated “Poolish” (preferment) that I started on the 22nd — two days before the event. I went with a refrigerated Poolish because on the 22nd we weren’t sure we were going to be able to make it to the event, and I could bake the dough on the 25th if we missed out on lasagna.
To make one batch of Poolish combine 150 grams of bread flour, 150 grams of refrigerated water, and a pinch of instant yeast. Mix on low speed for 8 minutes. Cover. It can be refrigerated for up to three days with no real loss in quality.
(I did all three batches together (900 grams total), then divided it out into three – 300 gram units on baking day.)
On baking day combine in the mixer one batch of Poolish with 300 grams of bread flour, 120 grams water, 9 grams of salt, 1/3 stick unsalted butter (36 grams), and 1 teaspoon of instant yeast. Mix for eight minutes. Hand knead a little if the dough looks rough. Let rest, covered for 20 minutes.
Divide into three pieces and roll each piece into a baguette shape that will fit lengthwise into a Silpat-lined sheet tray. Cover and let rise two hours.
Brush each baguette with (beaten and strained) egg wash. Using scissors, cut the breads and lay the cut segments off to the sides for the finished Epi shape.
Bake at 460F for 22 minutes. Carefully remove to a cooling rack. (I used tongs to slide the Silpat out of the sheet tray, then slipped the Epis off of the Silpat.)
The addition of butter to the recipe made the finished product a little richer and dinner-roll like. The Epi shape made it easy to cut or break off pieces, and increased the total amount of “browned goodness” surface area. I’d like to think those decisions helped the breads fit in with the rest of the meal. Nobody complained.
I’ve been experimenting more with the pizza stone lately, trying to get more comfortable with it. (Most recently, these hearth breads.) It’s definitely a better cold weather activity, when the kitchen and house can use the heat from the oven.
For reference, the pictured flatbread is about 12″ across.
One “trick” that I noticed making this Flat Bread “Pizza” is that if I lightly dust the counter with flour before rolling out the dough then that little bit of flour seems to help keep the dough from sticking to the pizza peel when it comes time to slide the dough into the oven — the dusting of flour removes some of the tackiness from the bottom of the dough. As an added benefit, the pizza peel then requires less corn meal for slipperiness, so I’m less likely to set off the smoke detector with burning corn meal. Win-win!
Not exactly a “Eureka” moment, but I’ll gladly take any new nuances like that one.
During the initial bake this flatbread had only a bit of oil and a couple of thinly sliced shallots as toppings. By the five minute mark it had poofed to between 3″ and 5″ high in places, so I stabbed it with a knife a few times and beat back the bubbles. The herbed goat cheese was added at the ten minute mark and the flatbread was allowed to cook for another five minutes. (15 minutes all total.)
The crust came out nice and crunchy — in places the crust was separated from the top by big bubbles. I was very happy with the texture overall.
I’ve been meaning to try out the combination of banneton + baking stone when making a “hearth” bread. Hamelman recommends a 73% hydration dough for his Ciabatta, but I knew if I went that high the odds of “disaster” would be pretty high too. I settled on a more moderate 65% hydration for this first pass, something along the lines of a French Bread, though it’s really a “65% hydration boule” (ball).
The recipe involves light mixing followed by three folds at one hour intervals, then a two hour rise in a banneton.
The first picture was taken right after the light mixing:
Notice how the dough is somewhat shaggy. It’s fairly sticky too. Over the next few hours it’s going to shape up.
Here it is after fold number one:
The “folding process” involves taking one edge of the dough, stretching it out, then folding it back on the mass. Then the stretch is done to the opposite side — repeat until all four sides have been stretched and folded back onto the mass. If you look closely you can see the last fold sitting on top with a slight seam running left to right.
Here it is after fold number two:
Not much evidence of the seams this time. The dough has gained a lot of structure, and it’s not nearly as sticky as it was — now it’s just sort of tacky.
An hour later was the third fold, and the dough placed placed into a well-floured banneton:
I should mention because it isn’t pictured: During every rise the bowl/banneton was covered with plastic wrap.
The dough was allowed to rise for two hours. An hour prior to baking the stone was placed in the oven and the oven was preheated to 460F.
The dough ready to be flipped onto the pizza peel:
And out of the oven (I baked one at a time):
The appearance is due to the floured rings of the banneton, combined with slashing the dough prior to baking. It looks involved, but it’s really pretty simple.
Overall the structure was a little tighter than I would have preferred — the “right” answer to that is probably more steam and higher hydration. The first dough stuck to the pizza peel, which was the “disaster” I was trying to avoid, and it’s why I used a moderate hydration in the first place. (And it degassed the dough somewhat, which is not what I wanted.) I used ample flour for the second dough and that one released fine.
There’s definitely a “wow” factor with this approach. I’m sure I’ll do it at least once again during the holidays.
The recipe is based around Hamelman’s “Ciabatta with Poolish” (Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes)
The day before — make the Poolish (120g bread flour, 120g water, a few grains of yeast. I added 2% salt to the Poolish, which is not classically correct — I wanted the Poolish to not go totally crazy and overproof.)
Combine the Poolish with 280g bread flour, 140g water, 1/2 tsp yeast (up to 1 tsp might work better next time), 6g kosher salt. Total recipe is 400g bread flour, 260g water (65%), yeast, 8g salt (2%)
Mix for 3 minutes on low speed, then 3 minutes on 2nd speed.
Fold the dough, move to a lightly oiled bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.
Fold the dough. Cover and let rise another hour.
Fold the dough. Cover and let rise a third hour.
Fold the dough, place into a well-floured banneton or bowl. Cover and let rise two hours until doubled. With one hour to go preheat the oven and stone to 460F.
Gently dump the dough onto a pizza peel. Slash the dough.
[Late Edit: SeattleAuthor brought it to my attention that I left out a step in the directions — Steam The Oven.] Bake for 40 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool.
Again, it looks like a lot of steps, but it’s really pretty easy. Just set the timer and forget it for a while.
The weather has cooled and that means the kitchen is cooler too. I’m way more inclined to bake stuff when it’s not a million degrees in the kitchen.
Epi breads on October 28:
To the left is a potato foccacia, similar to this 2011 recipe. What’s interesting to me is that recipe uses volume, not weight. I don’t bake using volume anymore. At some point I need to go back and figure out when the approach changed, and whether it was an overnight thing or if using weights was gradually phased in. [Late edit: The answer is further down this post.]
The epi breads used 150 grams of flour each. (This recipe, raising the oven temperature to 450F.) They really had a lot of oven spring this time. I’m guessing that the epi were allowed to rest a little longer after shaping, increasing the existing holes for steam to push up and out. I’d still like more contrast in color, other than that I’m pretty happy with them.
Next up, bread sticks on November 2:
There are two or three recipes here-
The sticks on the left use bread flour and 57% hydration. I rolled the 200 gram dough mass out to about 1/4″ thick, sliced it into ~1/3″ wide strips, twisted the strips, placed them on a Silpat, and baked at 450F for 22 minutes. They came out nice and crispy.
The sticks on the right were treated identically, except that I lightly dusted the dough mass with semolina flour for extra crunch. They didn’t need the extra crunch, but the semolina did offer a little bit different taste and texture.
I added about four tablespoons of butter to the sticks in the center. The 400 gram bulk dough was divided into about eight pieces and rolled out. These were intended for sopping up the sauce Iron Chef Leftovers had included with dinner. (Many Iron Chef Leftover dinners involve something awesome that needs sopping at the end of the meal.)
This batch comes at about the 5 year mark of messing with breadsticks. I was fairly happy with how they all came out, so that’s progress.
[Late edit: On the linked post it says: “This is the first time I’ve done a recipe using weights instead of volumes.” Mystery Solved!]
I think I’ve gone through some broad baking trends since 2011: increasing temperatures, decreasing hydration, decreasing oil, slightly increasing salt, more preference for a room temperature rise vs a refrigerator rise. Total abandonment of using volume and English measurements. (Thankfully, look at the tortured math in the link.) In other words, the baking is moving from a Reinhardt influence to a Hamelman influence, but that’s a long blog post in itself.
Finally, a big, goofy, pretzel necklace on November 8:
The pretzels would have looked better if I would have rolled them out thinner. The flipside is that they had enough durability to tolerate being worn on a string. It’s basically this recipe, except that the egg wash was only yolks thinned with a little water. That, and they were baked at 460F, which is the temperature that Hamelman uses for many of the doughs in his book. Each change was intended to produce a darker end result. A little more color would have been nice, but they tasted good, which is the main point of the thing anyway.
As Iron Chef Leftovers said: “It’s a Flavor Flav pretzel necklace!”