Friday, December 27, 2013

No Knead Pizza Crusts

 Lately, I've been playing around with two formulas for no knead pizza crusts as opposed to the "sponge crust" that I worked with in one form or another for the six months or so. The first one that I tried was an adapted for yield size from a recipe I found in the March 2013 King Arthur catalog. The second formula is an adaptation of a recipe from Rose Levy Berenbaum's "The Bread Bible". Most of what I did was to merely double the quantity of ingredients since her desired crust size was about ten inches. By doubling the ingredients. I can cover a 10x13 jelly roll pan. I'm sure Ms Berenbaum would recognize her recipe in a heartbeat if she were to stumble across my obscure corner of the internet.

"The Bread Bible" is turning out to be an interesting book. My first time around, I had to read it within the time constraints of a library loan. Now that I've actually bought a copy, I've had time to read and digest concepts more thoroughly. The book appears to be written as something approachable for raggedy home bakers such as myself as opposed to "Bread" by Jeff Hamelman which is aimed as either a textbook or more towards professional bakers. I haven't lost out on a thing by having bought and read both books.

The King Arthur formula is written as a much faster process to dough time. It can also be used a focaccia style flat bread without losing anything in the translation, just dress it in the appropriate toppings and go to town.

293 g KAF All Purpose Flour
187 g lukewarm water
4 tsp olive oil (about 20 ml)
5 g non iodized salt
3 g instant yeast

1/2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning

1. Mix ingredients together to make a slightly sticky soft dough. Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes depending on room temperature.
2. Place dough in a well oiled half sheet pan and let rest 10-15 minutes.
3. Pat and stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and let rest for 30-40 minutes.
4. Preheat your oven to 425F.
5.Dressing for focaccia. The dough will already be oily so top the dough with coarse sea salt and if desired, grated parmesan or romano cheese. If you want to use herbs, wait for about 12-14 minutes into the bake before adding to avoid burning the herbs. You can dimple the dough if you wish before dressing the dough.
6.Bake at 425F, adding herbs if you choose at the prescribed time, for at least 22 minutes and a golden brown  crust. Remove from pan with a sturdy, wide spatula to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes
7. Dressing for pizza. Sprinkle a thin coat of grated cheese over the top of the raw dough. Par bake for 5-8 minutes. Proceed to dress with a thin coat of sauce, a thin sprinkling of either grated cheese, some pepperoni, and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
8. Bake for 15 minutes and turn the pan around to bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Ms Berenbaum's crust is the formula for the Hawaiian style pizza pictured at the top of the post. Her procedures are different but also produce a pretty good crust. I've substituted either rye or whole wheat flour for up 15% of the total flour in my crusts. She recommends as long a fermenting period as possible, up to eight hours, but it can be used after only one hour. The olive oil isn't added directly into the mixing bowl in this recipe. Instead, it 's placed in the fermentation container to oil the container and dough.Leftover oil is to be poured onto the sheet pan or pizza pan to coat the surface. I used my jelly roll pan when making a pie with this formula.

226 g KAF AP flour
158 g lukewarm water
7 g non iodized salt
4 g active dry yeast or 3 g instant dry yeast
4 g sugar (I used some brown sugar because it's on hand)
20-30 g olive oil for fermenting container

1. Hydrate active dry yeast if using. Mix ingredients in a bowl into a shaggy mass.
2. Pour the oil into the fermenting container and spread around. Oil a spatula to help lift the dough into the fermenting container, coat the dough and cover the container.
3. Leave your container at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, depending on your room temperature, until the dough looks puffy. Refrigerate for 6-24 hours and then take out of refrigerator at least one hour before shaping.
4.Gently place the dough on your pizza pan or jelly roll pan and use any leftover olive oil to grease the pan. Wait ten minutes with dough covered.
5. Stretch the dough out to cover the bottom of the pan, waiting five minutes or so if the dough resists, then stretching again.
6 Cover your pan and let the dough rise for 45-60 minutes. After thirty minutes, preheat your oven to 450F.
7. Sprinkle the top of the dough with grated parmesan or romano and par bake for five minutes. Dress the dough with your sauce, scatter some mozzarella over the top, thinly add some of your favorite toppings. Too much isn't a good thing here.
8. Bake for 10 minutes and turn pan around. Pizza is done when the cheese is melted and golden brown, about ten to twelve minutes more. Cool on rack for AT LEAST 5 minutes, 10 is better, before slicing.

If you try these formulas, I hope you'll leave a comment or your suggestions for a better pizza.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

A Sourdough Multigrain Loaf

While this particular loaf didn't break any new ground, I did find that I'm getting better at utilizing King Arthur Flour AP. There's a reasonable shape  and good oven spring to go along with a moist, tender crumb. The multi grain cereal flakes don't show up well in the pictures or even upon personal inspection. I have no explanation for that other than I need to add more cereal.

60 g Montana Milling 9 grain cereal
45 g water at room temperature

150 g at 82% hydration, 75% KAF AP/ 25% white whole wheat   

Main Dough
240 g KAF AP
120 g Dakota Maid Prairie Gold white whole wheat flour
244 g water at 85F
All of starter
All of soaker
10 g kosher salt

While the number of birds feeding doesn't quite rate as as an irruption, the finches and cardinals showed up for some serious dining before the storm. The forecast calls for freezing drizzle, sleet, and anywhere between 3-8" of snow. If there really is that much snowfall, I'll finally get to use my snow blower to clear our driveway. We have a short driveway so it only warranted an electric snow blower but that's better than putting my back into clearing the surfaces in temperatures under 20F. I've already done the rain, sleet, and snow thing for the USPS for 27 years and tomorrow looks like a good day to be retired.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cracked Wheat Country Loaf Prototype

After finding some cracked wheat in an organic bulk food bin, it was only a matter of time before I started to experiment with it. Some searching through the Fresh Loaf website and Hamelman's book "Bread" led me to believe that a hot soak would be a good choice for getting the cracked wheat in shape for inclusion in a loaf. I didn't find any great difference in the flavor and can't tell whether I need to simply use a higher percentage in comparison to the flour or if I should use all dry yeast rather than including a sourdough starter.

Overall, the loaf still tasted pretty good. On the "Yeast Spotting" blog site, another home baker submitted a recipe for a cracked wheat bread to be baked in a pan rather than free form on a stone. A comparison of ingredients and procedures may help the development of this particular recipe which is essentially a pan de campagne with cracked wheat added.


140 g at 82% hydration, fed with 80% KAF AP, 20% organic whole rye flour    

40 g cracked wheat
40 g very hot water
Covered with plastic wrap and cooled to room temperature

Main Dough
260 g KAF AP
80 g white whole wheat flour
20 g organic whole rye flour
240 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
1 Tbs organic honey
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
All of starter
All of soaker

The cold weather has very much diminished any interest in working outside in the yard. The forecast calls for a few days this week where the afternoon temperatures may be in the 50s, giving me some time to do some minor clean up work of branches and leaves. There are quite a few geese flying over head lately but they may not be migratory flocks. Geese have adapted quite well to the misplaced generosity of people who feed them. I say misplaced because the geese leave quite a mess wherever they land. There have been some hawks perching on lamp posts on the nearby hill south of our property. I haven't seen very many goldfinches in the yard lately but the surplus of sparrows more than makes up in distraction and noise for any absent variety of bird.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Practice Loaves

The onset of cold weather is a convenient subject for blame for my less than enthusiastic baking these past couple of weeks. Its more realistic to say that I need to get more practice and perhaps a few new recipes to spark up some more curiosity. I borrowed C Field's "Italian Baker" from the local library which has been the source of a couple new future projects and I'm just about to delve into my new copy of RL Beranbaum's "Bread Bible". I've found a range of organic bulk food selections at a nearby Hy-Vee Supermarket at reasonable prices which means I can now add cracked wheat, pepita, and roasted sunflower seeds to my baker's toolbox of ingredients. Those breads should be developing after the new year.

The set of four soup bowl breads started out as a sourdough loaf and then became an experiment for making a break apart loaf. I had seen something in C Hitz's "Baking Artisan Breads" where he took pizza dough portions, proofed them, and then used a bench scraper to make some indentations in the top of the dough just before baking. The goal was to have a bread that could tear apart easily into four or six parts. I did the bench scraper thing but must have missed an instruction or two because the indents didn't stay. Instead, I got some very nice mini bowl sized loaves, I wouldn't call them Pugliese, that have been just fine for eating with pasta. The leftover loaves froze very well.

130 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough
360 g KAF AP
244 g water at 85F
8 g kosher salt
All of starter

Yield: 3 200 g and 1 140 g small boules.

The next two loaves were baked for a Christmas party on Saturday night for the local Democratic Party organization. The first is a pane cassericio, a homemade bread, or pagnotta. The name gives a lot of latitude to bakers and I stretched that latitude into a loaf with a recipe that kind of developed in the back of my head. If I chanced upon something that looks similar to a recognized style of bread, it was strictly accidental but do leave a comment at the end of the post to let me know.

100 g bread flour
70 g water at 85F
1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Main Dough
300 g bread flour
210 g water at 85F
20 g Non-fat dry milk powder
8 g kosher salt
1/2 Tbs olive oil
All of biga

The last loaf was another "Singing Rye" loaf that I've described in an earlier post (26 NOV 2013). It was gone long before the last crumbs of the Pane Cassericio bounced off the plate. I was the well pleased recipient of several compliments for the rye loaf so I think I can say that recipe is good to go now. I even bought four ounces of caraway seeds this morning to make sure that I'm ready for any future requests.

Recent drop ins to visit my obscure corner of the internet include page views from Finland and Oman.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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