The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Biga Pizza

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dabrownman

This crust was super for the Super Bowl.  Our best and most simple one to date – here is the recipe.

Biga

1/8 - tsp of active dry yeast

1/2 - tsp of sugar

120 g- AP flour

100 g- water

Mix yeast with sugar and water and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Then mix in the flour and let the biga sit on the counter overnight – 10 hours

Dough

300 g- flour

185 g- water

7 g– salt

This makes for 68% hydration dough with 1.5% salt.

Do 10 minutes of  French slap and folds and let sit in an oil covered bowl for 1 hour,  Do one set of S&F’s 4 quarter turns, and let it sit for another hour before refrigerating.  2 hours before you want to use it, take it out of the fridge and let it warm up.  We always par bake out crust for 3-4  minutes at 500 F on a stone before yaking them out to load them up with toppings.

 

I told Ian that I would tell him where the word crust comes from one day and since this was such a good crust, now is the time.

There is an old bread joke that Americans learned to bake bread from the French and the Brits.  The French and the Brits learned all they know about bread from Romans and the Romans learned all they know about baking bread from the Greeks.  The Greeks learned bread baking from the Egyptians and the Egyptians learned all they know about bread from a small artisan Jewish Bakery run by a Chinese baker in Jerusalem.

 

Paint with Mojo de Ajo and dock before par baking for 3-4 minutes.

There is way more truth to this than most want to admit.  An example is toast.  The Italians will tell you they invented garlic toast (and pizza too but that is another story), what we call bruschetta today , but this isn’t really accurate and historically correct.

 

There was a really famous Greek baker, at least as famous bakers could be before television, named Paximos who baked bread long before there was a Roman Empire for Greece to be conquered by.  He invented toast by roasting sliced bread on an open fire – a fairly simple recipe even then.  Paximos found that his sourdough toasted bread not only sold well but kept for an unusually long time, even for sourdough.  This allowed the Greek people people to travel with a food that was light weight and just the perfect road nosh.  It allowed the Greeks to open up over land and sea new trade routes to far away places.  Toast changed the world. 

 

Paximos called his toast Paximadi, after himself.  To this day you can travel all over Greece where in nearly every bakery, or outside it, you will see a sign proudly advertising Paximadi - toast.  Some is sweet for breakfast and some has garlic on it for warding off conquering Roman hordes and vampires  no doubt.

 

So, when the Romans finally invaded and conquered the Greeks, they discovered to their horror, that the Greeks had been making garlic toast – for centuries.   Something as good as Paximadi just couldn’t have a Greek name in the vast, all consuming Roman Empire.   So the Rimans changes the name of Paximadi; Greek garlic toast, to something way more Roman – Crustulum – the Roman word we take our word for crust from today.  But, we really should be calling crust Paxim if you ask me.

 

As a further note, when the Roman Empire fell, Italians stopped speaking Latin and picked up Italian as their daily vibe, they changed the name of Paximadi again - this time from Crustulum to Bruschetta.   Americans too use this modern word for Greek garlic toast today but Americans prefer an even more ancient Egyptian name for wheat and yeast based sustenance on Super Bowl Sunday - Brewskies!

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