The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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KipperCat's picture

Can baking stone go on the grill?

June 6, 2007 - 6:10pm -- KipperCat

I've read a few references to using a pizza stone on the grill.  I've also read advice not to do so. Has anyone here used a pizza stone on a gas grill?  I'm hoping that using some woodchips would give it a bit of a smoky flavor.  I'm just getting a baking stone and will try it inside first anyway.

kjknits's picture

Trio, A Brick Oven Cafe--Greenville, SC

May 18, 2007 - 7:09am -- kjknits

Wonderful pizzas at Trio. My favorite is the Margherita, so simple, yet so tasty. The dough is chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside, with full flavor. My favorite thing about the crust are the areas of that great, ever-so-slightly burned color you get from a wood-fired oven.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

It hasn't been a snowy winter, but (an unnervingly warm first half of January aside) it has been a cold winter. Thankfully, spring has finally arrived. Our New England canopy is finally greenish again, and the temperature has been creeping toward, occasionally even attaining, 70 degrees. Which can only mean one thing.

Time to bake burger buns.

But of course, I had a lot more baking than that in mind. Plus, thanks to a post by TheGreenBaker which led me to revisit Mike Avery's Stretch and Fold video and lesson, I decided to try not kneading anything I worked on this weekend.

It worked beautifully and is easily the biggest breakthrough for my baking technique in many, many months. Knowing that I can just mix any bread in a matter of minutes and then only need to pay attention to it for 3-4 minutes every hour or so is hugely liberating. With a 3-year-old, finding 3 minutes is no big deal -- finding 20-30 is a very big deal indeed.



The first bread I made this weekend was Desem, as we were having friends over for dinner. The menu I'd planned was relatively simple. Asparagus with lemon butter, golden cheddar soup (a delicious, easy soup from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home with potato, carrots, yellow squash, onion, garlic, buttermilk and ... oh yeah ... cheddar) and carrot and avocado salad.

Basically, I thought these foods would go well with the bread I wanted to bake (surely, I'm not the only one here who plans menus in this bass-ackwards fashion ....).

Here's how I made it:

  • Whole wheat bread flour: 100%
  • Water: 90%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Starter: 30% of the flour was prefermented at 60% hydration


Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour: 350 grams
  • Water: 360 grams
  • Salt: 10 grams
  • Starter: 240 grams


First, I tore up the starter into small chunks, poured the water over it and mushed it up with my fingers. I then let it soak for about 10 minutes before I added the flour and salt, which had already been mixed together. A minute or so of mixing with the dough whisk, and I covered the bowl with a plate to rest at room temperature for an hour.

After an hour, I removed the dough, which was still very rough, and flattened it out gently, looking for thick spots with my fingers. When I found them (and there weren't many), I mashed them real good with the palm of my hand. I then did one stretch and fold and let it rest again. I did two more folds over the next three hours, before I shaped it.

Here's where I owe a huge thank you to all the kind folks who gave me advice on how to avoid the sticky sticky arrgggh sensation I'd come to know so well. It turns out Bill Wraith's advice was really key, for me, anyway. The dough was pretty wet (though not as wet as the 100% hydration high-extraction flour ciabattas Bill regularly wrangles with - now THAT'S amazing), so I was concerned that I'd get a stringy, gluey, sticky mess when I tried to turn it out of the proofing basket and onto the peel. But Bill had suggested dusting the loaf before placing it in the well-floured banneton. I did, and it worked. I used a 50-50 mix of white rice flour and whole wheat flour for dusting and, I'm happy to say, the loaf popped right out. Amazing. Thanks Bill, and everyone else.

I turned the dough out onto parchment on my peel, and then loaded it directly onto a hot stone at 460 degress F, which I promptly covered with the top half of my cloche. After 30 minutes, I uncovered it and let it bake for another 20 minutes.



The crumb was more open than it was a 85%, but still not as open as the beauties that Mountaindog and Jane pulled from their ovens. I'm wondering whether it's my dough handling? Perhaps I'm being too rough shaping the dough into a boule? Mountaindog, could you describe (or even better, video) how you shape your dough? I'm beginning to think that's the key to how you get such a beautiful crumb structure.

Nevertheless, I was the only one who was a bit disappointed. The flavor was everything I could have hoped for from a Desem loaf. One of our friends thought it had to have some rye in it.

On Sunday, I made sourdough waffles that came out ... very strange. The salt apparently didn't blend into the dough, which resulted in waffles that were mostly bland, except for pockets of pretzel-like saltiness. Unappealing, to say the least. I'm not sure what I did wrong, as I thought I'd blended the salt well. Guess I didn't. Anyone else ever have this problem? Pretzel-waffles are a concoction I can't recommend to anyone.

After church, I took a trip to Debra's Natural Gourmet in Concord to pick up another 50 lb bag of hard red spring wheat. It's a bit of a hike, but worth it - it's the only place I can get big bags of wheat berries in Boston that I know of, and it's relatively cheap. Just less than 50 cents a pound for organic berries.

So, in the afternoon, I made Kaiser rolls (gonna grill turkey burgers tomorrow night - yum) and some sourdough sandwich bread.

First though, we had to have dinner. Earlier in the day, I'd pulled a sourdough pizza doughball from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw. Around 4pm, I put it on the counter and, after a trip to the park with Iris, came back to make the sauce, grate the cheese, chop the toppings and make the pizza. I was a bit concerned, since this doughball had been in the freezer for one month, but it turned out well, as you can see below.

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I'm not sure why the cheese bubbled up to cover the toppings (roasted bell peppers, sliced turkey sausage and black olives) but it tasted fine, anyway. I used a new brand of feta, so maybe that's it?



The whole wheat Kaiser rolls turned out really well, though I made them wetter than I'd intended because I didn't compensate adequately for the eggs. I didn't do the Kaiser roll fold, though - I just tied them in an knot. My daughter wanted me to play dominoes (the knock-down kind, not the boardgame), so I didn't have time for anything really fancy.

Last, the whole wheat sourdough sandwich dough.



I used the stretch-and-fold method with both the rolls and the sandwich bread, and, I've got to say, the dough was at least as well developed as it is when I knead, and may have been even better. The only change I made to the recipe was to melt the butter for easy incorporation. From now on, I'll be much less kneady guy.

I thought I'd leave you with one more photo, just to prove that I don't do all the baking in the house. While I went to get grains (btw, I bought 6 lbs of spelt berries while I was there. I can't WAIT to try them out!), Aurora and Iris made brownies!



I used to lick the spoon in exactly the same way when my Mom made brownies.

Heck, when no one's looking, I still do.
JMonkey's picture
JMonkey



I don't think I've every baked this much in a weekend, and, to be honest, I didn't intend to. All I aimed to do was bake for

  • The family that bought two loaves from me at the church fund-raiser service auction in November
  • The annual church dinner and talent show
  • My family's weekly bread

Er ... ok, I guess I did intend to bake that much. I just didn't realize it.

The loaf above is about to be delivered by my daughter Iris and I to a family a few blocks away. It's a loaf of Hammelman's 40% Caraway Rye (yes, I used white flour), though I made it a bit bigger (about 2 lbs instead of 1.5) and didn't bother with baker's yeast. I just let the rye sourdough do its work.

Alas, no pictures of the crumb -- that would have been rude.

The next loaf on the agenda was white sourdough.



I used the NY Times / Sullivan St. Bakery method, though I used sourdough starter instead of yeast, mixed it at about 72% hydration instead of 80% (if I go that wet, it always sticks like Elmer's), let it sit for just 12 hours before folding, and then went the extra step of shaping it into a boule. As always, it turned out well.

Again, my apologies for the lack of a crumb photo -- I snapped this shot at the church dinner, and a friend who saw me shooting it said, with a look usually reserved for that crazy old guy at the corner who screams about bugs and scratches himself: "Er, you take photos of your bread?"

I stammered something about it being for a bread message board, but I don't think that made me sound any less crazy. Cutting into the loaf and lovingly photographing the interior was too humiliating to contemplate at that point, much less actually perform, so I put the camera away. The crumb wasn't as open as the masterpieces that Mountaindog regularly pulls out of her oven, but it was light and open enough.

This morning was the big day. I had some rye starter left over, so I thought I'd bake a couple loaves of whole wheat 40% rye sandwich bread, in addition to my usual whole wheat sourdough sandwich loaves. Plus, I still had to deliver a loaf of whole wheat cinnamon walnut raisin bread to the auction family and, if you're going to make one loaf, why not make two?

Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning, I felt like someone had stuffed my head with very thick mayonaise. I courageously made the sourdough blueberry muffins my daughter had requested, but after breakfast my wife said, "We're skipping church, I'm taking Iris to her friend's birthday party and you're going back to bed." So I did. I slept until 1pm.

When I awoke, I felt much better (thank you, Mucinex!). Good enough to knead up three batches of dough.


The night before, however, I'd taken a sourdough pizza doughball out of the freezer and put it it the fridge to thaw, so, just before Iris and I left to go to the playground around 4pm, I turned on the oven. Iris ran - literally - all the way there (about half a mile - pretty good for 3 years old), and we made raspberry-raspberry jam muffins (there are no other ingredients, or so I'm told).

When we got back, I made this "heart-shaped" pizza for my wife. Aren't I sweet?



You didn't buy that line, did you? Actually, I fumbled a bit with the peel. A happy fumble, all the same.

After dinner, I popped the cinammon raisin loaves in the oven. Near the end of their bake, I started making a shaping tutorial video and got interrupted by the oven telling me to get those loaves outta there!



Here's Iris and I sprinkling cinnamon-sugar over the buttered loaves.

A couple of hours later, the rye was ready to pop in the oven (no photo -- I put them in the freezer before realizing I'd not taken a photo) and, shortly afterwards, the sourdough sandwich loaves, which rose very nicely.



Next weekend, I think I'll just stick to something simple like just one loaf. Of course, if you're making one loaf, it's not much more trouble to make two. Also, if I'm feeding my rye, I may as well use it somehow -- hate to throw some away ....
JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

As my wife was away in Washington, DC for a conference, there wasn't much time for baking, since I was alone with a three-year-old, an all-consuming (though rewarding) task if there ever was one. Nevertheless, I soldiered on, especially since I had a craving for Desem bread.

Alas, though I finally went for 85% hydration, I had no time to fold the dough properly. What's more, since I was pressed for time (I was needed to help put out a fire in the bathroom, taste chocolate treats made of wood and eat blueberry muffins with a baby polar bear, as all proper polar bears do) I never really kneaded it thoroughly in the first place. The result was as could be expected -- desem flatbread. Though tasty! Unfortunately, the Desem, knowing it had not risen to the occassion, was too camera shy for a photo.

Pizza, however, is another ball of wax entirely. This was pretty simple. I based my recipe on the sourdough pizza crust from Peter Reinhart's American Pie.



I used Arthur the whole wheat starter at 100% hydration, which made the dough about 30% whole wheat, and shot for 66-68% hydration. I also had to do a half-and-half mix of KA Bread Flour and KA All-Purpose, since I ran out of bread flour, and added 2 Tbs of olive oil. Also, instead of making four 10-oz dough balls, I made two 12 ounce dough balls -- I like a slighly bigger pizza than Reinhart, I guess.

Saturday evening, I kneaded it up lightly, folded it twice during the initial four hour fermentation and then divided it into two. One dough ball went into the freezer while the other went into the fridge. The next day, at 4pm, I took the dough ball from the fridge to warm up, grated the cheese (2 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, 1 oz feta, 1 oz parmesan), cut up the olives, sliced the turkey sausage, defrosted the sauce (I had some leftover a couple of weeks ago, so I just threw it in the freezer -- thawed out well! I highly recommend Reinhart's recipe for basic tomato sauce.), and roasted half a yellow pepper I found in the fridge, still fresh, over our gas burner. I set the oven to 550 F at 5pm, and then headed for the airport. When we got home with Aurora around 6ish, it took just 10 minutes to make the pizza and slide it into the oven. Bella! My first (successful) sourdough pizza!



Later that evening, I finished up the weekly whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread that is a lunch staple for our family. It rose well. Tasty stuff.

This weekend, we're having our annual church dinner at my homey Unitarian church -- I always enjoy it because it gives me an excuse to bake something I'd never bake at home because:

  • My wife and I are each trying to drop 15 lbs.
  • I'm kind of a nut about ensuring my family eats nutritious food, which means whole-grains.
  • Dammit, I bought a grinder and 200 lbs of wheat berries! I've got to use it!

Any suggestions for what might be tasty? I was thinking a big old brioche, or maybe that Artos bread from the BBA. Anyone made that before?
mattie405's picture
mattie405

My pizza and bread , still in the learning stage but getting better. at least they taste really good.

throwdini's picture

Pizza dough; no knead?

March 7, 2007 - 7:45am -- throwdini

This is directed to Floydm:I read your piece entitled 'A Pizza Primer.' I notice you refer to stirring the dough, resting and stirring again. Is that another way of referring to kneading the dough or do you really mean to stir it as with a large spoon. It seems I would want to use the dough hook on a standing mixer but now I'm confused.DavidPS - I'm new to this post and not sure I'm going to find my way back in to see your answer. Please be kind enough to send it to throwdini@knifethrower.com as well.Thank you

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