On Christmas eve I made 3 pounds of dough for two large batard loaves intending to bake Christmas morning after overnight refrigerator proofing. In the morning I went to preheat and the electric ignitor that starts my gas oven was broke and it didn't come on! I wasn't sure if I could freeze the dough at this point. I was targeting 72% hydration rather than a more typical 75% for a Tartine bake as I would be baking on a stone rather than in a dutch oven and looking to keep dough from spreading too much. Plus the KAF patent flour I use seems to have a high moisture content with 72% coming working well in past recipes using this flour.
Flour was 5.5% rye (100% hydration rye starter which made up 6.4% of the recipe), 10% semolina (ground the day prior) and 84.5% King Arthur patent flour (high protein, from a 50 lb bag - have never seen this in 5 pound bags). Salt was 2%. I originally intended to coat with sesame seeds and make two 1.5 lb batards.
Plan B: pizza dough: Given the 72% hydration is a level I have used for pizza dough and successfully kept in the refrigerator from 3 to 5 days, I thought this would be a good plan B. Hoping for the best, I divided the dough into four pieces and place individually in lightly oiled containers. For pizza dough, 3-5 days of refrigerated fermentation works well for optimal flavor and rising power, but have not ever gone longer.
I ordered the new ignitor part and 5 days later my oven was up and running. The $15 part ($22 with expedited shipping) and an easy 15 minute fix was worth the wait compared to the repairman's $200 quote. And by the way, three different web sites had the same part for for $75 so it pays to shop around...
So last night I made my 7 day old dough pizza. You could see lots of holes in the dough while looking at it thru the plastic container. I left the dough out for 90 minutes before starting. This is a wet dough so I gently stretched to about 8'' size, let rest for 10 minutes and stretched to the final 14" size. I made sure there was enough flour on the bottom to not stick, while preserving a rather moist dough otherwise. I used semolina on the peel. I used my thick soapstone stone which takes 90 minutes to preheat (to 600 degrees as outlined in a prior post). The pie cooked in 3 1/2 minutes. The tray above is where I let it rest after removing from the stone.
Surprise number one was how nice and fluffy the baked pizza was. I thought the long fermentation may have broken down some of the rising ability/cell structure of the dough. Surprise number two was very flavorful, but not sour or even tart (although I like sourdough more on the full flavor side). Likely due to the starter being only 6.4% of the recipe compared to 20% or more in a sourdough bread recipe and a 39° refrigerator temperature. But the flavor was excellent, slightly complex and the high hydration did allow the dough to become slightly gelatanized inside similar to some of the Tartine breads. It was one of the best pizzas I have ever made.
So a very happy outcome all around and finding that a week in the refrigerator worked out surprisingly well. And the holiday spiral ham? Well while the oven didn't work, the broiler did as it uses a different element/burner at the top of the oven. Wrapped the ham/pan in heavy foil, placed on low shelf, and removed foil after one hour. Applied glazed and put under broiler for another 10 minutes. The broiler flame carmelized the ham nicely and Christmas dinner was not only salvaged but came out very well. Now I need to remake my original recipe and bake those batards!
Happy New Year to all...