The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blueberry braid, Arugula Pesto Pizza, and More

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Blueberry braid, Arugula Pesto Pizza, and More

So, baked a lot this week in the RV. I finally solved the burning problem, thanks to TFL'er's help. The aluminum foil layer was the key. I put aluminum foil on the rack and that did it. I realized that back a few months ago, when we first got in the RV, I had baked some ginger cookies and put aluminum foil on the rack because I didn't have a cookie sheet that fit in the oven at the time. I left the foil in for awhile and was baking pretty decent breads. Somewhere along the way, I removed the foil and didn't make the connection between that and my bread burning. One of TFL'ers suggested putting aluminum foil on the rack and I remembered that this so I tried it again and it's working!

This week I baked up a bunch of great breads. I started with a "1,2,3" bread which was really a "1, 2.5,3" bread as I increased the hydration to about 75% since I made it with 100% whole wheat white flour. The other interesting thing about this loaf (besides not using a recipe and actually having it come out edible, LOL!) was that I accidently switched my rye and WW starters when I was refreshing them. So, my rye starter got fed WW and my WW starter got fed rye. Thus, this bread was made with a "hybrid" starter. It was really, really good. Nice tang, nice sweetness from the WWW flour. Thanks flourgirl51 for the great flours that I've been using!

Next, I made a dessert bread. I had some frozen blueberries I just had to bake with. So, I made FloydDM's blueberry braid. The only change is that I used mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese. Talk about addictive!

Same day, I started Eric's favorite rye. But, I used whole wheat white flour since I don't have first clear. My other changes this time were some fennel seeds and onion. Plus, 75 grams of altus from my last rye bread. My husband declared this my best rye bread EVER!!! I'm really loving this recipe as a base. I've also been bumping up the rye percent to about 50%. One of these days I'm, now that I got my new order of rye flour I'm going to make Mini's rye bread in a pot. I just need to go buy a suitable pot for my RV oven.

Finally, today I harvested a gigantic amount of arugula that was bolting. I have a big food processor and I packed it full. This was a plastic grocery sack completely full of arugula that I than tore into pieces and stuffed into my processor. Maybe a few pounds worth? I added olive oil, 1/2 pound parmesan, salt, pine nuts and fresh garlic and made some out of this world arugula pesto. So, needed to have some pizza to go with this.

Here's the formula I used for the pizza:

180 grams all purpose

50 grams durum flour (whole durum from flourgirl51)

20 grams whole wheat flour

1 cup water (warm)

1 1/2 tsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

I beat this with a paddle on high until it came off the sides and bottom, about 5 minutes. Put it into my 2 liter container, waited about an hour with it setting on a shelf over a light in an 80 degree spot. Tripled in size.

Here are my toppings:

Brushed with olive oil. Spread with Sundried tomato spread from Safeway. Spread about 1 cup of arugula pesto. Pepperoni. Mozzarello. Yum!!!!

This was the best pizza dough I've made so far. Despite the short rise time the flavor was intense and the texture was amazing. I think it was the durum flour that made the difference. Note, this is durum flour, not semolina. It looks sort of like whole wheat flour and has a nice, sweet, strong smell. I get it from Flourgirl51.

What a great baking week. Started off cold, windy and rainy. Now it's sunny and nice. And, I have several months worth of pesto to put in my freezer! Enough to last until basil season. Now I can't wait tomato season.


ehanner's picture

Your braids look really great Tracy. The fruit is just about bursting out.


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I can't make it every week or I'd weigh 200lbs. It was so addictive! The mascarpone cheese melts in your mouth and the blueberries were just the right sweetness. I added vanilla to the cheese and some of that fiorna sicilia to the blueberries, along with meyer lemon juice.

Thanks Eric! And, Thanks for the starter, it's doing fantastic. And the recipe for Eric's favorite rye.

I did toss my white version of starter because I was never using it. I now have a whole wheat and rye in the fridge, both of which get used about once a week.

SylviaH's picture

I wish I had a slice for breakfast.  Your fresh arugala pesto pizza with the duram flour sounds delicious.  If your in an RV campground you must be driving your neighbors crazy with the all the wonderful aroma's : )


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Unfortunately, we're in our front yard. Driving our neighbors crazy by looking like white trash. Thankfully, they have been very understanding of the situation. We'll hopefully be back in the house in another six weeks or so. They've replaced the fireplace with a nice new gas fireplace (Mesa no longer allows wood burning) and the building permit is done so now just waiting on the rest of the work. Should go fast from here.

whiskers's picture

I just wanted to say a big thank you for your post and your previous post about your burning problem. I have an old gas oven and the bottom of my baked goods were always getting burned no matter what. I searched for a solution and came across your post. Today, I baked some breads with a couple of layers of aluminum foil on a rack just below the rack that I had the breads on. And it worked miracles!!! You saved my life! Thanks again and happy baking/eating!

ps-your blueberry braid looks fantastic!!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

You're welcome! That's what we're all here for. To help each other. It's amazing what thousands of heads can accomplish compared to one. What did we ever do without the internet? I didn't use the internet until half way through medical school and now I don't know how I ever lived without it.