The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

This week - more successful bread, pizza and muffins

Catomi's picture

This week - more successful bread, pizza and muffins

In my last couple of blog posts, I had some questions and difficulties. People were very helpful with suggestions, and this week's baking was much more successful. Thank you!

First, the bread. This is the white-wheat blend (Ode to Bourdin) from Tartine 3; I've decided to stick with baking this until I've got it down. Last time I had some unexpected large holes in the middle of my loaves. Based on suggestions, I allowed them to proof a while longer in their final loaf forms, and I used almost no flour for shaping (I was absolutely convinced this would cause a sticky mess, and was so surprised that it didn't; actually, it worked quite well!). 

I did have some issues with getting one of the loaves in the dutch oven. I only had enough parchment paper for one loaf, so I had to scoop and dump the other by hand into the dutchie. This, combined with using a larger bowl for that loaf for the final proof (I swear I have another small one around somewhere, and am convinced my husband has hidden it on me), resulted in a much flatter loaf. No big central holes so far, though! I am amused by the difference in shape between my two loaves (the perkier one was gently inverted onto a parchment paper-lined peel and slid into the combo cooker):


Here is a pic showing crumb:


I also made a fresh batch of grilled pIzza. My last batch was based on the Cook's Illustrated recipe, and on the advice of isand66 I tried Peter Reinhart's recipe instead. Holy schlamoley, what a difference. The CI recipe was gluteny and gloppy and I had difficulty transferring it from the cookie sheet to the grill without massive changes in shape. The Reinhart recipe was more like a firm flatbread. It maintained form, I could lift it easily, and it held up well to the large quantities of toppings I used. The Reinhart crust was a little less bubbly, but it had a nice wheaty taste, and I think I could get it thinner than I did. I was erroring on the side of caution due to my previous experiences. I did use white whole wheat flour, as I keep that around and rarely have all purpose. It worked just fine. Bonus, I have dough for three more pizzas in my freezer. 

Here are the three pizzas I made. Clockwise from top, a pesto tomato mozzarella pizza, a chicken and peppers with mozzarella and fontina pizza, and a spinach, onions and mozzarella pizza. All were brushed with garlic/red pepper flake olive oil before toppings were added. They were really good. 


I also made another batch of sourdough English muffins (no picture this time). I rolled these thinner, since the first batch did rise quite a bit during baking. I like them better this way (and I discovered that if I roll them on a cookie sheet, the edge of the sheet limits my rolling them out to just about 1/2" - perfect! I love when I find a lazy solution). 

So overall this week has felt very successful, in large part to the suggestions I've received here. I hope everyone else is having a good week, too!

(edited for clarity)


dabrownman's picture

way better this time.  As time goes on it will even be better.  Love the pizzas too.

Well done and happy baking

Catomi's picture

Thank you!