The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

Friday night is often Pizza night in our house. This one is a favorite: Tuna Pizza

Basic Pizza dough (I used 1/2 cup SD starter but spiked it with 1/2 t of fast acting yeast, 2 cups flour, 1/2 t brown sugar, 1 t salt, 1 T olive oil)

Fresh mozarella (dried with paper towel then cubed then a quick whir in the food processor)
some basic tomato/oregano/garlic/basil sauce, about 1/3 cup
1 can quality imported solid tuna in olive oil (spanish or italian) flaked into uniform 1/2' pieces, not too small
1 can flat anchovies
2 T capers (rolled in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture)
10-12 strips roasted red pepper (rolled in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata (rolled in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture)

Notice a theme here...too much moisture is the enemy of good pizza, go easy on the sauce and dry wet ingredients where possible. In addition, I open the oven half way through baking and mop up excess moisture off the pizza by blotting the surface with paper towels. It is still a very juicy pizza but I avoid soggy bottom and side crust disasters!

Preheated 500 oven (rained last night, no outdoor grilling)

Building the pizza (and i believe in the hand form approach over the rolling pin) in this order: crust, cheese, tuna, anchovies,
sauce, red peppers, olives, capers.

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Slide it onto the tiles:

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12 minutes later, lets eat!

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sonofYah's picture

Well, Pesach and Unleavened Bread is over and it is time to get the bread ingredients out of storage.

Been a while since I was able to post. Have been super busy. Having a blast at the bakery job. The railroad job? All I can say is that I still have it and it is paying the bills.

I have been browsing the newsgroup a lot lately. One of the messages I really found interesting was one concerning a 30+ year old sourdough starter packet. It seems that one of the regular posters on the group found an old packet of unopened starter in one of their sourdough books. This person did a little experiment to see if she could revive the starter. She seems to have had success.

I went on the 'net and found a copy of the book with a packet. Yesterday, I started my own little experiment. I measured out equal amounts of all-purpose flour and water in two seperate quart jars. To one I added my 1/2 ounce packet of starter powder. Twelve hours later I had activity in both jars. But the jar with the sourdough packet was markedly more active. The aroma of the starters were different as was the textures of the respective starters.

Not wanting to skew the results, I took 50 grams of starter from each jar and discarded the rest. I started with the control starter first, doing one at a time to control cross-contamination. I rinsed out each jar and added 50 grams of distilled water and 50 grams of all purpose flour. I added the water to the starter and made a liquid starter. I returned the starters to the respective jars. I then added 50 grams of all-purpose flour to each jar and stirred until well incorporated. I marked the levels in each of the jars. Again, twelve hours later, I checked the jars. This time I took pictures. There is quite a difference between the two. When I learn how to post pictures here, I will do so.

I am kind of suprised that the control jar (with no starter powder) took off so quickly. But then again I did a lot of bread baking before Pesach and Unleavened Bread. And no matter how good I tried to clean my house, there would still be yeast floating around in the air. (A spiritual lesson there) Hoping this didn't affect my little experiment. But the jar with the sourdough starter is significantly more active as you will be able to tell when I upload the pictures.

BTW, I made my first homemade matzah in a stone lined oven. Was a smashing hit with the daughters. And I got it in the oven in less than eighteen minutes. Just made a little over a pound.

Till then, let us bake bread.

Keen de el yeshuati

Pedro Pan's picture
Pedro Pan

All things require fine tuning and experimentation.
This time I used more coals--including some mesquite which burns really hot, moved the grill to the lee side of the house (out of the wind)and did not bother with water of any kind (no water in wood fired ovens, right?).
I did throw a couple water soaked wood chips through the air vent.
The temperature inside got up to 600+. I was resolved not to do anything that wood cause the temp inside the grill to drop so, no water and no opening the grill to peek.
In my oven, at 450 the bread takes 40-45 mins. I figured 30-35 mins in the grill. Theses are not big loaves.

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After about 27 minutes i wandered over to the grill to smell that lovely aroma of baking bread... more like burnt toast! I imagine this would have been a perfect loaf had I taken it out around the 20 minute mark. I baked the control loaf in the oven as usual. Both tasted delicious (had to cut the burnt bottom off the grilled loaf) My wife says that she likes the grilled loaf the best so far. She likes rustic things.

ross's picture

what i refer to as 'rye light', naturally leavened, organic, and 100% hand made...
i baked seven of these yesterday, 3 lbs each. pictured are half-loaves.

JMonkey's picture

We had guests over for Saturday night dinner. Here's two of the poolish baguettes I baked, along with a very buttery Brioche that we ate for dessert with lemon curd and raspberries.

timtune's picture

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Raisin & rye loaf baked yesterday

ross's picture

i'm not really sure where to begin. i'm not sure of much, really. how about here:

i'm 26 and living in maine, working on a ph.d in physics with a very small bread business out of my kitchen. i only sell once a week and have about a dozen customers each time. and though i baked bread the first time when i was in my teens i have only been baking seriously (frequently) for about five years. it's only been in the last eighteen months that i've delved into the science of it all and quit simply throwing ingredients together as i had been doing for far too long. anymore, i find myself contemplating the possibility that my passion will one day cross into the realm of obsession. regardless, that possible reality i suppose i could easily accept, it is the fear of developing a gluten allergy that haunts me. we all know those shadows of fear, silent and looming, but for a young man, aged 26, to fear the onset of a gluten allergy his passion for bread surely has long been an obsession...

while i was riding my bicycle the other day i tried to imagine what an interview at a bakery might be like for me, answering questions about formal training and professional experience i might seem unskilled and unknowledgable, just let me run through a list of breads and descriptions, dough profiles and chemical processes, techniques and ingredient choices, etc...

oh, i am accepting it as obsession: my eyes, my hands, my nose, my mouth, with these tools i always, always critique the bread i come across.

ahhhhh, bread, let it be the body of every man.

longlivegoku's picture

We finally got our hands on some mozzarella di bufala when we visited a Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor, MI this last weekend. The olives were yummy as well and from the "olive bar" at WFM. Can't wait to make these in the new brick oven!

Bufala Pizza 1

This one is just a variation, with pesto as the sauce instead.

Bufala Pizza 2

KazaKhan's picture

My starter finally kicked into gear yesterday afternoon (started, Sunday 26th, March). It looked ready so I had a go at a lunch loaf. After a nice and quick first rise I shaped the dough and let it sit for a couple of hours before putting in my little proofer thingy. It didn't seem to be going well so I decided I was going to put in the fridge before going to bed. I forgot about it until I was on my way to bed when I noticed it was ready to bake, so on goes the oven at 12:30 at night. I took it out of the oven around 1:30 wrapped it in a tea towel and went to bed. A little small but I didn't have enough starter which also went into the fridge for the first time last night.

This morning I took the starter out of the fridge put some in a coulpe of containers and then fed them. And late this afternoon I was ready to go again. This was also my first use of my new vienna trays. I'll post a picture of the crumb later when I cut one.

All up not bad results for my first go at artisan bread. I used a 1:1 bakers flour and water starter which was fed irregulary, once or twice a day. I used the following formula and did not take any notice of the various temperatures.

  • 100% -- Bakers Flour
  • 100% -- Starter
  • 35% -- Water
  • 2% -- Salt
  • 1% -- Sugar
  • 1% -- Olive Oil
  • 1% -- Lecithin Granules
  • 1% -- Light Dry Malt
KP Crumbworth's picture
KP Crumbworth

Pain L'Ancienne is easily one of my favorite breads. I'm applying this technique (delayed fermentation) to the following...

12 oz flour ( 4 semolina, 8 bread )
10.2 oz ice water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt

I'm interested to see the flavor/texture of this method using the 1/3 semolina flour. I went with 85% hydration figuring the semolina will absorb quite a bit of water. I put it together last night, and it's been de-chilling for about an hour, so I plan to bake in another 2-3 hrs. I'll post pics when it's done. I also have a batch of pain sur poolish going just in case:)



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