Birthday Cake Sneak Preview

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Pizza Tuesday – Prosciutto Pie

Pizza Tuesday became Pizza Wednesday (resulting in Photography Thursday) due to Frozen Dough remaining Undefrosted. I did a before and after this time, and the before looks a bit like Team GB: quite pasty.

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Spinach, Arugula, (not my) Tomato Sauce, Texas Rosemary, Broccoli, Mushrooms

Birthday weekend coming up and I’m expecting to produce something lovely. Not quite sure yet what it’ll be but I’m hoping for spectacular.

Pizza Tuesday – Red, White & Green Pie

Starting a new tradition – I’ll post the homemade pies.

tomato & basil sauce
mozzarella & feta
kale, broccoli, arugula, spinach, dill

I officially need to start making friends in this town because I still have the baking bug and there’s far too much bread in the house. Made bagels AND a whole wheat ciabatta niente yesterday. I took no pictures because I’m pretty bad at this, but I learned a lot and will post the next experiment.

Ciabatta Niente

This is not ciabatta. I will continue forward in my quest for mastering ciabatta. However, while on the road to ciabatta, I will be eating this bread. There is a very slight twang to it but the best part is that it’s the lightest bread I’ve ever turned out. It was perfect as breakfast toast and it’s going to be perfect for sandwiches. I dare say I’d make a serious pressed sandwich with this bread. I need to find whole wheat bread flour.

By the way, these are huge. They rose beautifully for sandwich bread but there’s still a balance needed to obtain those ciabatta windows of dough.

Biga – The Morning After

The biga worked! Rather, it certainly got active during the night. The recommended ferment time is between 12 and 24 hours; I mixed it and set it to rest yesterday around 12:45, and got back to it around 7:45 this morning. Within those 19 hours, this transformation took place:

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And it smells SOUR. And this is GOOD. I continued on to the next step of the recipe, hooked it for 8 minutes, and now it has the consistency of caulk. It’s sitting under plastic to double over the next 90 minutes, then to be separated and proofed once more before baking.

Biga

After a rather lovely meal at Tabla on Friday night (pretty sure they make their own butter), I’ve decided to master making ciabatta. I spent some time getting to the heart of exactly what is responsible for the thin chewy windows of dough beneath a serious crust, and it seems that the answer is biga. Biga is a pre-ferment used in making Italian breads, a precursor to the standard yeast/water/flour/salt containing all but the salt, and is meant to be a shortcut (ready after 12 hours) to the depth of flavor that a more familiar but slower-to-react starter like sourdough can provide. The French equivalent is poolish, a mixture with a much higher hydration. If this works, I’ll be messing around with other variants, but for now it’s all about the biga.

So. The biga. It’s hella dry, much more than expected. I mixed it and set it to rest at 12:45, so tomorrow morning I’ll find out what happened and go from there. I decided to start with a pretty basic recipe, and if this works even halfway, I’ll start monkeying around with the details.