Tuesday, December 17, 2013



Meet me back here in January. We have a lot of (fun) work to do!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

to the staff of life!

i can't believe that i'm actually saying goodbye. it's not forever, i mean, i will leave this blog up for posterity, but i will no longer be contributing new posts. every fine experiment must come to an end, you know. think of this blog as a book. i refer to it as often as you when i've forgotten a detail, and even chad's book has a final page, as does proust's 'in search of lost time', and we all know how long that book is. in fact, i think that he actually died with a pen in his hand (i'm talking proust here) so, if he was immortal, perhaps 'in search of lost time' would still be in the process of being penned: and furthermore!

parmesan & lucques olive: the farewell boule

in keeping with my nature in never lingering over a farewell, i give you my final post. thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for joining me on this road. thank you for all of the comments and emails about how my blog has helped you overcome your bread fears. this is why i began the blog to begin with, and so, i have accomplished my goal.

i want to thank susan at wild yeast blog who helped me on my bread path from the start, and who gave me a place to share my discovery with you. if not for susan, there would be no tartine bread experiment, because i would never have gotten a starter off the ground (for reals). i also wanted to thank all of the people who have installed my blog on their blog lists, i can't tell you what an honor that is.

they say that 'you are only as good as your last _____', and i am happy to say that not a single person has ever written to me to tell me that their starter or bread did not turn out when using this blog. in fact, every comment has detailed the contrary. we have overcome some mysteries together, we've worked some things out, we have held one another's hand. you, dear reader, have educated me along the way. et, voila! by now i think that we are all chad-worthy bakers.

so this is the moment when the tartine bread experiment is no longer an experiment, but an homage to chad robertson who has opened up the sexy world of bread to people like you and me who never thought making something so divine in our very own kitchens was remotely possible. thank you chad (even though you don't know who the hell i am), and THANK YOU ALL!


the final formula:


the night before you plan to make the dough, make your levain:

50g 100% hydration whole rye starter
100g to your health sprouted spelt flour
100g cold filtered h2o

mix this all up to a paste, and ferment overnight. mine fermented for 8 hours.


all of the levain
360g cold filtered h2o
555g KA bread flour
147g lucques olives*
120g parmigiano-reggiano cheese, chopped into bits
26g good fruity olive oil
11g salt

*the olives weighed 219g before i pitted them. the weight above is the pitted weight.

dissolve the levain in the h2o. mix the flour in until you reach a shaggy mass. autolyse this for one hour.

shaggy mass.

after 1-hour autolyse

after the autolyse, squish the salt and olive oil into the dough with your fingers. now begins the 4-hour bulk fermentation, the first 2 hours of which you will perform a series of turns every half hour; this is done at room temp. during the first turn, fold in the cheese and olives. try to keep the cheese and olives encased in the dough while you are doing your turns.

after the first 2 hours with turns, pop in the fridge for the final 2 hours. after the bulk fermentation, turn the dough out onto a rice-floured work surface, gather it up into a loose round, and rest for 15 minutes. after the 15-minute bench rest, work the dough into a tight boule.

pop the dough into a bowl that has been lined with a rice flour-dusted linen, cover with a dampened square of cheesecloth, and cover with a bowl or a plate. pop in the fridge for 18 hours.


an hour before you plan to bake, pop your combo cooker into the oven (your stone should be in there. always, right?) and preheat to 550. when the oven is good and hot, pull the dough out of the fridge.

unearth the dough and score it DEEPLY; slide it into the oven and pop the lid on. turn the heat down to 475 and steam for 30 minutes.

after the 30 minute steam, remove the lid. turn the oven down to 450 for 15 minutes, then down to 425 and bake till golden, maybe another 15 minutes. watch it. the cheese will burn if its baked too long.

verdict: the crust turned out brittle and light, the crumb uber tender and open, and of course, i don't have to tell you how good it is. the 18 hour final fermentation, and the addition of cheese and olive oil make this boule as decadent as it looks. this is the perfect denouement to a wonderful journey.



Monday, May 6, 2013

more than you need

part 2.

hi. so, i froze half of that dough. remember the last time we talked, i had just made a (not enough cheese) kinfolky pizza? ok, i'm not going down that road again.

anyway, i halvzied up the last post and this because i wanted to perform this little experiment. well, today is the day of reckoning, and so here i am to share the good news: this dough froze like a champ (i was going to say that it froze like a mother _ucker, but this is a family show). ribald aside, i defrosted the lump of it on the counter and made it up into a sweet little onion, leek, fontina deal-e-o and man. oh. MAN. can i just tell you that you need to get on this asap. because you can always have pizza. no dough is no excuse. right, it's always the dough that keeps us from making our own pie. and the dough is so easy to make, remember? and now we know that it freezes. seriously. you (meaning 'i') have no excuse now.

im fortunate enough to live close to mozza where i can spend a jackson on a little pie, but while i don't always have a jackson to spare, i always have a can of tomatoes on deck, and i'm never without an onion or a leek (if you are, you ought to be ashamed of yourself), and now with this dough, it's like i have my own personal mario batali hangin' around my kitchen. ok not really, but, you know.

this is serious poor man's pizza. but who would be the wiser, i mean, lookit it. i mean, how much can a red onion cost? and now i'm going to make it my business to keep a slab of this dough in the freezer.

while we were talking just now, i ate half of it. ok, i'm totally lying through my teeth. i ate half plus a wedge. a skinny wedge, but i did go over the line (and i'm totally going for another wedge. i'm not even lying). and the texture and flavor is the same as the first pizza, that is to say crispy and olive oily and delicious.

here are some tips. while the dough is shakin' off its frost, heat the oven for an hour and a half (at 550 degrees, with the stone in there). you heard. all that time makes all the diff in the world. or you can do like my friend aaron and just yank the lever off of your fancy oven, the one that locks the door when it's on the 'cleaning' cycle, because the cleaning cycle cranks the oven up to like a million degrees, but you can't bake/open/close it because of that wretched lock. thank you aaron. security deposits are going all to hell because of your savagery. but i get it. a man's gotta have his pizza.

i'm not going to bother posting the dough formula again. you can just scroll down, because no one is that lazy. but for this pie, here's the scoop:

i finely sliced 1/2 of a medium red onion and a 1/2 of a large leek. it seems like a mountain of allium when you get in onto the dough, but trust me, it all shrinks down, so you want to slice up more than you think you need.

oh, and i rinsed the slivers of leek, then spun them uber dry (along with the red onion) and blotted them with a paper towel. you want them to crisp. if you put them on the pie sopping wet, they will steam instead of caramelize, and that's just gross. i sliced up a large handful of fontina cheese for this pizza. that's what i had on hand, and it was perfect.

now you want to spread all this jazz around on the dough that you've just expertly stretched and shaped.

drizzle with olive oil. bake for like, oh i don't know, whenever it looks brown enough (i showered while it was baking, that should give you an idea of how much time it takes). i sprinkled the finished miracle with fresh oregano and chili flake, but you don't have to. preferences, see.

and that's the long and short of it. see you soon, yeah? enjoy your pie.

this pie feeds one seriously greedy girl, or two, happily, with a salad and a pint of arrogant bastard ale.

to the staff of life!

way more than you need...


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