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Enjoy Oven Fresh Pizza at Home

Posted: November 9, 2011 - 9:21am
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Matthew Septimus
Among the recipes included in the just now released “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking,” by The French Culinary Institute, is a mouth-watering recipe for authentic pizza you can make at home; jacket photograph, left, by Matthew Septimus, design by Liam Flanagan; Stewart, Tabori & Chang publishers/November 2011.

The French Culinary Institute’s newly released “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking” cookbook follows the outline of the esteemed institute’s international “total-immersion” intensive 12-week bread-making course. With detailed instructions and 300 color photographs, bakers of all levels will enjoy delving into any one of the book’s 352 pages covering classic French, Italian, German and Middle European breads. Recipes for all the classics are here − from baguettes and brioche, to ciabatta, foccacia and pizza. Look, too, for challah, kugelhopf, stollen and pretzels, as well as Swedish limpa and German fruit bread. Those interested in gluten-free baking, won’t be disappointed in the book’s fine formulas for lemon scones, buttermilk biscuits, almond bread, plus more. With the first half of the book focusing on basic bread baking principles, terms and techniques, including “The Fourteen Steps of Bread Making,” “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking” is as noteworthy for its ability to teach, as it is to inspire. Whether used as a reference tool, a recipe source, or a companion to other books on baking, “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking” is a serious book for the serious baker. Find “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking at booksellers, or via on-line sources, such as www.Amazon.com, or www.Barnesandnoble.com.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Pizza

Recipe from “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking,” by The French Culinary Institute; Stewart, Tabori & Chang, publishers. Photography by Matthew Septimus.

Directions

For the liquid levain
28 grrams/1 ounce bread flour
35 grams/1 1/4 ounces water
3 grams/1 teaspoon liquid levain culture (recipe follows)  

For the final dough
666 grams/1 pound, 7½ ounces bread flour
452 grams/16 ounces water
66 grams/2 1/3 ounces liquid levain
33 grams/1 1/8 ounces olive oil
16 grams/ 1/2 ounce salt
7 grams/ /1/4 ounce fresh yeast

Flour for dusting
219 grams/7 3/4 ounces tomato sauce for topping
171 grams/6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese for topping
Fresh whole basil leaves for topping

Prepare the mise en place for the levain. (“Mis en place” is a French culinary term for “everything in its place,” having together all ingredients required to prepare and execute a dish.)
To make the levain, combine the bread flour and water with the culture in a large mixing bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon to blend. When blended, scrape down the edge of the bowl, cover with plastic film, and set aside to ferment to 70 degrees for 12 to 14 hours.

When ready to make the final dough, prepare the mis en place for the dough. Combine the bread flour with the water, liquid levain, olive oil, salt and yeast in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the hook. Mix on low speed until blended. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for about 8 minutes, or until the dough has come together but remains slightly sticky. Check the gluten development by pulling a “window.” (The “windowpane” test is a term used to determine the gluten development in a bread dough. If the dough can be stretched to an almost translucent film, it has been sufficiently kneaded. If not, the dough must be kneaded longer and he windowpane test must be redone.) Lightly dust (with flour) a clean work surface.

Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the floured surface. For three (10-inch) pizzas, divide dough into three (14 1/2-rounds) on the floured surface. Cover with plastic film and set aside to ferment for 2 hours at room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and proof for 1 hour or up to overnight. (“Proofing” is the final rise of the shaped bread dough, also known as the second rise. During this rise, the crumb and final texture of the bread is set. A skilled baker will have learned to determine the necessary adjustments to time and temperature during proofing to create the desired finished loaf.) About an hour before you are ready to bake the pizzas, place the baking stone in the oven and preheat to 650 degrees.

(Kitchen Ade Note:  My oven does not heat to 650 degrees, so, for the purposes of this recipe, I placed a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of my oven, setting the temperature to 450 degrees. The oven was allowed to preheat for 1 hour.) 

Forming and Stretching Pizza Dough

When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator, uncover, and, working with one piece at a time, use your hands to carefully stretch each dough into a thin, evenly round circle about 10 inches in diameter.

(Kitchen Ade Note: For easy transfer of pizza to the oven, stretch pizza dough into the circle directly on top of a lightly floured pizza peel. A pizza peel is a long-handled paddle-type tool used to easily transport a pizza from the oven to the table.)

Topping the Pizza Dough

Top with tomato sauce, cheese and fresh basil. Using a pizza peel, transfer the pizzas to the hot baking stone. “Bake for 8 minutes, or until the topping is bubbling and the dough is crisp and cracking brown around the edges. (Kitchen Ade Note: With my oven set to 450 degrees, one pizza took approximately15 minutes to bake. The basil was added the last 5 minutes of baking to prevent the basil from charring.)

Recipe for creating
a liquid levain culture

“Levain” is a traditional French leavening, or pre-ferment, that is made using a sourdough starter, flour and water. It is used to produce breads with excellent texture, fine aroma and superb shelf life.

Day 1
100 grams/3 1/2 ounces coarse rye flour
125 grams/4 1/2 water (80 degrees)
Mix 50 strokes by wooden spoon

Day 2
1/2 culture (115 grams/4 ounces) from Day 1
100 grams/3 1/2 ounces wheat flour
125 grams/4 1/2 ounces water (80 degrees)

Day 3 through 9
1/2 culture (115 grams/4 ounces)
from Day 2
100 grams/3 1/2 ounces) wheat flour
125 grams/4 1/2 ounces) water (80 degrees)

Repeat until culture is ready to use. By Day 8, the mixture should have sufficient ripeness for leaving bread. However, to continue developing strength and complexity, it may be fed for 2 or 3 more days before use. When the culture is ready, it turns concave and has the right acidity and yeast content to leaven bread. At The French Culinary Institute, we continue to call it a culture, but in other artisanal bakeries, a mature culture becomes known as the “mother” or starter and is no longer called a culture.

Day 10 and beyond
To continue levain upkeep, the basic refreshment ratio is 100 percent wheat flour, 125 percent water and 20 percent liquid levain. This should be added to compensate for the quantity removed (i.e., if 500 grams are removed, they should be replaced with 500 grams of refresher using the ration above).
If the levain is not used regularly, cover it and store it in the refrigerator. It will last for several months under refrigeration.

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gamewarden
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gamewarden 12/16/11 - 12:16 pm
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French Culinary Obviously French

When I look at this recipe, done in metrics instead of American - Well, pilgrim, I just mosey over to Cooks.com and get a REAL recipe for the same product, and, every other product listed in this reading...Oh yeah, and - it's FREE!!

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