Wednesday, January 26, 2011

4 pies, 3 doughs, 1 oven set up

We had good friends over last night for dinner (Thanks Dan for the wine, and Cat for the treats) and what a great way to do a little taste test.

I have been trying many methods lately and wanted to see how much they differed and which were the best to work with. Even though all the doughs were basically the same four ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast) they ended up with different tastes and textures. (You can read more about the methods

I made three batches of dough on Monday. This would not normally be enough time to let the dough ferment, but that's what I had to work with.

For the first recipe I made this recipe, originally from Cooks Illustrated. It uses a food processor to mix the dough rather quickly. This can be a great way to make dough, though there is a concern that the processor will heat up the dough too much, killing the yeast, leaving the dough flat.

The second recipe was a some what standard 65% hydration (meaning for 100% flour (250 g) , 65% water (163 g)) using a large amount of Ischia Culture (100% hydration), about 25% (300 g flour to 100 g culture).

The third dough was Jim Lahey's no-knead recipe.

In an attempt to get better heat out of my oven, I tried making a bit of a oven in an oven using fire bricks. These thick bricks retain a lot of heat and by surrounding the baking stone and building a little roof, I was able to direct more of the heat back to the pies and ultimately get a better cornicione (outer crust).


Pie one, cooked red sauce, half mushrooms, processor dough.


Pie two, roasted garlic and hot peppers, culture dough.


Pie three, mushrooms and truffle, no-knead.


Lastly, squash, roasted garlic and arugula, culture dough.


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