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james 10-07-2008 10:03 AM

Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
The new issue of Cooks Illustrated has a recipe for Pizza Bianca -- a crunchy focaccia from Rome. I'm going to try the recipe today, and it looks very good. 90% hydration.

The back of the magazine lists some regional flatbreads, with nice illustrations. They picked -- papadam, matzo, corn tortilla, lavash, pita, injera, naan, barbari bread, focaccia and markook.

More to come on this, but it looks fun.

james 10-07-2008 09:12 PM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
I made the Pizza Bianca recipe today, and I am very, very happy with it. I will continue talking about this, and I think I will make a video of this in a wood oven -- it's great. I will post a photo a little later.

The main things that set apart include 90% hydration, autolyse, nearly 9 minutes of mixing at a high speed (more on that later -- with thoughts from Hamelman), a long bulk fermentation of 2-2 1/2 hours, and gentle, almost zero dough handling.

This has taken my focaccia, schiacciata, pizza bianca (whatever you call it) to a completely new level. The crust is crunchy and the crumb is incredible light and flavorful -- with huge holes. The crumb has character, but it isn't at all dense.



Modthyrth 10-07-2008 09:27 PM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
I saw that recipe a few weeks ago and thought it looked very promising. Did you make it in a conventional oven, as the recipe is written, or in the WFO? If the WFO, did you make any modifications because of the oven?

brokencookie 10-07-2008 09:48 PM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
90% hydration ??? That sounds more like soup than bread dough ;) I just made the no-knead bread dough for the first time today ( 80% hydration) and it was simple, fool proof and yielded a great artesian loaf. I noticed that some bakers wet their hands rather than flour them for the high hydration recipes. Which do you prefer ?


james 10-07-2008 09:54 PM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
I baked by first one in a conventional oven (tonight), and I am going to start experimenting with my Primavera oven next. The 90% hydration was just right -- it was sort of a batter, but if you really mix the heck out of it, you can develop enough gluten to create strands and the feeling of a loose dough. The dough really holds nice holes in the crumb.

Because I was making a focaccia, with lots of olive oil on the outside, I covered my hands with oil to keep them from stick. Water works well also.

I am going to read over the Hamelman book now -- he talks a lot about gluten developement and it is relevant to this dough.


james 10-07-2008 09:55 PM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
One last thing. I left the sugar out.

james 10-08-2008 09:36 AM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
2 Attachment(s)
Here are a couple of photos. Check out the holes. The crust reached a nice brown, with some carmelization.

Very cool.

egalecki 10-08-2008 09:44 AM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
That's beautiful. I'll have to go look for the magazine now!

Have you ever tried adding gluten to a dough like this one? Would it make it easier to handle, do you think, or just toughen it up?

james 10-08-2008 09:55 AM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
I don't think you should add gluten. I have been told many times by pro bakers and the flour mills that it isn't the quantity of gluten in your flour, but the quality that is the most important. That, and how well you develop the gluten in your dough. I think you should pick the right flour for what you are making -- and go with quality flour.

asudavew 10-08-2008 10:29 AM

Re: Cook's Illustrated - Sept/Oct 08
I can't believe that it's 90% hydration!

I'm gonna try the recipe in my WFO this weekend.
Looks like a great appetizer.


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