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Peter Reinhart

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Everything posted by Peter Reinhart

  1. Oops, I found in a typo in my previous post. I meant to say, I'm making NO guarantees <regarding the quality of the bagels by the addition of vital wheat gluten to AP flour>.
  2. You can try it, but it's difficult to get a true match so I'm making guarantees. If you do want to try, add 2% of vital wheat gluten to the AP flour (ie, 2 oz. of gluten for every 100 oz. flour). See how it goes and do let me know what you think. OR, you can save the AP for baguettes (AP flour makes great baguettes; many bakers prefer to bread flour) and buy some bread flour or high gluten flour (from a bagel shop--if you grovel enough they might sell you some from their stock). That would probably get you a closer match to bagel shop quality. As for the butter, yes you can make that substitute though you can also use unsaturated veg. oil, which is healthier and much cheaper than butter (but butter does taste better). The water adjustment can only be determined on a batch by basis since every brand and type of flour absorbs differently. So let your dough dictate to you what it needs and adjust accordingly. BTW, I love the bagel recipe in BBA (many people have said it's the closest to their childhood memory of "true" NY quality (if such a thing is actually possible--recreating childhood memories, that is)), so please let me know how you like them.
  3. Good question. That was a pizza baked at Pizzetta 211 in San Francisco, modeled on a classic Italian pizza on which whole eggs are baked sunnyside up (pizza con uova). Sometimes it's just dough, olive oil, eggs, and maybe some parm. cheese. But eggs can be added to any number of other pizzas as well. On the Pizzetta 211 pizza I think they included some oven roasted tomatoes and fresh arugula (added after the bake), and coarse pepper and salt. Basically, feel free to add an egg or three to almost any pizza that you think it will complement (I wouldn't put it on a sauce and cheese pizza, but mostly only white (bianca) pizzas). The eggs were regular chicken eggs, but quail eggs sound great too!
  4. Yes, I do think of it as a variant of pizza Americana--I think the Greek immigrants learned their pizzacraft here, not in Greece, and because so many of them are good cooks with a great work ethic, they essentially dominate the local restaurant scene wherever they live. This isn't just true with pizza but in any city with a large Greek population (like Charlotte, for instance, where I now live, or Houston where the Pappas family seems to own every other restaurant in town, even barbecue and Tex Mex places), many Greeks just seem to have a natural talent for the restaurant business. That's why even in Greek pizzerias you will find as many crust variations as across the rest of the country, even if the style seems similar.
  5. Thank you all--it's been a fun week and your questions and discussions were great. Please send me updates and follow-ups on some of the things we've discussed. My e-mail is peter.reinhart@jwu.edu Jason, how do we do the book winners--I'm new at this? Since it's only Friday night and I don't want to miss any hanging chads, if I didn't answer a question or there's still something pressing, let's keep the Q&A alive through Saturday. Again thank you all and thank you Jason and Janet for hosting me this week. Let's do it again sometime! Sincerely, Peter
  6. Thank you all--it's been a wonderful week and I'm honored to be part of the eGullet family. I'm not sure how the drawing for books is handled but I imagine our group leader will let us know so I can arrange to have them sent. Don't forget to send me updates on some of the tips and techniques we've discussed. My email is peter.reinhart@jwu.edu. May your bread always rise!
  7. Oh yeah, sounds like 'que--I'm getting hunger pangs just hearing about it.
  8. Thanks Phaelon. That Fez Under Time pizza topping sounds fantastic. Imagine it on a great crust--it would become legendary! Here's a note just in from Brian Spangler, owner of The Scholl Public House outside of Portland, Oregan, one of the best new artisan pizzerias in the country (Brian is going to join me when I give my talk at the NY Pizza Show on Nov. 3). He has some good insight into this Grande situation and other thoughts, based on following our thread, and his trick of slicing the low moisture mozzarella cheese and laying it down flat to cover the crust, then putting the sauce over it, then adding the fresh mozzeralla not only protects the crust and allows it to stay crisper, but makes a beautiful looking pizza. (Note: he's not yet an e-Gullet member so couldn't send this directly, but I'm happy to relay it--thanks, Brian!): Dear Peter, The Grande blended cheeses are about the same price per pound as what I pay for the whole milk mutz in 7 pound loaves. No price savings in this option, but I believe that operators use the blend for several reasons. 1) Convenience and consistency. Most pizzeria operators pay young employees to make the pizzas and in doing so, must "dummy" up the system so that you get the same ratio of each cheese on the product. 2) Shelf life. The shelf life on the shredded cheeses is much longer than the shelf life on the whole blocks of cheese, due to the fact that when you shred cheese, oxidation will set in, so they fill the bags with gas (not sure what type) to stop the aging process. I believe the shelf life on the blended cheeses is about twice as long as the whole loaf. I am not a fan of pre-blended cheeses and I am not a fan of cheddar coming anywhere near a pizza, which a lot of the pre-blended packages offer. Grande offers a Mozz, Provolone and Asiago blend as well as a Mozz, Provolone and Cheddar blend. I use the Grande Whole Milk loaf mozz and use slices rather than shredding. We also add Grande Cilengene (fresh whole milk mozz in 1/3rd ounce balls) and a light coating of freshly shaved 2 year old Parmesan Reggiano.
  9. Hi Marjorie, Thanks for your kind words and sorry it took so long to get back to you. I love Mama's cheese steaks the best (and David Rosengarten agrees--see his newsletter report on Philly cheese steaks). As for croissants, Iusually advise undermixing the dough (that is, just until it barely develops gluten) since it will continue to develop during the laminations and resting periods. Yes, make it slightly wetter as this will make it easier to roll out (with proper flour dusting during the roll-outs) and, perhaps, allow you to use less downward force. My guess is that you're squeezing your layers together by pressing too hard. A double turn (aka bookfold) is hard to do manually and takes a lot of pressure. I'd suggest you do 3 single turns (aka, letter folds), which will still give you plenty of layers (at least 81, up to 135 depending on how you incorporate your butter). If this works, you can then add one more single turn the next time and see if you notice an improvement. I'd guess not. Let me know if this helps (you can write to me after this Q&A ends at peter.reinhart@jwu.edu ).
  10. See Boulaks's response above (or is it below?)--I don't think I can top that. Remember, this technique is more significant in lean, plain doughs that rely totally on the flavor of the fermented grain (as opposed to enrichments). It doesn't make much of a difference in rich or enriched breads where the flavor comes from sugar, dairy, or fat. It all comes down to what I call the Bread Baker's Mission: "To evoke the full potential of flavor from the grain." These various techniques and tricks must have some impact on flavor or texture, even if subtle, or they're a waste of time. That's why Boulak says he uses it primarily for ciabatta and baguettes--it wouldn't help soft roll dough, challah, brioche and the like.
  11. Mitch, are you Boulak? Folks, you can count on any of Mitch/Boulak's info--he's a great baker and teacher! Thanks for chiming in. I'll see you when I get back to the Providence campus in the spring. And by the way, please give my congratulations to Chefs Ciril Hitz and Sadruddin Abdoulah, (two other talented J&W faculty) for recently winning the Grand Prize Best in Show (and $50,000!!!) at the first ever National Bread and Pastry Team Championship. As you can see, I'm quite proud of my colleagues--I think we've assembled an amazing array of talent at all our campuses and I feel honored just having the chance to watch them work and learn from them.
  12. I'm not convinced either that the Grande pizza blend is as good as just using Grande mozzarella and adding your own blending cheeses. I'd have to ask pizzeria owners if there's a price difference which would be a tip off that it could be a way for them to use up ends and seconds or skim milk (low fat) mutz. Normally, grande is one of the best pizza mutz's, especially the full fat version. Any pizzeria guys tuning in? What do you know about this? Also, I agree with Phaelon that a small amount of dry aged cheese is all you need to buff up the flavor. I also am not against using cheddar in the blend, which I think has a nice character and melts good too. Let's hear from others about your favorite blends. By the way, there is nothing wrong with sticking simply with mutz, fresh or low moisture--it's pretty great by itself whne it's good quality. One trick for replicating wood-fired flavor in a home oven is to add a small amount of smoked mozzarella (or gouda) to the blend. Hey, we all know that pizza heads have a million tricks--let's hear some of them...
  13. Great info, Boulak! Jamie's baguette technique sounds like a variation of the pain a l'ancienne method that I've been using for so many wonderful products like baguettes, ciabatta, pizza, and focaccia. This technique has great implications for the next wave of craft baking in America and beyond. We've only scratched the surface of it's possibilities.
  14. Hi Sean, I don't know all the rubrics and how closely the DOC seal is monitored, but my sense is that this has been a better marketing idea more than a guarantee of great pizza. It does help in establishing that there is, in fact, a benchmark and standard to which pizzaioli should aspire, and it helps by establishing some decent criteria. Howwever, I think the establishment of "rules" is kind of a joke in that many of those who are certified break the rules as soon as they get their Vera Pizza Napoletana seal but, more importantly, the only rule that really matters in the end is the Flavor Rule (as I said in another post, flavor rules!). The very best pizzas I've had, even in Naples, were not DOC, and I think the trap for a DOC pizzaiolo is to think that he or she is now at the summit. The DOC rules are more like a springboard, as proven by people like Chris Bianco who makes a better Napoletana pizza than any DOC I've ever had, by bending the rules to work in his context, with his ingredients, in his environment. Whether its religion, politics, slow food, or pizza it's always dangerous to believe you have discovered THE holy grail, or THE blueprint for the only true pizza. This leads to elitism and arrogance and I've seen it undermine even the best of causes.
  15. I wish I could help with that but cakes are out of my depth. I would assume that you need to cut back on the chemical leaveners, as we discussed in the other posting for breads and quick breads. I believe, but can't be sure, that cakes should be treated like quick breads, including lowering the temp 1 degree per 100 feet above sea level (that's my guideline, but not everyone's), and you might want to drop in on a cake bakery and ask them what they do. Most bakers are willing to share such info (or risk you not coming back!). Good luck and let us know what you find. Are there any others of you with altitude tips?
  16. Good one!! Now I've got to get up there again and track it down. How did you hear about it?
  17. What a great trick--no wonder I like his sauce so much! This is one time when pre-cooking may be a plus.
  18. You're right it's Escalon, not Stanislau. They both are excellent brands, fairly comparable in terms of the riopeness of the tomatoes they choose. I think you'll be happy with either brand. Let me know which one you end up preferring. It would be a great survey for all of us to share favorite brands and why. Thanks!
  19. I don't think there are any real secrets. The sauce at DiFaro's in Brookly is one of the best I've had and I think the secret is Dominic DMarco (and his little orgegano plant in the window). Of course, he's been making pizzas in that same spot for the past 40 years. I think the key is to keep it simple and don't cook the sauce if your tomatoes come out of a can (and try to use ground whole plum tomatoes instead of puree or paste, or anything called "pizza sauce"). San Marzano is the famous Italian imported brand (and type) but there are many great American tomato products such as anything from Stanislaus (6 in 1 is their most famous pizzeria sauce and you can sometimes find it in small cans), Muir Glen, and even Hunts and other major brands. Use dried basil and oregano only if you like them, as well as granuated garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Don't mess with it too much--simple is often better than complex in this matter. Make it thin and easy to spread and don't use too much. I have a couple of recipe variations for this in "American Pie," but I think the main error home cooks make is to cook the sauce. It will get cooked on the pizza so if you cook it in advance it takes away from the brightness of flavor. Finally, in the end, it's a personal taste issue and, as cooks, it about personal touch.
  20. Hi, The struan you posted was the single loaf version I gave to the women who published the bread machine book, and it is basically the same as the one in Brother Junipers Bread Book which, if I recall, made two or three loaves. The Multi-grain Extraordinaire is a variation using preferment and soaker techniques. I think the finished product is almost the same in each, though I'd give a slight nod to the Extraordinaire, which has that extra step in it. One of the nice things about the original recipe is how easy it is to make yet how good it comes out, so feel free to try either or both and please let me know which one you like better. And definitely make some toast with it. I consider the best toasting bread I've ever had.
  21. Hi, I was wondering when we'd hear from the rye bread community (I call it the vocal minority). Your question is hard to answer without looking at your formulas so it could be any of the hunches you have. Adding more rise time may be the best place to start. Get a good first rise before going to the final shaping and rise (usually two rises is all it takes, primary (bulk) and final (individual loaves). Whose recipe or formula are you following? Aside from mine (which you haven't seen yet) there are some good ones in George Greenstein's book, "Secrets of a Jewish baker" as well as in many other fine books. The directions usually get you pretty close but your home environment could be a factor (dryness, room temperature, etc.). Since you're not a rookie, I'm assuming your dough looks and feels good (if too dry, it's okay to add more water while mixing), so maybe it's just fermentation time. Look at some recipes from various books and see if you're doing something counter to what is suggested, or try a new recipe, one that sounds good to you. Please keep me posted. Rye bread is an under-appreciated bread at this time in American baking. Peter
  22. Boy, this is a huge subject and I hope to write a book on it in the future. Not about how to do it, there are plenty of good ones out there already, but about the passion that exists in this uniquely American sub-culture. Very similar, in fact, to pizza passion, which really begs a deeper question that we touched on in an earlier post: from whence does this passion spring? We could get into serious riffs on the various regional styles (I love all the styles and whenever I travel I gladly partake of whatever that region is noted for). I especially love brisket, thin or thick, cooked long and slow, but really, there isn't any kind of 'que that I don't love. I think it's partly the smoke and partly that I love char, but there's much more at work here. The larger category, of which barbecuers and wood fired pizza and bread bakers are offshoots, is what I call the fire-freaks--people who just love cooking over or eating food cooked over or in live fire. It's primal, it's deep reaching, it's intense and delicious, did I say it's primal? I think this is key, not just because it seems to connect with our most ancient lineages and almost recapitulates our entire genetic history (how does it go: phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny?). But it's also communal, it's mysterious, it evokes both earthly and mystical images and emotions. It's powerful. Fire freaks, as personified by the barbecue circuit riders in competitions, are a community unto themselves, almost a church, and barbecue lovers who just like to buy and eat it, also partake of that community by proxy. And all of it speaks to the human condition, our heirarchy of needs, both existential and transcendental. So yeah, I love barbecue and I love the energy that comes out of the people who cook it--it's charcoal-stoked love. Hey, I think I just wrote the opening chapter of that book!
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