Bread blogger Barbara Elisi, a Roman baker living in Sweden, recently explored the meaning of companatico. From Latin "cum panis" (with bread) she explained that it comes from the same ethymology as compagno; friend. As in friend with whom to share bread - compagno or cum panis.
In keeping with that idea, I decided to give her formula that incorporated barley, spelt and wheat flours a go. She gave me some ideas of parameters and percents. With Breadstorm as my guide, I popped this formula out between shifts at work. Hectic baking! What came out of the oven was something I'd definitely share with a friend. Grazie Barbara!
It's always interesting to speak with James Lahey,protagonist of "no knead" bread and owner of New York's pizza restaurant, Sullivan Street Bakery. Recently, James and I connected on Facebook and he invited me down to watch him making some pizza at his Chelsea-based bakery. James is an encyclopedia of all sorts of information. We talked while he tossed dough, sharing his knowledge while he topped the pies. Here are some photos of the evening.
Not long ago on twitter, I met Italian baker Sara Ballerini, who now lives in Spain. Both Sara and I have a love for all things fermented. Since our first meeting, I've enjoyed Sara's support as a lover of great tidings from sour dough, baking, and ovens. More, Sara has managed to overcome the Euro crisis, her smarts and skills translating to opening a micro-bakery in the Spanish city of Sitges, near Barcelona. It's called Pizca Good Bakes (in English, "pizca" translates to "pinch"). To celebrate her opening, I decided to play with a formula she shared with me. My adaption is in percentages and makeup of flour, but in line with a fantastic new bread partnership of hearts and dreams.
The bread community reminds me of sour dough. From each inspired shared experience from a baker (the starter) a new baker is born. My interest in baking came from reading a few initial books. Something in that experience was powerful. In just the first few pages, I repeatedly found myself hurrying straight to the formulas, impatient to bake. My interest grew. I finally went to school to learn the craft. On my free time I staged nights in commercial bakeries. The passion grew. On trips abroad I baked, and explored regional styles, learned, exchanged, methods, techniques and formulas with fellow bakers.
Well, there's a new book out that may well inspire many more passionate bakers. It's written by a friend and fellow baker. Sourdoughist and fellow cycling enthusiast, Ibán Yarza the piped piper baker of Spain. "Pan Casero", or home made bread, is the title of his new book he wrote. This embodies the baker community, refreshing, building a exchange gift and love of bread, gracias panadero! It's terrific. And yes, inspiring.
Recently, I found a Brazillian baker named Marcos de Carvalho, making a ciabatta with 65-percent whole wheat and a hydration of 80 percent. Compared to what we do in United States, that formula proportion is low, given our hydration heroes pushing the envelope to ninety and beyond. Marco explained that the flour in Brazil wouldn't take more water than the 80 percent point.
I gave it a shot. With Marco's basic guidance and intuition, I ended up with a chewy and delicious bread. I really enjoyed the healthier addition of whole wheat.
Some time ago, my pizzaiolo/baker friend Alessandro Lunardi inspired me with some wonderful photos of a semola-based bread on Facebook. I love the rich taste of this semola rimacinata flour. And so I tried translating his formula into a loaf in my kitchen. After multiple tries, none quite right, I reached out to other bakers for help. Spanish baker, Pablo Conessa of Alternative Bakery in Seville, suggested adding half semola and white kamut. The end result? I finally got what some bakers sometimes call" a juicy loaf," chewy and simultaneously crusty. Thank you, Alessandro and Pablo.
You can find a boulangerie on every corner in Paris. And it's there where I first found Eric Kayser Boulangerie, all by chance. Just walking. Eric Kayser has built a world wide baking empire, most recently opening one here in New York City. Again, I happened to come upon it last October while wandering through the Upper East Side where its located. I decided to revisit it this past weekend. Here are some shots of what I found.
Ever since my interest in baking bread caught fever, I have managed to fenagle formulas from bakers worldwide. Sometimes the formulas take years to actually get right at home. Other times I hit it immediately.
One baker has helped me out in particular, someone who goes by the pseudonym Le Globe trotteur. I met Le Globe Trotteur on Facebook. He's based in Barcelona. He was kind enough to give me a formula for his "walnut red wine bread," which I'd had parked for awhile in my files. Finally trying it for clients of my micro bakery, I managed to get it right the first time, and ended up keeping a loaf for myself.
Le Globe Trotteur's red wine walnut bread
700g levain (60%hydrated
Walnut red wine bread
Walnut 800g and red wine 600gr
White flour, t 65 1.600kg
With the white flour put your maceration add 600cl more of water
Mix it 5 min and let it rest at least 45 min. (Autolyse)
If you use Levain liquide better to get only 500g of water
because the sugars will work and dilated strongly so i recommend to use hard
sourdough for this product 700g (60%)
You can try both anyway.
Well after your Autolyse introduce your levain(Whatever it
is)2g of yeast and let it in first velocity (speed) during 3 min
After your 3 minutes add the salt,40g and let it mix in
first velocity (speed) 12min
When you've got the dough ready (mixed) let it proof 1hour in a bowl with a
bit of oil (no flour)
Give it a rabat (fold), proof one more hour.
So after your rabat (fold) and after two hours 2 hours, get it out from your bowl and weigh it to whatever weight you want, pre-shape, and let it
rest 30 40 minutes, the give it the final shape. Give it a three hour proof,(if not
If your retard the dough, do exactly the same process to the folding letting it proof hour more after it's shaped, then into the
fridge. Next day take the dough out of the fridge divide it let it rest 40 minutes. shape and let
it proof, then into the oven around 250 Celcius or 485 Farenheit.
Rye red wine crust (Optional)
Mix this paste the day before. Smear the paste on proofed loaves, and bake. Try some and leave one with and one without to decide which is your favorite one. Let it cool 2 hours et voila bonne!
Israeli baker Uri Scheft introduced himself to me about two years ago on Facebook. Since that first chat he's been back and forth to New York, and we've talked bread, life and bread. Uri is a constant thinker, always in various time zones, wondering I'm sure what's going on in Tel Aviv, home of his Lehamim Bakery. This past weekend he's been in New York working on the opening of Breads Bakery, his latest venture.
I've had the pleasure of seeing the place move from an idea through to its opening. Uri sent me a message; "come see me, say hello!" After a lunch shift at my job, I headed down, and he gave me a quick tour around the completed space.
"You're ready to make some bread?" he asked. Uri was in full swing, rolling and shaping challah, directing the new staff to task, mixing dough and schmoozing between various guests and partners. I, on the other hand got a proper look at shaping challah, as well as gazing at the different loaves. Here is my view.