Michele Forgione, chef partner of Impasto in Montreal, is someone I call "fratello" (brother). And when he recently asked for some baker percent lessons from me, he shared his mama's recipe for taralli, welcoming me to his family. Lucky me.
I did make some adaptations, like avoiding the traditional semola rimacinata, forgoing fennel seeds and substituting kamut, as the former is difficult to find and the latter is its cousin. But I did use wine, a tradition in making it. Here is my first batch traditional Taralli. Thank you Mama Forgione. And son!
In hopes of achieving that elusive double slash (or grigne) on my facsimile of Sullivan Street Bakery'sTruccione loaf, I put out some selfies of my loaves in different corners of the bread diaspora. Below are some return words of advice that were returned.
Michael ThebakerJeremy as far as I can see there is no double grigne. Ear on one side only. due to cut and also the direction of mould, ie tension in dough. Double grigne only with two cuts in opposite directions. Sharp razor cut almost horizontal and NOT deep. The dough does the rest.
Michael ThebakerAngle almost horizontal BUT try to place every loaf with tension in the same direction otherwise some loaves will burst and some not. Cut away from tension do dough pulls back to make earb
pipsbread@jerm_11104 really? It looks young ... But even the profile shape hasn't slumped at all in the oven ... Go more water ... And maybe warmer or longer bulk ...
jerm_11104@pipsbread I bulk proofed for over 8 hours in fridge, it's 80% hyd, maybe longer final proof? Or I push the envelope to 95-100% hydr!?
pipsbread@jerm_11104 perhaps a little wetter with a warm bulk room temp, reckon it's not developed enough ... Preshape a little earlier than you normally would for room temp bulk and shape it tight and retard proof. Single score straight the middle with a tiny bit of an angle. See if that gets you a double gringe :)
Formulas. So important to any baker. So are parameters, a focus that has consumed me for a long time. In fact, over the past 12 years I have gone through as many different combinations of ingredients as I could. Along the way I have observed, photographed, written and filed the results fairly obsessively so that I could try and understand what happens when ingredients are combined in different ways. I don't think of it as "winging it" because of this emphasis on recording what happens; measuring and noting every ingredients that's added.Check out this post about parameters from Dan Lepard.
To a kilo of strong white flour... 1 litre of liquid makes a thick spoonable batter 1 1/2 litre makes a thick pouring batter 2 litres makes a thin pouring batter 750ml makes a very soft dough 650ml makes a medium soft dough 600ml makes a firm dough 550ml makes a very firm dough 500ml makes a very dry dough
Here's what I found along the way. Add time to the mixtures above; anything from 10 minutes to 100 hours and changes will be observed.
Anyway, on my latest trial of parameters, I explored adapting a bread from Baselland, Switzerland. I found a formula for it and, using the baker's best friend BreadStorm, went to work. Here's the formula.
"Truccione Saré" is the name of a dark baked sourdough sold at New York City's Sullivan Street Bakery. With its mahogany crust,it is crumb riddled with aveolage and with lovely scoring. I tasted it. I looked at it.
I liked it. And then I tried to create it from the bakery's webiste flour description of "60/40%,white and whole wheat," my goal to reach what James Lahey coined the "sweet spot."
Here is what I got on my first try. Dry, underproofed, under-hydrated bird feed. Oh, well, it's winter!
Not giving up, I played with the percents, adding more water and a well fed levain. This time I got something slightly sweeter. Next time I'll give it over-night fermentation, which I think is what they do at the bakery, judging from the blisters in the dough.
Still, the slash was off, I couldn't get the distinct double grigne, but the flavor was there and the crumb was pretty amazing.
My third attempt I used half white bread flour from "Farmer Ground", local from upstate New York. Which got a similar crumb, and an almost sweeter profile. The dough was left overnight to ferment for final proof and it worked nicely!
Just need to get the double grigne and I think I'm there, maybe even more water, Eli?
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!
When first starting to bake bread, I asked bakers around the world to share recipes with me. While going through old notes, I found an old email with a formula for a landbrot, a German rye shared with me by Biobäckerei Wagner in Rudertinger Germany.
In his wise words to a budding baker, he wrote, "Sourdough bread is complicated. You need a lot of experience. Anyway good luck!" After multiple second-rate results, I think I might of gotten it right. Finally! Here is my adaption, using just sourdough. Danke, backermeister Wagner!
Since making pane di carasau with kamut recently, I decided to not just eat it as a flat bread to dip but as a typical Sardinian dish Pane Carasau e uovo. Simply served with eggs, onions, tomato sauce and grated pecorino cheese, the carasau is re-hydrated with boiling water and a bit of vinegar, then layered and topped. It's so simple but the flavors and textures are so satisfying and easy to prepare.
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.