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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A couple of failures

A Bad Day for some Tartine Recipes

If you are going to make one mistake, you might as well make two.  Or even three.

In my case, I suspect that the reason the mistakes occurred was because I was trying to do two things at once.  I wanted to try the Tartine Pizza, and I wanted to make the Tartine Potato Focaccia.  Both had oven temperatures of 500 degrees F.  "Great!" I thought.  "I can trial them together!"

And that was my downfall, I guess.  The pizza stone was on the middle shelf and the focaccia was on the lower shelf.  The focaccia pan probably blocked some of the heat from the element, meaning the stone wasn't hot enough; and the pizza stone probably prevented heat from hitting the top of the potato focaccia.  So neither meal was properly cooked.

But there may have been another reason.  Both of them use the Tartine Country Bread Dough, which I had dutifully  turned every 30 minutes for 3 1/2 hours.  But the actual proofing time for these recipes was minimal (it seems to be a bit of a grey area in the recipe as given) and both doughs came off as inadequately baked.

It was late at night when I read the recipe and transferred it to my recipe card, so I really ought to go back to the book and see if I've made any errors in timing or method.

My First Tartine Pizza

I was more interested in the dough than in toppings here, so I just used cheap mozzarella, cheap tomato sauce, cheap canned mushrooms and cheap Italian seasoning.  It was merely an experiment to see how the dough performed.

The oven was definitely hot enough.  And I baked it for longer than the recipe calls for.  Nevertheless, it was not baked.

Dough is uncooked.  Never developed for some reason, once it was formed.
The dough was the worst part.

My First Tartine Potato Focaccia

Tastes great, but the uncooked dough gives me a belly ache.  I stuck it back in the oven for another 10 minutes after trying my first piece, but that of course, didn't fix the mistake.  If it had worked, this would have been a great recipe.
that's about how many potatoes you need
One potato.  That's how thin the mandoline makes the potatoes -- paper thin.

That's the mound of potato thins it makes.  Potato Chips, anyone?

We have our own garden thyme.  How much is a 'bunch'?

I used about this much.

Add the salt -- and the water (and some starch) simply pours out of the potatoes.
This is less than 1/2 of what I wiped up off the counter before I set the colander over the bowl.

fresh pepper, 1/2 the thyme, and the oil are added

looks and feels a bit like pasta, actually

The dough when first dumped on the oiled pan

After gently pulling it to the edges

that's a lot of spuds

Baked, but not enough.
Uncooked, doughy -- but tastes like the promise of a good recipe


Awful.  Try try again.

Notes to Myself
  • The pizza recipe uses about 1/3 of the dough from a Tartine country bread recipe.  With the remaining dough, I made a couple of 'small loaves' in the already hot oven.  They didn't turn out either.  They didn't rise very long in the proofing stage -- maybe 1 1/2 hours -- but I feel they should have done better than they did.  I didn't put them in the dutch oven, but rather baked them on the already-hot pizza stone.  They deflated and didn't achieve any oven spring.  They were misshapen, and I expected perhaps a ciabatta-like bread.  But it shows signs of being not well risen.  These loaves got tossed in the compost.

    The dough was the problem! 
    The lack of proper bulk fermentation was the problem! 
    The baking temperature was the problem!
  • Probably the wild yeast was to blame: I'd made 3 batches of starter and placed them in the fridge overnight.  Perhaps they needed much longer than 3 1/2 hours to bulk ferment, if they started out fairly cold.
  • Make these one at a time, next time.

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