Here’s a true theory of bread making and pizza making. Those who make pizza can make bread. Those who make bread can make pizza. The fact of the matter is that these two skills are almost synonymous and just about interchangeable.
My pizza making has led me on the path of making some wonderful bread. Once you have worked dough a few times and are comfortable with it, there is no reason you cannot be making incredible bread as well.
For this bread adventure I decided to use the one of the bread recipes found in Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Everyday. This volume is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to journey into the world of bread baking. This book not only contains recipes but instructs you on the finer techniques to take your bread making skills to a higher level.
As Peter explained to me, one of the best tricks to making bread (or pizza dough) is to make your dough the night before. The reason for this is the dough will have a chance to fully develop flavor which greatly improves the final outcome.
The recipe I used was for Classic French Bread (pg. 49):
- 5 1/3 Cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt (I used Hawaiian Salt)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
- 2 cups water
I did a variation of the recipe contained in the book. I used the autolyse method while making the dough. This very simple method can have very dramatic results. The method is so easy it almost seems counter intuitive. All that you do is to start by mixing the flour and water together. Wait about 30 to 40 minutes before you add the other ingredients. That’s it: simple easy!
After I mixed all the dough ingredients together, I immediately put the dough in the fridge to allow it to do a cold ferment over night. This is another simple step which will greatly improve the flavor of your bread.
After a 24 four cold ferment in the fridge, the dough was almost ready for baking. You need to allow the dough to warm up to room temperature before you can bake the dough.
I decided to make several small baguettes, dinner rolls as well as a little left over for a special project. The shaping process is explained by Peter in his book.
I baked the bread and rolls on a preheated pizza stone at about 500+ F. The rolls and bread were small and they cooked up rather quickly (6-10 minutes)
I sprayed the baguettes lightly with olive oil before I put them in the oven. The taste was simply outstanding. there is nothing quite as good as hot bread coming right out of the oven.
I think allowing the dough to proof overnight in the fridge was the key. This is basically the same process I use when I make pizza.
So remember if you make pizza you can make great bread and if you make bread you can certainly make great pizza! As a great blues philosopher once said: “When I make bread and pizza, I got my mojo working..” 😉
Go out and create your own magic, by making bread!
Claim a copy of Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day right here.
And I also recommend: what I consider the Bible of Bread: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread