The left side of my jaw is still sore from a bread-related incident two weeks ago. Maybe it was because I was in a bad mood. Maybe it was because I chomped down on a piece of sourdough bread with a rustic crust. Result? Twofold: a jaw muscle that won’t fully close without and ache that ought to be accompanied by a [boing!] and a realization that perhaps there’s such a thing as too crusty. I know, it’s sacrilegious, coming from an artisan baker, but recently my sourdough pizza crust, ciabatta, and bread have been testing the structural integrity of my teeth. Solution: add fat.
I’ve long resisted complicating the holy trinity of sourdough: water, salt, and flour. So I figured I’d start with the no-knead ciabatta. I swapped out 15% of the water with olive oil and the result was fantastic. Now I have a bread that doesn’t form a massive pita pocket of air, can be cut with something other than a lightsaber, and can actually form a sandwich that won’t leave granny’s dentures embedded in it. I’ve updated my recipe here with the note that for thin, crusty, and chewy is as simple as removing the oil.
Next came the pizza dough. My sourdough pizza dough is just the bread dough flattened out and strewn (struth!) with toppings. This weekend I replaced 10% of the water with olive oil. Let me tell you first that you know when kneading sourdough that the gluten is forming when it transforms from nubby to satiny smooth under your hands. With the addition of olive oil the dough started as satin and ended with…maidens may blush…something akin to a breast. Beautifully soft and creamy pale with both elasticity and strength. Who knew adding fat could make such a difference. This week I’ll report on the results of olive oil pizza dough. But already I got to first base with the dough so I’m hopeful!