Category Archives: Bread and baking

Baubilt Pizza

Once you’ve mastered Baubilt Bread…or really any of the various Bittman recipe variants, pizza is a snap.

I modify the bread dough slightly, using an 80 percent hydration dough (e.g., 80 grams water for every 100 grams flour). I usually mix 700 g flour and 560 g water, which gives me two nice big pizzas. Otherwise, I prepare the dough exactly as for bread.

Even at 80 percent, this dough is still much wetter than most pizza dough, so you can’t really roll it or toss it to form a flat shell. Rather, I press it with my fingers and hands to stretch it to fit a rectangular non-stick baking sheet. I use olive oil on the tray and I spread some olive oil on the top of the dough to prevent sticking to my hands, too. Since I like lots of olive oil on the pizza anyway, this is win-win.

Once the dough is spread (and good luck getting it to really stretch perfectly into the corners of the pan…you’re going to unavoidably end up with some rebound) I bake for 10-15 minutes at 450F. Then, I remove it from the oven, and apply tomatoes and toppings.

Update: I thought about how to avoid that pesky rebound of the dough in the pan. I tried putting mugs in each corner and baking this way for the first few minutes. Worked pretty well, but this may be a bit obsessive.

Update 2: Another method that is pretty effective is to apply some olive oil to a sheet of Saran wrap and then lay the wrap over the dough before pressing/stretching. This avoids the sticky hands problem and works quite well. You can apply and re-apply the wrap to different sections of the dough until you’re happy with the stretch.

For sauce, I simmer canned crushed tomatoes (Pomi, Furmano’s, Muir Glen, Tutto Rosso…any brand you like) with basil and garlic to remove some of the water (thus preventing soggy pizza). Of course, you can put whatever you want on a pizza. I like broccoli, onions, oil-cured olives, and fresh mozzarella.

Update: my method has now evolved to THREE baking steps…first, bake the dough until it is nearly done (10-15 minutes), then spread lots of tomato sauce and bake for another 5-10 minutes (this dehydrates the sauce somewhat, increasing its intensity and further minimizing the risk of soggy crust), and finally add toppings/cheese and bake until everything is nice and melted.

The dough should be chewy, crusty, and full of air pockets. Yum squared.

Basic Baubilt Bread

Many people have tried the outstanding no-knead bread recipe adapted from the Sullivan Street Bakery, published in the New York Times (at least twice) by Mark Bittman, and the subject of a lot of follow-up traffic on the internet.

I tried each version of the recipe as it became simpler. Bittman now claims 5 minutes of labor to make a loaf. I think I’ve got it down to half that. The crux move for me was discovering a teflon-coated ceramic baking dish that can serve as the single receptacle for the entire process, including mixing, rising, and baking. The dish I have is shown here along with the finished loaf. It’s available from Amazon for $39.99. (No, I’m not a shill for the manufacturer. Yes, I do get 80 cents if you buy one from Amazon.)

Baubilt Bread Recipe

  1. Place teflon-coated baking dish on a digital kitchen scale and press “tare” to zero scale.
  2. Add 600 g of flour to the dish.  (I dump some white flour in and then dump in some whole wheat flour, aiming for about 1/3 whole wheat, but I’m not fussy about it. Mix in 2 teaspoons salt and about 1 teaspoon dry yeast. (Folks, it doesn’t really matter how much yeast you use… 1/2 t to 1 T will work fine; the critters multiply like crazy.)
  3. Press “tare” again to zero scale.
  4. Add 540 g water. (The precise values don’t matter…what does matter is the ratio, that you add 90% as much water as flour by weight…a so-called 90 percent hydration dough….really wet by bread dough standards, which is why this recipe has such nice bubbles and doesn’t require kneading.)
  5. Mix the dough until it’s a uniform consistency (just a few strokes to get everything mixed thoroughly).

  • Let the dough rise in the covered dish for 5-10 hours, with 7-8 hours the ideal, depending on temperature. Mine rises at about 70F, the temperature in my kitchen.

  • Turn your oven on and set to 500F.  Stir the dough to “knock it down.” The dough will be pretty gooey. Wipe off the edges/sides of the dish to remove any dough residue so it doesn’t burn to a crisp in the oven. Put the lid back on and let the dough rest/rise while the oven preheats.

  • Put the covered dish in oven and turn the oven down to 450F.  Bake for 45 minutes. (The initial 500F jolt is to make up for skipping Bittman’s step of pre-heating the pan, etc.)
  • Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes (or until the internal temperature of the loaf, via an instant-read thermometer, 200F).
  • Turn the baked bread out on cooling rack. (It should fall right out of this pan.)
  • Using a Plain Old Pan

    Of course you can bake bread without a teflon-coated ceramic baking dish. Before getting my baking dish I used a plain old 6-quart dutch oven (a stainless and aluminum model from Sur La Table with metal handles). But, you’ll probably need to use a bowl for steps 1-7 and then flop the ball of dough into a well-oiled pan before baking. I’ve never tried using a plain metal pan from start to finish, but I’m guessing the bread will stick badly to the pan if you try that approach. You do need to use a pan with a good lid, although I suppose foil might work.

    Further notes:

    Yes, of course different flour types give different results. I use plain old U.S. all-purpose flour plus Trader Joe’s white whole wheat flour, but I’ve used all kinds with good results. The bread is sinful with 100 percent white flour. One third whole wheat provides a veneer of nutritional respectability without much compromise in yumminess.

    I use grams on the scale because the units feel nice and precise to me.  I realize I’m mixing imperial and metric units. Sue me. A digital scale is a good thing to have in a kitchen, but if you don’t have one, then measure out 5 cups of flour (about 625 g) and 19 oz. water (563 g, which is 90% of 625 g).

    An instant-read thermometer is better than timing the baking. Let the final (uncovered) phase go until the internal temperature of the bread is 200F.