Stone Turtle

Went to a bread baking class today at the Stone Turtle Baking and Cooking School.  Michael and Sandy Jubinsky are two people who love what they do.  For 30+ years Michael was the spokesperson for King Arthur Flour and in 2011, he was voted one of the ten best bread bakers in America.  He knows his stuff.

Michael is retired, and in a typical fashion up here, going stronger than ever.  He and Sandy built a home, a classroom/bake shop and an awesome wood-fired Le Panyol Stone Oven from France. Stoking the fire with kiln-dried oak (4% moisture) and maple hewn from his property, the oven burns up to 1079 degrees at the dome, 982 degrees on the floor and and produces bread with crust and crumb to die for.

Today’s class was Italian-Style Hearth Breads: a biga pre-ferment, equal parts durum wheat and all-purpose flour (11.7% protein – less gluten than bread flour), some olive oil and slow-to-ferment gift you a tight textured, golden-hued piece de resistance.  Perfect for toast!  Great with a glass of wine!

There were ten students in the class.  We each made two loaves, 700 grams each with approx. 64% hydration (ratio of water to flour), proofed, stretched and folded three times, then ultimately shaped into a boule and placed upon a bread peel.  The oven had cooled to just below 600 degrees, and the bread baked for 16 minutes.

We each had a special marking pattern.  My two loaves are in the photo to the right, below.

The 64% hydration is somewhat “moderate”; Stephen Lanzalotta, a local baker, makes breads upwards of 85% + hydration – rather like pancake batter – that he kneads by hand, slowly forming the gluten strands that bind and form a superb crumb; his bread lines stretch out the door, buyers waiting up to an hour to purchase his breads.

Of late, wood-fired ovens are the vogue, but they have been around since at least 300 BC when the Greeks enclosed fire within a flame-resistant mortar shell.  But history here is moot; what matters today is crust and crumb:

4 Comments on “Stone Turtle”

  1. Jane says:

    WOW, D, look at that! Just like Scratch, no? amazing…. J.

  2. Barbara Mahany says:

    wish I were there to eat some.Will that recipe work in a
    regular over?Will you share it??Mom

  3. Annamarie Behring says:

    What interesting people you were able to learn from. I am impressed by their handmade oven using wood from their own property! I just love making bread, especially the kneading…and the beautiful aromas…I wish I could have had some.

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