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Favorite Meal Pizza and Gardening

If there is one single most favorite bread based meal request there is, nothing beats Pizza and its variations. And being a Pizza and flat bread lover that i am, i cannot wait for the morning to jump start my pizza making chores. Of course, with the assortments of toppings i can scavenge from the pantry and fridge.

If you think about it, Pizza and French dough is like a dough that cannot be described as hard and easy. I think both words can describe it because my pizza/french dough takes at least 3 days to make, day 1 for the sponge, day 2 first mix, day 3 final mix where you get to use the dough for your breads.

That makes it hard. Hard to understand why i have to spend 3 days to make it when you can buy a baguette and ready made pizza dough for 50 to 60 pesos right? Well you see, it's the flavor and aroma and texture and.... so on. I cannot tell you exactly, nor describe it to you point by point, to make it short, nothing beats freshly made slow rise baguette and pizza crust. Nothing.

That goes the same with any artisan bread such as focaccia, ciabatta etc...

So what makes it look easy then? It's the ingredients. Only four, flour, yeast, salt and water. That's it. You look at the recipe and you go, oh okay, this is a no brainer. I just mix all 4 and then that's it right? Nope.

Do it like that, and you will end up with a dough, or a crust, or a baguette whatever. But it will not have that extra flavor and aroma, that a fermented sponge or slow rise bread has. To me i like it to a bland unsalted, no garlic, no onion dish. It is there, but it is flavorless and has no personality.

For emergency purposes, i like to make sure that i have a sponge hybernating somewhere in my fridge, at the coolest spot, labeled. Since i bake a lot, it does not go bad at all. Simple. Flour and water. No yeast at all. Just let it stay there, it will bubble in about 3 days.

You know if your sponge or starter went bad if the creamy color turned darker, slightly yellowish or even worst, PINK!!! Throw it away and start again.
Also, smell it. It should have that nice, soury smell almost like bad yogurt bad not really bad. Well, you will get used to it once you get elbow deep into baking breads.
Just mix the starter with the rest of the ingredients and it does not matter if you knead it by hand, ( make my students knead their dough twice in my class), or mix it in a commercial mixer (do not use your hand dough mixer), they all end up with the same results.

Mix until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, resting it here and there.
In my case, i mix the starter with the dough on the 2nd day, about 2 7 minute cycles and then i place it in a bowl, cover it and tuck it at the bottom of my stand freezer. The food down there does not freeze so it is the only place where my large lidded bowl would fit.

2nd day, i finish the mixing, maybe about 1 more 7 minute or if i am lucky, no mixing at all. If the quality of the flour is excellent, the dough will not need any mixing at all, and if i will use the dough for Pizzas. For French breads, you need to make sure the gluten is 100% elastic. For fla tbreads, 95% or even less is sufficient.

Yes, there's mussels and some bits of bacon, tomatoes, and lots of onions in there.
This is why i grow my own herbs because i can put dill, cilantro, mint etc... on top, something you won't get when you buy them out.

So have fun, and make your own pizza now!!! And also do some gardening folks, compost your kitchen waste by burying them in your garden, or punch holes in a large bucket, alternate it with veggie peels and paper rejects, soil and in 3 months, these buckets can be filled with soil to plant your peppers and tomatoes etc...

Or, do hydroponics if you are not into soil gardening...but be cautious, the mosquitoes will find their way into the water no matter how small the hole is so plug them all up.

My Orange Habaneros, first harvest. 2nd harvest looks more plentiful, looking at maybe close to  hundred compared to 70 the last time. 

For hands on bread making lessons, if you want to open a bakery or just have a go with eating your own style of breads, please visit or text Shirley Villafranca at 09495705091 for the latest schedule.


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