I usually post these a week after sending them to the email list (which you should sign up for ASAP) and without comment, but this week I should say that for reasons outside of my control, the bread I produced on Week 3 was not very good. It was massively over proofed and ended up coming out like pancakes. I ended up tossing a bunch of it and giving the rest to anyone who wanted it for free. Lessons were learned!
Having a hard time believing that summer is almost over, but I’m doing my best to enjoy the last of it. We’ve been snacking on garden tomatoes and carrots and roasting eggplant like it's our job. With all the horrible shit going on in the world, baking has been my escape and hopefully, you’ll feel the love in the loaves.
There are still shares available! I’ll also be doing some offsite events in the near future! Stay tuned.
This Week’s Loaf: Whole Wheat Semolina Sesame
I’m addicted to the smell of Semolina. Even at only 15% of the total flour in this bread, it has an aroma like nothing else. I’m really only trying to try to find some echo of my semolina ideal: a batard shaped loaf from Parissi Bakery in Manhattan. Parissi is one of my all time favorite places, and their semolina bread, covered in sesame seeds and ideally stuffed with some amazing collection of cured meat, fresh mozz, and fresh roasted peppers, is the pinnacle of the art. My version is a little more wheaty, with a more open crumb: ideal for dragging through sauce or drenched in the best olive oil you can find.
In my dream of a future sandwich shop, a really good meatball sub will be one of the signatures. Served on fresh semolina and stuffed with the best meatballs and the richest sauce, it will be one that you will have to force yourself not to order, just so you can try something else once in a while.
In the meantime, you can make this meatball recipe, from The Pizza Book but with all real credit to Frankies 457.
We love any kind of meatball, but our favorite variety is Italian. Of the Italian kind, the best meatball can be found at our favorite restaurant in Brooklyn, Frankies Spuntino in Carroll Gardens (named after the two Franks who own and operate the business). People travel from all over to try their incredible food, and when they finally released their cookbook, The Frankies Spuntino Cooking Manual, we devoured nearly every recipe in the book. To say it was an inspiration for this book would be an understatement. The meatballs, more than anything else, have become a staple dish in both our kitchens. These meatballs are studded with sweet and savory flavors. We like making big batches, eating some immediately and freezing the rest to top one our favorite pizzas.
We’ve slightly adapted the Frankies recipe to fit our needs. Instead of adding ingredients whole or roughly chopped, we take a short cut and pulse them all together in a food processor (or roughly together with a knife). By having smaller pieces of each ingredient we ensure that each meatball has all of the delicious flavors we love in every single bite, and one broken up and topped on a pizza.
- 2 thick slices of white or Italian bread
- ½ cup (60g) Pecorino Romano
- ¼ cup (40g) raisins
- ¼ cup (40g) pine nuts
- ½ cup (30g) fresh flat leaf parsley
- 3 (5g) cloves garlic
- 1½ teaspoons (10g) kosher salt
- 2 lbs. (900g) ground beef
- 4 large eggs
- 5g black pepper
- ½ cup (50g) panko or other coarse bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In a small bowl, submerge the bread in water for 10 minutes. Drain and carefully wring out the bread, trying to squeeze as much water out as possible. Add to a very large bowl.
Chop the Pecorino into ½" chunks. To the bowl of a food processor add the chunked Pecorino, raisins, pine nuts, parsley, garlic, and salt. Pulse until the mixture forms uniform small pieces, but before it becomes paste-like. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl with the soaked bread.
Add the beef, eggs, and pepper to the bowl and use your hands to mix well. The mixture should appear uniformly spiked with green, red, yellow, and black. Feel the texture of the mixture: it should feel wet and sticky. Add the panko or breadcrumbs to the mixture and combine; it should start to feel a little more dry and malleable. If it’s not sticking together and feels too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Take a ping pong size piece of the mixture and roll it between your palms into balls. Place the finished balls in rows on the parchment paper giving them room to breathe (at least 1" between each meatball). Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until slightly browned on the outside but still spongy to the touch.
At this point, you can take as many as you’ll eat tonight and simmer them slowly in your favorite tomato sauce (not to cook them, but to add the meatball flavor to the sauce). Take the rest and freeze them for sandwiches or pizza.
Now Playing: Milo - Who Told You to Think??!!?!?! (Spotify)
Milo has been making some of the most unique and truly interesting hip-hop for a while now. His new album (which dropped last week) has been in heavy rotation. It's melodic and jazz inflected, conscious without being pretentious. Listen!