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Things To Do in the Current Pandemic: Baking and Bread Flour and Recurring Journal Themes

  In the current Pandemic it seems everyone is baking bread. Less than 11 months ago I was thinking about all the bread baking I wanted to do. Dick actually came home with a list of the flours available at the local co-op. I don’t have much kitchen space though, so I put it off. […]

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Coal Fired Pizza?

Blacksheepcoal

Above: Oven fuel.

Friday night, after visiting a gallery with my friend Linda, she recalled her father mentioning a new pizza restaurant opening up on Washington Ave. North, in Minneapolis. Linda has a great memory for locations. We were only a couple blocks away and decided to stop in.

Black Sheep Pizza at 600 Washington Ave. North, Minneapolis, makes the best pizza I have ever eaten. They use coal to fuel their ovens. Their menu says:

Coal was burned in the first ovens used to bake pizza in the United States. Today these restaurants, found mostly in Brooklyn and New York, define the "American" pizza experience by still using coal to make some of the best pizza in the world. As the first coal-burning pizza restaurant in Minnesota, Black Sheep Pizza seeks to honor the craft of these pioneers by using clean burning, virtually emission-free Anthracite coal and the best ingredients possible to create the great American pizza experience for you.
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Bread Baking: in not quite 5 minutes a day

Years ago I made bread almost daily. I worked at a job which allowed me to get home early and deal with a second rising (I was also running over 10 miles a day). Many life interventions later I missed the bread but wasn't enthused about all the labor I'd be taking on again. Then in January a friend recommended a book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

You can watch authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois talk about their straightforward approach at YouTube. (I wanted to embed the video in my blog but YouTube is doing some house cleaning tonight and I can't set that up. I hope this link works instead.) Their method calls for making a large sponge or batch of dough which you store in the refrigerator. When you want bread you cut off a hunk of this, form a loaf, let it rise, and bake it. The authors' techniques include using a baking stone and pouring water into a boiler pan in the oven to create steam. The resultant loaves are crusty, delicious, and easily reproducible.

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