especially the bread baker.
I had the pleasure of being a baking apprentice last week at Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City.
I was there to help bake the daily 18 batard loaves and 20 fougasse loaves and learn how it's done by a master, who lives, eats and breathes BREAD.
But the process of making pizza dough for a thriving aritisanal pizza restaurant, along with loaves to serve with homemade butter to hungry patrons on a daily basis, is another story.
You are on a tight schedule here. You have a small window to get the dough ready for baking and then ready for the dinner crowd.
This dough is alive at all times. Living and breathing.
Waiting for you to boss it around, throwing it, barely touching it.
Punching it to de-gas it. Kneading it only to fold it, and pinching it only to seal the sides.
This is an exact science and I was amazed.
Take the temperature of everything with a thermometer, everyday.
Water temp, flour temp, air temp in the room, oven temp.
Measure. Weigh. Proof. Stretch and pull. Autolyse.
Enzymes. Proteins. Gluten.
I am nervous and afraid.
"Relax, and don't let the bread boss you, YOU are the boss".
"Pretend it's gum, you can't a blow a bubble when the gum is fresh, you have to wait until you chew it a bit".
"Dough is like gum", Dan tells me.
I understand this science of baking bread now much better, and believe me, science it is.
The doors open at 5:30 pm, so no dilly dallying here. It's work all day. 12 hours on your feet, prepping and creating.
Turning out a beautiful, delicious loaf and an even better pizza.
By 4 pm, we had made 18 beautiful loaves of bread, and Dan could tell which ones were mine, since mine were not as precise as his, and a bit longer in shape, I hope none of the customers noticed.
My day was done and we enjoyed the fruits of our labor.
Thank you Dan & Fred for the once in a lifetime opportunity.
I think I'll stick to food blogging.
275 Grove St.
Jersey City, NJ 07302