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Looking to improve my Bread Service

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello Chefs!


I am the Head Chef at an Italian Trattoria & Pizzeria in Cary, NC and looking to improve our current bread service.


Here is what we currently provide:


We use pizza dough that we allow to rise into a boule shaped loaf.  We make two shallow cuts across the dough and bake until golden brown.  The bread is held in a proofer and our servers then bring to a small bread drawer in the kitchen.  Servers cut the boule into a 1/4 section, slice, place in a wicker basket and serve with those little whipped butter cups.  The quality of the bread is pretty good, especially freshly baked, yet it seems very generic.  We typically bake 20-40 boules a day.  The owner and his wife would like to see a more interesting and flavorful offering.


The pizza Chef and I have done many experiments over the past few months with limited success.  What I'm hoping to find from ChefTalk is a solid recipe.  I  envision a small loaf, more flavor, airy, nice crust that would be perfect for a two-top etc.  I really would also like to switch from butter to EVOO/herb mix (that is the easy part).


If any chef/bakers have suggestions on Italian bread recipes please contact me via this forum or email me:


Chef Michael

post #2 of 7

focaccia bread, warm bread sticks,herbed.... extra virgn olive oil on the table or a small bowl of xvoo with a dollop of basil pesto in it and the guests can stir it up themselves, or if not the pesto, just some herbs or italian seasoning, or at the very least some cracked black pepper. i maka a poor mans 'boursin' to serve with our bread baskets along with butter and olive oil on the table.  the 'boursin' is cream cheese, italian seasoning, granulated garlic, dill and tarragon...easy breezy....


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #3 of 7
You're hoping someone will PM you on the DL with proven recipes for free? Good luck.

Here's some generic advice:

If you're going to continue to use the same formula for pizza and bread doughs, you'll want to knead the bread dough considerably more to get it lighter, more open, and with a better chew.

Try building your bread dough around a biga (or a French style poolish). It will add tang and lightness. You can also use a biga based dough for pizza.

Shape your white bread dough into rings, egg wash the tops, and give them heavy dose of sesame seeds before baking.

In addition to butter, serve small bowls of extra virgin olive oil with a little chopped and garlic.

Focaccia is an excellent idea.

A "boule shaped loaf" is a [drum roll]... wait for it [more drum roll]... boule. Just sayin'.

post #4 of 7

I'd have to agree with the focaccia idea -- it's a very wet dough, and comes out very airy with a lot of tunneling.  There's so much you can do with flavorings by adding some fresh herbs like rosemary or even oregano...  maybe toss in some dehydrated tomato skins one day if you do your own sauce.


Also, while you hit on all of the points of herbs, crust and crumb, don't neglect the actual flavor of the bread; if you have the space in the refrigerator, make your dough a couple of days ahead of time to allow time to ferment and really develop the flavor.  Bread can be a great draw to a restaurant if you do it memorably.

post #5 of 7

Regular focaccia is not made from pizza dough.  It needs a biga.   Of course, you can make what you like as you like and call it whatever you want.  But if you want focaccia tang and texture, you're not going to get it with ordinary pizza dough no matter how you shape it.  


Do you want to make separate doughs for your bread service?  Or, stick with what you can get out of your pizza dough? 


You might also consider adding a poolish or biga to your pizza dough, or making some other adjustments so both the pizza crust and bread are more interesting.  One of the few really good pizza places in the Los Angeles area, Abbot's Pizza Co. in Venice, uses something very much like bagel dough for its crust. 



post #6 of 7


Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post


You might also consider adding a poolish or biga to your pizza dough

This would be a really good idea.  I recently had a pizza from a fairly upscale restaurant the other week and was incredibly disappointed because the crust had ZERO flavor.  Great, homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil, but the crust could've been made out of cardboard and it would've tasted better that the bread.

post #7 of 7

Parbake your bread.  Fire them 1-2 trays at a time during dinner service.


Also if you're making pizza dough it shouldn't be too difficult to make a couple batches of bread should it?

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