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Thursday, August 11, 2011

“Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XXII: Pane al Formaggio—Italian Cheese Bread a Great Way to utilize Old Cheeses”

The Steve Miller Band’s seventeenth album, “Living in the 20th Century” came out in 1986, and failed to chart just like its predecessor, “Italian X-Rays.” This album was somewhat better than the other and is worth taking a listen and maybe buying.  Steve Miller’s guitar work is always extraordinary and no matter the quality of the songs, he delivers the goods. As we are collectors ourselves, we promote a band’s entire discography which means we like the dogs as much as the great ones so we heartily recommend that you buy it so by all means take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and buy it now! You won’t be disappointed! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.  


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 498 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef Vladimir Gdansk

END Commentary 08-12-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 3,929.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Friday, August 12, 2011 by Chef Vladimir Gdansk


 Yeast Bread Seminar, Pt. XXII: Pane al Formaggio—Italian Cheese Bread a Great Way to utilize Old Cheeses

Bakersfield, CA, 08-12-2011 F:  Well, here it is Friday, already, and I am still here which means everyone else gets to spend time down on 19th Street at the Mint and Ernie’s Cocktail Lounges.  Summertime in Bakersfield, CA, is not a pleasant time unless, of course, you enjoy the scorching heat of the California desert.  People who’ve never been to the state seem to think that it’s much cooler than it really is and when they arrive in the Central Valley, moan and whine at the heat that radiates up off of the street.  Having spent most of my life over on the coast in places like Ventura Beach, Pismo Beach, and points farther south, I can sympathize but then, having spent time here in Kern County and up north in Kings and Tulare Counties, I know what it’s like and have come to enjoy it.  I feel at times that I am akin to the old legionnaires of the French Foreign Legion who tramped about the deserts of North Africa with the exception that I don’t have to wear woolen overcoats.  How the hell they did it is beyond me! I wonder what the company chefs were like?

Today, we are going to make another Italian loaf—Pane al Formaggio—Italian cheese bread.  Many times in professional kitchens just as in most homes, chefs are plagued with leftover cheeses, bits and pieces of this and that, and not many places to use ‘em up. Sure, if it’s an Italian restaurant, you generally can use them up but if it’s a normal restaurant, you only have the occasional lasagna, eggplant parmesan, tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, and cheese sauce to use them up.  The western and Southwestern states can easily make lots of Mexican foods and can also use the cheese on the top of bowls of steaming red.  They can make natchos in the bar and maybe make quesadillas but at some point, the ideas run out.  In the olden days, we used to make the dreaded cheese soup (horrible!) or cheese sauce for vegetables, entrees, and whatever else but nowadays, health-conscious diners usually turn their noses up at stuff like that.  So, today’s bread is a final way to use up some of that leftover cheese and if you’re really adept, you can slice the bread, drench it in melted butter and top it with grated cheese, and throw it underneath the salamander oven and serve gratineed cheese bread!  All I can say is, “Never turn up your nose at ways to make money honestly!” LOL


Yield: two large cylindrical loaves:

The Bread
Tepid water

Fresh cake yeast

Large eggs

Kosher salt

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese, grated

Grated cheddar cheese

Whole wheat flour

Bread flour
Yellow cornmeal

Egg whites

Cold water

Melted butter

Poppy seeds


1.      Put the tepid water and the yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer equipped with a dough hook and begin rotating on low speed.  Add the rest of the ingredients up to and stopping at the bread flour.  Blend together well.  Then, begin scaling in the bread flour along the sides of the bowl, bit-by-bit, until it’s all used up.

2.      Now, due to the time of the year, the humidity, and the quality of the flour, it may take MORE flour to get to where we want: continue adding flour while mixing on low speed until the dough climbs off the sides of the bowl and onto the dough hook and remains there as it continues to rotate slowly about the bowl. If it pulls back onto the sides of the bowl, continue adding flour until it remains on the hook for about ONE minute—then stop mixing, and scoop the dough out onto a lightly-floured work bench.

3.      Rub your hands with flour and sprinkle more atop the dough and begin to knead it. Knead it firmly until smooth and elastic to the touch—about 4-8 minutes. This is firm dough so you have to knead it briskly but if too firm, knead in a little warm water on your fingertips but don’t go overboard and get it sopping wet.

4.      When it’s somewhat smooth and springy, form it into a ball and place inside a metal bowl or pot that’s about twice the size of the dough ball and flour lightly top, bottom, and sides. Cover with a slightly moist cloth and set it someplace that’s relatively warm and free of drafts so that it can proof. Take care not to shake it or to jiggle the bowl and allow it to double in size, about 40-45 minutes but keep an eye on it. Preheat your standard oven to 400°F and place a pot of water over a low flame. Have a couple of fire bricks ready but don’t place atop an open flame—yet.

5.      When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and re-round it into a ball and replace the slightly moist towel atop it and return it to its warm shelf of spot in your kitchen to rise a second time. The second proof will take about half the time of the first so once on the shelf, turn your oven onto 400°F and place the bricks over an open flame on your stove top or lay atop electric burners. While you’re waiting, beat together the egg and the teaspoon of milk and push through a sieve to break up the albumin so it’s nice and homogenous.  In addition to this, spray a sheet pan with PAM and dribble a little salad oil on it and gently rub in. Sprinkle the pan with the cornmeal and have ready.

6.      When the dough’s risen again, deflate it and turn out of the bowl onto a lightly floured tabletop and prepare for the final proof. Divide into two equal portions and knead briefly and form into a ball. Cover with a slightly moist towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes—in this way, your dough develops an outside wall of gluten which will create marvelous bread.

7.      Now, with your hands, begin rolling the dough balls down from the top all the while scrunching the left and right sides inward and rolling the dough over it; what you are doing is forming a tight, cigar-shaped cylinder. Keep one hand on either side turn with your fingers while pressing the ends shut with your thumbs. When you’ve rolled up your cylinders, press the seam shut after moistening it with some cold water and fold it slightly over itself. Place on the prepared sheet pan and cover with a dry towel and return it to the proofing spot for one last, final rise.

8.       Allow your loaves to almost double in size for about 15-20 minutes at most. When it has, lightly brush it with the “egg wash” mixture and then liberally sprinkle with the sesame or poppy seeds if using them. Finally, dip a sharp knife in melted butter or olive oil and slash 4-5 diagonal slashes approximately .25-inch deep cuts across the top. Into each slash, sprinkle a little kosher salt to add additional flavor.

9.       While the loaves are rising, place a roasting pan that’s about 4-inches deep inside your oven and place the HOT bricks within it. Taking care to avoid the rush of steam, pour about 2-inches of boiling water in around them and shut the door and allow the oven to steam.  When the loaf is ready to go, insert it into the steamy oven and let it rise quickly with the steam. After about 10 minutes, pull the bricks out along with whatever water is left and lower heat 375°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes OR until you can pick the loaves up in one gloved hand and rap on its bottom; if the loaf sounds hollow, it’s done and ready to go and if not, put it back in the oven and let it continue baking until they sound hollow. The idea is to check it at about the 30 minute mark but you also need to know your oven’s temperature and the best way to do that is to buy an oven thermometer and place it inside. I cannot say how important this step is, if you don’t know how hot or how cool your oven is, you will never be able to bake a proper loaf much less a cake! 

10.  So, when the loaves sound a dull hollow, pull it out and place it atop a wire rack to cool on all sides. Drizzle with melted butter 3-4 times in order to achieve a gorgeous gloss and as you do so, the crust will soften naturally. This will make for truly fabulous loaves so good luck, my friends. Practice makes perfect and this loaf is one of the ones that is fairly easy to make and generally can suffer a lot of punishment so don’t be afraid, jump into it and go for it!

11.  When these delicious loaves are done, serve right away or finish cooling. A fresh loaf such as this can sit out for about a day covered by a towel or a cloth and then, you will have to wrap them up. Generally, if a loaf isn’t eaten within the first day, you need to slice it and wrap it up in airtight plastic bags and freeze. Bring out what you need and heat up quickly in your microwave oven 10-12 seconds at a time. Always eat as soon as possible as fresh-baked bread is only good when it’s utilized right away. We are not filling it up with all sorts of chemical preservatives so use your common sense and always do the right thing—your common sense won’t let you down!

12. To reheat bread, wrap in plastic wrap and heat in the microwave and if you can, avoid regular ovens.  One last word of advice: to slice bread properly, you need a good bread knife so invest in one as there’s no point in crushing or trashing a wonderful loaf of bread with a crappy knife. Pick one up at the local restaurant supply store when you pick up your oven’s new thermometer! If you don’t have a good restaurant supply store, order what you need from Amazon.com because they have everything!

This is an old-style; Italian cheese bread which utilizes whatever cheeses you may have on hand so be adventurous! Have a ball and use up stuff that needs to be used up!

As I said yesterday, I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

This will do it for today but I think I will be returning tomorrow to make some more bread.  Making bread is almost a therapeutic act for me, it’s something I can do by myself, go in and turn the radio up and get lost in the baking process.  Being able to bake sourdough breads from scratch can lead to some marvelous jobs you might not otherwise be able to get so learn all that you can and don’t be afraid to get your hands (and feet) wet! Once you’ve become a baker, you will be one for the rest of your life! We will do something different, however, like maybe make some yeast rolls. At least I’ve survived my THIRTEENTH POST which took place on a Friday, no less!   

Thank you!

V. Gdansk

V. Gdansk

Cook IV, CWC, ACF, and the Washington State Chef’s Association

This is me back in the 1980's when I was the Executive Chef at a country club in the Napa Valley. I spent many years working in foodservice, having begun as a young boy working for my father in his restaurant over on the coast in Pismo Beach. Foodservice is in my blood and it's something I still do actively every day in my late eighties.


END Commentary for Friday, August 12, 2011 by Chef Vladimir Gdansk

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Vladimir Gdansk

Recipes created by Chef Vladimir Gdansk on July 21, 1985 in Laguna Beach, CA.



“Stinky” of the Elemental News of the Day for the best of the news, politics, sports, foodservice, hotel and restaurant business, the end times, the end of days, the apocalypse, armageddon, and whatever else happens to pop up!



          BAKO’S STINKY

This is #1141, a 40” x 30" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Splash!" It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures II
 This is a shot of sliced specialty breads, the sort of breads you can soon be making. 

  This is another shot of sliced Specialty Breads at the Stockdale Country Club in 1987. 

 This is another shot of breads at the Stockdale Country Club in Bakersfield, CA.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


Magnolia Hilltop Brewers and What's Cookin' Productions Trademark of Quality and Symbol of Integrity. Copyright 08-11-2011, all rights reserved. No unauthorized reproductions of any of this material are permissible unless granted by written permission. Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.

Chief Editor: Stinkbug.

Assistant Editor: Moses Scharbug III

Proofreader: Amos Mosby Caruthers.

Beer: Smokehouse.




Vladimir Gdansk, Yeast Bread Seminar, Bread Seminar, Italian Breads, Sweet Breads, Classic Bakery Recipes, Gourmet Breads, Bakery Recipes, Breads, the Steve Miller Band, Italian Cuisine,  


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