The amazing enzymatic power of koji can help you unlock flavours you never thought were possible in your home baking. This recipe was developed as a multi-purpose dough that can be used to make either baguettes or pizzas. The problem with making either of these at home is that it’s hard to replicate the heat and depth of flavour you get with commercial ovens. Using a koji soaker provides some enzyme activity as well as natural sweetness to the dough, which helps with browning and crust formation. Cold fermentation helps to achieve a light, airy texture, and to help make this yeast-risen bread more digestible and tasty. This recipe also adds an “autolyse” step, where the dough is first mixed without salt and rested before salt is incorporated. This helps to hydrate the dough and improve the bread texture.
Science time: we put this recipe to the test by making baguettes and pizzas with and without the koji soaker, adjusting the hydration to match. Tasters found that the baguettes that used the koji soaker were more flavourful with slightly more sweetness and less “doughy” character. Tasters noted that the pizza dough with koji flour rose higher, producing a more “Neapolitan” style crust that was lighter and crisper in texture.
Koji Soaker (replaces diastatic malt powder)
25g Escarpment Labs dried koji rice, ground into a flour
25g boiling water
Instructions: Mix thoroughly and let cool.
58g whole wheat flour, or spent grain flour (recipe found on our website)
425g all purpose flour or bread flour
3g instant yeast
320mL room-temperature water
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients except the salt. Add the water and koji soaker, mix into a shaggy dough by hand and let rest for 45 minutes.
- Mix in salt and knead well into a smooth dough. You do not need to fully develop gluten at this stage, it just needs to be a smooth dough. Cover with plastic film or move into a container with a sealable lid.
- Refrigerate for 48-72 hours (cold ferment). It should show lots of bubbles and increase slightly in size. If using a lidded container, you may need to burp the gas from the container daily. This dough can be used up to 4 days after mixing although it loses strength after 72 hours.
- Remove dough from fridge and let warm up at room temperature for 90 min.
- Proceed with shaping and baking. For baguette shaping, we recommend this tutorial from King Arthur Flour. You can construct a makeshift baguette proofing setup from rolled up towels and parchment paper.
- For baguettes, proof for 1 hour and bake 500ºF (or max oven temp) and steam (5 min). Reduce to 450ºF another 12-15 min.
- For Pizza dough, stretch/shape into desired thickness, and add your toppings. We recommend this pizza stretching tutorial. This dough works great in quick cook, outdoor high heat pizza ovens like the Ooni! It also works great as a “sheet pan pizza” in a home oven set to 450ºF for 15-18 minutes.