Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Schlotsky/Schmaltz's Have Been Hacked

In my hometown, there's this great sandwich joint called Schmaltz's, and for rookies it could be perceived as a Schlotsky's knock-off.  But in fact, the only thing in common is the funny sounding name and somewhat similar bread.  The family-run Schmaltz's is a gem (can't believe I said that) makes delicious sandwiches and amazing soups, my favorite being Wisconsin cheddar cheese soup.  It's so thick and rich I can hardly handle a cup of it.  And their bread, either in a little muffin-size bun with your soup or a larger 6 incher for sandwich, is amazing.  It's got the perfect thin but tough crust, a chewy crumb that never gets soggy when smeared with mayo or dipped in soup.  Seemed like sourdough to me, only no sour taste.

I think, however, that I've begun to hack their recipe.  We rushed home after Christmas, Taste Tester unexpectedly ill, and stopped by Schlotsky's to get him some soup.  I asked for bread on the side and began to rethink the recipe, did some research, and hit the key: the dough is 1) overmixed so the gluten is thick and creates that spongy tug to it, and 2) it's more batter than dough, heavy in water AND milk content.  That also helps the gluten.

And it was superfreakineasy to boot.  Which means 1) I need to buy more flour and 2) Taste Tester will be eating a lot of bread and sandwiches as I perfect this.  Currently, my crust isn't tough enough and my crumb needs to just be a little more chewy and white.  So I'm thinking I'll reduce the hydration ratio a little, mostly by the milk, then find a smaller loaf pan since it's risen and baked in a pie round.  And, I need to convert it to a proper ratio of lbs or oz.

So far, it's
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp sugar, but I'm leaving the sugar out next time
Mixed in a blender till smooth, runny, and sticky, then split into 2 small pie rounds to rise for an hour (or till to the edge of the pie tin, depends on the temperature) and then baked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cornmeal on the base of the pie tin and a spray of oil on top helps the crust.

2 comments:

drewhou said...

So have you been able to perfect the recipe yet? I have absolutely ripped the internet apart trying to find a Schmaltz's recipe. I've tried all of the Schlotzsky's bread recipes out there, but they just aren't as good as Schmaltz's bread.

rubyjunecafe.blogspot.com said...

Sorry, something was wrong with my settings and it signed me as another blogger. Odd.

Hi drewhou. No, I haven't retackled this problem but I have been back to Schmaltz's and wanted to get back to trying. I think this recipe in a 6-in round loaf pan would work great, but bread flour might be preferable to all-purpose, it has more gluten so your crumb will have more elasticity. Also, painting the dough with brush dipped in water before and a couple times during the bake should give you the tough crust that Schmaltz's probably achieves through the use of an oven that automatically adds steam. I've heard putting a big bowl of water at the bottom of your oven can also create some steam effect. Let me know if you learn something, I'll repost a comment if I make any progress!