The first time I’ve ever come across charcoal baked goods was when Bread Top in Melbourne launched the Charcoal Garlic Bun. It was the most simple thing. Just like any other garlic bread, though a little sweet. The black colour intrigues me no end. I’m just obsessed with black food in general, another example: Squid Ink (yum!).
I know that this trend is so 2009, but I’ve been wanting to bake with Charcoal since then, just haven’t been able to find Bamboo Charcoal Powder. It wasn’t until my mum put up a pic of her charcoal tang yuen I’ve realised that she has caught up with this craze much earlier than me! Well, I supposed it wasn’t the kind of conversation that would come up randomly. Anyway, recently I pinched a small amount of Bamboo Charcoal Powder from my mum. A little bit goes a long way, which is why she has not been able to finish her 50g for the longest time.
Bamboo Charcoal Powder is made with, well, charcoal of the bamboos. The Japanese worked the powder in to bread, apparently made famous by the anime “Yakitate!! Japan”. (Anime all about bread? I HAVE to watch this!). Soon the rest of the Asian countries followed suit. Bamboo charcoal imparts a mild sweetness and reduces the acidity, you can use it on pretty much everything, including coffee and tea! It’s said to be good for detox (along with a myriad of health benefits), though there are not enough research to back this up yet. You should know that this is different from activated charcoal for medical purposes though.
I have a few ideas for these precious black powder, and the very first thing that passed the committee (Frank) was Pizza. *Phew, that was easy* It was a fun process and I couldn’t stop checking on the dough just to admire the colour.
Unfortunately when I was looking through my pantry I realised I didn’t have any canned tomatoes to make the pizza sauce. However I did find an unopened bottle of La Costena Salsa, perfect! Since it’s already hot, I didn’t need to add chili to my pizza.
And the results? A stunning black beauty!
1 cup Wholemeal flour
1/2 cup Bread flour plus extra if needed
2g Bamboo Charcoal Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
100ml warm water
2 teaspoons dried Yeast
Suggestions of Toppings for Vegetarian Pizza:
La Costena Salsa (Medium)
Pickled Beetroot, cut in quarters
Thinly sliced Onions
Red Capsicum, roughly chopped
Mozzarella, Parmesan and Cheddar Cheese
Combine yeast, sugar, and the warm water (should be around our body temperature) in small bowl, cover; stand in warm place about 10-15 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
Combine flour, bamboo powder, salt in large bowl; stir in yeast mixture, mix using a spatula to form a soft dough. Knead dough on floured surface about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in large oiled bowl, cover; stand in warm place about 1 hour or until dough doubles in size. Punch it down and knead for another few minutes. Then let it proof for 45 minutes to an hour.
Take a baking tray (I don’t have a pizza stone or that would be perfect!), lay parchment paper and sprinkle with a layer of cornmeal, this will produce a crispy crust. Then place the dough in the middle, with your fingers slowly flatten and work the dough out to the edges. No need for rolling pin! Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250C
Cover the pizza first with a little bit of olive oil, followed by pizza sauce (Salsa, or home made pizza sauce, see recipe), then lay down all the toppings. I like to overload mine with vegetables. Then, in to the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese has turned golden brown.
This was the best pizza I’ve made to date. The crust was thin, with just enough softness you can bend and roll the pizza up, but still retain plenty of crisp. It wasn’t easy to differentiate the taste though because of the toppings. It was a great idea to use Salsa for the depth of flavours. Needless to say, we polished this clean.
Next, I shall make some Pork burgers and Vegetarian burgers!