Chef News

Marco Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco on Heirloom Wheat and What Makes Great Bread

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See also: - Tastemaker 45: Marco Bianco - - Chris Bianco to Open Pizzeria Bianco in Tucson This Fall - In A New Space Behind Pane Bianco, Hayden Flour Mills Is Back In Action

It doesn't take much to get Marco Bianco talking about the intricate science of bread baking. In fact, the simplest question (for example, "What do you do?") will be enough to set him on a speech about the importance of fermentation, perfect timing, and practice.

As bread baker for Pizzeria Bianco, Trattoria Bianco and Pane Bianco, he's responsible for pulling between 200 and 300 crusty loaves of bread out of the oven at Pane Bianco every day. Though he does the baking for all the restaurants, he does most of his work out of Pane Bianco. Preparing that much bread means constantly working a day or two ahead, lots of planning, and a great sense of timing. Bianco compares baking bread to surfing: A baker must know when the bread's yeast has created the perfect amount of fermentation, the same way a surfer has to catch a wave just before it crests. Wait too long and the bread loses flavor; you've missed the wave. Go too early and it won't have the perfect texture; you get crushed.

"I'm a good baker," he'll admit. "But I'm doing it backwards"

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria