If you have ever been to Totti’s, you know the antipasti items are worth the hype.
As a regular customer of the trendy Italian spot, I have tried every dish on the menu, and there’s one thing I always order — the famous wood-fired puffy bread.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: How I made Totti’s puffy bread at home.
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There’s something special about the perfectly salted, smoky charred balloon-shaped bread, which pairs perfectly with all your favourite cheese varieties and deli meats.
But for $16 a pop, I decided to take on the challenge to figure out the secret recipe.
Can confirm — the bread turned out just as good as the original.
What’s even more surprising? I recreated the restaurant’s six popular menu items at home to feed two for less than $20 — burrata and prosciutto included!
I recreated Totti’s six popular menu items at home to feed two for less than $20 — burrata and prosciutto included! Credit: Cindy Tran
I am an avid cook. I enjoy making classic dishes from scratch, ranging from pastas to pizzas, so I knew Totti’s creation wasn’t going to be hard to figure out.
During my research, I stumbled across a video of Totti’s Bondi head chef Mike Eggert’s interview with Hospitality Magazine where he goes behind the scenes to spill details about making the restaurant’s best-selling wood-fired bread.
“Making the bread at Totti’s is a pretty easy situation for us,” Eggert explained.
“We have a master pizzaiola who makes the doughs off-site at a big factory. They have a 48-hour ferment on them already and we can use them up to five days old… It’s a really beautiful fermented flavour.”
However, the chef remained tight-lipped about the temperature they use to cook the dough in their wood-fired ovens.
“We make sure they’re at the right temperature, which is a bit of a secret,” Eggert says.
“So after 48 hours of fermentation, and a quick cook in the oven, they come out and they’ve got this really chewy, and dense kind of flavour.
“But they’re hot, they have a real nice kiss and lick from the fire so they’re smoky and charry.
“This beautiful steam arises basically like bread vapour so it kind of goes straight into your nose and you get the mouthfeel, bit of salt, bit of olive oil, it’s perfect… And then it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’.”
I cooked the puffy bread at 400C in a Gozney Dome S1. Credit: Cindy TranMuch to my amazement, the dough puffed up and charred to perfection in less than one minute. Credit: Cindy Tran
While the ingredients were never mentioned in the interview, a quick Google search led me to the puffy bread recipe on New Zealand’s Cuisine magazine website.
As expected, the recipe comprises the same ingredients as a basic pizza dough: Dry yeast, salt, olive oil, plain flour or ‘00’ flour and semolina to shape.
I mixed the ingredients together in my stand mixer and left it on my counter to rest.
I couldn’t wait 48 hours for the dough to ferment so I ended up making the puffy bread after just two hours of resting time.
I sprinkled semolina on a kitchen bench, and started rolling each ball into a flat round shape, just like a pizza base.
So how does it puff? The secret is an extremely hot oven. Luckily for me, I have a Gozney Dome S1 so I was able to turn the temperature up to 400C.
If the oven isn’t hot enough, the dough won’t puff as much.
Much to my amazement, the dough puffed up and charred to perfection in less than one minute.
To serve, all I had to do was drizzle olive oil on top, followed by a sprinkle of salt.
I couldn’t wait 48 hours for the dough to ferment so I ended up making the puffy bread after just two hours of resting time. Credit: Cindy TranTo serve, all I had to do was drizzle olive oil on top, followed by a sprinkle of salt. Credit: Cindy Tran
For the DIY Totti’s spread, I did not skimp on the ingredients.
I purchased gourmet prosciutto, fennel & garlic flavoured salami, burrata and olives from a fancy deli.
The restaurant’s popular tomatoes were easy to replicate — it was just cherry tomatoes sliced in half, seasoned with salt, olive oil and thyme.
The six menu items would have cost me $93.50 to order at Totti’s.
But recreating the items at home with high-quality ingredients, and using what I already have in my pantry, came to a surprising total of just $17.87.
I do think my homemade puffy bread tastes just as good as Totti’s but I must admit, it has been a lot of trial and error. Some days, they’re perfectly puffy, other times, it’s just a basic flat bread — but it’s still pretty tasty.
Since my first attempt at making the puffy bread at home, I have made it four times — I can’t resist. Will this become a regular thing at home?
YES absolutely! And I know it will be a crowd pleaser at my next dinner party.
Since my first attempt at making the puffy bread at home, I have made it four times. Credit: Cindy Tran
Bread: Plain flour, dry yeast, salt and olive oil (already in my pantry)
Cherry tomatoes: $3.99 (salt, olive oil and thyme already in my pantry)
Sicilian olives: $1.49
Fennel and garlic salami: $2.30 for 50g
Australian prosciutto: $3.59 for 75g
Totti’s menu prices
Wood-fired bread: $16
Gozney provided 7NEWS with a Gozney Dome for testing purposes. This did not affect our views on the gadget, and our review remains independent of the manufacturer.
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