Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

We love making pizza at home. For the longest time I’ve been using the Olive Oil dough recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, which is good and easy to make. But this time around I decided to try Pioneer Woman’s pizza crust recipe, which she raves about, and when have I ever made anything of PW’s that’s been less than stellar? Answer: never.

So I got started and I wasn’t too far into the recipe when I realized it called for 1/3 cup of olive oil, and I had… none. There was no going back at this point, so I used regular ol’ vegetable oil. Did it make a difference? No idea. The crust was awesome. A definite winner over the crust I’ve been making. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. When has PW ever steered me wrong? Answer: never.

This was supposed to be a pepperoni and olive pizza. Unfortunately as I started to put the pepperoni on, I realized they’d been in the fridge a little too long and had mold on them. Sad 😦 So we had olive pizza. And it was delicious! I really didn’t miss the pepperoni at all. You can use whatever toppings you like, of course. Even if it’s just olives.

Pioneer Woman’s Pizza Crust (from her cookbook)

  • 1 tsp or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive (or vegetable) oil, plus more for drizzling

Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water.

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

With an electric mixer on low speed, drizzle in the oil until just incorporated. Or, you can use a spoon. Which is what I did.

In a separate bowl, gently stir the yeast/water mixture, and drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture. Mix until the dough forms a ball. You can use your hands if you like, which I did here, until the dough comes together.

Drizzle a little oil into a clean bowl, or mist with cooking spray. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil.

Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare the pizza, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Divide the dough in half. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Or use parchment paper and no oil.

Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired shape. Spread sauce and/or desired toppings over the dough and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

The other half of the dough may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days before use, or frozen for up to 6 months.


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Focaccia Bread

I wish I’d taken a picture of the full loaf, but this one will have to do. I can’t say enough about this focaccia bread. It. Is. SO. Good.

We had a “make your own salad” bar the other night and this bread was the perfect accompaniment. Probably killed the low-cal point of making salads, but it was totally worth it. It was really pretty easy too, which was a huge plus. I used the recipe I found at The Paupered Chef, except I omitted the extra topping ingredients and just used olive oil and kosher salt. If you want step-by-step photos of the process, check out the original link because they did a great job of documenting the preparation.

I thought I had gone a little overboard with the olive oil drizzling on top, but it turned out great, so I highly recommend not being stingy with the oil. It helps give it a beautiful crust.

Focaccia Bread (Original recipe here)

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour (plus more for dusting & kneading)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 13.5 ounces warm water (slightly over 1 1/2 cups)
  • Olive oil
  • Cornmeal
  • Kosher salt

Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl, and whisk together. Add water a little at a time.

Using your hands, combine the flour mixture and the water, kneading in the bowl. Check consistency of the dough – if it is too wet (should be somewhat sticky but not too much), add a bit more flour and work it in.

[From The Paupered Chef: A good test is this — ask a friend to poke an unfloured finger into the dough (or rinse one of your own off and dry it and do the same).  The dough should stick to the finger a bit, but it shouldn’t be impossible to get off.  You don’t want it to be gloopy at all.  You want to be able to work and knead the dough without the majority of it clumping between your fingers.]

Scrape dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep it from getting too sticky. After kneading, scatter a little flour back in the mixing bowl, and dump the dough back in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Drizzle a baking pan with olive oil (I used a metal pizza pan, but you can use whatever pan you like) and spread it around to coat the bottom and sides, then scatter a little cornmeal around the pan. Drop the dough in and spread it around the pan. It’s okay if it doesn’t reach the edges, but you do want it to be a relatively uniform thickness throughout.

Cover the pan with (greased) plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

When dough is finished rising, poke holes with a floured finger all over the surface. Drizzle with olive oil (don’t be stingy), spread it around a bit, and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake 25-30 minutes , until top is light golden. Remove from oven and let cool just a couple minutes – it is best eaten warm.

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SO SORRY for the ridiculously long hiatus! I should probably “officially” state on the blog that we are expecting a little girl, due in December 🙂 so between that and a variety of other things going on, I’ve either not been cooking as much or forgotten to photograph what I do make.

As far as symptoms go, I’ve really had a pretty easy time of it. Nothing too exciting to speak of… although my nesting instinct did kick in last week and I decided it was high time I remodel the bathroom, beginning with the flooring. Yes, there is a nursery that could have been worked on, but why work on the nursery when you could remodel the bathroom? My thoughts exactly. So I will post before-and-after photos of that when it’s finished. Should be fun.

I don’t want to leave you without a recipe since I’ve neglected you for so long already, so hopefully you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re looking for a heartier pancake that has some nice texture and is super yummy, give these Golden Oat Pancakes a try. I originally got the recipe from Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn, and I have made it many many times since then. If you want to go the even-healthier route, you can pick up some white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur) and use that in place of white flour… but if that doesn’t float your boat, white flour works just fine.

Occasionally I’ve had a little trouble getting the middles of these fully cooked, since they tend to be pretty thick – but just be sure to keep them cooking long enough or add a splash more liquid to the batter. The photos with the original recipe don’t look as thick as mine, so I’m not sure what the difference is.

Golden Oat Pancakes (Recipe found here)

  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 cup rolled old fashioned oats (I use quick cooking oats)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine milk and oats and let stand five minutes. Beat the eggs lightly in a separate bowl then add along with the oil. Combine flour, powder, sugar and salt and stir into oat mixture. Let sit for about five more minutes or until slightly bubbly. Pour onto a hot griddle, or nonstick pan; flip when bubbles form and the edges are beginning to look dry.

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No picture – but you know what banana bread looks like.

This bread (Or cake? No, that adds calories. Bread it is) is SO good. And super easy. You don’t have to get out the mixer, all you need is a bowl and a spoon. The original recipe makes 2 loaves, but I halved the recipe and baked it in a mini-bundt pan (adorable). I also used a bit more banana than the recipe called for, and it was fantastic.

Here’s my single-loaf version:

Easy Banana Bread (Original recipe here)

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 medium overripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan or mini (half-size) bundt pan.

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl (I mashed the bananas in the bowl first, added eggs and beat a little bit with a fork, then added everything else).

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 45 min-1 hour or until toothpick/knife comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes before turning bread out onto tray. Cool completely before slicing, if you can stand it.

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I had never made corn casserole before last night. Eaten it? Sure. Enjoyed it? Absolutely. But never made it. And this one turned out great. What I like about it is that it is a nice starchy side that isn’t potatoes, pasta, or rice.

An added plus? JW, who does not like corn, cornbread, or sweet things, ate two helpings of this and said I should make it again. THAT, my friends, is success 🙂

I researched several recipes and this one kind of came together as a result of personal preferences and things that sounded good. Sorry… no picture… we ate it too fast.

Corn Casserole

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (15-oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15-oz) can cream style corn
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 box (8.5 oz) Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack, but probably would be great with sharp Cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and spread into dish.

Bake 45-55 min. or until golden brown and set.

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TWO recipes in one day – can you believe it?!

I’ll give you a moment to recover from your shock.

This is one of those crap-I-forgot-to-look-up-a-good-cornbread-recipe-to-go-with-my-chili-and-now-I-have-to-resort-to-scrounging-around-in-my-pantry-to-see-if-there-are-any-recipes-on-the-bag-of-flour-or-something recipes. I discovered it quite by accident when I was in the middle of the aforementioned situation and found a cornbread recipe on the side of the Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder can. Hallelujah! It saved my chili.

I should mention here that JW does not like cornbread [Are we sensing a pattern here? Do you see what I have to live with?]. I have made this numerous times in the past year or so, knowing full well that I would be the only one eating it. Two squares would be eaten and the rest would go into the trash.

This week, however, JW said he might try a piece. I told him he should, that he just might like it. So he was brave and tore off a corner and stuck it in his mouth.

And do you know… that boy ate TWO pieces of this cornbread that he had supposedly “not liked” every other time I had made it before.

Heaven help me.

So here it is. It’s slightly sweet. Not so sweet you feel like you’re eating cake, but sweet enough to make you want “just a bit more.” Enjoy. And if you live with a die-hard cornbread hater, ask them to try just a small piece and see what happens.

Golden Corn Bread (thank you Clabber Girl)

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil or shortening, softened

Sift together dry ingredients into bowl. Add egg, milk, and shortening. Stir or whisk together until smooth. Do not overbeat. Bake in greased 8-inch square pan or greased muffin pans in hot oven (425 degrees). Serve warm with butter or covered with creamed chicken, fish or meat.

I would have taken out that last sentence but I found it charmingly funny.

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JW has been asking for a thin crust pizza for a while, so I decided to dig up some new recipes and see what I could find. This one really stood out because of the great reviews, and I was intrigued by the preparation and rising times. I used the quicker sponge method, but it can also be made as an overnight dough.

I – the person who does not like to knead – actually did knead this by hand, and for the recommended 15 minutes (I KNOW! Aren’t you impressed?) I wanted to follow the recipe as closely as possible. I think it did take quite a bit more flour than originally called for in the recipe, but it really was very easy to work with, especially when it came to stretching it out.

I stretched it thin, but left some nice edge on the side. I prefer to use my hands to stretch so the edges don’t get too flat, which has been my experience with a rolling pin.

Speaking of rolling pins, mine has gone on the fritz and I haven’t bought a new one yet. When I told this to JW’s mom, she asked if I had whacked him too hard over the head with it 🙂

I brushed some olive oil over the edges and sprinkled with a mixture of garlic salt, Italian herbs, and parmesan cheese. It turned out a tad salty for me, so next time I may use garlic powder instead of the garlic salt.

Ready to go into the oven…

And here’s the finished product!

Do you see the mini pepperonis? Aren’t they cute?!

I really did like this dough. The only thing I wish I’d done differently is bake it on a pizza stone – which I normally do, but mine got apple pie juice on it, which bubbled up and then burnt, and if it had been more expensive I probably would have tried to clean it, but as it was I just threw it out when we moved. So the crust wasn’t as “crispy” as if I’d baked it on a stone, but I guess it means I’ll just have to try it again, eh? 🙂

Premium Thin Crust Pizza (Recipe found here)

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (or more)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

OVERNIGHT COLD RISE METHOD: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in 2 cups of flour and salt; mix well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 15 minutes. Place dough in bowl dusted with flour cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

SPONGE RISE METHOD: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour; mix well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until foamy, about 1 hour. Blend in remaining water, flour and salt; beat well. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 15 minutes. Place dough in bowl dusted with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 2 to 3 hours (less if rising in a warm place).

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll dough out to half of its final size. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes (while you prepare desired pizza toppings). Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, or higher (higher temp will cook more quickly).

Stretch out dough over your floured knuckles and stretch or toss until desired size is achieved. Place dough on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal or a lightly greased pizza pan. Spread with desired toppings and bake on a pizza stone in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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