Category Archives: breads

pizza, pizzah!

to prove to you that i am no one-trick, cookie pony…

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as a kid i refused to eat any pizza that wasn’t delivered from PIZZA HUT.  
mmm greasy, meat-lover’s, PAN pizza.

now… not so much. the carnivorous version of my youth would be shocked to see what i’ve become: a veg-head, whole wheat, granola muncher. but trust me, this recipe would please all my past and present personalities. it’s a favorite in my family from my 10 year old meat-man brother (margaret 2.0) to the reformed moi, the veggie-lover.

i topped this one with a mixture of pizza and bbq sauce, mozzarella & italian cheese, sliced cremini mushrooms, half of a black bean burger and some crushed red chili flakes. absolutely DELICIOUS. but of course you can top yours with whatever suits your buds– afterall, isn’t that the beauty of PIZZA?

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough
adapted from Southern Living, October 2004

1 (¼ ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105-110° F)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
sauce(s) [marinara, barbeque, alfredo, pesto]
pizza toppings

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, honey, sugar, and the warm water; let stand for 10 minutes.

Add the whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the bread flour, oil, and salt to bowl and beat at low speed, using dough hook attachment for 1 minute.

Gradually add the rest of the flour until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl and pull together. (Note: the dough will take on a “shaggy” appearance as the flour is being added.  When enough flour has been added, the dough will look soft and smooth, not wet and sticky or overly dry with a rough surface.)

Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes.  Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place (85° F; I usually use an oven with a pan of boiling water) for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and let stand another 10 minutes.  At this point, the dough can be wrapped up and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 475° F.  If you have a pizza stone, place in oven while preheating.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; shape dough into a ball.  Roll out into pizza crust and place on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or baking sheet (make sure it doesn’t have any sides). 

Spread pizza sauce and sprinkle with toppings.  Slide pizza onto pizza stone and bake for 20-25 minutes (6-7 minutes for mini pizzas).

Yield: one pizza crust/ 4 mini pizzas   

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

this post is an ode to my countdown to italy. yes, in 26 days i will be in ITALIA! siena, italy to be exact. i’m incredibly nervous/excited/delirious about the whole experience. as i will be there for about 5 months studying abroad, i am determined to break the realms of tourism and whole-heartedly embrace the day-to-day civilian life of tuscany.  

do i know italian? no.
am i worried? not as much as my mother. 

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home for the holidays

the best part about coming back home as a college student is the lure of gluttony. after living on frozen meals and cereal for the past 4 months, it’s good to stuff whatever food is in plain sight, just because you can! i’ve been baking up a storm these days. in particular, cookies, cookies, cookies… and  a sticky bun or two.

i'm hot, sticky sweeeet

i'm hot, sticky sweeeet

i followed the honey pecan sticky bun recipe by dorie greenspan and came out with these lovelies then proceeded to watch my family gobble up these goodies. personally, i have to say i still prefer good ole fashioned no-nuts cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting but these have definitely won a place in my sticky sweet heart.

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Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
from Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home To Yours

For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
¼ cup honey
1 ½ cups pecans (whole or
pieces)

For the Filling:
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
½ recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).

To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months. Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you’d like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).

With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they’re very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.

Lightly cover the pan with a clean dry dish towel and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.

Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the dish towel and put the pan on a baking sheet.

Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven. The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful – the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Golden Brioche Dough 
from Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home To Yours

(This recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it.)

2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can– this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you’re doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
(After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)

The next day, butter and flour two 8 ½-x-4 ½-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 ½ inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)

Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

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