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Now that you’ve had a chance to practice basic bread dough, we’re ready for the really fun part!

Assemble your ingredients

Assemble your ingredients

I played around with this for many years before my New Yorker husband really got on board, but even he says I’ve arrived now! Ready!  Set!  Go!

PIZZA DOUGH

Make a half batch of Mom’s Homemade Bread http://wp.me/p3urb4-2n with the following adjustments: cut the salt to 1 1/2 tsp., omit the honey, and cut the oil down to about 1 1/2 Tbsp. Also, add a bit more flour so you have a stiffer dough.

In a nutshell, here’s the adjusted recipe:

  • 2 1/2  cups hot water from the tap
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oil
  • White Flour
Adding yeast after a little of the flour.  It's about the consistency of flour paste.

Be sure to Add the yeast after you’ve stirred in 2 or 3 cups of the flour.

Stir it until you can't.  This has more flour than usual, for a stiff dough.

Stir it until you can’t. This has more flour than usual, for a stiff dough.

This method is key!  Use your knuckles to really beat it up.  You'll feel the gluten developing as it resists your punches and becomes very elastic and smooth.

This method is key! Use your knuckles to really beat it up. You’ll feel the gluten developing as it resists your punches and becomes very elastic and smooth.

Compare the size of the dough ball.  Here I have just finished kneading.

Compare the size of the dough ball. Here I have just finished kneading.

Here the dough has risen for about 45 minutes or so.  It's ready to divide and roll out.

Here the dough has risen for about 45 minutes or so. It’s ready to divide and roll out.

Allow it to raise until double in size.

Pans and roller assembled.  Don't forget the cooking spray!

Assemble you pans and a roller.  Don’t forget the cooking spray!

Divide the dough.  You don’t need to let it proof again, just allow it to “rest” for a few minutes until it’s “compliant.”  This is also a good time to preheat the oven to 550°.

This pizza pan measures 16 inches.  Notice the size of the dough ball.  I roll it inside itself and pinch the bottom so it's a nice shape before letting it rest.

This pizza pan measures 16 inches. Notice the size of the dough ball. I roll it inside itself and pinch the bottom so it’s a nice shape before letting it rest.

If you try to roll it when it’s still too elastic it may tear.  Press it by hand or roll it out on pizza pans that have been coated with olive oil or cooking spray.  I usually get it about halfway there and have to give it another rest.

Resting again halfway through rolling it out.

Resting again halfway through rolling it out.

Add sauce, grated mozzarella, and your favorite toppings.  Bake.  Timing will depend on the thickness of the crust and your particular oven, but you’ll be able to tell when it’s done–bubbly cheese and browned crust.  I start peeking in on it after about 10 minutes.

I usually make this with mozzerella, but no complaints today from using what I had in the fridge--cheddar.

I usually make this with mozzarella, but no complaints today from using the cheddar I had on hand in the fridge.

Use this same dough to make BREAD STICKS by rolling it out on a cookie sheet and spreading with butter or spray with olive oil.  Sprinkle with parmesan, mozzarella, Italian seasoning, garlic, or other seasoning of your choice.  Score with a pizza cutter, then let it raise a few minutes before baking in 400° oven for about 10-15 minutes, again depending on the thickness.  Serve dipped in hot spaghetti sauce.

Bread sticks spread with butter, parmesan, and parsley.  Not it hasn't been scored yet.

Bread sticks spread with butter, parmesan, and parsley. Note that it hasn’t been scored yet.  You want to wait until it’s garnished with the good stuff so you don’t lose it on the pan.

Bread sticks ready for the oven.  This was a particularly thin batch.  My family likes them a little thicker.

Bread sticks ready for the oven. This was a particularly thin batch. My family likes them a little thicker.

Done!  These could have been taken out a few minutes sooner.  I'm not always writing a post and taking pictures while I bake.

Done! These could have been taken out a few minutes sooner. I’m not always writing a post and taking pictures while I bake.

For the REALLY fun part, try this dessert pizza.  This is my version of the desserts they serve at one of our favorite local pizza places called Pizza Pie Cafe http://www.pizzapiecafe.co  I really have no idea what’s in theirs, but it’s GOOD!  I just had to try it, and I’m pretty happy about how it turned out.

Roll out dough on a pizza pan as above.  With an electric mixer blend 8 oz. cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. honey, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Spread on uncooked pizza dough.

Dessert pizza has been spread with the cream cheese and honey mixture, and is awaiting the toppings.

Dessert pizza has been spread with the cream cheese and honey mixture, and is ready for the toppings.

Crumbled cookies atop and ready to bake.

The cookies are crumbled and it’s ready to bake.

Top with fruit or other topping of your choice.  To name a few goodies, try blueberry or apple pie filling; fresh/frozen peaches, cherries, or berries; crumbled sandwich cookies, or cookie dough.  (Streusel topping works very well with any and all of these.)

Peach pizza drizzled with glaze.  YUM!

Peach pizza drizzled with glaze. YUM! (In order to get the crust done I had to let it get a little darker around the edges. This would have been better if I had made the crust a little thinner.)

All that's left to do is add the chocolate chips.

I decided this needed a sprinkle of chocolate chips. I was right. It received lots of raves. Even though it looks a little brown around the edges, the crust tasted great and the toppings even better. Surprisingly it was sweet but not too sweet.

Bake at 400° for about 15 minutes.  After baking, drizzle with a glaze made with 1 Tbsp. butter, 2 or 3 Tbsps. milk, and powdered sugar to the consistency you like.  Serve warm or cold, à la carte or à la mode!

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