How the F#!& Do I Make That?: Perfect Pizza Dough

Perfect Pizza Dough

I am somewhat of a pizza addict. It’s borderline alarming.

It’s not hyperbole when I tell you that I consumed five slices of pizza yesterday. And no, not those lame Little Caesar’s style personal pizza slices, that even the smallest of small children could house in about 3 seconds. I’m talking about five grown-ass-woman slices of pizza. No regrets. (OK, maybe some regrets.)

To demonstrate how dedicated I am to this, my most favorite of food groups, I tried to find you a really funny GIF I saw once of a cat who’s busy burrowing themselves in a bag when they suddenly pop out all crazy-like, looking around, and the text comes over saying “DID SOMEBODY SAY PIZZA??”. Alas, several, possibly incriminating-in-the-future Google Image searches later could not yield the GIF I was looking for, but hopefully you get the idea. But here’s another one I did find that should give you at least a few nightmares:

Thank College Candy for this gem.

(On a side note, it’s alarming/probably not surprising how many “cat pizza” gifs there are on the internet).

Perfect Pizza Dough

ANYWAYS, if I haven’t scared you off yet, back to this pizza. I’m guessing there are more than a few pizza addicts around here too, so I wanted to share a recipe for what I consider the perfect pizza dough that you can make right at home, no fancy brick-oven fires required.

As we know, the crust can either make or break a pizza, regardless of its toppings. This dough produces pizza crust that is crispy on the exterior, but tender and fluffy once you take a bite. There are a few techniques in here that prevent any sticking to the pizza stone or baking sheet (parchment paper is your friend!), and if you’re scared of working with yeast or have never made dough from scratch, I promise it’s not as scary as it might seem (and certainly not as scary as the above cat gif. I should probably take that down).

Here’s a video I made to walk you through the steps to pizza bliss!

 

Perfect Pizza Dough
 
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 3.5 cups (16 oz) bread flour (plus a few tbsp more if needed)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • cornmeal, for dusting

Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or, if not using a stand mixer, a large bowl), add the bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix together to combine.
  2. Bring the 1.5 cups of water to 110°F, warm enough to activate but not kill the yeast. Using a thermometer is the best way to be sure of the temperature, but if you don’t have one, microwave the 1.5 cups of water for one minute on high.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the warm water into the bowl. Add the olive oil and mix until combined. If the mixture is too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. If the mixture is too dry, add more warm water a tablespoon at a time. You want the dough to be smooth and only slightly tacky.
  4. If using a stand mixer, put on the dough hook attachment, otherwise use your hands. Knead for 10 minutes, then place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Place the covered bowl in a warm environment for one hour to let rise. (I turned on my oven to 400°F for one minute, then turned it OFF and placed the dough in the oven. If you use this method, make sure to turn the oven OFF before you put the dough in there!)
  6. After an hour, dough should have risen considerably. Remove from the oven, then turn oven on to 450°F. Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven and allow to heat up as oven is pre-heating.
  7. Take off the plastic wrap, and punch down the dough to allow the gases to escape. Divide dough in half (you can save the other half for later in the fridge for a few days, or use it all for an extra large pizza). Roll the dough out on a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal to the desired size and shape, and cover with toppings of your choice.
  8. When oven is preheated, place the parchment paper with the pizza on it on the pizza stone and bake for 12-15 minutes. The pizza should slide easily off the parchment. Slice and serve!

Perfect Pizza Dough

Let me know if you try this dough, and if anyone ever does find that pizza cat GIF…:) I’m off to eat another slice!

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

Does the idea of making bread scare you?

I don’t blame you. There’s a lot of science that goes into each loaf, between the yeast, and the rising, and the temperature of the dough- and with all the kneading, and waiting, and kneading, and waiting, the effort that goes into making a simple loaf of bread can seem a bit cumbersome.

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

But what if I told you that there was one special ingredient that can erase all your fears about making bread- and that this special ingredient is also responsible for many of life’s … um… most interesting moments?

Yup, beer (once again) makes everything better!

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

Believe it or not, because of the way that beer is made and fermented, it actually acts as the yeast in this bread, which means that you don’t have to wait hours and hours for the bread to rise. In fact, once all the ingredients are combined, the dough is ready to be put in the oven!

Flavorwise, this bread does have the tiniest hint of beer taste, but I feel the pumpkin and honey really are the stars of the show. It’s truly the right way to include alcohol in your breakfast routine!

To show you just how easy making this delicious bread is, I am excited to share with you my first ever cooking video! Nothing fancy, but I had a ton of fun making it! And the fact that it’s only 1 minute and 44 seconds long should tell you how simple this recipe really is! 🙂

Check out the step-by-step instructions for this recipe for Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread below:

And if you want the written, printable instructions, they’re here:

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread
 
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Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 12 oz pumpkin ale (I used Dogfish Head Punkin Ale)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease with cooking spray or butter).
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add both of the flours, the pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, honey and pumpkin puree. Slowly pour the pumpkin ale in and stir to combine everything.
  3. Pour mixture into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, then slice and serve!

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

Recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

It’s really amazing how easy it is to make bread with beer, isn’t it?

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Sunday Morning Biscuits

Sunday Morning Biscuits

Sunday mornings… there’s a reason so many lovely songs have been written about them.

The time just seems to move slower, ya know? The sun rises slowly, the bed seems more comfortable, and there’s no rush at all to get where you’re going.

I love getting baking done on Sunday mornings… this morning I’ve already made lemon bars (using this recipe from Averie Cooks) for Easter dinner, and when I saw all the butter and flour out, I knew I wanted to throw together some biscuits as a surprise breakfast treat for me and my sweetie.

Sunday Morning Biscuits

My pal Kayle from Cooking Actress has a great recipe for simple biscuits on her blog- no fancy ingredients or crazy methods, just good simple home cooking. I’m sharing it with minor changes to preparations (my dough was too wet to use biscuit cutters successfully).

These biscuits are a delight to put together- just a few simple ingredients, a little elbow grease, and some time in the oven, and you’re left with delicious, buttery and flaky biscuits that are the perfect way to savor my favorite time of the week (with a little butter and jam, of course).

5.0 from 1 reviews

Sunday Morning Biscuits
 
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Ingredients
  • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 5 tbsp. very cold butter, cut into smaller pieces (keep in the freezer until ready to use)
  • 1 cup very cold milk

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients until combined (If you don’t have a food processor, you can also do this in a mixing bowl with a whisk).
  2. Add the cold butter to the food processor and pulse. If you’re not using the food processor, use a pastry cutter to get the butter incorporated. You are looking for pea-sized butter pieces.
  3. If you’re using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the milk and stir until just combined.
  4. Use a cookie scoop or two spoons to place ⅓ cup lumps of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Use your fingers to flatten the dough to about ½” thickness.
  5. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until golden brown on top. Enjoy with butter and jam!

Sunday Morning Biscuits

What fun treats are on your menu today?

Happy Easter, y’all 🙂
mally

Green Pizza

Green Pizza
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before on this blog, but pizza is the ultimate comfort food for me. It’s portable, filling, tasty- you really can’t go wrong.

Yes, it’s possible to have bad pizza. Like, really bad pizza. I’m talking 3 in the morning, cold cheese on ketchup pizza that may or may not come with a free soda and fries if you order two slices for 99 cents. This is what we call a food tragedy. But it should not represent the greater, tastier food group that IS pizza!

The good news is, it’s really hard to make bad pizza in your own home, since you’re controlling exactly what goes on! Once you have the basic dough down, you are essentially good to go. I am normally very much a red sauce kinda girl when it comes to my pizza, but I had some leftover arugula pesto (that stuff freezes great!) so I used that, some fresh mozz, garlic, shallots, and broccoli to make this a green pizza that will certainly NOT scream diet material. Firstly, because I don’t think cheese on bread counts as diet material anyway. Secondly, because this pizza is way too darn tasty to scream anything other than “decadence”.

Green Pizza

5.0 from 1 reviews

Green Pizza
 
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Serves: 6

Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • corn meal, to cover the baking sheet or pizza stone
For the toppings:
  • ½ to ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise into thin slices
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella (or 3-4 big slices)
  • ½ to 1 cup arugula pesto
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar, garlic powder, oregano and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. In a small pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, thyme and shallots. The idea here isn’t necessarily to fry the aromatics, but to sort of poach them. Cook until the shallots are translucent and garlic is just starting to get crispy. Your house will smell very garlicky and delicious at this point.
  4. Turn out the pizza dough onto a baking sheet or pizza stone that has been dusted with cornmeal. You should also rub your hands with some corn meal to prevent the dough from sticking to you. Spread the dough out to the shape you want, then layer on your toppings. I started out with arugula pesto, then added a layer of mozzarella, the broccoli, and finished it off by pouring my oil and poached aromatics on top.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Slice, drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired, and serve!

Green Pizza

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

chocolate chip banana bread

If you had asked me 6 months ago what my least favorite food was- I would have told you with no hesitation: the banana. I don’t know why, but the consistency, flavor, color- everything about this food really turned me off. And I’m not alone in my family- my mother and grandmother both hate them too.

And then one day, my taste for this potassium-rich fruit took a 180-degree turn. I honestly have no other explanation for it than that- one day I hated them, and the next, I’m buying bunches of bananas every week and even eating them on their own as opposed to mixed in with other things to disguise their presence. How weird is it that your preferences can change so quickly and seemingly without reason? [Read more…]