Olive Oil Pizza Dough

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What food do you associate with weekends? For us, it’s pizza. We have our local favorites, but those versions aren’t always economically friendly. Especially after I spend like a drunken solider on my trips to Target. It’s kind of a budget buster.

Robert and I have been on a quest to make the ultimate homemade pizza for a few years now. We have a pizza stone, a pizza peel, and we use our homemade pizza sauce. What we’ve been missing is the right dough. I’ve tried a variety of recipes, but they’ve always fallen a little flat. Finally, we stumbled across this recipe and we are thrilled with our results.

The other important part of making a great homemade pizza is the temperature of the oven. The best temperature, in our experience, is 500 degrees. This allows the dough to bake quickly and get a nice chewy crust. I was a little weary of how our oven would do at such a high temperature, but it does just fine (and our house is not a pile of ashes).

Now that we’ve found our favorite dough, our biggest problem is resisting the urge to make pizza every night. Oy vey.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Olive Oil Pizza Dough

Printable Version

Yield: About 4 large pizzas worth of dough

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a large bowl or lidded (not airtight) plastic container.

2. Add in the flour without kneading. Stir with a large wooden spoon to incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients. Do not over stir!

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow the dough to rise for approximately 2 hours and up to 5 hours.

4. The dough can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

5. When you are ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven (and pizza stone if you have one) to 500 degrees. If the dough was in the refrigerator, it needs to rest until it reaches room temperature so the dough can be stretched easily. To do this, take a grapefruit-sized hunk of dough and gently cover it with flour. Place the hunk on parchment paper and  let it rest for at least 20 minutes.

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6. After the dough has rested, carefully stretch the dough out using both hands. If you’re feeling frisky, you can toss the dough in the air. Allow the dough to be a little thicker around the edge if you would like a more defined crust. Keep the dough on the parchment paper. Next, top the pizza with sauce and your desired toppings.

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7. Using a pizza peel or a cookie sheet, place the pizza (still on the parchment paper) directly on the pizza stone. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cheese is toasted brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and enjoy!

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Source: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Rosemary Focaccia

Oh, hey- big surprise here. I’m posting another recipe from my favorite bread book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I promise I am not gaining anything by repeatedly putting in plugs for this book. Everything I have made has been delicious and surprisingly easy to make (no-kneading!). It’s going to take a lot for me to stray from the methods in the is book.

I made this for Monday night dinner after I got home from work. I had about 2 ounces of energy left while I was making it, so I was happy to find how quickly and deliciously it came together. My brother-in-law, Kenny, gave it his seal of approval as well and he liked it well enough to accept me forcing the leftovers home with him.

This is a highly adapted recipe and I will definitely be making it again soon. Perhaps with parmesan, caramelized onions, basil, or tomatoes. The list goes on and on.

Rosemary Focaccia

Yield: The entire dough recipe is enough for 4 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the topping(for one loaf):

  • 3/4 tsp dried rosemary leaves (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with water in a 5 quart container or bowl.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a wooden spoon until just combined.

3. Cover the dough (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and then collapses, about 2 hours.

4. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

5. Grab a 1lb, grapefruit-sized hunk of dough and dust liberally with flour. Flatten into a 1/2-3/4 inch thick oblong shape with your hands or a rolling pin.

6. Sprinkle with rosemary, coarse salt, and black pepper. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the surface of the dough.

7. Allow the focaccia to rest and rise for 10-20 minutes.

8. After the dough has rested, place the dough in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned.

9. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Source: Barely adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Once again, I am using another recipe from the beloved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I make the traditional artisan bread all the time and I also love the caramelized onion and herb rolls. This time I used a sweeter variation of the recipe. The dough is a buttermilk version and the filling is as simple as can be with raisins, sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.

The recipe is easy to put together and this bread would be a great weekend or weekday breakfast item. It does, however, take a little more non-cooking/baking time than the original recipe as the dough has to rest after it’s assembled.   Also, the next time I make this I will bake it a little longer than the suggested time, since the middle of the loaf was just a tad underdone (the ends were perfect). Other than that, it was lovely.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Ingredients

For the bread

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Egg wash

Directions

1. Mix the yeast, salt, and sugar with teh water in buttermilk in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a wooden spoon.

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, about 2 hours. Refrigerate or use immediately.

4. Grease a 9x4x3 loaf pan and set aside. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins in a small bowl. Grab a cantaloupe-sized hunk of dough and sprinkle with flour. Shape into a ball.

5. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 8×16 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.

6. Brush the surface of the dough with an egg wash. Dust the sugar mixture over the bread evenly.

7. Roll up the dough, jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges together and tuck the ends under.

8. Place the loaf seam down in the prepared pan. Allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if using non-refrigerated dough).

9. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

10. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

11. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Source: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Buttermilk Biscuits

This past Sunday we had a small group over for a late brunch. The day before we hosted, I was looking for simple recipes to make so it would be a laid back affair and I found these buttermilk biscuits as I was leafing through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. I’ve never made biscuits from scratch and this recipe seemed like a great addition to the menu so I gave them a go.

I was able to make the dough and cut the biscuits out in under 15 minutes. It was so easy that I ended up making another batch and freezing half for another occasion.

The biscuits came out light and flaky (thank you butter) and I served them with jam and honey. I will definitely add this recipe to my repertoire for the future.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 1 dozen biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the flour, powder, sugar, salt, and soda in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until evenly combined.

2. Place the cubes of butter into the dry mixture and mix together and crumble with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed, about the size of oatmeal flakes.

3. Pour the buttermilk over the mixture and toss with a fork until the dough starts to come together. Pour the contents out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead 3-4 times until the dough comes together.

4. Roll the dough out into a 1/2 inch thick slab. Use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter and cut out as close together as possible, re-kneading the dough as little as possible.

5. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 14-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy.

Source: Dorie Greenspan

My Favorite Banana Bread

updated picture 9/8/2012

The best part about getting bananas from the grocery store is making a fresh loaf of banana bread. For me there is a very fine line between just right and too ripe of a banana and once the fruit passes that threshold, I think bananas taste pretty gross. Luckily, I love banana bread. It took me a few years of trying different recipes, but I finally found a banana bread that I adore. I’ve noticed with a lot of recipes, the banana bread comes out gooey in the center and dried out on the edges, but this one comes out perfectly baked all the way through. The secret? Microwaving the bananas, straining out the excess liquid, and then boiling down the liquid until its more like a banana syrup. While this method takes a little longer than traditional banana bread, it’s worth the extra step. This bread is great to bake ahead and freeze for when you have company or just feel like enjoying a slice with your morning cup of coffee.

Happy Monday, everyone. Stay tuned for a giveaway on Wednesday! :)

My Favorite Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
5 large, very ripe bananas, peeled
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. granulated sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Lightly spray a loaf pan (about 9 x 5 inches) with cooking spray.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Place 5 bananas in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and make a few slits in the wrap to act as steam vents.  Microwave on high for about 5 minutes or until the bananas are soft and liquidy.  Transfer the bananas to a sieve and set over a medium bowl and let drain for about 15 minutes or until there is about 1/2 cup liquid.

Transfer the reserved banana liquid to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook until reduced to about ¼ cup, 5-10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Combine the bananas and the reduced banana liquid in a large bowl. Whisk until fairly smooth.  Mix in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the banana mixture.  Fold together gently, just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the sugar over the  loaf.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-75 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan before removing.  Continue to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Barely adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Cooks Illustrated

Caramelized Onion and Herb Rolls and a Giveaway!

I don’t think I can stress enough how easy it is to make these caramelized onion and herb rolls. I made them for our Thanksgiving dinner last week and they were great. I used to be very intimidated of making bread from scratch until I found out how simple it can be.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite bread making books, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and the dough is exactly the same as my favorite artisan bread. All you have to do, after the dough is made, is make the onion jam that goes on top of the rolls before you pop them in the oven. The onion topping can be made days in advance so that you can make these rolls at the drop of the hat. I also froze the leftover rolls we had after our feast and we heated them up to make turkey sandwiches for the days following the holiday and they still tasted great.

If you are thinking about making homemade rolls, look no further. This is a great recipe to add to your arsenal.


THE GIVEAWAY

It’s officially the holiday season and I love these rolls so much that I want to share the splendor with a giveaway of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The winner will be chosen, via a random number generator, on Sunday December 4th at 5:00pm. I will email the winner Sunday night and they will have until Wednesday, December 7th to respond. Otherwise, I will select another winner.

Here’s how to win:

1) Leave a comment telling me about your favorite homemade bread recipe (enter once a day)

You can also get additional entries by doing the following:

1) Follow Lolly’s Sweet Treats on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you do 

2) Follow Lolly’s Sweet Treats on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you do

Good luck! :)

Full Disclosure: This giveaway is provided by me because I love this book so much and want you to love it too :)

Caramelized Onion and Herb Rolls

Printable Version

Yield: 6 dinner rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (grapefruit-size hunk) of refrigerated pre-mixed artisan bread dough
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt, wine, vinegar, brown sugar, herbs, and water to the oil and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized. Add more water as needed to prevent burning.

Grab a grapefuit-sized hunk of the dough and dust with flour and shape it into a ball. Divide the ball into 6 equal portions. Shape each one into a smooth ball and place on a greased baking pan. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Just before baking, sprinkle the rolls with flour and cut a 1/2 inch cross pattern onto the top, using a serrated knife. Fill the space with about 1 tablespoon of the onion mixture.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until browned and firm. Allow to cool before digging in. :)

Source: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Popovers

I dedicate these popovers to my Aunt Khaki. When she visited this past August, she planted the bug in my ear to bake a batch of these magical rolls. I finally got around to doing it last week and I am very glad I did. Popovers are best described as light, hollow, fluffy muffins that rise to spectacular heights in the oven. They can be savory or sweet and I am looking forward to trying out different variations very soon.

The batter of this particular recipe is similar to that of pancakes and it is super easy to make. There is no yeast required, but it does require a bit of planning as you need to let the dough rest for an hour before baking. The end result is worth the wait and it makes a nice addition to any meal.

Popovers

Printable Version

Yield: 6 popovers

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (11 oz) bread flour
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups low-fat milk, heated to 110 degrees (I zapped it in the microwave for 1 minute)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs until light and foamy. Gradually whisk in the milk and butter.

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Slowly whisk three-quarters of the milk mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk mixture. Pour the mixture into a large measuring cup and cover with plastic wrap. Let the batter rest for an hour to prevent the popovers from rising too fast in the oven.*

Move the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease the interior of a 6-cup popover pan. Whisk the batter to recombine and carefully pour into the popover pan, making sure the batter doesn’t go above the top of the cups.

Bake for 20 minutes. Without opening the oven, reduce the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to bake until the popovers are golden brown- about 35-40 minutes longer. Poke a small hole in the top of each popover with a wooden skewer and continue to bake until deep golden brown for about 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire cooling rack. Poke again with a skewer and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Carefully remove the popovers from the pan and cool about 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately or store at room temperature in a zip-lock bag for 2 days. To reheat, place the popover on baking sheet and heat for 5-8 minutes at 400 degrees.

* The batter can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a day. Just be sure to let it come to room temperature before baking.

Source: The Best of America’s Test Kitchen