Pizza Dough

Adapted from King Arthur

We needed pizza dough a bit more quickly than the original King Arthur recipe allows for. I took a number of shortcuts: I didn’t do the 15 minute rise after rolling out the dough or the second 90 minute rise. I also didn’t precook the crust before adding toppings. And it still turned out fluffy and delicious!  Here’s my quicker version.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. Mix and all the ingredients together until they form a smooth dough. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook for ~4 minutes.
  2. Cover and leave the dough to rise for one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  4. Roll out the pizza dough into whatever shape/thickness you like. I used the dough to make two rectangular(ish)pizzas around 12″x6″ with a crust that wasn’t really thin or thick–right in the middle. It puffs up more as it cooks!
  5.  Add your sauce and toppings! We used tomato sauce, fresh and shredded mozzarella, green pepper, mushrooms, onions, and fresh basil. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 450°F.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

These have a whole lot of butter. And a whole lot of sugar. They are a bit over-the-top, but sometimes you need just that!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. You’re going to start by making the dough. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the flour, yeast, milk, eggs, and salt. Mix until well combined and there’s no dough sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  3. Time to let the dough rest! Cover the bowl and leave to rise for one hour.
  4. Time to make the filling! Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl.
  5. When the dough has finished rising, roll it out into a large rectangle that’s about 1/4″ thick.
  6. Brush the 1/3 cup melted butter on top of the rolled out dough, then evenly cover in the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.
  7. Starting with one of the long edges of the dough, carefully roll the dough into a long log.
  8. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 12 pieces.
  9. Place the 12 cinnamon rolls into a greased 9×13″ pan, cover, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  10. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  11. You can also make the frosting while waiting. Beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. If your frosting is too thick, you can add more powdered sugar.
  12. Bake the rolls for 25-35 minutes at 350°F, until lightly golden brown.
  13. Allow to cool slightly, then spread the cream cheese frosting on top!

Soft Pretzels

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David and I made these this morning. I admit that we need to work on our pretzel rolling and shaping. But looks aside, these were good. So, so good.

Yields 8 medium-sized pretzels

Ingredients

Pretzel dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast*
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

The bath

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

To coat pretzels & to serve

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Coarse salt (you could do a cinnamon/sugar topping instead!)
  • Dipping sauce of your choice (optional, but I love spicy brown mustard)

*You can use a different type of yeast (such as active dry yeast), if that’s what you have! This King Arthur article is helpful: you can just do a 1:1 substitution!

 Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 1/2 cups warm water, yeast, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until well-combined.

1. Knead the dough until it’s smooth. I used a stand mixer with the hook attachment for around 5 minutes, but you could also do this by hand (probably ~10 minutes).

2. Cover the bowl with a wet dish towel and leave to rise for at least 30 minutes.

3. While the dough is rising, make your water bath. Combine the 2 cups of warm water with the baking soda. Stir until dissolved.

4. When the dough has finished rising, break off a handful of dough. Roll into a long rope (no more than 1/2″ thick) and then shape into a pretzel. If the dough is too sticky, cover your hands in flour first.

5. Dip the pretzel into the water bath and place onto a lined baking sheet. (I like to use silicone mats, but parchment paper or greasing the sheet will work too!)

6. Repeat until all the pretzels are made. Then leave them to rise for 30 more minutes.

7. While the dough is completing the final rise, preheat your oven to 450°F.

8. Bake in oven for ~15 minutes, or until golden brown.

9. Brush each pretzel with melted butter, then sprinkle salt (or cinnamon/sugar) on top. These are definitely best hot out of the oven!

Pita Bread

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I’ve been meaning to try to make pita bread for years. But then we moved back to Western Mass a few years ago and discovered Yalla Vermont, the coziest and most delicious Middle Eastern restaurant in Brattleboro, VT. Yalla makes their own insanely fluffy and delicious pita (and several different types of hummus), so we buy it there whenever we go. And I kept putting off baking it myself.

We aren’t exactly leaving the house these days because of coronavirus, so this seemed like the perfect time to try making it at home. And oh is it good!

Adapted from King Arthur

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients until it forms a dough.

2. Now it’s time to knead the dough! You can do it by hand (10 minutes) or in a stand mixer with the dough hook (5 minutes). I use a stand mixer, which is a huge help. The dough should become quite smooth.

3. Put the dough into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl somehow–with a lid, a silicone cover, saran wrap, or even a slightly damp dish towel. This will prevent your dough from drying out. Leave the dough to rest for 1 hour.

4. Divide the dough into eight pieces. It’s okay if they aren’t completely even in size.

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5. Roll two of the dough pieces into 6″ circles and place onto a greased baking sheet (I use a silicone mat instead of greasing the sheet).

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6. Leave the 6″ circles to rest for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 500°F.

8. Put the baking sheet with the two pitas on the lowest rack in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes. They will puff up quite a bit! (Note: if yours don’t, give it another minute. If they still don’t, your oven is probably not hot enough.)

9. Move the baking sheet to the top rack in the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top.

10. When the pitas come out of the oven, place a dish towel over them to keep them nice and soft.

11. Repeat the process with the remaining dough! (To make it go faster, I used two baking sheets and developed a system where I had one sheet starting on the bottom and one sheet finishing baking on top, with two different timers going. It’s more complicated, but definitely speeds it up.)

12. Make into a sandwich! Dip in some hummus! It’s so delicious warm, but will stay good in an airtight container too.

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No-Knead Crusty Bread

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Adapted from King Arthur

I love this recipe because it is so simple. Not factoring in wait time or bake time, it’s about 5 minutes of work. Oh, and it yields enough dough to make two loaves, so you can bake one loaf today and another one later in the week!

Ingredients

  • 7 1/2 cups flour*
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast or active dry yeast

*I like to use a mix of all-purpose flour and wheat flour. I change up the ratio, but most recently used 5 cups all-purpose flour and 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour. But feel free to use just all-purpose if you’d like!

Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large (at least 6qt) mixing bowl. Mix everything together until you have a sticky dough. If you’re using a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 60 seconds.

2. Now it’s time to let the dough rise. Cover the bowl (again it’s got to be at least 6 qts because it’s going to rise a lot!). I use a great silicone cover that my mom gave me, but use a lid or plastic wrap or whatever you’ve got!

3. Stick the bowl in the fridge and let it rise for at least 4 hours or as long as 7 days. Don’t be worried if it rises and falls–it will do that!

4. When you’re read to bake, grab half of the dough. Put some flour on the dough and shape into a round loaf or a log. Put the dough onto a parchment or silcone lined baking sheet. Sprinkle some flour on top and leave the bread to rest for 1 hour (or longer if your house is cool).

5. While the bread is resting, heat your oven to 450°F. Fill a shallow metal or cast iron pan on the bottom shelf with 1″ of water. Put on the bottom rack of the oven. This is essential for getting a nice brown crust.

6. When it’s time to bake, use a knife to slash the bread a couple of times about 1/2″ deep. I like to make an X on top of the loaf. It’s pretty!

7. Bake the bread for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.

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Cayenne Cheddar Bread

I’ve only ever had cayenne cheddar bread at a restaurant called The Friendly Toast. I wanted to make my own since it is so, so delicious. I made a simple white bread and added cayenne and cheddar.

Ingredients

>>Yields two loaves

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp)
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne

Directions

1) Add all the ingredients together in a food processor. (You could do this by hand.) Mix (or knead) until the dough is smooth and elastic.

2) In a greased bowl, leave the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, or about one hour. Cover the bowl with a slightly damp dish cloth so the dough doesn’t dry out.

3) Knead the dough briefly for a couple of minutes.

4) Split the dough in half, and put into to two 9×5 greased loaf pans. Let it rise until the dough has risen one inch above the pans. (It should only take around 30 minutes, but it took almost two hours for my dough to rise! I think it’s because my kitchen is a bit chilly and dough rises a lot faster when it’s warm.)

5) Preheat oven to 350°F.

6) Bake for approximately 30 minutes.