Monday, January 17, 2011

Basic Pizza Dough

This is for Allison :)

3/4 cup warm water (105-115°F)
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 to 2 1/4 cups bread flour

Heat water in microwave until temperature reaches 105-115°F. (If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast). Sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the water and stir in until dissolved. Add sugar and stir in a teaspoon of flour; set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture should begin to bubble. If the mixture doesn't bubble, either the yeast is too old or the temperature of the water was too hot and you should start over again with fresh yeast or cooler water.

After the yeast begins to bubble, add it to the remaining ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer (or other large bowl). Knead on low speed for 15 minutes or turn out onto a clean work surface which has been dusted lightly with flour and knead for the same amount of time.

The dough should feel slightly sticky when you are done kneading, but it shouldn't cling to your hands. If it does, knead in a few dustings of flour. If the dough doesn't feel slightly sticky, there's not enough moisture; knead in a few drops of water.

Tip: To hydrate the dough just a little, soak a paper towel with water and wrap it lightly over the dough ball and leave it to rest for 5 minutes, then knead the extra moisture into the dough.

When the dough is smooth and elastic it is ready to begin the rising phase.

Place a few drops of olive oil at the bottom of a large heavy bowl. Place the rounded dough ball in the bowl and turn to coat the mass lightly with oil; this prevents the dough from forming a crust which would keep it from rising fully. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean, damp cotton towel and place in a warm place, free from draft. (Inside an oven, on top of a refrigerator or hot water heater are good spots if they are draft-free).

Allow the dough to rise, undisturbed until it has nearly doubled in bulk. This can take 60-90 minutes, depending on the yeast and room temperature.

At this point, the dough may be punched down (deflated - the air bubbles pressed out) and stretched to form a pizza crust and used immediately (or it may be sealed tightly in freezer bags and frozen for later use; defrost in microwave for 5-7 minutes or allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before using).

When ready to bake, set the baking rack in the oven to the lower or lower-middle rack and set the oven temperature to 475 or 500°F. Allow oven to preheat for at least 20 minutes.

While the oven preheats, stretch (don't roll) the dough out to a 14 inch diameter circle (or much wider if you prefer even thinner pizza crusts). The dough may be pressed out on a work surface and transferred to an ungreased pan (sprinkle a little cornmeal or semolina flour into the pan to prevent sticking, or spray lightly with olive oil spray). Another method is to press the dough directly into the pan. Or if you're feeling adventurous, stretch the dough out by holding it over the backs of two upheld hands, turning and allowing the dough's weight and gravity to stretch it out (they use a variation of this method in pizza shops to make the famous "hand stretched" dough). Top with preferred toppings.

You may also add a little bit of Italian Seasoning to the dough before you knead.

Lemon Chicken Marinade

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor until liquids are fully combined and garlic is well pureed. Mixture should be opaque and fairly thick. Pour over chicken and marinade for 4-8 hours.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ranch Potato Salad

2 lbs. red potatoes

1 bottle (8 oz.) ranch salad dressing

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 package (2.8 oz) real bacon bits

¼ tsp pepper

Dash garlic powder

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain potatoes and cut into cubes; add to the dressing and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.

We made this tonight with some grilled chicken and it was SO yummy!! And SO easy. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

white bread loaf, rolls or cinnamon rolls! super yummy!

Combine and let sit and bloom for 5 minutes:
2 c very warm water
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 T yeast

1/3 c oil
1/2 T salt
6-8 c flour

Knead in your machine for 6 minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Spray your countertop where you will work with the dough, and your two bread pans, with oil. Pull the dough from the bowl onto the countertop. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Roll into loaves and place in bread pans. Place bread pans in your oven. Turn oven on preheat for ONE MINUTE, then turn oven off and let dough rise until it is as tall as the top of the bread pans (about 20-30 minutes). At this point, turn oven on 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from bread pans and eat it all up while it's hot! :)

Use this same recipe for rolls or cinnamon rolls. The dough for one loaf of bread will make 12 rolls or 12 cinnamon rolls.

For rolls: Roll dough into a big circle about 1/4 inch thick. Use a butter knife to spread butter all over the circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into quarters and then divide the quarters into three equal pieces. Starting at edge, roll toward the center point. Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet. Let rise until double. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For cinnamon rolls: Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Spread butter across the rectangle. Sprinkle heavily with cinnamon and sugar. Starting along the long side of the rectangle, roll into a log. Using thread or dental floss, slide the floss under the log half way. Bring the ends of the floss up, cross over and pull so that thread cuts through the dough. Divide the halves into halves again using the floss. Divide those four quarters of dough into three equal pieces again. Place on a greased baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart from each other. Let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Spread with frosting when warm.

Friday, January 14, 2011


We're starting this blog to easily share recipes that don't take too many ingredients or too much time! Being a new mommy and wife can be hard and making dinner shouldn't add to that! :) Let me know (just leave a comment) if you want to be an author and be able to add recipes! The more the merrier ;).