Pizza Two Ways

Last night my family came over to drop my sister off for the night. She’s off school for the summer, and wanted to hang out at my place for a while. She can be a picky eater, so I wanted to make something for dinner I knew she’d eat. I figured pizza would fit the bill. With 4 adults to feed also, I thought I better make two pizzas. I decided to do one more traditional, like what you’d order from any pizza chain; and one like I’ve been making lately with the whole wheat crust.

I wanted to dress up the plain pepperoni pizza, so I made it stuffed with cheese around the edge. I knew my family would enjoy that one for sure. I   topped the whole wheat crust with fresh vegetables and prosciutto. Scott and I love this combination and I hoped my family would give it a try.

For the thicker white (stuffed) crust:
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Quick Rise Yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mozzarella (if desired)
Toppings we used:
Tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover and let the dough rise for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your preference for a thin, more dense crust or a thicker crust. Once the crust has risen to your liking, Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s). Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). I prefer to roll mine out on a silicone baking sheet so I can easily move it onto the pizza pan.

For the stuffed crust (skip this step for a regular crust): I rolled mine just a bit bigger than my pan and dotted with little mozzarella pearls. Fold dough over the cheese and pinch together to seal. Flip the dough onto the pan so the pinched side is down.

Bake the crust in a preheated 400F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Return pizza to oven to finish baking for another 10 to 20 minutes, or until done. Baking time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings.

For the thinner wheat crust:
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 envelope Quick Rise Yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2-2/3 cup hot water (120-130°F)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings we used:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 sliced tomato
a handful of fresh chopped basil
1 thinly sliced onion sauteed with
2 cloves garlic
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Combine flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor or stand mixer; mix to combine. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the mixer running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be pretty soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if it’s too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Mix until the dough forms a ball, then mix for 1 minute to knead.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll (about a 13-inch circle) and top the pizza as desired and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes.

My mom and stepdad both tried my whole wheat pizza and said they liked it. Everyone really enjoyed the pepperoni too. The cheese did leak out in a couple places, but for the most part stayed put. The little mozzarella pearls worked perfectly for this crust. With how simple and inexpensive these were to make, I don’t want to go back to ordering in!

– Jodi

Roasted Garlic and Herb Bread

Yesterday was pretty chilly around here, and I thought some nice fresh warm bread sounded like a good lazy Sunday snack. I found this recipe for Roasted Garlic and Herb bread and since it made two loaves I shared one with Patricia. I think this would be an excellent side with a pasta dish, though I’m having some tonight with a steak dinner.

2 whole garlic bulbs
2 tsp olive oil
1 (1/4 oz) pkg dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (I really like the cheese, so I doubled this)
2 tbsp melted butter

Remove the outer skin from the garlic, but do not peel or separate the cloves. Cut tops off the bulbs and brush with oil. Wrap each bulb in foil. Bake at 425 for about 30 min until softened. Cool for 10 min then squeeze garlic into a small bowl with the herbs.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt and 1 cup flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto lightly floured surface, divide in half. Roll each portion into a rectangle about 8X10. Spread each with half the garlic herb mixture and half the cheese. Roll up starting with the long side, pinching the ends and seam to seal.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place loaves seam side down on pan, tucking ends under. With a knife make slashes across the tops of the loaves. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes- until golden brown. Remove from pans and allow to cool. Brush the tops of the loaves with the melted butter.

This was a fast and easy bread to make, I will definitely make it again. You could really use any combination of herbs here that you like, and I think I might try experimenting with the cheeses too.

– Jodi

Potato Broccoli Soup and Parmesan Herb Knots

I’ve been meaning to make soup and fresh bread all winter. Now it’s spring and I finally got around to it. My recipes aren’t original, but both were very good. I made Broccoli Potato Soup with Greens and Parmesan Herb Knots. I’m particularly proud of the rolls, as this is my first attempt at anything other than white bread. They weren’t too difficult and they are nice and flaky on the outside.

– Jodi