Thursday, September 6, 2012

Baking, a great past time

Though the pace of today’s life limits us from preparing our own food, we should roll up our sleeves and get back to tradition.  Dust off old recipe books that have been passed to us by previous generations and put them to use.  Don't skip over the bread recipes for fear of facing something too complicated.  No other feeling is quite like working flour into dough.  Seeing it double in size, filling the kitchen with a tantalizing, yeasty aroma as it bakes is simply heavenly. Slicing and biting into a piece of bread that delivers the right-out-of-the-oven crunch will produce smiles that make the effort worthwhile.  Flat breads including pita, pizza, and focaccia are easy to make and countless recipes have been passed down for years. In fact, there is evidence that primitive bread was baked on open fires and hot stones in the Neolithic Age.

Pizza Dough

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup EVOO
1 teaspoon salt
Corn meal

1.   Dissolve the yeast in a large bowl with ½ cup of the water and sugar. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Add olive oil, salt, wheat flour, and about 2 cups of white flour, stirring to mix, then turn out on a floured surface and let rest.

2.    Knead dough until smooth, and add more flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking -- about 5 minutes. Return dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in volume.

3.    Preheat the oven lined with baking stone at 450F. A cast iron skillet can be used if you do not have a baking stone.

4.    To bake 9-inch pizzas, divide dough into four parts (we stretch dough balls and assemble the pizzas in cake pans dusted with corn meal).  Pizzas are baked in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then they are carefully removed and placed directly over the pizza stone to finish cooking. Cooking them directly on a stone produces crunchier dough that is very pleasing to the palate and makes the slice a bit easier to handle with bare hands.

If you are making pizza from scratch, forget about buying pizza sauce! We use a can of crushed tomatoes with a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic, and dried oregano. The sauce is then crowned with a good mozzarella cheese and the toppings that you or your family love best.

My family enjoys pepperoni, sausage, pineapple-ham and (my kids favorite) “The Bomb” as I have mentioned before in a previous blog entry. The Bomb is a deep dish pie layered with sauce, cheese and Mac &  Cheese.

We love flat breads! They are rewarding and easy to make at home. Breads and biscuits are the must-have part of a meal that sentimentalists associate with great-grandmother’s black wood stove in the old baking days.


1 comment:

....... said...

what a great idea! my fav is the one with mac and cheese two of my best things ever combined! :) gigi. food and beauty blogger @


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