Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Pioneer Woman’s Cheddar Puffs

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Warning: This is not a healthy recipe. We’re not even going to talk about Points today.

Now that that’s out of the way…

Yum!

These tasty little appetizers are cheesy bites of heaven. You make rich, gooey, melty cheese sauce, use it to coat bread chunks, then freeze them and bake them to puff them up. My favorite part of the recipe is that you can do all the work in advance–the prep work leaves you with a bag of frozen puffs that only require 10 minutes in the oven to finish. Perfect for parties or family get-togethers!

The Pioneer Woman’s Cheddar Puffs

  • 1 loaf Crusty French Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • ½ stick Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Sliced
  • 1-½ cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 2 whole Egg Whites, Beaten
  1. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add Dijon and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add grated cheddar and stir until melted. Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in egg whites.
  3. Dunk bread cubes in cheese, coating thoroughly. Place on a nonstick baking mat or sheet of waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove frozen chunks from tray and place into a Ziploc bag. Store in the freezer.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place frozen cheese puffs on a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

I like seafood, and my family likes seafood, but unfortunately, I’ve got a circle of friends who don’t care much for it, as a rule. In college, even though I could share an employee discount from my part-time job at The Olive Garden, most of my friends weren’t interested in Red Lobster–until I introduced them to the biscuits.

Red Lobster calls them Cheddar Bay Biscuits. They’re soft and fluffy in the middle, crispy at the edges, flavored with garlic and cheddar cheese throughout, and finished with butter and fresh parsley. Best of all, they come in a bottomless basket, like chips & salsa at a Mexican restaurant or more standard dinner rolls at a steakhouse. They truly are crave-able.

So you can imagine how excited I was when the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine claimed to have cracked the secret recipe. I couldn’t wait to try them.

And you know what? They’re really good. I thought they tasted just like the real thing! Next time, I think I’d take more care to make smaller biscuits. The larger ones that I made didn’t get as crispy as I would’ve liked. I ended up with an even dozen, but I’d probably aim for 14 or 16 next time to get the proper size.

Almost-Famous Cheddar Biscuits
From Food Network Magazine, October 2009

For the Biscuits:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces grated yellow cheddar cheese (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

For the Garlic Butter:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Lightly mist a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Make the biscuits: pules the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the shortening and pulse until combined. Add the cold butter cubes, pulse 4 or 5 times, or until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add the cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times. Pour in the milk and pulse just until the mixture is moistened and forms a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a clean lightly-floured surface and knead gently until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough, or the biscuits will be tough.

3. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet in scant 1/4-cup portions, 2 inches apart, and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. While the biscuits are baking, make the garlic butter. Melt the butter with the garlic in a small sauce pan over medium heat; cook for 1 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. When the biscuits are finished, brush them with the garlic butter and serve warm.

Note: I like that this recipe is made in the food processor, but I don’t have any experience with how it would work without the food processor. I do have an instinct that everything up to the vegetable shortening could be replaced with Bisquick–but I haven’t tried that either.

Amish Friendship Bread

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

The other day, Leah came home from work with a Ziploc bag full of mush.

I looked at it skeptically.

She handed it to me, along with a single sheet of paper with printed instructions.

I looked at it skeptically.

“Will we do it?” she asked. “I mean, I can take it back to someone else, if you want, but it makes really good bread!”

I looked at it skeptically, but agreed.

After all, most of the instructions are “mash the bag,” and I like to bake anyhow.

That’s how I got my hands on an Amish Friendship Bread starter. The process is very simple. You follow the directions every day (most of the directions really are “mash the bag,” for the day) and then on the 10th day, you bake one part of it into loaves of sweet cinnamon bread, and divide the rest into new batches of starter to give to your friends. It’s kind of like a bread dough chain letter.

The resulting bread is very, very sweet (honestly, a little sweet for my tastes), but tasty. I opted to add raisins, which went well. Now that I’ve made a batch, I can start to see how I might make some adaptations to the next batch. The bread is moist, with a muffin-like crumb. I think it would make very good muffins, actually. The recipe below are the steps that accompanied my batch of starter.

amish bread

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread

Please Note: As the bread starter rests over the next 10 days, air will build up in the Ziploc bag. This is normal. When you notice air building up int he bag, let it out. Do NOT refrigerate the bread starter.The bread will rise and ferment in the Ziploc bag.

Day 1: Do Nothing
Day 2: Mash the Bag
Day 3: Mash the Bag
Day 4: Mash the Bag
Day 5: Mash the Bag
Day 6: Add the following to the bag and mash it all together:

  • 1 Cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup of milk

Day 7: Mash the Bag
Day 8: Mash the Bag
Day 9: Mash the Bag
Day 10: Follow the Instructions below to make Amish Friendship Bread

Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 Cups of flour, 1 1/2 Cups of sugar and 1 1/2 Cups of milk. Mix well.

Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into (4) one gallon Ziploc bags. Keep a starter for yourself and give the other bags to (3) friends along with a copy of this recipe.

Note: If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every 10 days. This bread is very good and makes a great gift. Only the Amish know how to create the starter, so if you give them all away, you’ll have to wait until someone gives you a starter back. Should this recipe not be passed on to a friend on the first day, be sure to tell them which day the bag is on when you give it to them.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1) To the remaining batter in the bowl, add 3 eggs, 1 cup oil, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanillla, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 cups flour, 1 large box instant vanilla pudding (1 cup raisins or nuts optional)

2. Grease two large loaf pans. In a small bowl, mix an additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half of this mixture.

3. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Sprinkle the remaining sugar/ cinnamon mixture.

4. Bake for one hour. Cool bread until it loosens evenly from the sides of the pan. Turn onto plates. Or bake mini-muffins for 20 minutes, regular muffins for 40 minutes.

Note: If you google for Amish Friendship Bread, you can find recipes for starters and even kits you can buy with mix for starter in them. We inherited this one, so I don’t know how to tell you to make your own. Apparently, I’ll have new batches of starter every 10 days or so, though, so if you’d like one of your own, just let me know!

Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

There’s a lot of David’s favorite foods floating around this blog these days. The fajitas, the potica, the bruschetta…and now cinnamon rolls. David loves cinnamon rolls. But really, who doesn’t?

Along with potica, this was one of those things that we were waiting for more counter space. Now that we have it, I finally decided to bake some up. I borrowed this recipe from Kristen at Dine & Dish. The recipe was relatively easy to follow, and the cinnamon rolls were extremely tasty. I’m interested in trying other recipes, to see what difference they make in the final product, but overall, I was very happy with this recipe, and I probably would make it again.

Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Dine & Dish

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 6 cups flour half all-purpose and half bread flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons salt (cut down to 1 teaspoon if using salted butter)

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Proof yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water, with 1 teaspoon sugar added; Set aside for five minutes.
  2. Put milk, sugar, salt, and about one cup flour in a bowl of a stand mixer, and beat with the paddle attachment until well-mixed.
  3. Add eggs and yeast mixture and a couple cups of flour and beat again, until combined.
  4. Switch to the dough hook. Add the soft butter and the rest of the flour, adding the rest of flour very slowly, while the mixer is running. Continue needing with the dough hook until all flour has been incorporated and dough is firm.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter, and knead the ball of dough until it is smooth and satiny, adding only enough to keep if from sticking.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease all sides.
  7. Let rise in warm place until double, about an hour,covering bowl with a towel or plastic wrap.
  8. Punch down, kneading for about 30 seconds to remove bubbles; Cover and let rise again.
  9. Punch down dough again.
  10. Cut with a knife into four parts, and shape into balls; Roll each ball into a 8 X 14 inch rectangle.
  11. Spread the dough with about 3 tablespoons butter, leaving far edge unbuttered.
  12. Spread with one fourth the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  13. Roll up; roll tightly; Pinch edges; Cut into slices.
  14. Place in greased pan and let rise until double in size, 45-60 minutes.
  15. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  16. Frost with softened cream cheese frosting.

Note: This recipe makes about 2 dozen cinnamon rolls—enough that David’s been eating them for breakfast every morning since! He’s not complaining though.

The original recipe called for all of the mixing and kneading to be done by hand. I adapted it for the Stand Mixer. I also sprinkled two of the dough quarters with chopped walnuts, for a change of pace. They were good, but David thinks “pecans would have been better,” so we’ll probably try that next time.

Pear Butter (and a panini!)

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Now from what I understand, this farmer’s market is a much bigger event during the summer, when it takes place outside, and we were there for one of the last weeks inside. No matter. We had a good time and picked up several tasty treats. One of those treats was a jar of Pear Butter from Seedling.

I’d never even heard of Pear Butter, but of course there were samples, and the samples were quite convincing, so we picked up a jar. If you’ve never had Pear Butter (or Apple Butter) for that matter, the term propbably requires some explaination.

According to Wikipedia, Apple Butter is a highly concentrated applesauce, made by cooking apples so long and slow that the sugars in the apples carmelize. Despite being called Apple “Butter,” there’s no butter, cream, or dairy of any kind involved. And the final product isn’t anything like butter, really. It’s more of a jam-like spread (though not quite as thick). We use it to spread on toast, mostly. The caramelization gives the apple butter a unique sweet taste. David, who favors apple jelly almost exclusively, likes apple butter a lot. His favorite use is to slather it on a toasted english muffin.

This Pear Butter was similar to Apple Butter—it had the same unique sweetness, but the pears gave it a little something special. I have been very happy to have it around.

The one other place I’ve seen apple butter at work is, oddly enough, in college. The dining hall made a surprisingly delicious sandwich with turkey, dill harvati, and apple butter. It sounds strange, I know, but the sanwhich was the perfect balance of salty and sweet. I decided to use the same flavors to make a panini using roasted turkey, leftover harvati cheese from our fancy Macaroni & Four Cheese, and of course, our new Pear Butter.

Pear Butter, Turkey, & Harvati Panini

For each sandwiches:

  • Two slices of good quality bread (We like this sourdough)
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter or pear butter
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced roasted turkey (from the deli)
  • 2 ounces harvati cheese, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1. Preheat a panini pan and press over medium high heat.

2. Spread one slice of bread with the mayonnaise. Top with one layer of cheese, followed by turkey, and then another layer of cheese, in that order. Spread the remaining slice of bread with apple or pear butter to complete the sandwich. .

3. Spread the outside of the sandwich (both slices of bread) with butter.

4. Place in panini pan and top with press. The sandwich is done when the bread is crisp all around and the cheese is melted all the way through. Slice in half and serve immediately.

Note: I wouldn’t say these sandwhiches were perfect, but if I had the ingredients laying around again, I’d definitely try to perfect it. They were quite tasty as it was. The two differences were the use of sourdough instead of plain, from a bag, sliced wheat bread (I’d say the sourdough was probably an improvement), and using regular harvati instead of a dill-flavored harvati (this could have made the sandwhich better).

Banana Bread

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Everyone knows that over-ripe bananas mean banana bread. So when I found myself with an apartment full of guests and several over-ripe bananas, I decided to throw some together last weekend. And it was pretty near close to perfect, if I do say so myself. It made the whole place smell amazing!

Banana Bread
adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s “A Homemade Life”

  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter (I used salted, because that’s what we keep on hand).
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cps mashed bananas (from about 3 large ripe bananas)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnut halves

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Line a loaf pan (9 X 5 inches) with parchment paper

3. Now take your butter, put it in a skillet or a small pot and melt it on a relatively low heat.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, the sugar, the baking soda, the salt, the ginger and the cinnamon.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs lightly. Add the mashed banana, the buttermilk, the cooled butter, and vanilla and stir to mix well.

6.  Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula until it’s just combined (don’t overmix). Gently stir in the walnuts. Now scrape it into the prepared loaf pan.

7. Bake it in the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes until a tester comes clean.

8. Cool the loaf in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes then let it rest on a cooling rack until completely cooled. If you can. :)

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Is there anything worse for you than Fried Macaroni & Cheese?

I thought not.

But like so many other things that are terrible for you… it’s one of the most delicious!

If you’ve never had Fried Mac & Cheese, you’re missing out. The first time I tried it was at The Cheesecake Factory with my mom. It was so good as an appetizer that we skipped the entrees! I’ve also had it at TGIFriday’s. What’s different about making it at home is that when you control the ingredients–using olive oil to fry, and a homemade Mac & Cheese with real cheese (not OrangyProcessedCheeseFood)–the result is so much tastier than anything a chain restaurant can dream of serving.

This version has a light, crispy crunch on the outside, while the middle comes together as a warm, gooey, cheesy center. I’ve seen it served with marinara sauce for dipping, but if you start with awesome Mac & Cheese, I think a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt over the finished product is all you need.

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

  • leftovers from your favorite baked macaroni & cheese recipe, chilled overnight. (I used the leftovers from this delicious spin on traditional mac & cheese.)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying

1. Slice the macaroni & cheese into 1-inch thick slices. Keep chilled until ready to use.

2. Heat a 1/2 inch layer of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, until the surface shimmer. You want the oil to be hot enough to crisp the mac & cheese, but you don’t want the oil to smoke.

3. Place the flour in a shallow dish and sprinkle with salt & pepper. In a second dish, lightly beat two eggs together. In a third dish, combine the panko and parmesan cheese.

4. Dredge two slices of the mac & cheese in flour and shake off the excess. Next, dip the slices of mac & cheese in the eggs, and then finally in the panko/parmesan mixture.

5. When the oil is ready, carefully place the breaded macaroni & cheese slices in the skillet and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. While hot, lightly sprinkle with salt (preferably flaked sea salt). Cover with a loosely-tented piece of foil to keep the fried slices warm while you continue cooking the rest of the macaroni & cheese.

Note:  We chilled our leftover macaroni & cheese in a plastic container shaped like a loaf of bread, which made it easier to slice evenly. We’ll be making this again for sure…probably any time we have leftover Mac & Cheese!

Macaroni and Four Cheeses with Apples and Bacon Breadcrumbs

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

This was a fun one for me. You guys have caught onto the fact that I’m a Top Chef fan, right?

Of course you have.

Well, my all-time favorite Top Chef is Stephanie Izard. She’s talented, but also gracious and humble. I was really excited to see her win the title, and David and I are looking forward to checking out her restaurant when it opens up. She’s a Chicago girl, after all!

Last weekend, David pointed out Stephanie’s website to me, and it took me about a minute and a half to decide to make this Macaroni & Cheese dish. I sent David on a shopping trip for ingredients almost immediately.

We were not disappointed. The apples added a unique flavor to the traditional Mac & Cheese, but were a welcome touch of sweetness in a sea of creamy, salty cheese sauce. I skipped the ham, since David isn’t a fan. Though I can see how it would be a good addition, I can’t say that I missed it. (I did decide to double the bacon and add half to the breadcrumbs and the other half right into the macaroni & cheese). This dish was heavy enough to stand alone as a meal, even without the meat. If you want to add them, it would be good with either ham or grilled chicken, though.

Macaroni and Four Cheeses with Apples and Bacon Breadcrumbs
Adapted from www.stephanieizard.com

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter (I used salted butter–no problems)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups ciabatta cubes (about 6 ounces of ciabatta bread, cubed)
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 6 cups whole milk (we keep 1% on hand, so I used 5 1/2 cups of 1% milk with a 1/2 of heavy cream…worked out just fine!)
  • 8 ounces bacon (6-8 strips), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, cubed (we had Honeycrisp on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound conchiglie pasta (I used a different shape that we had on hand, anything that’s going to catch the sauce is good)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 ounces aged cheddar (1 cup grated)
  • 6 ounces whole milk mozzarella (1 1/2 cup grated)
  • 4 ounces smoked gouda (1 cup grated)
  • 4 ounces havarti (1 cup grated)
Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large Dutch oven or saucepot over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, steeping in the butter for about 1 minute, until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and add the bread cubes to the pot, tossing to coat them in the garlic butter. Spread the butter-coated cubes across a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, until the bread is very crisp. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Put the onion and the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a bare simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching the bottom.

While the milk simmers, return the Dutch oven to the stove over medium heat. When the pot is hot again, add the bacon pieces and render until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside with the cooling bread cubes. Add the apples to the hot fat in the pan, sautéing for 1-2 minutes, until the apples are just soft (not mushy). Remove the apples with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl. Add the vinegar and toss to coat.

Put the cooled bread cubes and bacon in a food processor and pulse several times to form bread crumbs.

Cook the macaroni to al dente, according to the package directions.

As the pasta cooks, melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk together, forming a thick paste, or a roux. Let the roux cook for a minute or so, until it begins to smell nutty. Strain the milk and discard the onion. Slowly add the hot milk to the roux, about 1/2-1 cup at a time, whisking well to avoid lumps. Continue incorporating the milk until a thick sauce forms. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of mozzarella and add the rest of the cheese to the sauce, stirring as it melts.

When the pasta is done, strain it and add it to the cheese sauce along with the apple mixture. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and pour into a 13×9-inch baking dish. Cover the macaroni and cheese with the bacon breadcrumbs and scatter the reserved 1/2 cup of mozzarella on top. Put the dish on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Broil the top until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheese is bubbly.

(Serve immediately or hold in a 300° F oven for about 30 minutes).

Note: Love, love, loved this! When I finished the sauce and moved it to the baking dish, I was concerned that the cheese sauce was a little on the thin side. It thickened in the pan to a perfect consistency. Even better, the chilled leftovers set up so well that David suggested I make Fried Macaroni & Cheese, which is what we did with the leftovers. Come back tomorrow for the recipe!

Chicken Baseballs

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Chicken Baseballs is a recipe that I found on the Weight Watchers message boards a while ago. It’s basically a creamy, cheesy chicken filling baked inside a flaky dough. I’ve made them a few times, and they’re very tasty. My method, it seems, is a little different than the one floating around the boards these days. I’m not sure if I changed the recipe or they did, but here’s how I make them.

Chicken Baseballs

  • 1 package (tube)  reduced fat crescent roll dough
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 8 ounce block “1/3 less fat than cream cheese” (neufchatel cheese), softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and cumin.  Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Stir in shredded cheese and chopped chicken until combined.

3. Unroll crescent roll dough on prepared baking sheet. Break the roll into four rectangles. Each rectangle will be made up of two intact triangles. Pinch together the seams on each pair. Scoop one quarter of the chicken and cheese mixture onto each rectangle and carefully shape the dough around the filling by pulling each corner to the top. When the filling is completely enclosed, place on the baking sheet seam side down. Repeat with remaining filling and rectangles of dough.

4. Sprinkle each roll with sesame seeds and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until crescent dough is golden brown.

Note: In case you were wondering, they’re called chicken baseballs because the seam in the crescent roll dough kind of resembles the seams on a baseball. Or so I’m told.

Alton Brown’s Homemade Pizza Dough

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
I don’t have very exacting pizza tastes. I like frozen pizza and thick crust pizza and thin crust pizza. I like Pizza Hut and Aurelio’s AND Lou Malnati’s. I like pizza from a box.
David on the other hand, is a bit more picky. Though he also likes Aurelio’s and Lou Malnati’s. He’s not that into my pizza from a box, and he’d rather not eat frozen pizzas. Of course, when he wanted us to make pizza from scratch, he went to Alton Brown’s recipe. I have mixed feelings about this recipe. We’ve struggled with the recipe a little bit–once it was way too sticky, another time, the dough didn’t really rise or stretch. (Could be due to the age of the active yeast we used, though). You also have to prepare the dough way in advance…it needs to rise in the fridge for about a day.
Really, there’s nothing wrong with this pizza dough recipe, but I’m holding out for one that’s a little bit easier to work with.
Alton Brown’s Pizza Pizza Dough
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups bread flour (for bread machines)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Olive oil, for the pizza crust
  • Flour, for dusting the pizza peel

Directions

Place the sugar, salt, olive oil, water, 1 cup of flour, yeast, and remaining cup of flour into a standing mixer’s work bowl. Using the paddle attachment, start the mixer on low and mix until the dough just comes together, forming a ball. Lube the hook attachment with cooking spray. Attach the hook to the mixer and knead for 15 minutes on medium speed.

Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the baker’s windowpane, or taut membrane, has formed. If the dough tears before it forms, knead the dough for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the pizza dough into a smooth ball on the countertop. Place into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.

Place the pizza stone or tile onto the bottom of a cold oven and turn the oven to its highest temperature, about 500 degrees F. If the oven has coils on the oven floor, place the tile onto the lowest rack of the oven. Split the pizza dough into 2 equal parts using a knife or a dough scraper. Flatten into a disk onto the countertop and then fold the dough into a ball.

Wet hands barely with water and rub them onto the countertop to dampen the surface. Roll the dough on the surface until it tightens. Cover one ball with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat the steps with the other piece of dough. If not baking the remaining pizza immediately, spray the inside of a ziptop bag with cooking spray and place the dough ball into the bag. Refrigerate for up to 6 days.

Sprinkle the flour onto the peel and place the dough onto the peel. Using your hands, form a lip around the edges of the pizza. Stretch the dough into a round disc, rotating after each stretch. Toss the dough in the air if you dare. Shake the pizza on the peel to be sure that it will slide onto the pizza stone or tile. (Dress and bake the pizza immediately for a crisp crust or rest the dough for 30 minutes if you want a chewy texture.)

Brush the rim of the pizza with olive oil. Spread the pizza sauce evenly onto the pizza. Sprinkle the herbs onto the pizza and top with the cheese.

Slide the pizza onto the tile and bake for 7 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

Note: As far as toppings go…go nuts. This time, we had some tomato, basil & feta pizza for Leah, while Dave and I stuck with a more traditional tomato sauce-sausage-mozzarella combo. Do what you like. :)

We were happy with the pizza stone method described in the recipe, and I do recommennd that you go that route if you’re going to make your own pizzas. Even our inexpensive one has made a vast improvement over pan pizza.