Monday, February 10, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

No Kneed Bread~


There is no bread better than homemade...  even when you go to say, Panera Bread or your local bakery.  You may think to yourself, "there is no way I can make bread like that!"  Well... yes you can.  It's actually very easy.  Like most things, the more you make it the better you get at it.  Most recipes say that it needs at least 18 hours to raise.  I don't do that, I will make mine at night before I go to sleep, say around 10:00pm.  Let it sit on the counter and then after my morning ritual of coffee and sitting, I will preheat my oven and start the cooking process.  Don't let it scare you.. it's easy peasy~

I use my kitchenaid countertop mixer.  I make a few loaves at a time, that is why the bowl had dough on it~  I add my water, kosher sale and instant yeast, no waiting for anything to "happen"....

 I then add my bread flour, I like to use bread flour.  You can use all purpose flour if you wish.  Once you do it using each flour, you will decide which one you like the best.  If you are low on one flour, you can also mix them.

 Using the "paddle" attachment, I mix the ingredients until combined and wet.

 I then scrape the dough out and put it in another bowl with plastic wrap on it.  Leave it for at least 8 hours or more.  I really think that if you even waited just a few hours it would be fine.  The longer you wait, the more "holes" will be in the bread.

When you are ready to bake your bread, you will need to preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  You need a pot that is cast iron, clay, or pyrex... as long as it has a lid.  These pots need to be put in the oven when you turn it on, so that they will preheat too.  I do 3 breads at a time.

Now... on a very well floured surface, scrape your dough out of the bowl.. it will be wet, but don't let that bother you.  Put it on the floured surface and sprinkle flour on it and pull the edges under to make a smooth top.  This take practice and you need not worry.  Do the best you can and when you bread is done it will be beautiful and rustic looking no matter what.

Top left is plain, top right is a sundried tomato and the bottom is a kalmati olive, fresh rosemary and feta cheese.  Use your imagination and add your additional ingredients to your water mixture before adding the flour.

Now that you have accomplished this, take the pot out of the oven.  Remove lid and put your bread into the pot.  It will be awkward but just get it in there, trust me :) it will cook fine.  Put the lid back on and cook for 20 minutes, remove lid (be careful not to burn your hands with the steam), and cook for another 10 minutes.  Your bread should be golden and rustic looking and will have a nice crust.  Take it out of the pot and let it cool on a baking rack.  Enjoy!

No Kneed Bread       

1.5 cups warm water
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
3 cups bread or all purpose flour

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until wet and combined.  Should only take a few minutes.  Scrape down sides and cover with plastic wrap for at least 8 hours to 12 hours.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a cast iron pot with lid in the oven to preheat too.  Meanwhile, put your dough on a very well floured surface and pull edges into bottom center to make a round ball. When oven is heated, take pot out and put bread in it and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, take lid off and cook 10 minutes longer.  Bread should be golden and rustic looking.  Take out of pot and let cool on a bakers rack. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tristan Thomas Hedge's baby shower~

A beautiful baby shower for my grandson....  My daughter Bernadette's baby shower for Tristan Thomas Hedge... a beautiful 6lb 2oz. healthy, perfect, beautiful little baby boy...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza ~

I love making Homemade Pizza, that's all I eat... unless I'm some place other than home.  I found this and thought "How Interesting".... had it on their blog and I must share it with you.  This is one thing I will be trying for sure~  Here's what she says

Oh my gosh. I’ve been waiting forever to tell you about this pizza.
And by forever, I mean three days. But in Jessica years? That is forever.
It’s pathetic, really.
The toppings? I’m over the moon. I don’t need to remind you how weird it is that I love brussels sprouts because well, I do that every single time I talk about brussels sprouts and isn’t getting old? Yes and yes. I know. And over half of my recipes with these darn brussels contain bacon, so throwing the whole combo on a pizza was second nature and wow… thank goodness it was. Brussels, bacon and cheese. Just go with it.
Also go with a little balsamic glaze if you want. Trust me.
What I really have been chomping at the bit to tell you about is THIS CRUST. Not even this crust, but this method. A freaking cast iron skillet, people! This method cooks your pizza in three minutes. No lie. THREE minutes. And it might be the best crust I’ve ever had. At least until I have the next best crust I’ve ever had.
I’m no pizza connoisseur – unless eating obnoxious amounts qualifies one as an expert – but this somewhat resembles a wood fire crust or something. I dunno. I might be making that up but it’s what it reminds me of. I used my go-to dough recipe, which is from our favorite garlic bread pizza crust. Since making that nearly one year ago, I’ve never made another dough recipe. Which is huge, considering I try out doughs like they’re going out of style.
Back in December, I had to take a little trip to NYC and conned my friend Bev into coming with me. No really, I pretty much verbally harassed her into coming. It was amazing. As we walked the streets of NYC, she told me about how she had made this incredible pizza in a cast iron skillet and how I had to try it. She also watched me emotionally break down when we didn’t make it to Crumbs before leaving for the airport and she essentially saved my life when I tried to jaywalk a few times, but those are stories for another day.
Oh! And coincidentally we ate slices of pizza around midnight after already eating a full dinner earlier, but we walked about five miles in between so that more than made up for it. Yeah, we should have had two slices. We inhaled negative calories.
Oh. Sidebar. You can make “normal” pizza too. I bet you can’t guess who requested normal pizza. Iinstagrammed this pizza and said something inappropriate.
It’s true.
I swore up and down and right and left that I was making the pizza as soon as I got home. Then I came home and promptly forgot about the pizza because, hello, it was the holidays and I decided to start shopping ten days before. But! Last week I remember and… my world was forever changed.
A slight note: um, this method works really well with two people. Additionally, this method pretty much requires a pizza peel. Guess what? I was one person without a pizza peel. In other words, I nearly died while trying to make this pizza. (Note my makeshift “peel” up above, aka a flipped over, floured baking sheet.) I would have been okay with that though because IT’S THAT GOOD. And you know I’ve been trying to reel in the drama recently so if I’m saying it’s that good… it’s that good.
I love it. Big heart.

Cast Iron Skillet Brussels Sprouts Bacon Pizza





crust (NOTE: this recipe makes TWO doughs for skillet pizza)
1 1/8 cups warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
pizza (NOTE: these ingredients are for ONE pizza)
6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated
4 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese


In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Sometimes I work in a few more sprinkles of flour if the dough is sticky. This amount of dough yielded 2 pizza crusts for my 12-inch cast iron skillet. If you're using an 8-inch, you may get 3 doughs, but you also may just want to stick with 2 thicker doughs. Divide the dough evenly in half (or thirds). Place one dough on a well-floured pizza peel and roll into a round about the size of your skillet.
make the pizza + the cast iron skillet method
Heat a large skillet (preferably NOT the skillet you are going to cook your pizza in) over medium heat and add bacon. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shallot. Cook for 5 minutes until soft, then add garlic, sliced brussels, salt and pepper, stirring well to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
At this point, place an oven rack directly under your broiler and preheat your broiler to the highest setting. Additionally, place your cast iron skillet on the stovetop burner, turning the heat on high. You want to heat the skillet for 10 minutes. If it begins to smoke a lot, you can reduce the heat a bit. But you want it HOT.
While the skillet is heating, begin placing your toppings on your dough. Remember, the dough MUST be on a well-floured pizza peel (or surface) so you can simply slide the entire thing into the skillet. Add about 2-3 ounces of cheese to your dough, then cover with the brussels sprouts mixture and the bacon. Top with the remaining fontina, provolone and parmesan.
Place a potholder or thick towel on the handle of the skillet (it will be sooo hot). Carefully slide the pizza into the skillet, dough side down. Don't worry if a few toppings or pieces of cheese slice onto the surface - it will be totally fine. After about 30 seconds, turn off the burner, grab the skillet and pop it in the oven, right under the broiler. Broil for 1 minute, the using the potholder, grab the handle and rotate 180 degrees, broiling for only 1 more minute. Remove immediately and place on the stovetop. Let cool slightly for about 5 minutes, then use a large spatula to remove the pizza. INDULGE!
[crust from my garlic bread pizza crust, skillet method from bev cooks, originally from kitchen konfidence]

Oh who am I kidding? Drama queen for life.

If you try it, let me know what you think!