Category: Bread

Braided Pizza Bread

Braided Pizza Bread
Things can get a little crazy in my fridge. With all sorts of jars aligned in tall stacks, there is never a shortage of ingredients to come up with something to eat. Plus there is always dough stored in bags. I got kind of fancy with my pizza dough the other week. Instead of stretching it into a rough, lopsided circle per usual, I made braided pizza bread.

I rolled out the dough in a rectangle and spread on tomato sauce and pesto followed by a sprinkle of my favorite Italian blend cheese with parmesan, provolone, fontina and asiago, but any pizza toppings from meat to veggies would work. Then I took my pizza cutter to slice angled strips on each side that I overlapped into a braid before baking.
Braided Pizza Bread
Braided Pizza Bread

Serves 8-10

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing dough
1-1/2 cups bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cups tomato sauce plus more for serving
1/2 cup pesto plus more for serving
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch by 15-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper Spread the tomato sauce lengthwise in center of the dough leaving a 5-inch border on either side. Spread on the pesto and sprinkle on the cheese. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into angled strips about 1-1/2-inches wide. Start at one end and fold each strip over the filling alternating sides.

In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, thyme and garlic powder. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle the Parmesan mixture on top. Transfer the braid on the parchment paper to a sheet pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Serve with tomato and pesto.

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Pizza Rolls

Pizza Rolls
I will never get sick of eating pizza. It is definitely in my top 10 and maybe even my top 5 favorite foods. If I could dissect a piece of pizza, I like the crust most followed by sauce and then cheese. I am not a fan of pies loaded with cheese to the point that it dominates each bite. Skip the cheese all together? I’m not sure I would really miss it. Just pile that crust high with other toppings, and I would be happy.

A few weeks ago I used leftover pizza dough to make cinnamon rolls, but this time I went savory making pizza rolls filled with tomato sauce, pesto and a sprinkling cheese. They rose tall in the oven turning into chewy, puffy pinwheels. I ended up eating one along with a big green salad for dinner. My 3-year-old wasn’t convinced since what I was calling pizza wasn’t in the shape of a triangle.
Pizza Rolls
Pizza Rolls
Makes about 12 rolls

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing pizza
1 cup bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup pesto
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F Line a sheet pan with parchment.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch by 16-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Spread the tomato sauce leaving an 1/8-inch border followed by the pesto. Sprinkle all over with cheese. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into strips about 1-1/2 inches wide. Roll up each strip and place on the prepared sheet pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spelt Parker House Rolls

Spelt Parker House Rolls
I have ruined countless meals by going overboard on the breadbasket, the unofficial first course of any meal. Finding yourself full before the salad appears on the table really isn’t anything to brag about, but sometimes warm fresh-baked biscuits, focaccia or crusty sliced bread is too hard to resist. I will dip bread in olive oil, slather it with butter or devour it plain—it doesn’t matter.

On my to-do list has been to bake fluffy pull-apart bread, so I made these spelt parker house rolls. They are a version of the classic roll invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston in the 1870s. They rose very tall in the pan and baked up even higher in the oven. I sprinkled them with pepitas, sesame seeds & flaky salt. As lovely as they looked baked in their grid, I didn’t hesitate to tear one off.
Spelt Parker House Rolls
Spelt Parker House Rolls
Adapted from Food 52

Makes 16 rolls

1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature plus 1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup whole milk, warmed slightly
1 large egg
2-1/4 cups spelt flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons pepitas
1 teaspoon flaky salt

Stir together the yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the room temperature butter, sugar and salt. Whisk in the milk and egg followed by the yeast mixture. Add both flours and mix on low speed until the flour is absorbed. Then increase to medium speed, kneading the dough until smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with 2 teaspoons melted butter.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each one into a tight ball and coat it with melted butter. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Sprinkle them with sesame seeds, pepitas and flaky salt before baking until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
Snacking is serious business at our house. If you look in the pantry at any given time, you will usually find at least two different kinds of pretzels. From rods to twists to nuggets, my son and I are obsessed with pretzels. When we get home after school/work, our pre-dinner snacking involves pretzels and slices of cheddar. I have to be careful not to fill up on too much, or I won’t have room for the actual meal.

I am no stranger to baking soft pretzels from scratch. Classic salt is my topping of choice, but this time I tried a new recipe—cinnamon sugar whole-wheat pretzels. They weren’t overly sweet, so they were more appropriate for breakfast or an afternoon treat rather than full-on dessert. They are best eaten warm from the oven right after they have been dusted in a shower of cinnamon and granulated sugar.
Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
Adapted from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

Makes 10 pretzels

For pretzel dough
1 packet dry active yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 ounce (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
Non-stick cooking spray
1/3 cup baking soda

For cinnamon sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, honey and water. Let stand until foamy, about 8-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, whole-wheat flour and salt. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the mixture until it has the consistency of coarse sand. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and beat on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl and pour in the canola oil. Place the dough back in the bowl and coat it in oil. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Grease 2 sheet pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long, and then twist into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared sheet pans.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully add the baking soda. The water will bubble and foam. Boil each pretzel, 1 minute per side. Remove with a spatula and place on the sheet pans.

Bake the pretzels, one pan at a time, until they are deep golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

For the cinnamon sugar, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a shallow bowl. Brush the warm pretzels with melted butter and generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. The pretzels are best served the day they are baked.

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