I love to bake (unless there are unruly children running under my legs). My favorite are breads. I really enjoy getting a recipe for something that I usually just grab at the store like croissants, french bread, sourdough loaves, bagels, or english muffins. I have a recipe for all of these but there's a reason I usually just buy them. They're more time consuming! But I'll tell you what, you'll never taste anything as lovely as a fresh croissant from the oven!
For my birthday, Husband bought me The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. This book is AMAZING!! Not only are the recipes fantastic, but she explains which flours are best to use, and why you're supposed to do certain things when making bread. Like adding salt while actually kneading the dough (for a bunch of breads). The salt will kill the yeast if it comes in direct contact with it.
Husband scored serious points with this gift!!
I'd like to share the pizza crust recipe with you because it's life altering....at least it was for me. The only things I changed were the oven temp (I baked my crust at 450 instead of 475) and I doubled the ingredients. So without further ado:
From the book The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
|Total Time||3 hours|
What I like most in a pizza crust is something between a thin, crisp crust and the more bready old style. This pizza recipe makes a 10-inch pizza, which I find perfect for two people.
|¾||cup plus 1 tablespoon flour (4 ounces), preferably unbleached all-purpose or Italian-style|
|½||tsp. instant yeast|
|⅓||liquid cup water at room temperature (70 to 90 degrees)|
|4||tsp. olive oil|
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, instant yeast, and sugar. Whisk in the salt (this keeps the yeast from coming into direct contact with the salt, which would kill it).
- Make a well in the center and pour in the water. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gradually stir the flour into the water until all the flour is moistened and a dough just begins to form, about 20 seconds. It should come away from the bowl but still stick to it a little, and be a little rough-looking, not silky smooth. Do not overmix, as this will cause the dough to become stickier.
- Pour the oil into a 2-cup measuring cup (to give the dough room to double in size) or a small bowl. With oiled fingers or an oiled spatula, place the dough in the oiled cup and turn it over to coat on all sides with the oil. Cover it tightly.
- If you want to use the dough soon, allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled. For the best flavor development, make the dough at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours ahead, and allow it to sit at room temperature for only 30 minutes or until slightly puffy. Then set the dough, still in the measuring cup, in the refrigerator. Remove it 1 hour before you want to put it in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees 1 hour before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone on it before preheating.
- With oiled fingers, lift the dough out of the measuring cup or bowl. Holding the dough in one hand, pour a little of the oil left in the cup or bowl onto the pizza pan, and spread it all over the pan with your fingers. Set the dough on the pan and press it down with your fingers to deflate it gently. Shape it into a smooth round by tucking under the edges. If there are any holes, knead it very lightly until smooth. Allow the dough to sit for 15 minutes, covered, to relax it.
- Using your fingertips, press the dough from the center to the outer edge to stretch it into a 10-inch circle, leaving the outer ½ inch thicker than the rest to form a lip. If the dough resists stretching (as will happen if you have activated the gluten by overkneading it), cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for a few minutes longer before proceeding.
- Brush the surface of the dough with any remaining olive oil. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for 30 to 45 minutes, until it becomes light and slightly puffy with air.
- Set the pizza pan directly on the hot stone and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and spread toppings (such as Pizza Tomato Sauce) over the dough. Return the pan to the stone for 5 minutes or until the toppings have melted and the crust is golden; or, for an extra-crisp and browned bottom crust, using a pancake turner or baker’s peel, slide the pizza from the pan directly onto the stone. After 2 minutes, slip a small metal spatula under one edge of the pizza; if the bottom is golden, raise the pizza to a higher shelf.
- Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and cut with a pizza wheel, sharp knife, or scissors. Serve hot.