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Entries in Bread (30)


Whole Wheat Pita

For a picture of the pita, see the previous post of Chicken Gyros.

Joel made pita once before, but I've never done it.  So, a few weeks ago, when I was off for spring break, I made them.  I decided I was going to make pita bread as the base for chicken gyros.  I bookmarked this recipe from Delish last March, so I figured it was about time to use it.  Even though these took about 2 1/2 hours to make, they were worth it.  A quick note: I tried cooking my first 2 pitas directly on the oven rack, as stated in the original recipe.  I did not have much success with that, as the pita kept ripping.  Instead, for the remaining pitas, I baked them on a pizza stone, which made them hold together much better!

2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (1 package)
1 tablespoon Honey
1 1/4 cups Warm Water
1 1/2 cups Bread Flour, plus additional for kneading
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets

In a large bowl, combine yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water.  Stir and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy.  While the yeast mixture stands, stir the flours together in another bowl.  Whisk 1/2 cup of the flour mixture into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature for 45 minutes, or until doubled in bulk and bubbly.  Stir in the oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup of warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour until a dough forms.  Knead the dough on a floured surface, working in just enough additional flour to keep the dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.  Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Punch down the dough and cut into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 inch round on a floured surface with a rolling pin.  Repeat with remaining 7 pieces.  Arrange each round on a baking sheet and loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto the oven rack.  Bake until just puffed and pale golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Turn over with tongs and bake an additional minute.  Cool pitas on a cooling rack for 2 minutes.  Stack the pitas and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.  Repeat with remaining pitas and serve warm.

**Pitas can be baked 1 week ahead and cooled completely, then frozen wrapped well in foil and sealed in a plastic bag.  Thaw before reheating, wrapped in foil, for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.



To go along with our "blustery spring" soup dinner on Monday, I wanted to try my hand at making some focaccia.  Up until now, I have never made focaccia before, but I had heard it was easy.  When I found this recipe on Delish, I knew it would be the perfect pair to my snowy day soup meal.  I switched up some of the seasonings to suit our tastes, so feel free to do the same.  If you could only smell my kitchen while this was in the was amazing!  I can't wait to try out different flavor combinations.

1 1/2 cups Warm Water
3 tablespoons Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 1/2 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Instant Yeast
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Dried Basil
2 teaspoons Dried Oregano

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the water, oil, salt, flour, and yeast. Mix on high for about 1 minute, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and sticky.  Meanwhile, spray a 13x9 inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and also drizzle in some olive oil.  Using your hands (and spraying them with cooking spray or olive oil) press the dough into the prepared baking pan, pushing it into the corners.  Cover the pan with a towel and let it rest for 60 minutes, or until the dough is puffy.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Once the dough has risen, uncover the pan and use your fingers to make dimples all over the dough.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the top with seasonings.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown.  Remove the pan and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then turn the bread out of the pan.  Do not leave it in the pan, or it will become soggy.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Garlic Breadsticks

To go along with our caesar salads this past week, I wanted to make some sort of breadstick.  Usually Joel is my bread guy, but he started a job last week and doesn't get home until 6:30, so I wanted to find a recipe for breadsticks that wouldn't require a long time to make.  I went back to my saved recipes and found this one from Life's Ambrosia.  They took all of about 30 minutes to come together, which included my baking time...Perfect!  Joel walked in the door just as the breadsticks were coming out of the oven.  He said that the kitchen smelled awesome, then grabbed one off the baking sheet and tried it.  Then, he told me he was mad at me.  I was suddenly confused!!  But, then he told me that the breadsticks were so good and since this was the first time I'd ever made them, he was "mad" because he had been missing out on eating these all his life.  What a goof ball!  Anyway, it's nice to have a quick, go-to recipe for breadsticks whenever the craving hits!  Be warned, however, these are VERY garlicky.  If you plan to bring any leftovers to work with you, be sure to bring your toothbrush...or at least a pack of gum!

1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
3/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Yellow Corn Meal
3 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil

Combine the first 6 ingredients together in a bowl.  Slowly mix in the milk until a dough forms.  Lightly flour a cutting board or counter top and knead the dough four times.  Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut it into 10 long strips.  Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the olive oil and brush onto the breadsticks.  Dust a baking sheet or baking stone with the corn meal.  Place the breadsticks directly on the stone/sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.  Melt the remaining butter in a skillet.  Add the garlic and basil, and cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Brush the garlic mixture over the cooked breadsticks.  Serve hot.


Homemade Naan

I know I already have a naan recipe in my archives, and just because I'm trying out a new one doesn't mean that the old one isn't absolutely delicious.  The first recipe I tried was on the sweet side, almost like a fried dough in a way.  Joel wanted me to make one that was less sweet, so when I found this one on Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen, I thought it would be worth a try.

2 cups Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Warm Milk
1/2 cup Yogurt
1/2 tablespoon Oil, as needed
Melted Butter, if desired

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients . In another bowl, mix the milk and yogurt.  Pour half of the wet mixture into the well and slowly combine it together.  Slowly continue to add the liquid, mixing well to form a soft dough.  Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.  When the dough has rested, turn it out onto a well floured surface.  Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.  Divide the dough into about 8 small balls.  Flatten the balls to make an elongated piece of bread.  You can sprinkle one side of the dough disk with any flavorings at this point if you would like a flavored naan.  Brush one side with water.  heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Once it is nicely hot, place the naan wet side down and cover it with a lid.  Let it cook for about 30 seconds, or until you see bubbles.  Using tongs,remove the naan from the pan and cook the other side over direct flame on the burner.  When you see charred brown spots, the naan is done cooking.  Brush the grilled naan with melted butter, if desired.


White Bread

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, since we bought My Bread by Jim Lahey, we don't ever see ourselves buying another loaf of bread again!  This past Sunday, my mom asked if we would come over for dinner.  She roasted a chicken with all the trimmings.  Joel decided to make a loaf of bread to bring along, because really, what meal isn't always instantly 100 times better with bread?!  I'm still completely amazed at how incredibly easy this no-knead method is.  If you haven't tried it yet, I'm begging you to drop everything and do it now.  I promise, you will not be disappointed!

3 cups Bread Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons Salt
1/4 teaspoon Yeast
1 1/3 cups Cool Water (55-65 degrees F)
Cornmeal for dusting

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast.  Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds.  Make sure it is really sticky to the touch; if it is not, mix in another tablespoon or two of water.  Cover the bowl with a plate, tea towel, or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size.  This will take a minimum of 12 hours and up to 18 hours.  This slow rise--fermentation--is the key to flavor.  When the first fermentation is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour.  Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough onto the board in one piece.  When you begin to pull the dough away from the bowl, it will cling in long, thin strands, and it will be quite loose and sticky--do not add more flour.  Use lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula to lift the edges of the dough in toward the center.  Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.  Place a cotton or linen tea towel (not terrycloth) or a large cloth napkin on your work surface and generously dust the cloth with cornmeal (or wheat bran or flour).  Use your hands or a bowl scraper or wooden spatula to gently lift the dough onto the towel, so it is seam side down.  If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour.  Fold the ends of the towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours.  The dough is ready when it is almost doubled.  If you gently poke it with your finger, making an indentation about 1/3 inch deep, it should hold the impression.  If it doesn't, let it rise for another 15 minutes.  Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees with the rack in the lower third position, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.  Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it.  Unfold the tea towel, lightly dust the dough with flour or bran, lift up the dough, either on the towel or in you hand, and quickly but gently invert it into the pot, seam side up.  Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15-30 minutes.  Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool throughly.  Don't slice or tear into it until it has cooled, which usually takes about 1 hour.