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Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread

12 Jun

My infatuation with bread baking has not ceased.  Last weekend, when I was home, I made a loaf of Victorian Milk Bread that I hear was great.  Unfortunately, I was on a flight back to NYC when my family was enjoying it, so I never got a chance to try it.  At least they got to partake in some of my culinary experiments!

This weekend I attempted a different kind of bread all together; pull apart bread.  If you’ve never heard of it, I’m sure you can figure out what it’s all about from the name.  Let me tell ya, it’s a lot of fun to pull the loaf apart and enjoy it layer by layer.

I’d never made pull apart bread before so I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  I needn’t have feared.  This bread was phenomenal!  Between Alex and I, the loaf was gone in a day.  What can I say?  We love soft, pizza flavored bread that melts in your mouth.  And chances are, you will too.

Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread
(adapted from Kirby’s Cravings)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp of melted butter, divided
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian blended cheeses
  • 10 to 20 pepperoni slices, chopped

Directions:

Gather your ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix sugar, yeast, and water.  Allow the mixture to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast becomes foamy.

Once the yeast is foamy, add two tablespoons of butter and mix.

In a separate, larger bowl, add the flour and one teaspoon of salt.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  Pour the yeast mixture into the well and slowly beging to incorporate the flour.

At this point it may seem that you have too much flour but continue mixing and the dough will come together.  Once most of the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough onto a clean counter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  The dough should become smooth and elastic.

Grease a large bowl with olive oil (or cooking spray).  Insert the dough and turn it to cover with oil.  Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for one hour.

We’ve been running the air conditioning since we’ve been experiencing some really high temps.  So, I was worried our apartment wouldn’t be warm enough for the dough to rise.  To remedy this I turned on the oven and placed the bread on top so that it would heat right up.  It worked like a charm.

Once the dough has doubled in size, rolled it out onto a floured countertop until it’s about 1/4 of an inch think.  Brush the dough with one tablespoon of melted butter and sprinkle the seasonings on top.  Next, cover the seasonings with cheese and chopped pepperoni.

Cut the dough into 2″ x 3″ squares and layer them into a 9 x 5 loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

This step was tricky for me.  The cheese and pepperoni did not want to stick to the dough and I couldn’t get the squares to stand up right.  So, I tipped the pan upright at a 90 degree angle and began to insert the squares.  It worked much better.  I still had some loose cheese that fell onto the countertop so I just sprinkled it on top of the loaf.  It still turned out lovely.

Once your loaf is formed, cover it with a damp towel and allow it to rise for about 40 minutes.  I placed mine on the stove top again.

Now that the dough is nice and fluffy, place the loaf into the a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  To check that the bread is cooked throughly, insert a knife into the middle make sure it comes out clean.  Then you’re ready to dig in!

Yum!  This recipe is a keeper.  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did 🙂

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

Five Favorites Friday – 5/20/11

20 May

Helloooooo Friday!  Am I happy to see you!  I know that earlier this week I mentioned that the week seems to be going very slowly.  Unfortunately, the whole week felt that way!  But we’ve made it to Friday, my favorite day of the week.  Even though Friday isn’t actually part of the weekend, it’s my favorite because there is so much anticipation.  When I leave work on Friday evenings I know I have two whole days off to enjoy.  What’s better than that?!  Nothing, I tell ya.

Today I want to talk about bread.  Yeast breads, specifically.  Every Friday, Susan at Wild Yeast posts what she calls YeastSpotting.  YeastSpotting is a weekly collection of yeast recipes that have been prepared and submitted by bloggers.  This week is my first week participating.  I submitted the Cheesy Pretzel Bites I made last weekend because, honestly, they’re too good not to share! 

This week I’ve compiled a list of yeast bread recipes that look fantastic!  I found most of them through YeastSpotting.  If you’re interested in baking with yeast, I highly recommend checking out Wild Yeast for yourself!

My five favorites for Friday May 20, 2011: 

  1. Sunny Cranberry Loaf (from Cookistry)
    This bread looks great mostly because of the addition of sweet, dried cranberries!  The title also makes me think of sunny, summer days which I’m really looking forward to.
  2. Garlic Rolls (from My Singapore Kitchen)
    Yum, I love garlic rolls.  They bring me back to my college days where a plain slice and garlic knots was a welcomed dinner!  I also love that there are step by step pictures included for those of us that like a little bit more direction. 🙂
  3. Double Hydration Focaccia (from Bewitching Kitchen)
    Focaccia bread is one of my favorites because it is so flavorful and fluffy.  I’ve never made my own though and this recipe looks like a great place to start! 
  4. Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread (from Swapna’s Cuisine)
    Do I really need to explain why this one made the list?!  Cinnamon and sugar were made to be together!
  5. Cinnamon Vanilla Swirl Bread (from Bran Appetit)
    Can you tell that I really like cinnamon?  I especially love the cinnamon swirl in the center of the loaf.  Yum!

Have you ever baked with yeast?  What’s your favorite yeast bread?

Health(ier) Zucchini Bread

18 May

Hi there!  How’s this week been treating you?  For me, this week has been Draaaaging (yep, with a capital D and four a’s).  It’s probably the combination of crummy weather (aka, rain non-stop and mid-50s temps), the fact that I’m taking a mini-vacation next week, and that work has been a little slow as of late.  Do you ever find that the week before some time off just crawls by and all you can think about are those few luxurious days of rest you want so badly to enjoy?

Also, today happens to be passing even more slowly since I’m really looking forward to hot yoga after work.  Have you taken hot yoga before?  I went to my first class a couple weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.  There is just something to sweating your heart out while you stretch every muscle in your body.  I’m excited to go back for a second round.  If my schedule permits, I hope to make it a weekly event! 

Over the weekend I got to thinking about quick breads.  What?  You don’t spend your free time contemplating such things?  Ah well, even if I am alone, humor me by reading this.  Please?  Okay, thanks. 

I think the most common quick bread out there would have to be banana bread.  It’s a sweet treat that if prepared properly can also be quite healthy.  Banana bread is a great addition to the breakfast table but can also be enjoyed as a snack or dessert.  But I’m not here to sing the praises of banana bread.

Today I want to talk about it’s less fornuate cousin, zucchini bread.  Zucchini bread is often underrated and overlooked.  You see, I think most people don’t like the thought of vegetables in their bread.  And I understand that.  It’s not something most people are used to and therefore they stay away from it. 

But I urge these doubters to reconsider!  This bread is moist with a spicy, sweet kick.  The cinnamon and nutmeg really shine through each doughy slice.  I reduced the amount of butter and sugar and added some whole wheat flour to make it a little healthier.  While I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest bread around, it is quite a tasty, health(ier) quick bread.

So next time you’re in the mood to bake some quick bread, please don’t leave the zucchini behind!

Zucchini Bread
(adapted from simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the applesauce, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.  Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.  Slowly add the flours.  Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Have you ever made zucchini bread?

Cheesy Pretzel Bites

15 May

When I first saw this recipe, I immediately emailed it to Alex.  His response was precisely what I expected.  He asked that I make them as soon as possible since they looked amazing.  I couldn’t have agreed more.

Unfortunately life got in the way and before I knew it months had gone by without these pretzel delights.  Luckily, this weekend I found the time to make some.  They. Were. Awesome.

The pretzel dough was soft and chewy with a light salted, buttery finish.  The cheese adds nice flavor and little extra chew.  Each bite was well worth the three plus hours it took to make them.  Trust me, when I say you won’t be sorry you made these.

Cheesy Pretzel Bites
(recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp packed brown sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp warm water (110˚F)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (110˚F)
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt

Directions:

Gather your ingredients.

(The water and butter were too shy to be photographed but I think you know what they look like.)

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, and warm water and let rest 5-8 minutes until foamy.

In another bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.

In a large bowl, add 1 1/4 cups flour.  Pour in milk mixture and the yeast.

Combine all ingredients until a smooth ball of dough forms.

If dough is sticky, you can add up to an additional 1/4 cup flour.  Mine was pretty sticky, as you can see from the picture above.  I slowly added flour one tablespoon at a time.  In the end I only need 2 tablespoons to reduce the stickiness and used the remaining two when kneading the dough.

Once the dough comes together into a smooth ball, knead it for 5 to 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a bowl sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.  Spray the dough with oil and cover with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, remove the dough and place onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide into 2 equal pieces.  Roll one piece into a 12×4-inch rectangle.  Gently press 1/4 cup of cheese into the bottom portion of the dough.

Roll-up very tightly, starting with the end that has the cheese.  Cut into 12 1-inch pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat with remaining portion of dough.  I ended up with about 27 pieces because I had a little extra dough.  No worries, it just means more pretzels 🙂

Let the pretzels rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add the baking soda and turn heat to low.  Slowly boil pretzels in batches, putting the pretzels into the poaching liquid, seam side down.

Poach for 10 seconds then carefully turn the pretzel over in the liquid.  Poach other side for 10 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pan, seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining pretzels.

Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 15 minutes.  Once the pretzels are removed from the oven, brush melted butter on top and sprinkle with salt.

I have submitted this recipe to Yeastspotting.

Have you ever made homemade soft pretzels?

BBQ Chicken Pizza

11 May

Yesterday I posted about a quick weeknight meal for those days when you have little time to cook.  This is another great recipe for nights when you’re short on time but it does require some planning. 

Every few weeks I like to make some double batch of pizza dough on the weekend.  It’s really quite simple although it does require a couple of hours of rise time.  Next time I make a batch, I’ll post a step-by-step tutorial so you can see what it’s all about.  

If making pizza dough from scratch isn’t really your thing, there are a lot of great pre-made doughs available.  Most of them freeze really well so all you have to do is remember to defrost it and you’ll be ready to make homemade pizza in a snap!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
(makes one pizza with about 8 slices)

Ingredients:

  • One batch prepared pizza dough
  • 2 to 3 boiled chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees (or follow package directions).
  2. Roll out pizza dough and place on a greased pizza baking sheet.
  3. Cover dough with BBQ sauce and place shredded chicken on top of the sauce.  Gently mix to combine.  I used about 1/4 cup and there was plenty of sauce but feel free to adjust the amount to your liking.
  4. Sprinkle cheeses on top to cover all sauce.
  5. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes before digging in!

This pizza would be even better with some carmelized onions or gorgonzola cheese.  It’s such an easy recipe to customize!

Do you make pizza dough from scratch or do you buy it pre-made?  If you buy it from the store, which brand do you prefer?

Stuffed Crust Pizza

11 Apr

Stuffed crust pizza always makes me feel like a kid again.  When I was growing up, my family would occassionally go to Pizza Hut for dinner.  I have distinct memories of going to the all-you-can-eat salad bar and feeling very adult.  I’d usually go with a salad of iceberg lettuce, green peas, chinese noodles, and ample amounts of ranch dressing.  Mmmm, ranch dressing.  Now that’s another comfort food.  But I digress.

Once I had matured past the kiddie personal pan pizza, I could partake in the grown-up pizza.  And when I got lucky, my parents would agree to a stuffed crust pie.  Stuffed crust pizza was such a treat!  After I’d devoured the cheesy, dougy pizza, I was still left with a cheese filled breadstick.  Yum.  What could be better than more cheese and bread after you’ve finished a piece of pizza?  Nothing, I tell ya.  Nothing. 

Stuffed Crust Pizza
(makes one personal pizza)

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzerella cheese
  • pepperoni
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 3 mozzerella sticks

Directions:

  1. Prepare pizza dough (allow up to two hours for rising time) or use previously prepared dough.  I used 1/4 of the pizza dough yield from this recipe.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Roll your dough into a large circle.  Place dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  4. Cut mozzerella sticks in half lengthwise and down the middle.  You’ll end up with 12 rectangular pieces.
  5. Place mozzerella sticks around the edge of the dough.  Fold dough over the mozzerella and seal closed.
  6. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the center of the dough.  Toss cheese and pepperoni on top.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before cutting.

What foods make you think of your childhood?

There’s still time to enter my Chobani giveaway!

Five Favorites Friday – 4/8/11

8 Apr

I’m not quite sure what it is but this week I’ve clearly been craving comfort foods.  Perhaps it’s the gloomy NYC spring weather we’ve been having?  Or the fact that I’ve been working extra hours and really just want to come home to a warm meal that’ll remind me of simpler times?  Whatever the case may be, this week’s line-up is sure to satisfy those comfort food cravings in a heartbeat!

My five favorites for Friday, April 8th:

  1. Pesto Breadsticks (from Heat Oven to 350)
    I love the idea of pesto in a breadstick.  Pesto is a simple food in that it only requires a handful of ingredients but, these basic ingredients create such complex, rich flavors.  And breadsticks, well, I think we all know how I feel about breadsticks
  2. Sausage Spinach Stuffed Shells (from Cooking on the Side)
    These remind me of one of my favorite dishes that my mom used to make, only amped up a bit.  The addition of sweet, Italian sausage makes for a hearty meals that any meatlover is sure to enjoy. 
  3. Browned Butter Brownies (from The Family Kitchen)
    Wow, these brownies look so rich that they could be mistaken for fudge.  I’ve read numerous recipes that call for browned butter but I’ve never used it myself.  Perhaps this recipe will finally be my chance.
  4. Baked Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce (from Can You Stay For Dinner?)
    Who says that comfort food has to be heavy?  This healthy, baked falafel looks like it could easily satisfy my comfort food cravings as well as my recent garbanzo bean infatuation.  (<– This is a little forewarning that you might see several hummus recipes in the near future.  Just sayin’.)
  5. How to make scratch off lottery tickets (from Artmind)
    Okay, so this isn’t a comfort food recipe but tell me, what’s more satisfying than scratch-off lotto tickets?  And with this tutorial, you can make your own.  How cool is that? 

Well that’s everything for this edition of Five Favorites Friday.  Tonight Alex and I are heading to a bridal expo.  I’m so excited!  We’ll be immersed in all things wedding for a good hour or two.  Please wish Alex the best of luck.

I may have asked this before, but please tell me again, what is your favorite comfort food?