Well, the Howarth-Fairchild Family Camping Trip was uneventful - which is just what the doctor ordered. The kids got in the last of summertime outdoor swimming (thank goodness for a heated pool for a couple of those chillier days) while the moms played a rousing game of poolside Uno.
Meanwhile, the men had a good time experimenting with a newly purchased smoker. Seriously, the best pork chops I’ve ever had. And next time you’re at the store, try Stubb’s barbeque sauce. It’s a tad more expensive than others on the shelf, but oh my, this stuff is good. I’d seek it out in the future for any recipe where the barbecue sauce flavor is meant to stand out. (I’m not affiliated with Stubb’s, by the way. I just really liked it).
So, what are my readers up to? Drop me a line - my mailbox has been a tad quiet the past week. How about pumpkin recipes for October? I’d love to print yours here.
When cooler temperatures roll around we do Friday Night Picnics at our house. We make “fun food” and eat dinner in front of the TV. Much of our fun food involves pizza crust. Hence, please enjoy some pizza dough recipes down below.
2 3/4 cup unbleached flour (plus 1/4 cup more for kneading)
2 1/4 tsp. quick rise yeast or 1 yeast packet
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence (or 1/4 tsp. more salt and 1 Tbsp. of your favorite herbs to taste)
1 1/4 cup hot water (about 110- 115 degrees)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Measure flour into a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add yeast, sugar, salt, pepper and herbs. Prepare your hot water and get your olive oil measured out. With the bread hook attachment, turn the stand mixer on low and add the water and then the olive oil while the mixer is stirring. Mix for 2 minutes or until the dough comes together around the bread hook. If mixing by hand, add the water and olive oil to the flour and stir until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes and then turn it out on a generously floured surface and knead, adding flour until you get a smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky. Place in a greased oven-safe bowl and cover with tinfoil. Turn off the oven and let the dough rise for about 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Remove from oven. Preheat the oven and your pizza stone or baking sheet to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, separate the dough into 2 parts for thicker crust or 3 parts for thin crust. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to your desired thickness. Place the crust on your preheated stone or pan and add your desired toppings. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the pizza are dark golden brown.
Quick and Easy Foolproof Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. salt
2-3 cups flour (see note)
In a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the water, honey, oil, yeast and salt. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The exact flour amount will vary so go by the touch and feel of the dough versus the exact cup measurements in the recipe. The dough should be soft and smooth (not leaving a residue on your fingers but not super stiff, either). Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes (more like 5-6 minutes if kneading by hand or if using whole wheat flour). Let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Shape the dough into pizza(s), spread with sauce and toppings, and bake at 475 or 500 degrees on a preheated pizza stone or on a lightly greased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes. Notes: You can use 1/2 or up to 3/4 whole wheat flour with good results - just let it knead for a few minutes longer. Also, this recipe doubles, triples and quadruples well. If doubling, use double the amount for all the ingredients. For triple and quadruple batches, increase all the ingredients accordingly except the yeast - only use 2 tablespoons yeast for a tripled batch and 21/2 tablespoons yeast for a quadrupled batch. Keep an eye on the flour if increasing the recipe. You want a soft, smooth dough - not too sticky and not over-floured.
1 cup hot water (hottest the tap will get it)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. active dry yeast
These steps can be done in an electric mixer with a dough hook but also by hand: Mix all the bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast with a fork. Turn on the mixer and pour in the olive oil. Allow it to mix around for just a tiny bit. Start pouring in the hot water, a bit at a time until all the flour has been incorporated and it’s not too wet (stop before it’s too sticky, you can test with your finger - if it leaves a lot of wet stuff on your finger, try to mix in some more bread flour). Cover and sit in a warm spot for an hour. - it should rise to almost 2x its size, then it’s ready to use.
If you have regular yeast:
2 1/4 tsp. (1 packet) of yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup water
Mix together and let sit 5 minutes or so until bubbly.
If you have instant yeast, same amounts but don’t mix them together.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine:
3 cups flour - bread or all-purpose
21/4 tsp (1 packet) instant yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Use dough hook and start on speed 1 of the mixer.
With mixer running add:
1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. oil
Now is the time to also add these optional ingredients:
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. flax seeds
Mix on the first speed until dough comes together, then knead on speed 2 for 5 minutes. You may need to stop between speed changes and pull dough from top of hook or from the bottom of bowl. While dough is kneading, a 2-quart container with cooking spray. When dough is finished, it should be soft, but not sticky. Place it in oiled container and cover. Let rise for an hour in a warm place, then divide and shape into crusts. Let rise covered for 20 minutes for a thinner crust and 30+ minutes for a thicker crust. Top and bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Switch from bottom to top rack after 10 minutes.
Gluten Free Grilled (or Baked) Pizza Crusts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 Tbsp. dry active yeast (I’ve also used instant yeast with success)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp. kosher or fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. agave nectar, sugar or honey
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup hot tap water (around 110 degrees is perfect)
Cheese (about a 1/2 cup grated per pizza)
Toppings of your choice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (these bake up beautifully in the oven too!) unless using an outdoor grill. Combine all ingredients in a bowl of an electric mixer fitter with regular beaters or whisk attachment (not dough hook or paddle attachment). Mix on low until combined. Scrape down bowl once. Turn mixer to high and mix for 3 minutes. The dough may clunk around in the mixer at first then soften up, this is fine. The dough will be soft and sticky. Dust a work surface generously with more all-purpose gluten free flour or white rice or sorghum flour. Knead the dough a few times until it is smooth and no longer sticky. You can use the dough now or save to use later. If using later, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. It will puff up and rise slightly which is fine. Pull off golf ball sized pieces, roll into a ball and roll out with a floured rolling pin, rolling in one direction at a time, turning the disk with each roll. Roll until about 5 or 6 inches in diameter and thin. Dust off any excess flour with a pastry brush. Heat a grill pan over high heat or hat an outdoor grill to medium. If using an outdoor grill, lightly oil the grate. Place the rolled-out pizzas on the grill pan or grates and cook about 2 -3 minutes per side or until as charred as you like. The dough may puff up while cooking, flatten it down if so. If cooking on an outdoor grill, add any topping you like and lower the lid, cook for about 5 minutes or until the cheese (if using) is melted and the toppings are hot. If cooking on a grill pan, flip over and cook another 2 - 3 minutes. Top with desired toppings and put in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes or until the topping are hot and cheese (if using) is bubbly. If you need to make the pizza crusts ahead you can grill them up to one day before and store, wrapped in plastic at room temperature.