Friday, October 17, 2014

White Pizza

I like to make pizza at home, probably about once a month or so. I've tried different making style pizzas, and I've been very happy with the Detroit style pizza, but I'm never happy when trying to replicate a New York style pizza. I just can't seem to get the crust the way I remember it from when I lived in NY. Everyone that's tried my pizza says it's really, really good, but I'm never satisfied with the crust. That being said, the kind folks at Bob's Red Mill sent all of us at 37 Cooks a 5-pound bag of white flour and a 5-pound bag of whole wheat flour to use in our recipes. As soon as I got my flour, I knew I was gonna make some pizza. While the pies I made are not authentic New York pizza, they were absolutely perfect! The crust on all of them was as close to a NY pizza as I've ever had! I made a cheese pizza, a pepperoni pie and a white pizza. Here's the recipe for the white pizza.

White Pizza
by Matt

For the crust, which makes enough for three 12" pies:
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
15 ounces warm water, about 110°F
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
15 ounces of Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
7 ounces of Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Mix the honey with the warm water, then stir in the yeast, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. It should look all foamy, and smell nice and yeasty! Put the flour and salt in a mixer
bowl, put the bread hook on, add the water/yeast mixture to the flour and mix on medium low speed, adding the oil as it's mixing. Once everything is incorporated, let it knead for 8-10 minutes. I find that I need to add a few Tablespoons of flour as it's kneading. The dough needs to pull away from the sides of the bowl and be pretty smooth.

I usually make my dough 3 days before pizza night, portioning it out in three equal portions, then put each dough ball in a separate gallon-sized freezer bag, along with a Tablespoon or two of olive oil, and let 'em rest in the fridge. But for this pie, I made the dough in the morning, stored it in the fridge for about four hours and took it out about 2 hours before the actual pie making. When you're ready to make a pie, put a pizza stone in the oven, on the next to lowest rack, and preheat the oven at 500°F for 45 minutes.

For the topping:
2 heads (yes, you read it right...2 heads) of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 or 3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded
8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

Put the chopped garlic and the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it cook until the garlic is very soft, stirring occasionally. Do not let the garlic get brown, as it will be bitter. Once the garlic is soft, add the heavy cream and the salt. Bring to a very low boil, then lower the heat to medium and let the mixture cook down a little for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the mixture off the heat, taste and add salt if necessary and let it cool down a little while you're stretching the dough.

 Take a dough ball, lay it on a floured surface and spread it out, using enough flour to keep it from sticking. Once you're happy with it, slide the dough onto a pizza peel that's been sprinkled with some cornmeal and a little flour to keep the dough from sticking to the peel. Top the crust with the mozzarella cheese, then spread the garlic mixture evenly over the cheese with a spoon and then top with generous dollops of the seasoned ricotta cheese. Sprinkle on a little oregano, or even some red pepper flakes if you wish, then carefully slide the pizza offa the peel onto the stone and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.

Want your own copy of Make Ahead Bread?

Donna Currie has been a member of 37 Cooks since before the group had a name, and now she's published her very first cookbook called Make Ahead Bread.

37 Cooks was lucky enough to be able to preview the book before it was released, and we made some of her recipes. You'll be seeing those later.

But for now, we have one copy of the book to give away to one lucky winner!

And if you don't win, the book is available on Amazon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Triple Berry Pie with Lemon-Coconut Oil Crust

This triple berry pie is inspired by the best ingredients summer has to offer – from three kinds of berries to an amazing a lemon and coconut oil infused crust.

Cooking the filling on the stove instead of putting raw berries right into the crust eliminates that annoying air gap pies can get sometimes. It also lets you adjust the amount of sugar to taste – feel free to start with 1/4 cup and add the rest only if you need it.

Triple Berry Pie with Lemon-Coconut Oil Crust
by Lauren

2 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup ice water
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups quartered fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons coconut milk
1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar or sanding sugar

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Add coconut oil; use your hands to mix the evenly distribute the oil into the flour. Sprinkle ice water over the flour; gently mix until the dough starts to come together. Form dough into two balls; flatten each ball into 4-inch wide disk. Wrap separately in plastic wrap until ready to roll out.

To make the filling, add the berries and sugar to a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the berries soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and bring to a boil. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Let cool.

Working on a generously floured surface, roll one disk of dough into a 13-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Fill with the berry filling. Roll out the other disk. Use a small cookie cutter or the wide end of a pastry tip to cut a design into the crust. Carefully place on top of the pie filing.

Roll the edge of the top crust underneath the edge of the bottom crust. Use your fingers to crimp the two crusts together, forming a seal. Brush top top crust with coconut milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 1 hour.

Transfer the pie to a cooling rack. Let cool completely (at least 2 hours) before serving.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chocolate Babka

When I heard about the Bob’s Red Mill challenge, I knew I was in because I love working with yeast; and flour and yeast go hand in hand. I have made this Chocolate Babka once before and it was wonderful. I didn't even know what babka was until it was discussed in a Facebook cooking group I'm in. Someone reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine miss out on the last babka at a bakery on the way to their dinner party. Oh, so that’s babka! It is easy to change up the filling for babka. One could add pecans to the chocolate version or experiment with different kinds of jam. Raspberry is my favorite and I think I need to make it soon.

 While not difficult to make, one must allow time for chilling and rising, so allow about 8 hours from start to finish. It will be well worth it! Serious Eats describes babka as “...pastry pretending to be bread, a classification it owes largely to the loaf pan in which it's baked. It's made from flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, and more butter. Inside, you find a spiral of chocolate, cinnamon, or almond filling, and there's often a little streusel on top. Eat it with coffee for breakfast or dessert, and prepare to add a notch to your belt.”

If you live in New York, I'm jealous that you can try the different babka at these bakeries here and here. In the meantime, I will keep making and experimenting with babka.

Chocolate Babka
by Sharyl
Adapted from this Chocolate Babka

(makes two 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” loaf pans)
3/4 cup warm milk (105-115°F)
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
2 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter (10 Tablespoons) - cut into pieces and allow to soften

Chocolate Filling:
5 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
8 - 10 ounces of fine quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (60% cacao or less)
1/4 cup sugar

Egg Wash:
1 large egg yolk
1 Tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk

Add warm milk and the 2 teaspoons of sugar to the stand mixer bowl. Sprinkle yeast over milk and let sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Add 1/2 cup of the flour to bowl and beat at medium speed. Add 2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, vanilla, salt, 1/2 cup of sugar and mix until combined. With mixer on low, add remaining 2 3/4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time. With mixer on medium, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and beat until dough is shiny, about 4 minutes. Dough will be soft and sticky. If you've made bread before, this is a different texture. Don't keep adding flour to make it feel like other bread dough. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Set dough aside, to rise, until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper or spray with baking spray. Punch dough down and then split dough in half and cover one with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. I found it easier to flour parchment paper and roll the dough out on that. Sprinkle rolling pin with flour. Roll out the first piece of dough into a 10" x 18” rectangle. Transfer the rolled dough on the parchment paper to a cookie sheet, cover and put in the refrigerator. Repeat for 2nd piece of dough. Cover and chill both for 1 - 2 hours. This will make the dough much easier to twist later. 

When chilled, brush 2 1/2 Tablespoons of melted butter over the dough, leaving a 1/2” border. Prepare the egg wash by mixing the 1 egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon milk or heavy cream. Brush 1 short side of the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle half of the chocolate and half of the sugar, saving the rest for 2nd piece of dough. Starting with the short side, (farthest from you), that doesn't have the egg wash, roll the dough tightly, similar to a jelly roll. Seal with egg wash side. Seal the ends of dough and twist the dough several times. Fold dough in half and twist again. Place dough in loaf pan and repeat steps for second loaf. There are many different ways online to prepare and twist the dough before putting it in the pan. This worked best for me, but I would encourage you to find the way that you like the best. 

Lay buttered plastic wrap over the loaf pans for 1 – 2 hours, until dough rises to just above top of pans. This is the time to save one for the freezer if you so choose (see note below.) Brush tops of dough with egg wash and bake on the middle rack in a 350°F preheated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven, let it sit in pan for 10 minutes or so and then remove bread from pan and cool on rack. Slice and enjoy!

Note: The 2nd loaf may be frozen for up to a month after it has been filled, rolled and laid in loaf pan. When the craving overtakes you, remove from freezer and allow to defrost and rise for about 5 hours. Brush with egg wash and bake as directed above.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cheddar, Cheese & Chive Crumpets

Did I mention that I married an Englishman? Well, I married an Englishman. And while my wonderful English husband loves all kinds of food from here in the USA and around the world, there are some traditional British treats that we can’t find locally. One of those is a freshly made English crumpet. I cannot tell you how happy he was to learn that I had decided to try making crumpets for The Bob's Red Mill Flour Challenge. My poor, suffering husband was forced to judge every attempt at crumpet-makery until he finally announced that I had found a recipe that was truly a traditional English crumpet. He’s been eating fresh crumpets for a week now. The recipe I came up with here is an adaptation of a traditional crumpet recipe. I combined the flavors of a southern bacon, cheddar, and chive biscuit with the traditional crumpet recipe and…WOW! They’re great served hot with a little butter. Or you could even use them as the bread for an egg sandwich. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour? $6.69 on Amazon. English crumpet rings? $6.05 on Amazon. Oh, so happy crumpet filled English husband? Priceless!

Cheddar, Cheese & Chive Crumpets
by Maryjo
Adapted from The Foppish Baker: Crumpets and from The Bread Book by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake

2 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 110°F), divided
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 2/3 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2/3 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Non-stick cooking spray
1 cup cooked smoky bacon bits, cooled to room temperature
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped chives

Mix 3/4 of a cup of the warm water, yeast, and sugar together in a small bowl and leave it to bloom for 5 to 10 minutes (until it gets foamy.) Meanwhile, sift together the bread flour, the Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour, and cream of tartar in a large bowl. When the yeast is good and foamed up, add it to the flour mixture along with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Mix the batter until it is thick, but smooth. I tried beating the batter with a spoon but found it was so much easier to just use my hand. Vigorously beat the batter for about two minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rest for an hour.

After an hour, add the salt to the batter. Using your trusty hand again, vigorously beat the batter for one more minute. Cover the bowl again and let rest for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Warm the milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave oven, but be careful not to boil the milk. You’re basically just bringing the temperature up to about 100°F or so (close to body temperature.) Mix the baking soda into the warmed milk and gently stir the milk/baking soda mixture into your batter. Right before you begin cooking, add the bacon bits, grated cheese and chopped chives and gently mix them evenly into the batter.

Start by making only one crumpet just to test to see if your batter is loose enough. If it’s too thick it won’t form the nice holes on top. If it’s too loose, it will run under the bottom of the ring. Heat your ungreased griddle or frying pan for about three minutes over medium heat (it needs to be pretty hot.) I used an electric griddle set to 375°F. Spray the inside of the crumpet ring really well with non-stick spray and place it on the griddle. (Note: Spray the ring over the kitchen sink to limit the need for overspray cleanup.) Add about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of the batter to the ring. You basically want the crumpet ring to be about half full of batter (I’m a “half full” kind of gal.) As soon as the batter is in the ring it should begin to bubble and form holes, much like a pancake does. If you don’t see holes forming on the top, add a little more warm water to the batter (only 1 Tablespoon at a time) and start a new test crumpet. 

Once you've managed to get the batter to the perfect consistency, continue cooking the remaining batter in batches, three or four at a time. After about 7 or 8 minutes, the top surface of the crumpet will “set” (they will appear dryer on top and covered with holes), the crumpet is ready to flip over. Remove the ring with tongs and gently turn the crumpet over with a spatula. Cook the top of the crumpet only until it turns slightly golden brown (usually only 1 to 2 minutes.) If your crumpet is cooking too fast and burning, lower your griddle or pan temperature a little bit at a time. The crumpets really will need a full 7 to 8 minutes to cook through before you flip them. Place your cooked crumpet on a plate to rest and start the next batch. Be sure to clean off and spray your crumpet rings well with cooking spray after each batch, otherwise the next batch might stick. Also, be sure to let your cooked crumpets cool a bit before eating (give them time to become more firm.) You can also freeze the cooked crumpet. Just let them cool to room temperature, put them in a zip-top bag and toss them in the freezer. To re-heat them, just let them thaw and put them in the toaster. Oh, and don’t forget to make a nice pot of English tea too. Cheers!

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza dough is not hard to make…it just takes time. So when my family finds itself with a little extra time…we like to schedule the occasional pizza making “event” on a Saturday night. Our pizza parties are fun, delicious experiments where every potential topping is considered fair game. I start making the pizza dough mid-afternoon and then start chopping, slicing, blending, tearing, and sautéing potential toppings. Then, after friends and family have come over and everyone has a cold beverage and a few nibbles on the potential toppings lined-up along the kitchen counter, we light the gas grill and pre-heat the gas grill pizza stones (yes, we have two stones for the gas grill.) When the pizza stones are screaming hot (pre-heated for about 30 minutes on high with the lid closed), we start rolling out dough and making some pretty awesome thin crust pizzas. 

I put a big cutting board in the middle of the kitchen table (aka “the pizza catcher”) and hot pizzas are slid onto the board. Whoever is closest to the pizza cutter slices them up and everybody digs in. Everyone has the chance to create their perfect pizza. Sometime around toward the end of the evening we’re usually digging through the pantry for almonds, pecans, chocolate chips, and marshmallows, or we slice up some pears or peaches to make some kind of dessert pizza. (Note: Do not top dessert pizza with chocolate chips or marshmallows until after the pizza has been transferred to the hot pizza stone…the toppings have a tendency to roll into the fire as you slide the pizza onto the stone…yes, we learned this the hard way.) You’ll have some real winner pizzas, and you’ll make the occasional yucky pizza. But, the more you make your own pizza, the braver you get. You just might surprise yourself. The pizza pictured here is a no-sauce pizza. I brushed the crust with olive oil and about 1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic, then I topped it with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded, low moisture mozzarella cheese and some of my homemade marinated cremini mushrooms and red onions that I had leftover in the refrigerator. But, you can top your pizza with practically anything. Head to the olive bar in your grocery store and load up on olives. Or head to the salad bar! You can make it as easy or as complicated as you want. Give it a try. It’s loads of fun.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
by Maryjo

1/2 cup warm water (105° to 110°F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon honey
3 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup warm water (105° to 110°F)
Non-stick cooking spray

Add the dry yeast and honey to 1/2 cup of warm water, stir to combine and let the yeast bloom for about 5 minutes. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the flour and salt to the mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix on low with the dough hook attachment until it starts to come together. Slowly add additional warm water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to come together and pull away from the edges of the bowl and forms a ball on the dough hook. If the dough looks too try, add additional water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough is firm, but not wet looking. Turn the stand mixer to medium high and knead the dough for 7 or 8 minutes. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, form the dough into a ball and place the dough ball into the bowl. Spray the top of the dough ball with more cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot for two hours.

After two hours, punch down the dough and divide into 6 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Spray the top of each dough ball with non-stick spray and cover with plastic. Let it rise again for another hour. Pre-heat your pizza stone 30 minutes before making your first pizza. If you’re cooking in the oven, place the pizza stone on the middle rack and crank up the heat to the highest setting your oven will allow (usually around 500°F.) If you’re cooking on a gas grill pizza stone, place the stone on the grill grate, light each burner and turn to high. Close the lid and pre-heat the stone for 30 minutes (be sure all burners are lit prior to closing the lid.) Working with one dough ball at a time, lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough into a thin disk with a rolling pin (about 8 to 10 inches round.) Place on a pizza peel and top with your favorite sauce, garlic oil, cheese, meat and/or vegetables. If you are cooking in the oven, your pizza will cook in about 8 to 12 minutes (rotate the pizza half way through the cooking time.) If you are cooking on the grill, your pizza will cook in about 4 to 8 minutes, depending on how hot your grill gets (rotate the pizza half way through the cook time.) If you would like to make whole wheat pizza dough, substitute 1 cup of the white flour with 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour. This recipe makes 6 small pizzas (8-10 inch rounds.)