Archives for category: Bread


Making burger buns from scratch is one of my favorite ways of taking a simple meal and making it memorable.

This summer I was asked by the folks at the Longmont Community Garden space in my neighborhood to make some hamburger buns for a block party they were throwing.  It was supposed to be about 50 people but quickly grew to 200.

This seemed like a perfect opportunity to make the best hamburger buns ever!

For my burger bun recipe I wanted a flavorful interior and a light crust.  Hamburger buns should not over shadow the burger patty but accent it.

I started by looking at no knead recipes.  I love the artisan flavor of a no knead bread.

My “go to” recipes on no knead breads are inspired by Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I am a huge fan of the no knead bread recipes because they are easy to make and the long fermentation time of the dough creates complex flavors.

In an earlier post I made burger buns and it is a quick and easy recipe but found them to be a bit more moist and dense than I wanted for this new recipe.  My previous burger buns were fantastic but I wanted them even better.

The recipe for no knead artisan breads created a tough crust and a hamburger bun that over whelmed the burger.

I needed a lighter crust.

When gluten develops in flour one of the ways to break up strong bonds that create a dense crust is fat.  I tried a no knead recipe adding more olive oil but it did not create the effect I was looking for.

Next I tried a milk and butter mixture.  Success!

The moisture in the milk and fat in the butter created a tender crust, light interior and buns that were perfect.


Light and Tender Hamburger Buns

Recipe makes 12 hamburger buns.

6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup whole milk

2 cups water

4 tablespoons soft butter

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons yeast

1 tsp olive oil or canola oil

In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  In a medium sauce pan warm water, butter, milk and honey to about 110 degrees.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.  You want the dough to come together in a shaggy mess.  Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead about 10 times.  Yes, I know this is a no knead recipe but the dough seems to come together better if you give it a very quick knead.  I guess you can call this a partial knead bread.  This is not to develop gluten strands but to make sure the dough is mixed well.

Oil the inside of your dough bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Don’t worry about the dough stuck on the sides.  When you add your dough back to the bowl and roll it around the bowl to oil your dough it should pick up most of the dough stuck on the sides.

Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and keep in a warm area of the kitchen for 8-12 hours.

After dough has sat and fermented then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  The dough will seem loose.  Dust dough ball with flour and cover with a plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel for 1 hour.

Divide dough into 12 pieces.  Shape into tight rolls.  Here is a great link on how to do this from The Kitchn.

Line a cookies sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and dust lightly with flour.  Evenly space your dough balls and cover with plastic wrap sprayed lightly with oil.  Let rise for 1 hour.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Bread develops flavor as it rest so let your Hamburger buns rest for at least 30 minutes or overnight before cutting.














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I bought a couple of pounds of roma tomatoes at the store.  They were a wonderful color and looked yummy.  These tomatoes were not very yummy.  As a fresh tomato these little fruits were completely useless.

Being frugal I could not throw them out.  Oven drying was the only solution.  This way the sugars in the tomatoes would be concentrated and the flavor enhanced.  I do not like to waste food.

I had some fresh thyme that I had frozen when I realized I would not use it up by the time in turned.  Freezing thyme is a great way to preserve it when you are not going to use the whole bunch.

I tossed the tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Threw on some sea salt and pepper and tossed some garlic and fresh thyme on top.

Feb 23 2013 053I set my oven and 250 degrees and let the tomatoes roast for 3-4 hours.

Feb 23 2013 079I took out the thyme stems and saved them in a bag in the freezer for stock and packed the dried tomatoes and garlic in a jar with some olive oil.  The tomatoes last in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks or 2 months in the freezer.  Use the oil to coat veggies, for a tasty salad dressing or spread on some fresh-baked bread.  Do not throw out the oil after you have used the tomatoes as it has a great flavor for the herbs, garlic and sweet tomatoes.

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These sweet dried tomatoes are very versatile.

Here are 10 ways to use oven dried tomatoes:

1.  Pizza topping

2.  Toss with pasta, olive oil, garlic and a good cheese

3.  Antipasti

4.  Top a salad with bacon and blue cheese

5.  Add to mayo and it is great in a sandwich or as a dipping sauce with fresh veggies

6.  Add to your favorite pasta sauce to punch up the flavor

7.  Add to stew at the end of cooking for a sweet complexity

8.  Add to soup with kale, white beans and garlic

9.  Blend tomatoes, oil that you stored the tomatoes in, and more fresh herbs with some balsamic vinegar for a delicious salad dressing

10. Toss with feta, kalamata olives, olive oil and grilled veggies

What do you use your oven dried tomatoes for?

Check out Lucys Friendly Foods for a great antipasti salad recipe.

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My kids love caramels.  When we go to the store they have caramels that cost about a dollar each by the register.  They are lovely and tasty and expensive.  I decided we needed to make our own.  Time consuming, this recipe is worth the work.  You don’t need to stand over the stove and stir the whole time but you do need to be in the kitchen for a few hours so you can make other things when the caramel are cooking.  I made some granola bars and some bread at the same time.

Some of my recipes call for corn syrup.  One of the DIY projects that I have undertaken recently is making “corn” syrup out of cane sugar.  Corn syrup is expensive and after reading “The omnivores Dilemma” by  Michael Pollen, I have been committed to reducing the amount of corn products my family consumes.  Not an easy task.

It is very easy to make your own “corn” syrup from cane sugar.  This will substitute in any recipe that calls for corn syrup.  For example, it works great in my granola bar recipe.

Here is the recipe I used to make “corn” syrup.  Cupcake Project, How to make corn syrup.

You should make these caramels because they are worth the work and this recipe yields 120 caramels which will last a long time if kept in the fridge.

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  •                                         4 cups heavy cream
  •                                         1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  •                                         4 cups home-made “corn” syrup
  •                                         4 cups sugar
  •                                         1 teaspoon salt
  •                                         1/2 pound unsalted butter
  •                                         1 tablespoon home-made vanilla extract
  •                                         Vegetable-oil cooking spray


  1.  Spray a cookie sheet or half sheet pan with vegetable-oil spray.
  2.  In medium saucepan, combine cream and sweetened condensed milk; set aside.
  3.  In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine “corn” syrup, 1 cup water, sugar, and salt. Clip on candy thermometer. Over high heat, cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring with a wooden spoon, 8 to 12 minutes. Brush down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals if needed.
  4.  Stop stirring, reduce heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 250  degrees (hard-ball stage).  You need to have a candy thermometer for this recipe because you cannot guess about the temperature.   This will take about 45 to 60 minutes.
  5. Cook cream mixture over low heat until it is just warm. Do not boil.
  6. When sugar reaches 250  degrees. slowly stir in butter cut into chunks added one at a time, and warmed cream mixture, keeping mixture boiling at all times.  Take your time with this step as you do not want the mixture to stop boiling.  Add the butter very slowly.

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  1. Cook over medium heat until thermometer reaches 244  degrees (firm-ball stage), and this will take around 55 to 75 minutes.

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  1. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Immediately pour into prepared pan without scraping pot. If you scrape the bottom of the pot dark brown bits will end up in your candy.  Just leave the bottom of the pot alone and throw out what is left after you pour the candy into the pan.
  3. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours without moving.
  4. After candy has hardened cut into 1 inch pieces and wrap with waxed paper.
  5. These will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator.  Keep the candies in sealed bag or jar so that they do not pick up any odd flavors from the refrigerator.

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The smell of fresh bread baking at home is intoxicating.  Making it for your small food business will make your customers very happy and improve your bottom line.  What could be better than that?  If you bake your own bread at home it is one of the cheapest and tastiest ways to save money.

Oh no…you say!  That takes too much time and I am not a bread baker.  People often think bread baking is an art form or a science and too hard to learn.  This is not true.  Let me show you how easy and simple it can be.  You just need the right tools which you may already have in your kitchen or should have.

The inspiration for this post comes from one of my absolute favorite places to hang out.

When my husband and I discuss where we want to go and  hang out in the Boulder area it invariably ends up being the Jamestown Mercantile located about 20 minutes outside of Boulder in the foothills.  We started going to the Merc as it is called by the locals when we lived in Jamestown. This little restaurant and bar has live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  You can also see many of the talented locals playing on Monday for open mike night.  Jamestown is a small town populated with mostly artists and musicians so open mike night is a treat.  The food at the Jamestown Merc is mostly made from scratch with high quality ingredients and lots of talent and love.  If you do not get there early on Thursdays they are likely to run out of the special dinner they are serving.  The beer is cold and the wine list is surprisingly good.  Desserts are made from scratch.

My favorite thing about the Jamestown Merc is the people.  The locals who come there are always entertaining and interesting.  Let me tell you about Jovan.  This young man is a talented cook working at the Merc and also a talented musician who plays on Mondays.  I believe the locals call Monday at the Merc “Open Jovan” instead of open mike.  He is usually at the Merc even if he is not working.  His lovely girlfriend Jesse at his side and a smile on his face.  I often talk about food with him and am delighted by his enthusiasm for cooking.  This post is for Jovan since he is getting started making bread.  He is good at bread making and has really excelled at making scratch pizza dough for Friday night pizza night.

Here is a picture of my hubby hurrying into the Merc on a cold winter day.

Dec 18 11 050

This post is also for everyone else who reads this blog and had not ventured down the path of bread making or have tried and not gotten the results they expected.

Here are some pointers that will ensure your loaves are perfect each time.  These are not steps I find most home cooks take.  These are tools and tricks of professionals that should be employed at home for ease and consistency.

1.  Instant read thermometer also called an internal read thermometer.  Let me assure you a good instant read thermometer will become your favorite tool in the kitchen.  As a chef, one is always in my sleeve pocket and frankly I feel a bit naked without it.  I have 2 at home and carry one in my briefcase.  Yes, this is to ensure food is at proper temperature for the health department and to make sure people do not get sick from improperly cooked or held food but it is also to make sure food is perfectly cooked.  Perfect each time.  Consistency is king in a professional kitchen and you can achieve consistently great results with these tips and bake like a professional.  Check this page out for more info on internal read thermometers.

2.  Buy an oven thermometer or if you already have one use it.  A correctly calibrated oven is a rarity in a home kitchen as well as many professional kitchens.  Get one and check the temperature of your oven every time you bake.  You will be surprised at how your oven may be off by up to 25 degrees or more.

3.  You must weigh your ingredients instead of measuring.  Using a scale and weighing your ingredients is another technique used by professional chefs that is not often used at home.   It is very easy and much quicker to use a scale than to measure.  Check out this site for conversions from measuring to metic.  The Metric Kitchen.  Convert all your baking recipes to metric and you will be baking like a professional.  If you measure your results will be off most of the time, guaranteed.  I can also guarantee that your results will become consistently perfect with a scale.  It really is that easy.

4.  Make sure your ingredients are fresh.  Good flour and fresh yeast are very important in bread making.

If you use these tools and follow the recipe you will consistently produce a great loaf of bread.  I will not post the measurements on this recipe because I need everyone who tries it to weigh their ingredients.  Your bread will come out of the oven with a crisp and slightly chewy exterior, perfect crumb and complex flavor.  I may even venture to say you will never buy another loaf of bread again.

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Whole Wheat Loaf Bread

The recipe will make two loaves. 

770 grams of all-purpose flour

80 grams of whole wheat flour (not whole wheat pastry flour)

10 grams of wheat bran (not wheat germ)

690 grams or 24 oz of water at room temperature

15 grams of honey or agave nectar

16 grams of salt or 2 1/2 tsp

2 grams or 1/2 tsp  yeast

Olive oil for oiling the bowl.

Start your dough the night before you will be baking it.  I usually end my evening by mixing together my bread for the next day.

Weigh your flours and wheat bran out and put in a large bowl.  Add salt and yeast.  Mix together.

Add water and honey or agave nectar.

Mix together well.  When the dough comes together spray your hands with non-stick spray and knead it a few times to make sure all of the dry ingredients are mixed well into the wet.  I usually knead the douh in the bowl about 5-10 times.  This should only take about 1 minute.

Drizzle a small amount of oil around your dough and move the dough around the bowl to distribute the oil.

Cover your bowl with plastic wrap.  Many bread recipes call for covering your bowl with a damp towel.  Do not do this.  Cover your bowl with plastic wrap.  Then you can cover the plastic wrapped bowl with a dry towel if your kitchen tends to get a cold at night.  I always do this since I live in Colorado and my kitchen is chilly at night.

Let dough ferment for at least 10 and up to 24 hours.  I like the flavor of wheat bread with a 10-12 hour ferment.  The flavor is complex but not too strong.

After the bread has fermented for your desired time uncover your dough.  It will look bubbly and wet.  This is good.  You want it to look that way.

No knead bread after 12 hours

Put about 1/4 cup flour on a clean table or large cutting board.  Spread the flour out lightly.

Divide your dough into two pieces.  Loosely form a ball and roll it to coat in flour.  This is called a gluten cloak and will insulate the dough and help with the second rise.

Form your loaves and place them in 2 loaf pans sprayed lightly with non-stick spray.  Spray the inside of a large plastic bag (a plastic bread bag works well for this application and is available at most grocery stores) with non-stick spay and put the loaf pan inside.  Blow into the bag to inflate it and tie it closed with a bag tie or rubber band.  This will protect the dough from drying and will allow for room for the dough to expand.  You can also cover it with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray.  This method will not allow the loaf to rise much over the loaf pan but will work as well.  In this picture I have used a large loaf pan so I could cover it with plastic wrap and still have rising room.

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Let dough rise until doubled.  I cannot estimate the time this will take as the temperature of your kitchen will dictate the rising time.  My kitchen is usually colder than most in the morning so this step can take up to 2 hours.  If your kitchen is warm it can take as little as 45 minutes.  Do not put the dough on your stove top as it will get too hot.

Adjust your oven racks to the middle of the oven put an empty pan on the bottom of the oven. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.  Make sure your oven is at the correct temperature.  Check it with your oven thermometer. Before you put your bread in the oven pour 1-2 cups of water in the pan at the bottom of your oven.  Be careful and use oven mitts as steam will immediately rise up from the hot pan.   The steam will help develop a crispy and chewy crust.

Put your bread in the oven and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes.  To make sure your bread is done use your instant read thermometer.  The bread will be perfectly baked at between 190-210 degrees.

Whole Wheat Loaves 2 010

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Turn the loaf out of the pan with a kitchen towel protecting your hand.

Let cool for at least 1 hour on a rack.  The flavor developes during this time and your bread will not be as flavorful if you cut it too soon.  It will also lose steam and dry out quicker if you do not let it cool completely before cutting.  I know…this is hard to do when the bread looks and smells so lovely but have a little self-control and you will be delighted with the results.

whole wheat bread 003

Whole Wheat Biscuits on Tray

Whole Wheat Biscuits…..  Don’t be fooled by the whole wheat in this recipe.  Full of heavy cream to create flaky biscuits, these are not low carb, low-calorie or low-fat but the whole wheat flour does add a nutty flavor to the biscuits that makes them fabulous tasting.

My post on Biscuits that will change you life has been very popular so I decided to get a little jiggy with the recipe and see what else I could do.

Yes, I do sing the Will Smith song, Gettin Jiggy with it,  frequently when cooking.  I can honestly say that Julia Childs, Jamie Oliver, and Escoffier are all inspirations to me in the kitchen but I would need to add Will Smith to be truly honest, since I am usually singing Gettin Jiggy with it in my head when I start to  get creative with a recipe.  Ok?  Whew, now that dirty little secret is out there…what, what…what?

Serve these flaky and delicious biscuits with soup, breakfast, brunch or just eat them right out of the oven. Quick and easy this recipe has become a staple in my kitchen.

Add herbs, cheese, honey or spice them up with finely minced jalapeno when you feel the need to get jiggy with it.

Whole Wheat Biscuits

1 1/2 cups or 9 oz all-purpose flour

1/2 cup or 3 oz of whole wheat flour (not the whole wheat white or pastry flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream


1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds.  This dough likes to be kneaded a little bit. Some biscuit recipes call for you to handle the dough as little as possible but this recipe calls for a little kneading and it helps the dough raise up nicely.

3. Shape dough and roll out to desired thickness.  I usually roll it to 1/3 inch thick.  Cut out with a biscuit cutter or just cut into squares or triangles.

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Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.


Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits  Add 1 tsp finely minced jalapeno, 2 tbs extra sharp cheddar into the dough at the end of step 2 when you knead the dough briefly.

Fresh Herb Biscuits  Add finely minced fresh herbs and kosher salt on  top before baking.

Honey Biscuits  Brush with honey butter before baking.

Poppy Cafe Jan 26 2013 045

I have been away from my blog for a while.  I hated putting it aside for so long (4 months) but needed to take some time off.  Much refreshed and ready to go I wanted to start back with a post about one of the hardest recipes I have worked with.  Corn bread muffins!

Fickle little devils.  I had to figure out how to make a great corn bread muffin.

I wanted a savory muffin that was light and had a good corn flavor.  The corn muffins I had tasted in the past have been overly sticky and sweet or dry and fell apart.  I was looking for a tender crumb, not too sweet and a good corn flavor.  It did not seem like it would be too hard to accomplish this.  I was wrong.

My first few attempts were complete failures.

After researching corn bread and corn bread muffins I found that the type of corn meal you use is very important.  You have the choice of a de-germinated corn meal or a whole corn meal.  The de-germinated meal made a bland tasting muffin with very little corn flavor and a dry texture.  The whole corn meal made a very dry muffin.  The whole corn meal was too dense for this recipe.

I was not sure how to solve this problem.  When I added real fresh corn the muffins did not fare much better.  I could get a light and moist muffin adding more flour and sour cream but it had very little corn bread flavor.

I thought about my granola bar recipe and how I lightened the whole oats by grinding a portion in my food processor and made oat flour.  Maybe I could lighten the corn meal by making a corn meal flour?  This worked perfectly.  I could use the more flavorful whole corn meal by grinding it in the food processor for about 5 minutes.  I made a light whole grain corn flour.

The recipe yielded a moist, sweet and tender muffin with the savory components of bacon and cheddar and the slight heat of chipotle powder.

Perfect for your holiday brunch.  Make mini muffins for a savory appetizer.

Bacon, Cheddar and Chipotle Corn Bread Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins or 24 Mini Muffins

10 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (I recommend King Arthur) or 2 cups

5 oz stone-ground cornmeal ground fine in the food processor (I recommend Arrowhead Mills) or 1 cup

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 large organic eggs

4 oz sugar or 3/4 cup

7 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (use a dry cheese like Dubliner Sharp Cheddar for best results)

1/2 cup finely mined bacon cooked crispy

1/4 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne pepper

Make sure your oven rack is in the middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Line your muffin tin with paper or foil muffin cups and spray cups lightly with non-stick spray.

Mix dry ingredients together, flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda and whisk to fully combine.

In a separate bowl mix eggs and sugar together until thick and homogenous.

Add melted butter, sour cream and milk and whisk for about 30 seconds to add some air into the wet mixture.

Add cheese and bacon to dry ingredients and toss lightly to coat with flour.  This will help the bacon and cheddar stay suspended in the muffins instead of sinking to the bottom as they bake.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until fully combined.  Do not over mix.

Let muffin batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes after mixing.  This will help develop gluten strands in the muffins and will make them lighter and puff up more in cooking.

Scoop batter into muffin tins and make sure the batter makes a dome.  Do not smooth the dome.  It will seem like you are filling the cups too high but this batter will not expand as much as other muffin batters.  Sprinkle the top of muffins with chipotle powder as needed for taste.

Bake muffins at 400 degrees until they are light golden brown.  About 15-18 minutes.

Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

When we moved up into the mountains it was clear I needed to develop a pizza dough recipe that was quick and easy to make and would also pass the high standards of my family.

When our schedule was busy or I was not around to cook my husband would order pizza delivery.  Living in the mountains has made this impossible.  No pizza delivery up here!

Pizza is one of those meals that my husband and two kids are always happy to have so I needed to find a way to make it easy so that they could make it when I was not around.

I have a pizza dough recipe I developed for my catering business but it was one where the dough rests over night and takes some skill in stretching it out.  This is a delicious pizza crust but not one my family could make on their own.

For Cal-Wood I have developed a pizza dough recipe that is easy to make for lots of people.  I usually serve 60-95 people per dinner so I needed an easy pizza dough for large-scale cooking.  I developed a foccacia like dough that is spread out on a full size sheet pan that holds 40 servings of pizza.  The guests and more importantly the kids who visit Cal-Wood love this thick crust with the tender crumb and lots of yummy toppings.

My family wanted something more chewy and crispy like the New York Style Pizza they would order out when we lived in civilization.

I have been working for the last year on different recipes but had yet to get one that was both tasty and easy to make.  I believe that I have finally found the perfect, easy, flavorful and chewy pizza crust for my family.

One of the key techniques in this recipe is that the dough is mixed and kneaded in a food processor.  This process takes about 5 minutes and is so easy anyone could do it.

This dough freezes great after the first rise and will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.  I will usually make about 12 dough balls, a vat of sauce and mix up some cheese with italian seasonings and freeze it all in single pizza portions.  That way I can pull enough for each pizza and defrost for the next day.

Simple and Delicious Pizza Dough

This recipe makes enough for two 12 inch pizzas.

2 3/4 cups or 12 .75 ounces all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbs honey

1 cup warm water 110 degrees

1/8 cup good extra virgin olive oil and some extra for oiling a bowl

This recipe is easy because you mix and knead your dough in the food processor.  I love this part because it takes about 5 minutes total to put this recipe together and knead.  Really…I kid you not!

Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees and put in your pizza stone if you are using one.

If not, my friend Doug has this great technique where he starts his pizza on a parchment lined sheet pan and then takes it out half way through baking.  You lift the pizza up off the sheet pan by the parchment and just put it directly on the oven rack, parchment and all to finish baking and your crust will become deliciously crispy on the bottom.

Add the flour and salt to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix.

Add yeast and honey with warm water in a bowl and let rest for five minutes.  This allows to yeast to start working.

Add water mixture to your food processor and mix until dough forms a ball.

Pulse dough 15 times.  This should be enough to knead the dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or five times to bring it all together.

Oil a bowl and add dough.  Turn the dough over to make sure it is coated in oil on all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.  It only takes an hour up here in the mountains.

After the first rise you can wrap and freeze your dough for up to 3 months.

If you are going to bake your pizza you can start stretching your dough after it has doubled in size during rising.

Do not roll out your pizza dough with a rolling-pin.  This will make for a tough and dense pizza dough instead of a light, airy and chewy crust.

On your work surface lightly dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour.   Cut your dough into 2 pieces and cover the one you are setting aside.

Stretch your dough gently and then lay it on the parchment pushing it into a circle.  Work with the dough gently and push from the edges out.  This may take some practice and your pizza does not need to be  a perfect circle.  Mine is usually oblong in shape.

Top with what ever you have about and bake at 500 degrees until browned and cheese is melted and starting to brown on top.

For this recipe I have used sausage, fennel, sweet tomato and feta cheese and instead of a tomato sauce I brushed the dough with olive oil and garlic.

There are many “no knead bread” recipes on the internet.  I have tried all of them.  Well, maybe not all of them but many of them.  I have finally found the best one for taste. Jonesing for is a beautiful blog written by a chef turned food stylist whose pictures are lovely.   Her no knead bread recipe has a better flavor than any of the others I have tried.  It is not a hard recipe but there is a 2 hour second rise that is not in the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” recipe that I have been previously using for no knead.  I first made the recipe as it was written in Jonesing for.  Next I mixed in 1 1/2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano and some minced fresh rosemary.

 I then increased the flour by 1/4 cup and had better success at my altitude.  I am at around 7900 feet.  Bread is effected by many different climate situations.  You should plan to try a recipe several times before giving up when making bread.  Once you understand what the dough should feel like and what works in your area you can whip up a fresh artisan loaf any time you want to. 

If you do not make bread from scratch you should try either the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” recipe or this one because it is very satisfying making bread and with a little advance planning it came be pretty easy.

31/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons sea salt

¼ teaspoon active dry yeast

1¾ cups warm water

Add flour and salt to large mixing bowl.  Add yeast to warm water and stir to mix.  Add water and yeast to flour and mix together until it is a shaggy dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm place. (around 70 degrees).  After this step the dough will seem like a bubbly mess.

Turn dough out on to a floured surface (this works best with a dough scraper) and fold into a ball adding flour if needed.  The dough will be a bit sticky and wet.  After forming ball lay the dough back into an oil bowl and cover with plastic wrap or lay it between two floured tea towels.  Let dough rise for another 2 hours. 

 After 1 ½ hours pre-heat oven to 425 degrees with a dutch oven inside.  Remove dutch oven carefully when oven is pre-heated.  I have also made this recipe using a sheet of parchment paper on top of a pizza stone

If using a dutch oven spray the pot with non-stick spray and place dough inside and close with lid.  Bake for 30 minutes and then take off the lid and bake another 20 minutes or until browned.  You dough will be done when it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees. 

If you are using a pizza stone then flour the dough and put it on a sheet of parchment on a pizza peel.  Make sure you stone has been preheating in the oven and slide the dough onto your pizza stone.  Bake for 30 minutes and check to see if the crust is browned.  You may cover the loaf with foil if the crust is getting too browned and cook for another 20 minutes or until the loaf reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees.

Let dough rest for at least 1-2 hours before cutting.  This allows the flavor from the crust to seep into the inside of the dough and the crust to soften a bit.  It is hard to smell fresh bread baking and not dive into it right away but the patience is worth it because the flavor is greatly enhanced during the cooling phase.

I doubled the recipe and took off part of the dough before baking.  About 1/3 and put it in a gallon size bag and refrigerated it until the bread was done.  Then when the oven was still hot from baking the bread I rolled out the chilled dough and made a quick pizza for the kids for lunch.  It was delicious. 


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