Favorite Pizza Recipe

In my past life I must have been a pizza chef or, at the very least, the Norman Peterson of pizza patrons. I love pizza. LOVE it. There’s just something magical about the combination of crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings that makes biting into a hot slice of pizza the perfect way to end the week (or to begin it. Or to just roll with it.)

But not all pizzas are created equal (I’m looking at you, nostalgia-inducing cafeteria pizza), and I’d spent almost a year searching the internet for the perfect pizza crust recipe when I stumbled upon FritzFamily’s The World’s Best Bread Machine Pizza Dough Recipe a few months ago. With “world’s best” in the title, I knew I had to try it. I’ve used this pizza dough recipe four times now, and I’ve yet to be disappointed. The crust is light, with a crisp texture on the outside and a soft, chewy texture on the inside. It rises well and always cooks perfectly throughout.

So here it is, my current favorite pizza crust recipe (and what to top it with!):

FritzFamily’s The World’s Best Bread Machine Pizza Dough Recipe

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Yields two crusts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup Stella Artois beer, flat*
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps cornmeal
  • 3 1/2 cups AP or bread flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (I use roughly 1/8 tsp of the following: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, red pepper)
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

For pizza stone and bowl:

  • Olive oil, for coating
  • 1-2 tsps of corn meal

*To flatten beer quickly, add 1/8 tsp of baking soda to beer and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Directions:

  1. Add wet ingredients to the bread machine. Add in dry ingredients, leaving out the baking powder and yeast. Create a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and add baking powder and yeast, making sure they don’t touch the wet ingredients. Select dough cycle and start.
  2. Coat a nonreactive bowl with olive oil. Add in dough (turning to coat in olive oil) and cover with a clean dish cloth. Let rise for 30 minutes. Split in half.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Sprinkle light covering of corn meal onto pizza stone.
  5. Remove pizza dough from bowl and roll out onto pizza stone using a rolling pin. Brush on a light covering of olive oil (1/2-1 tsp). Top crust with a light layer of pizza sauce (see below for recipe) and bake for 4-5 minutes at 400 degrees.
  6. Remove from oven and add toppings.

Some Assembly Required

Pizza Toppings

  • Pepperoni (as many as you desire)
  • 4-5 slices of bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • Mozzarella Cheese ball (roughly 3-4 ounces)
  • Asiago, Parmesan, Provolone, and Gouda cheeses, shredded
  • Pizza sauce (Homestyle or Pizzeria)
  • 1/2-1 tsp olive oil, for bell peppers
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Precook pepperonis on stovetop for 30-45 seconds over medium-high heat. Drain.
  2. Precook bacon in oven for 12-13 minutes on 375 degrees (flip bacon halfway through).  Drain.
  3. Cook bell pepper in olive oil and black pepper on stovetop over medium-high heat until soft (3-5 minutes).
  4. Top pizza crust with second layer of sauce. Add cheeses, bell pepper, and meats.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-18 minutes or until pizza is cooked through.
  6. Top with red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

Norm Pizza

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Cocoa Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

I’m finishing up Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her, a collection of stories about Junior and other young men who often find themselves going toward or pulling away from the women in their lives. To that end, I’ve decided to pair Diaz’s collection with pull apart bread.

Cocoa Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsps)

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 tbsps sugar (or 4 tbsps for sugar lovers)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 1/2 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsps butter, browned

Directions:

  1. Load dough ingredients into bread machine, beginning with the wet ingredients. Add in sugar, flour, and salt. Make a small well in the sugar, flour, and salt layer and add in yeast, being sure that the yeast doesn’t touch the wet ingredients. Select dough cycle on bread machine (do not use delayed start).
  2. Remove dough from bread machine and place in a large bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 1 hour.
  3. Roll dough into a 12x 20 inch square onto a lightly powdered surface.
  4. Spread browned butter onto dough. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder mixture on top.
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cuz dough into six vertical strips and stack the strips one on top of the other. Cut those strips into six strips.
  6. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and add dough one stack at a time. Gently tug individual layers to touch sides of the pan.
  7. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 45-50 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Bake loaf for 30-35 minutes until bread is brown on top and done throughout.
  10. Sprinkle with confectionary sugar or drizzle with cream cheese icing if desired.

Happy reading, happy eating.

Guest Baker – Danni

Today I hung up my apron* for the greater good and served as sous chef for Danni, a friend who stopped by to bake a birthday cake.

Two hours and six games of 2048 later, here’s what she made:

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The cake turned out delicious (believe me, we baked a sample), and what’s really impressive is that 98% of the toffee bars actually made it onto the cake (the same cannot be said for the cream cheese frosting). You can find the Chocolate Toffee-Crunch (Cup)cakes recipe here.

Happy eating!

 

 
* I don’t actually own an apron, but if I did, it would have Batman on it.

Lazy Monday

I’d love to say that I’m preparing a feast (I’m not) or enjoying the sun (it’s gray out), but I’m honestly caught up in a Once Upon a Time Netflix marathon (don’t judge me).

But just because I’m marathoning it out instead of doing something productive (writing) doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a little lazy Monday snack.

Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels, cooked
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, drizzled on
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

  1. Cook popcorn kernels using popcorn maker, saucepan, or microwave (try the brown paper bag trick if you go with the microwave. Place kernels in brown paper bag. Close the bag opening by folding it downward. Cook popcorn using microwave’s popcorn setting.)
  2. Drizzle popcorn with olive oil. Add sea salt.
  3. Using a baking spatula, drizzle melted chocolate chips over popcorn.
  4. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until chocolate has set.

 

Now excuse me while I procrastinate.

What do you mean you aren't writing?

What do you mean you aren’t writing?

Bacon Tomato Sandwich

My mom and I cook together every Friday evening even though she lives in Birmingham, AL, and I live in Orlando, FL. One of us chooses a recipe, and we send pictures, walk one another through the steps–I had no idea how to cook steak. None.–and then call  to talk about how everything turned out.

Friday is my favorite day of the week, and this is one of the first recipes we made together.

Bacon Tomato Sandwich

Yields 2 sandwiches

There wasn't any room for the lettuce.

There wasn’t any room for the lettuce.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of Italian bread
  • 2 slices of muenster cheese
  • 2 slices of cheddar cheese
  • 8-12 slices of bacon
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of parsley
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheets with bacon and place in oven. Bake on either side for 6-7 minutes or until crispy. Drain and set aside.
  3. Slice tomato into ¼ inch slices. Toss in pepper, sea salt, oregano, and parsley. Place on baking sheet and cook for about 4 minutes on 350 degrees.
  4. Layer bacon onto two slices of Italian bread and top with one slice each of both cheeses (each sandwich will have two slices of cheese). Layer with tomato slices. Place other slice of bread on top to form sandwich.
  5. Heat stovetop to medium-high heat. Add olive oil to a large, nonstick skillet. Place sandwiches into skillet and cook on both sides until lightly brown.
  6. Serve with Parmesan fries.

Welcome

Welcome to Book It Bake It, a blog about books, baking, and all things savory.

Lucy: The Mixer

She goes by Lucy with her friends, but Lucille when she’s feeling classy.

Two years ago my idea of baking was a box of Duncan Hines mix and two eggs (and don’t get me wrong, I’ll still devour a Fudge Marble cake like the food beast I am), but after a month of living in a new apartment in a new state, I decided that the best way to pass the time was to fill it with food, books, and Pandora playlists. One degree  in writing and a KitchenAid mixer later, I found that I was in love with all things baking. Now that I’ve got a bit more time on my hands (yay, completed thesis!), I’ve decided to share some of my favorite recipes.