E and I don't bake often but two of the things we come back to over and over again are homemade pizza and biscuits.
Homemade pizza dough is so super easy and is amazing! If you haven't ever made it before, you must. You'll never ever go back. This time of year, with our garden exploding with tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and basil, it seems a shame to not use them in a truly fantastic dinner. Veggie pizza is just the ticket.
To make your basic dough, start with a big bowl and add 2 T sugar. Then add 1 cup warm water (not scalding!) and mix together quickly. Then sprinkle one package of yeast onto the water and use a spoon to help it dissolve. These packages are 1/4 oz. and I use whatever is on sale. Then add 1 T salt, mix and finally 3 cups of floor and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix in bowl until mostly holding together, then kneed entire ball about 3-6 times (really, it is easy and fast!). Then coat outside of dough ball with more olive oil, but back in the bowl, cover and let rise for 2-4 hours.
I know this sounds super complex, but I can make homemade dough in less than ten minutes, clean up included. Yes, you need to let is rise for a bit, so for some, this might be better served as a weekend dish. Once the dough has risen, I cut it in half (this recipe is for two pizzas), flour a surface, and use my rolling pin to make it ultra thin. (The thinner the better). Also, set your oven for as hot as it will go. Ours, luckily, goes all the way up to 550!
Then, go ahead and top your uncooked crust with whatever you see fit. E and I have made a lot of homemade pizzas over the years and we've found the red sauce isn't our favorite, instead, we like to use blue cheese salad dressing! It is amazing! Might sound weird, but it is totally good. Then top with cheese and veggies or whatever. Our favorite pizza of all time is blue cheese dressing, mozzarella cheese, some feta sprinkled on top, and all the veggies listed above. It is to die for.
We bake our pizza on a pizza stone (which we always preheat with the oven), which gives the crust a really nice crispy texture, but if you don't have one, a cookie sheet will work too. I think you'll find all of this work is worth the effort. E and I are a little bit of pizza snobs, and we think that the pizza we make in our own kitchen is better than even our favorite wood burning pizza oven restaurant. We never time our pizzas, just put them in on the hot stone and watch them. When the top is browned and crispy, we use a spatula to lift the side and made sure the bottom is also looking done, nothing is worse than a doughy pizza crust.
The other thing that we love to bake at home are biscuits. I am in no way a biscuit pro, like I am a pizza dough pro, so I can't claim to know the best recipe, or any methods. E is the true biscuit master, and he is still searching for the perfect recipe. I know a few tips he's told me about over the years, never overwork the biscuit dough, always place the biscuits on the cookie sheet so they are touching just slightly, and buttermilk makes a tastier biscuit than plain milk.
That said, E has been working on his perfect recipe for years, and it is always fun to wake up on a Sunday morning and for him to say he thinks he wants to make homemade biscuits. This Sunday, we slathered honey butter on the hot flaky biscuits, something we had picked up the day before at the downtown farmer's market. This, with a hot cup of tea, makes any day perfect.
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