Bread Archive

Thursday, October 17, 2013

lazy pizza dough + favorite margherita pizza

most perfect homemade margherita pizza yet

Raise your hand if you never get pizza right when you make it at home — that the dough doesn’t rise in the time the recipe says it should or it’s impossible to roll out; or that you get it rolled out but once baked, it tastes less like a good pizza crust and more like a tough cracker. Or maybe th opposite happens, that it’s so thick and bready, it reminds you more of a bagel, and sadly, not in a good way. Raise your hand if it never resembles the stuff from you favorite wood-wired pizzeria, all bubbled and crisp but stretchy within, with charred spots throughout and slices that don’t flop like overcooked spaghetti once lifted, sauce and cheese sliding away from you just when you need them in your mouth the most.

bowl, flour, yeast, salt, water (so easy)regular old flour will doadd the yeasta quick stir makes a craggy mess
the dough will more than doublemany hours later, long stretchy strandsflop onto a floured counterdivide the dough into the # of pizzas

Me, me, me, me, me. I suspect that all home cooks have a few demon dishes, things they make a million times and are never fully satisfied with, but are still so obsessed that they can never resist a new angle or tactic that promises to bring them closer to their ideal. However, they’re usually normal things, common plagues like roast chicken, perfect buttermilk biscuits or brownies. I realize that it’s entirely possible that you can’t believe I’m talking about pizza again. But I can’t help it. I’ve been cheating on every pizza recipe I’ve made before and I think you should do the same.

mold them into loose ballsthis dough is very softflop the soft dough downjust stretch it into place

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Monday, April 22, 2013

ramp pizza

ramp pizza with a little mozarella

It probably goes without saying — but I will say it anyway; this is an internet weblog, after all — that a whole lot of the food I cook at home doesn’t make it onto this site. I like to use this space to talk about aspirational cooking — things that have fascinated me because they were different or better or even easier than I’d expected to make. At the very least, I hope they’ll have a good story to tell or get someone else as excited to cook as I was. The work-a-day cooking (pizza, lazy meatballs, oatmeal) that fills out our weeks is hardly noteworthy stuff.

washing the ramps
trim the hairy ends

I also prefer to avoid gushing about ingredients most people don’t have access to. No, I don’t mean truffles or anything so fancy — I’m not secretly flavoring my pasta water with fistfuls of the Himalayan pink salt I eschew elsewhere — I just mean something that especially short-seasoned and regional and it feels little will be gained by crowing about a dish that 95% of people can’t make.

separate the stemps/bulbs from the greens

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

fig, olive oil and sea salt challah + book tour!

fig, olive oil and sea salt challah

Last week, this little url turned six years old, though I am absolutely, unequivocally certain that the day I started typo-ing typing away here was a lifetime ago. I’d been married for almost a year. I was terrified to cook most things without a recipe. I kind of hated my day job (but loved my coworkers — still!). And this little guy — more on him next week — well, he wasn’t even a glimmer in our (still well-rested) eyes yet. While some things haven’t changed (for example, I have no idea what the buttons on my camera do, still), 801 recipes and over 151,000 comments later, I am fairly certain that what comes next is the last place I’d imagined this conversation going back then. And yet:

eggs, olive oil, honey, sea salt, yeast

Over the years, I have occasionally written about cooking too much of something and have invited you to come over and help us with the feast, because wouldn’t it be fun if we could all cram in my tiny kitchen together and hang out? I realize you’ve probably thought I was joking. Obviously, throwing a huge party in a kitchen that barely fits me and the toddler-mounted trike that’s always in there anyway would be a disaster. But the thing is, I wasn’t. I just didn’t let the logistical implausibility in any way diminish my insistence that, given the chance, I think we’d all get along famously.

dough hook, kneading away

Which brings me to The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Book Tour: As it turns out, we can hang out and cook and chat, even if we can’t do it in my pathetically tiny kitchen. I am so excited about this part; I have joked more than once that it’s the entire reason I wrote a book. Plus, it’s important that you see before your own eyes what a complete and total normal person super-professional grown-up dork I am.

So, without further ado, let me direct you over to the Events & Book Tour Page, and then, I do hope you’ll hurry right back because this bread, it’s kind of a big deal.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

leek, chard and corn flatbread

leek, corn and chard flatbread

We are at the beach this week and even though there was a point when we were trying to pile the toddler, his 55 favorite toys including a full-sized tricycle, me, my 25 kitchen necessities including, apparently, a meat thermometer and the serrated peeler one of you told me about a few weeks ago that I now can’t live without, the beach towels, blankets, umbrellas, sandcastle-shaped bucket, toddler bed bars, a box of groceries and my husband (happy anniversary, baby!) in our little car that we thought we should really just stay home instead, it wasn’t long into our drive onto the North Fork, passing miles of farms, leave-your-money-in-the-box roadside blackberry stands, dilapidated barns, impeccably kept houses, and more grape vines than you could count in your lifetime that we were unwaveringly certain we were back where we were meant to be.

early north fork

It’s so quiet here that the days feel longer, virtually distraction-free. We’ve been beaching in the morning, adventuring with the toddler in the afternoons and cooking up a storm for dinner each night. We had a mash-up of Molly’s Dry-Rubbed Ribs and Harold McGee’s Oven Ribs (that I really have to reassemble here one day, with some streamlining) one night (with corn and an heirloom caprese), and last night, we had a tiny dinner party with friends that are in town with sugar steaks (a recipe I’ve only been promising you for a year), a crunchy Greek salad and this old favorite potato salad. Are you around? You should come over for dinner. We tend to make too much.

making pizza, eh, flatbread dough
leeks

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Friday, February 3, 2012

cheddar, beer and mustard pull-apart bread

cheddar, beer and mustard pull-apart bread

You might have created a monster. I went back and forth, again and again, before sharing the recipe for potato chip cookies. My presumption was that most sane people would find them revolting; that the comment section would be a string of “eww”s. Silly me! It turns out that a whole lot of you are closet potato chip sandwich lovers, and worse. You put Doritos on your pizza! You put Cheetos on your tuna! I am clearly among my brethren. This will only lead to trouble, as the next time I have a weird, funky combination of flavors I want to try out, who will stop me? Clearly, not you.

beer and butter
poured into flour mix with rye

Like this. For a while, I’ve been enamored with this idea of pull-apart bread, such as Flo Braker’s from her latest book. Yet as lovely as buttery lemon sugar is, or cinnamon sugar for that matter, is, I wanted to give it a savory spin. My first inclination was to go with the universally adored (but kinda overused these days, don’t you think?) cheddar, chives and bacon — i.e. baked potato toppings — but what I’ve really been dreaming about lately is Welsh rarebit, which I understand to be pub food in places I haven’t been lucky enough to travel to yet. It’s a thick, punchy, rich sauce made with cheddar and mustard and beer and butter and cream and spices and it is often ladled over a piece of toast, such as rye or another brown bread. And I want it.

a sticky dough that doesn't stay sticky

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