To Make / Rustic Italian Pizza Dough

 
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     Good morning! If there's one classic Italian food that's universally loved, it has to be pizza. I've never met a person who at least doesn't love the concept of pizza (though have met people who don't like cheese on pizza, or sometimes sauce - I definitely understand the latter, but not the former LOL). That being said, one of my summer goals is to perfect my homemade pizza crust! I think I've gotten it pretty close to my favorite kind of rustic pizza crust, and that means it's time to share! 

    This dough is low prep, has a personalized rising time, and is just bread-y enough. Get the full recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- 5 cups of flour

- 1 + 1/4 cups of cold water

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of yeast

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of sea salt

- 2 tbs. of olive oil

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Directions:

1. Combine dry ingredients in a stand mixer. Pour in water and stir until dough is just coming together, then switch to your bread hook attachment. Beat dough in mixer for 8 minutes. 

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2. Flip dough out onto a floured surface, and seperate into 5-6 dough balls. Brush with olive oil and cover. Let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how chewy you want the dough to be (the longer you let it rise, the less chewy it will be). 

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3. Either store in the fridge/freezer or bake immediately. To bake, preheat oven to 450 and form your crust by smoothing a dough ball out with the palms of your hands (not your finger tips!) into a circle. Prebake your crust for 5 minutes before adding toppings, then bake for another 5. Enjoy!

      Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Bake / Nutella Challah

 
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      Hi there! It's the middle of January, and Columbia is blanketed in snow - which means most of us want to be literally blanketed 24/7. We are thawing as I speak though, so the outdoors are slowly becoming more appealing! Until then, I'm noshing (to use the appropriate Yiddish term, considering this recipe) on this Nutella challah to stay cozy on the inside. I've never made challah before, and I've only eaten it once when a Jewish friend made it (along with matzo ball soup - YUM) to celebrate passover for our dorm building in college. I've never forgotten how delicious his traditional take on the bread was, and have been waiting for the perfect recipe to try my hand at it! 

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       I found said recipe in the Half Baked Harvest cookbook, and knew I wanted to make it this winter asap! While it is filled with Nutella, the actual bread of it is healthy-ish. It does have sugar, but it's only 3 tablespoons! It also has whole wheat flour, and olive oil instead of butter. In my opinion, these whole ingredients negate the bad ones! :) Get the recipe below, and have fun making this - I know I did!

Ingredients: 

- 1 cup of warm water

- 1 packet (2 + 1/4 tsp.) of instant yeast

- 3 tbs. of brown sugar

- 1/4 cup of olive oil

- 2 eggs

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of salt

- 2 cups of whole wheat flour

- 2 cups of AP flour

- Nutella

- 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

1. In a stand mixer, using the dough hook, combine the yeast, warm water, brown sugar, olive oil, eggs, and salt. With the mixer still running, add the flours and mix until the dough comes together - about 5 minutes. Knead the dough on medium speed for another 2 minutes. Knead by hand until smooth and return to mixing bowl. Cover and let sit for 1 hour in a warm place (I usually put mine on top of my fridge!).

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2. Knead dough again, and let sit for another 30 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, and divide it into 3 equal balls. Roll each ball into a 12 inch rope, and roll out the ropes flat.

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3. Spread Nutella onto each piece, and tightly roll each into a rope again. Pinch the edges to seal.

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4. Grease a rimmed baking sheet, and lay out each rope side by side, seam side down. Pinch together the tops of the ropes, and braid them together. Do this by placing the far right rope over the center rope, and then the far left over the now center (originally far right) rope. Continue this until you reach the end of the ropes, and pinch the ends together.

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5. Brush some beaten egg over the loaf, and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350, and brush the loaf again. 

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6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm (and with even more Nutella if you're chocolate-crazed like me), and enjoy!