French bread and pizza, from the same dough

February 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

When we make bread, we always make enough for two loaves…one for us, and one for a friend.  It’s nice to share, and who doesn’t love a loaf of homemade bread?

We also love pizza, but we hate the lines, screaming teenagers, sticky tables, and ambivalent waitstaff (they’re ambivalent in our small town…maybe they’re terrific in your town, but the only pizza place near us is just…awful).  So…we make our own pizza.  The dough is the easiest; we just use our recipe for French bread.  Of course, you can always buy ready-made dough from a pizza place, or you can use the frozen bread dough in the freezer case at your grocery store.  But, it’s pretty easy to just make your own.  We use a combination of spelt flour and white, but if spelt is not available in your area, just use all white flour…there’s very little difference in flavor (it’s nutrition you’re sacrificing).

This particular recipe makes delicious crunchy French bread that’s soft on the inside, and lovely chewy pizza dough that’s not soggy.

The recipe can be made in the bread machine or by hand.  Because we’ve been reading the blogs of those who read and enjoy the Green Pocket Protector blog, we know that many of you enjoy making bread by hand.  We have to agree; there’s something very therapeutic about making bread by hand.  I’ve kneaded out many an argument (and tired muscles) making bread.  So, for all of you homemade bread enthusiasts, here’s how to make homemade French bread, and pizza dough by hand (don’t worry, bread machine lovers; the directions for you follow).  This recipe makes two loaves of French bread, or one loaf of bread and a pizza crust.

French bread

2 packages rapid rise yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 cups warm water (100 – 110 degrees F)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup spelt flour

5 1/2 – 6 cups all purpose flour

Stir together yeast, sugar, and water; let stand 5 minutes.

Stir together yeast mixture, salt, olive oil, and spelt flour in a large bowl.  Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.  Place in a large well-greased bowl, turning to ensure that the dough is thoroughly greased.

Cover with a clean towel, and let rise about 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down, and turn out onto a lightly floured board.  Knead lightly 4 to 5 times.  Divide dough in half.  Shape each half into a loaf (or make one loaf and set aside the other half for pizza dough*), and place on a greased baking pan.  Cover with a towel, and allow to rise about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.  Place in a preheated 400-degree F oven, and bake for 20 minutes until brown.  Remove from oven, and cool on wire racks.

French bread (in the bread machine)

2 packages rapid rise yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 cups warm water (100 – 110 degrees F)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup spelt flour

5 – 5 1/5 cups all purpose flour

Place yeast, sugar, and water in the bread machine pan; let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, olive oil, and spelt flour, and 5 cups of the all-purpose flour; start the machine on the dough setting.

You may add an additional 1/2 cup of flour during the kneading process if it appears that the dough is sticky.   When the dough cycle has completed, remove the bread from the pan, and divide dough in half.  Shape each half into a loaf (or make one loaf and set aside the other half for pizza dough*), and place on a greased baking pan.  Cover with a towel, and allow to rise about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.  Place in a preheated 400-degree F oven, and bake for 20 minutes until brown.  Remove from oven, and cool on wire racks.

*To make pizza crust, lightly sprinkle about a tablespoon of cornmeal onto a pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Stretch dough to fit into the pan.  Or lay the dough onto the middle of the pan, and then use a rolling pin to push the dough to cover the entire surface.  Use your fingers to build up the edges.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, and then brush lightly with olive oil and cover with toppings (we like homemade tomato sauce, chopped garlic, sliced green olives, sliced pepperoni, and lots of mozzarella cheese).  Bake at 400-degrees for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and cooked through.

 

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