Whole Wheat Herbed Pizza Crust

This is from my King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book (that I stole from my mom 3 years ago and I’ve made about 50% of the 5 inch thick book). I had some left over whey from making yogurt and so I added it to the crust dough instead of water and honestly I really couldn’t tell it was even in there. I don’t know if I was suppose to noticed something or it is rendered tasteless when baked in bread? Anyway! Oh by the way, this is two pizza crusts worth. I’ll add in where you can wrap up the other crust and freeze for another time.

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 (15 ounces) whole wheat bread flour (or whole wheat)
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cool water (this is where I used the whey, but I only had 1 cup so I added 1/2 water for the liquid)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Measure two cups of the flour into a medium bowl and stir in the yeast. Combine the water/whey with the honey. Since this is cold, it’s kind of frustrating to get the two to combine.

Add this to the flour. Stir well to combine and let sit for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, you should see obvious air bubbles from the yeast working. If you don’t, then your yeast is crap and it’s time to buy some new stuff 🙂 It’s kind of hard to see in the photo below, but the dough (starter is what it’s called right now) should be puffy somewhat as well.

Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour. Either knead by hand (chyeah right!) or let it knead in your kitchen aid with the dough hook (now we’re talking!) or you can let it mix in your bread machine.

Allow to rise in a warm place (oven OFF with the light ON is always a good place in the winter) for about 1.5 hours until doubled.

I didn’t touch the dough between the last two photos, so you can see that it has really puffed up but is still a really wet dough. It’s okay. Don’t worry. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half with a knife or a bench knife. Note: This is when you would take the other crust dough that you might not be using and wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer.

Roll out into a 12-inch circle.

Place on a baking stone or a pizza pan lined with parchment paper. If you are nervous about moving the dough, fold it in quarters and then move it onto the pan/stone and then unfold it, much like a pie crust. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, look below.

Bam.

Bam.

Bam!

Bake on 375F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn oven temperature up to 425F.

Now is where you can just go crazy. We added tomato sauce, bell pepper and olives but you can do pesto or bbq sauce and whatever your heart desires.

I used 8 ounces of part skim mozzarella cheese on the pizza, so 1 ounce per slice. Then topped with dried oregano and fresh ground black pepper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. So I was outside gabbing with my neighbor when I put this in the oven so my husband had taken it out and cut it up already by the time I came in 🙂

So here is the nutritional info. The crust ingredients are for 2 pizzas, the serving size here is for 1/4 of one pizza, so two slices (if you cut into 8 pieces like we did above). This is for the crust only so you can use this whatever toppings and sauce you want.

Serving: 1/4 pizza (2 slices)

Calories: 220.6

Fat: 2.7 g

Carbs: 45 g

Protein: 7.7 g

Now if you used tomato sauce with 8 oz cheese and veggies this is your nutritional info:

Serving: 1/4 pizza (2 slices)

Calories: 401

Fat: 13 g

Carbs: 50 g

Protein: 19 g

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

Well I needed something to go with all that yogurt I just made, right?? And ’tis the season for making everything pumpkin, right? Well, I got my googling fingers going and came across Healthy Food for Living blog and the recipe I have linked. Granola is something is so cheap to make at home but wicked expensive to buy in the store (pulled out my Mainer there budday).

I followed the recipe word for word, so you can jump over to her blog to see the recipe. I used chopped walnuts and sunflower seeds (raw) for the nuts and raisins for the fruit.

I do, however, I have the nutritional info for you! Granola calories can sometimes make your heart stop when you see how dense they are but this one isn’t too bad!

Serving Size 1/2 cup, makes 12 servings:

Calories: 152

Fat: 6.3 g

Carbs: 24.7 g

Protein: 3.3 g

Homemade Graham Crackers

My mom sent me a blog post from Food Renegade about doing a homemade cracker challenge and the giveaway was a top of the line grain grinder, which for the past couple of months has been a *want* for me but they are over $500 for a good one. So I decided to try making some graham crackers and for an entry.

They used a flour I honestly had never heard of (einkorn) so I decided to use spelt flour instead.

  • 2 cups spelt flour (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil (defumed if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 5 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sugar for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon for sprinkling

Heat oven to 350F

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in your stand mixer with the paddle. Add oil, honey and milk until well combined.

Should be a really wet dough but hold together if you made a ball. Scrape it out of the bowl and onto a sheet of parchment paper on a smooth, hard surface.

Put another piece of parchment paper on top and roll until 1/8 inch thick.

I was a little shy about rolling it too thin, so this turned out to be too thick but the crackers were still YUMMMM!


Take the top piece of parchment paper off and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Score with a pizza cutter into 1 inch by 1 inch squares.
I then slid the parchment paper onto a round pizza cooking sheet that has holes in the bottom. My hopes were that it’s help crisp up the crackers more.

Bake for 18 minutes. Turning halfway if you don’t have an even cooking oven like myself.

Slide the crackers off the pan and onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely and then break along the lines.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

 

Nutritional Info per 1 square (11 g):

  • Calories: 53.6
  • Fat: 2.2 g
  • Carbs: 7.5g
  • Protein: 0.9g

Homemade Yogurt Continued…

So I had some people ask me if what I made the day before was thick and creamy like Greek yogurt and my answer was no. In order to have thick Greek yogurt, you need to strain it. To do this you just take a mesh strainer and lay either cheese cloth, coffee filters or a paper towel in it and then dump your yogurt on top and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

I happened to have an actual yogurt strainer in my cupboard of appliances….along with an actual yogurt maker.

Just place the strainer in the container and then dump the yogurt in the strainer.

Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

This is what I had in the morning. Greek yogurt on the left and whey on the right. As you might be able to see, there is a little bit of yogurt in the whey, so maybe a coffee filter would be a little better with the strainer than just the strainer alone. I have no idea. I’ve never done this before.

There is the yogurt. I ran my finger through it to see how thick it is.

Here is a comparison between the strained yogurt (on top) and then regular yogurt straight out of the crock pot (on bottom)

Yumm!! Apparently, if you keep letting the yogurt strain you will get cream cheese. Will have to test this some time….

So here is the whey. So I looked online to see what to do with this other than put it in smoothies. One of the things I found was to use it in making bread instead of whatever liquid is in the recipe. So now I have whole wheat herbed pizza dough rising downstairs. As always, a recipe will follow 🙂

 

Added:

If you are looking for the nutritional information of the liquid whey, well you have come to the right place since I looked to the end of the interwebz to find this info:

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 59

Fat: 0.2 g

Carbs: 12.6 g

Protein: 1.9 g

This is what is dripping out of your yogurt (or settling on top if you aren’t straining it on purpose).

 

Now you can use this to calculate nutritional info for stuff when you sub in liquid whey for other things.

Homemade Yogurt

I was always against plain yogurt. Gross. I tried everything to sweeten it from honey to sugar free Torani syrups to stevia drops. I never liked it. Then I started adding a teaspoon of homemade jam to it and then I actually started liking it. Now I’m at the point where I can just eat it plain and eat a lot of it. At Costco I think I pay about $5.99 for a quart of Fage Greek yogurt and I easily eat it within the week. My mom has always bugged me about making my own but it’s always scared me. I’ve randomly googled how to make it in a crockpot since I “overheard” on facebook that you could make it that way but I was still to scared. Once I realized that even if it was a flop, I only wasted about $2, I decided to take the plunge and I’m glad I did! I’ve made it twice now, the first time was a total failure but I figured out what my mistake was and the second time was a total success. I’ll share both things with you so hopefully you can get it right the first time!

So on clearance I found a half gallon of organic milk for $2.99 and 1 cup of organic plain yogurt for $0.49. This will make a half gallon of organic yogurt for $3.48 compared to $3.99 for a quart of organic (so x2 would be $7.98 for a half gallon for a savings of $4.50).

First, get out your crock pot and turn it on low and put the lid on so the stone can warm up. It takes about 30 minutes but it will also take about 30 minutes for the milk to be ready to put in it.

Next, pour however much milk you want to make into yogurt into a saucepan and warm it on medium (stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn) until the temperature reaches 185 degrees F. I just used a digital meat thermometer but word on the street is that you can get candy thermometers for less than $10.

While the milk is warming on the stove, take 1/4 cup of already made yogurt per every quart of milk you are making into yogurt and put it in a medium bowl. It’s best to let this warm up a bit so it doesn’t cool the milk down in the second to last step. So I’m making a half gallon so I used 1/2 cup of yogurt for the 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) of milk. Tip: After this batch is done and you are putting it into containers, save however much yogurt you need for the next batch from the batch you just made.

Once the milk in the pan reaches 185 degrees F, turn the stove off, remove pot from burner, cover and place the pot in a few inches of cool water (I just fill my sink up a little). This is where I screwed up the first time. Let the milk cool from 185 degrees down to 115 degrees. First time I let it cool down to 90 because I wasn’t paying attention and the blog I was following said between 90-110 and it would take about 10 minutes. Well after about 5 minutes it cooled way down. The second time I only let it cool to 115 and my yogurt came out perfectly.
After yogurt has cooled to 115, take 1 cup of the warm milk and whisk it with the yogurt in the medium bowl. Take the rest of the milk and pour it into your crockpot. Immediately turn off and unplug your crock pot and remove the stone. Then add the milk and yogurt mixture to the rest of the milk in the crockpot. Whisk together briefly.

Now there are two options of what to do with your crockpot for the next 8-12 hours. I do this at night so it’s ready in the morning. Some just wrap the crockpot in a heavy towel or blanket to keep warm (did this the first time and it wasn’t very warm in the morning) or you can put your crockpot in a TURNED OFF oven with the oven light on. I chose to do that the second time.

Shut the door and leave the light on all night. It needs to be about 70 degrees in your house for this to really stay warm, if it’s colder than that (like our house now), leave it in the oven.

So the next morning this is what I woke up to:

And I ran a spoon through it so you could see how thick it is:

I then put the whole crockpot in the fridge to cool and to thicken more (which is thickened up a little bit more after cooling).

Then I stored in mason jars, since we all know I have about 10 million of these 🙂

I’ll eat the two quarts within the week with pumpkin spice granola (recipe to come) and then the little pint is enough to start my next batch! Perfect! Saved $4.50 a week so that’s $18 a month and on top of that I now have organic yogurt!

Note added: If you want it real thick, like Greek yogurt, you need to strain it as it sits in the fridge. So take some cheesecloth, coffee filters or a paper towel and line a mesh strainer and dump the yogurt into the strainer and put something like a large bowl under it so the liquid (the whey) can drip down. You can either discard the whey or you can drink it or add it to smoothies since it’s good for your digestive system.

 

 

Continue HERE if you want to see how to make Greek yogurt now

How To Make Applesauce…

…by the truckload. Last year I canned 300 pounds of applesauce. No I didn’t mean 30, I meant three hundred. Wanna know how much we have left? After today, 3 quarts. What in the world do we do with it all? Well, the boys eat it, literally, by the quart. Once I open one, it’s gone within 30 minutes. I also sub oil and butter out all the time for applesauce in baking and pancakes.

So we had all those apples from apple picking on Saturday but after we ate a lot and I made an apple pie, it only made 6 quarts, which, if we are lucky, would last us to Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, I have 35 pounds coming to me on Saturday 🙂

Okay, so this is the setup.

Starting from the left we have my Kitchenaid Pro 600 with the meat grinder attachment and the fruit and veggie strainer attachment. You need to buy both of them in order to strain. Under the strainer is my sauce bowl and the little bowl next to that one is what I like to call the “apple poop” bowl.

This is what the strainer looks like

So eighth the apples. Don’t core them. Don’t seed them. Don’t peel them. If I had to do all that crap stuff, I would never make applesauce. Toss them into a huge pot and put enough water in the bottom to prevent sticking, like an inch. Cover and set the burner to medium to medium high. Let the apple steam until they are starting to turn a warm yellow/brown color and they are very tender. It never fails that I am to anxious and start straining the first batch of the season with rock hard apples, which is a total pain the butt and very frustrating.

Done and nice and mushy

Start ladling them into the hopper with a slotted spoon and plunge them down into the strainer. They should go down EASILY. If they don’t, you are about to learn your lesson 🙂 If you look down below, you’ll see the green bowl of piping hot sauce and on the left the bowl of apple poop, which is just the peel and seeds.

Nice and freshly strained applesauce

Nice big bowl of it ready to be canned. You will not need to heat it up on the stove before filling your hot and clean jars with it. It is extremely hot. I dropped some on my foot and I have a burn mark, so don’t worry, it’s really hot straight from the strainer.

Ladle it onto hot and clean jars, place lids, screw bands on and process pints and quarts for 20 minutes.

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Apple PIe

For the past two years I’ve been working on baking my way through my King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book and I’ve kind of stalled out on it but I figured since we picked a ton of apples this weekend I needed to make apple pie, so why not check this one off in the book?

Just to warn you, it has a butt load of sugar in it. I mean, way more than any pie should ever have, so I some sugar out (and honestly, I’m going to cut out even more next time) and cut out some of the butter because I felt it was not needed. One place where you can’t skimp on butter is the crust through, which is also homemade. You never truly baked a pie yourself if you bought the crust from the store, sorry, but it’s true!

I used to be very scared of making my own pastry, mostly because I had no idea of an easy way to cut the butter into the dough without it being a total hot mess. Pastry cutter…sucks. Food processor…overprocess. Forks and/or knives….seriously? Then last fall my good friend and I went to a pie baking class at William & Sonoma. I seriously learned a life altering technique. Seriously, after I tell you think you will never look at pastry again as a daunting task. Ready? Grate frozen butter. WHAT? Yes. GRATE FROZEN BUTTER. Ok, now you can make any type of pastry! Want it even more flaky? Forget brushing it with egg. Brush it with vodka. Yay!

Ok, so to the recipe…

Crust:

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat flour but will be less flaky)
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick, 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp (1 ounce) orange juice
  • 2 to 4 tbsp (1 to 2 ounces) ice water

If you are wondering why I included the weight of some of the ingredients, it’s to save yourself from washing measuring cups and making a mess on your counter. You should bake with weight instead of volume since technically you need to spoon the ingredient into the measuring cup and then level it off with a knife and then dump it in the bowl. Who has time for that? I don’t! Turn on a scale. Place bowl on scale. Tare scale. Add an ingredient. Tare scale. Add another ingredient. Repeat. So easy!

Filling:

  • 5 to 6 cups sliced (and peeled if you have too much time on your hands) apples. About 4 large or 6 medium, about 2 pounds.
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners sugar (I cut it to 2.5 ounces, but seriously, I will be skipping this all together next time)
  • 1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) packed light or dark brown sugar (this is all the sugar it seriously needs between the crust and the topping, but I cut this in half to 1/8 cup as well)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted (left this out)
  • 2 tbsp (3/4 ounce) unbleached all-purpouse flour

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter

To make the crust, mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Grate frozen butter and then toss lightly with fingers to mix. Sprinkle with the orange juice and toss lightly. Slowly add 1 tbsp at a time of the ice water until the dough is cohesive. Grab a handful; if it holds together willingly and doesn’t seem at all dry or crumbly, you’ve added enough liquid. You should be able to see the sprinkles of butter throughout. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight or up to 3 days. You want the whole wheat to become softer from the orange juice. Will yield a flakier crust.

When ready to make the pie, take out the dough 30 minutes prior to rolling (so make the filling and topping and the roll it out).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the filling, thinly slice the apples and place in a LARGE mixing bowl. Toss with the sugar, spices, salt, vanilla and lemon juice. If using the butter add it after mixed along with the flour.

To make the topping, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla. Grate the butter and toss it in.

To assemble the pie, roll out the crust on a well floured surface. Don’t skimp on the flour, you’ll just end up with a torn pie crust, which will make you hate making pastry even more. Fold into quarters and place in the pie pan and then unfold. Spoon the filling into the crust and the spread the topping on.

Tent with a piece of tin foil and bake until the crust is golden brown, about an hour. Allow to it and cool for at least 1 hour, but more like 3-5 hours so it’s not all soupy.

 

Nutritional info for FULL fat & sugar. 1/10th of the pie (158 grams):

Calories: 412

Fat: 18 g

Carbs: 31g

Protein: 5 g

 

If you cut the powdered and brown sugar in half for the filling and omit the butter in the filling ONLY per 158 grams:

Calories: 364

Fat: 15.7g

Carbs: 23g

Protein: 5 g

 

Still a pretty high calorie treat but it is a lot less scary for me with half the sugar. And 158 grams is a good amount, it’s one of those kids IKEA bowls. If I ever make this recipe again (not because it’s not good, but because I never, ever make the same recipe twice. Ask my husband. It bugs him) I will omit all of the powdered sugar in the filling and just use the 1/4 brown sugar it calls for. If I ever do that, I’ll recalculate the calories out again so I can log it 🙂

 

Best Sprtiz Cookie Recipe!

Ok, so I’ve tried five recipes I think. The one that came with the Pampered Chief cookie press gave me carpal tunnel (slightly kidding here, but you get my point) and others tasted bad or also sucked in the cookie press. So I got a book from the library that is a cookie swap cookbook and it’s awesome! And it’s also July, so don’t ask why I put this book on hold, good thing I did though!

Look at these beauties! And it was so so so so easy to press them out. You get that first crap cookie after you fill the press up but you just pick it up off the cookie sheet and throw it back in the dough bowl.

Recipe:

Yield 96 cookies

  • 2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
  • 1.5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

I keep my butter in the freezer, so the night before and took it out and let it sit on the counter overnight. Since it was 85 in my house, I had nice soft butter in the morning.

Place the butter and sugar in your mixer bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

Add in the vanilla and almond extract and beat until mixed in.

Slowly add the salt and flour (one cup at a time) on a low speed until just mixed. Don’t over mix the dough.

On an UNGREASED cookie sheet press cookies. Bake at 350 for 10ish minutes until golden brown around the edges. Remove from pan and cook on a cooling rack.

 

Tips:

  1. To load cookie dough easily into the press, I use a cookie scoop and load it up and then pull the trigger and it easily just drops into the barrel of the press.
  2. I tried pressing these onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets but it was making the paper pull up with the press and it was just a hot mess. Look at the amount of butter in the recipe, don’t worry, they come off the pan easily.
  3. Cookies stick easier from the press onto the pan if the pan is hot. Those first two batches were a pain in the ass butt but then once I had hot sheets from the oven, they were a lot easier.

Shredded Chicken Tip

I feel like when I learn new kitchen tricks and I try to pass them onto friends that I slowly find out that I’m always the last to know about these tricks. So please excuse this tip if I am, indeed, the last to know.

I hate shredding chicken (or any meat for that matter), which is why I think I avoid it at all cost. Recipe calls for shredded? We get it cut in strips or small chunks. My good friend and I were canning up a storm and somehow we got onto the subject of shredded meat, you know, regular topic of conversation, right? And she told me of this trick! Look!!

Put it in your kitchenaid mixer (or any stand mixer) and use the regular mixing paddle (not the wisk and not the dough hook) and turn it on low. WHAT?!?! HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS??? I was even skeptical to tell you the truth.

So tonight I poached 1 {large} chicken breast cut into two. I cheat and use a digital read out thermometer that has every meat known to man kind programmed on it whenever I cook any type of meat whether poaching, baking or grilling. There is nothing I hate more than dry and tough meat.

After about 25 minutes the chicken was done and I took the two medium sized chicken breasts and threw them into my 6 quart bowl. I honestly thought the two pieces were just going to play cat and mouse with each other as the paddle just pushes them around the bowl. That happens for about the first 5-7 seconds and then a piece of the breast will get caught between the paddle and the bowl and then VOILA! It’s just a chain reaction from there and within about 45 seconds to 1 minute you have perfectly shredded chicken.

Enjoy and your shoulders and sanity will thank you for no longer using the two-fork method 🙂

Strawberry Lemon Marmalade

From the book Ball: Complete Book of Home Preserving

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced lemon peel
  • 4 cups crushed hulled strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package (1.75 oz) regular powdered fruits pectin
  • 6 cups granulated sugar

Prepare canner, jars and lids.

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine lemon peel and water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes, until peel is softened. Drained and discard liquid.

Add strawberries and lemon juice to peel and mix well. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat (and skim off foam if you’d like but I find this easier to do once in the individual jars)

Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1.4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, but adding hot marmalade. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Place jar in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove cannier lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jar, cool and store (this means DO NOT TOUCH THE JARS FOR 24 HOURS so don’t put them somewhere they will be in your way).

If the stars are aligned correctly and the canning gods are on your side, you will probably hear your lids seal and *POP* one by one in the fir 30 minutes of taking the cans out of the water bath 🙂