Battle Pizza Crust: No Knead Bread Dough

I usually have a bucket of the basic no-knead recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day in my fridge. It is super easy to mix up, lasts a long time, and is my back up bread dough for those days when the fancy bread is stale and I need to make sandwiches for school lunches. Its a good, solid bread dough and really helped launch me into a love of bread baking.

  
Could it be a decent pizza crust?

I have tried this a few times now and come to the conclusion that its “pretty ok” It is better than a frozen pizza or most chain pizza delivery places. I’d put it solidly above the dominoes/papa johns type delivery but below a really great local pizza place. What it lacks in amazingness, it sure does make up for in speed. I had a pizza assembled and ready to cook before my oven was even preheated!

This isn’t my favorite pizza dough by any means but, if you already have some in the fridge, it makes a great speedy dinner option. Its a little bland and could probably greatly benefit by either brushing some melted butter on the edge or sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on it before baking. It was a little hard to get it stretched into a thin enough crust so mine was extra thick. This dough doesn’t have the same elasticity as a good pizza crust has so you have to kind of mush it and stretch it into shape rather than stretch it in the air. This inconsistency in thickness also meant there were some bulges and bubbles in the crust as it baked, so my toppings slid around a little.

  
Overall, I’d give it a B-. Its ok for a quick meal during a football game but its not a crust I’d break out if I had company over.

No Knead Bread Dough

24 ounces lukewarm water
2 pounds AP Flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

Combine all ingredients in a large (very large) bowl. I use a 6 quart dough bucket. Mix until the flour is all incorporated, then allow to rise for 2 hours. Either bake from it then, or refrigerate until ready to use.

To use, lightly flour the surface of the dough. Grab a large handful (about a grapefruit size makes a nice loaf) and lop off or tear it. Gently shape into a loaf and allow to rise on the counter for 40 minutes. About halfway through the rise time, heat the oven to 450. Slash the top of the loaf and put it in the oven on a baking stone, if you have one. Bake until golden brown (time will depend on size of loaf).

To use as pizza crust: lop off a similar amount and shape into a circle on a piece of parchment paper. Gently stretch and work the dough into a vaguely pizza like shape, trying to maintain an even thickness. Top and bake immediately for a thinner crust or allow to rise for 40 minutes before topping for a thicker crust.

Applesauce

sauce

I’ll admit that I am often on autopilot when I go through the grocery store. I buy the same core fruits each week for us to use as snacks. When I don’t take a stock of what we have on hand before I go shopping, we end up with more of one fruit than we can eat before the pile will start to go south. This week, it is apples. I ended up with 8 extra apples in the fruit basket this week and, with another 7 fresh ones from the store. All signs point toward applesauce.

slicing

We don’t often end up eating the applesauce as a standalone food since it isn’t the most mobile of fruity foods. Instead, I commonly use applesauce as a sweetener in muffins to help increase the healthy factor for the kids. I’ve had good success subbing it for up to 1/3 of the white sugar in almost every quickbread/muffin recipe I’ve tried. This batch of sauce may be destined for pure apple muffins though.

readytocook

If you haven’t ever made applesauce before, it is dead easy! If you are into canning/preserving, this is a good candidate to put up. All of my canning and preserving equipment is packed up right now for the move, so this batch will need to be used up quickly!

mashing

Applesauce

8 Apples. I used mostly fuji with a few honeycrisp.
1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tsp cinnamon. This can be adjusted to taste–I usually use much more.

Peel and slice your apples. Add to a largeish pot with the other ingredients. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until your apples are soft. This timing will depend on the size of your apple slices, so check often!

Mash with a potato masher (Or a stick blender if you want super smooth applesauce). Add water or continue to simmer to adjust the thickness.

Makes roughly 6-7 cups

Zucchini with Fried Onions

Zucchini was pretty much absent from my childhood.  I don’t know if it is a general midwestern thing or just my family’s general dislike of vegetables. Whatever the reason for my zucchini-barren upbringing, I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life making up for lost time.

Years ago, I came across a recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Crisps in one of those 4 ingredient/15 minute magazines by the checkout. It is completely delicious but, honestly, kind of a pain in the ass. “Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.” Ain’t nobody got time for that when we all want a pile of these things on our plate.

Enter the tart pan and french fried onions.

Zucchini

I’ve made some modifications to the original recipe in this photo but I’ve also made the original breadcrumb/parmesan topping and added it to the tart pan arrangement and its quite delicious as well.

My Lazy Zucchini:

2-3 Zucchini, depending on size
3 tblsp Zesty Italian dressing (or olive oil)
French Fried Onions
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 450.

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch rounds and line them up in circles in the tart pan, overlapping them slightly.

Drizzle with the salad dressing or olive oil. (I recommend the salad dressing. Its easy and adds a lot of spices and flavor.) Add your salt and pepper as well.

Crush up the onions a little bit and sprinkle on top. You can use as many or as few as you like–basically whatever is left in the can after everyone eats a handful.

Throw it in the oven. It won’t take long to cook–maybe 10 minutes? I pull it out when I can stick a knife into a zucchini without a lot of resistance and the onions are nicely browned.

These don’t keep well but you probably won’t have any leftovers anyway.