pizza dough recipe

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By what magic does my mother make her fabulous pizza?  I’ve tried for years but curiously enough, it is only recently that I feel as though there is hope for me, her eldest daughter, to follow in her footsteps.

I texted her last week to tell her I was going to make it but it wouldn’t be as good as hers and she replied, “Maybe I’ll make it too” and I said, “Then we’ll be the same.” and she said, “In spirit” and I said, “What do you set your oven to?” and she replied, “475”…..”on the lower shelf so it gets crispy on the bottom.”

Hours later, I sent her a photo of the results.

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“That looks perfect,” she wrote.

The next day she sent me a photo of the bottom of her pizza crust and it looked exactly the same.54506716276__12E75B43-9D7E-4A62-A53D-E589479F86F1

This was the point of turning for me, from hesitant frustrated pizza maker, to confident and joyful.

I had given Seth, Sarah, and Michael each a lump of dough to make their own pizzas, too.  It was the first time Michael had made a pizza.  This was last week.  When he came over again yesterday I asked them all what they wanted for dinner and he requested pizza again.  In this way I knew it had been a good experience for him.  Unfortunately I had already made it the previous night.  Michael works at a boy’s home and is going to started cooking with the boys four times a month (on Saturdays).  He started writing up a meal plan and Pizza made with Actual Dough was on the list.

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Sarah bragged that she “Ate seven pieces”.

Seth said “My stomach’s extended.”

Sarah said, “My taste buds are out.”

David and Caleb were so jolly after a tummy full of pizza that they ran around the house trying to pull each other’s, and Seth’s, pants down.

I’ve tried several recipes for pizza dough but this is the one that makes my heart sing.

Shanda’s Pizza Dough Recipe

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 T. white sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 T. olive oil
1 T. salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups bread flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, let sit until creamy, about 10 minutes.  Stir in olive oil, whole wheat flour, salt, and 4 cups of bread flour into the yeast mixture.  Mix in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.  When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  (I use a kitchen aid mixer).  Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.  (I leave the dough in the kitchen aid mixer bowl).  Cover with a damp cloth and put in warm place to rise until doubled in volume; about 1 hour.

Deflate dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface  Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and form into rounds.  Cover the rounds and let them rest for about 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 475.  Use a rolling pin (or hands) to roll dough into the desired shape, cover it with your favorite toppings.  Place on bottom rack in oven until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
recipe source:  allrecipes.com

 

cinnamon rolls

Ethan learned from my mistake and decided if he was going to make cinnamon rolls then he better triple the recipe.

He and Jacob are done with their wrestling season and are home this week on break from college.  One of the things Ethan enjoys doing when he’s home is baking and cooking in the kitchen.  As soon as he got up yesterday morning he started looking through our Top Secret Recipes cookbook by Todd Wilbur and thought he would make either donuts or cinnamon rolls.  I have to admit I was relieved that he decided on the latter, as the deep fat fryer is a big pain to clean up afterwards and even though Ethan does use the kitchen, he rarely cleans it up afterward.

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We had a house-full; Ethan, Jacob, Michael, David, Caleb, Weston (my nephew), Seth, Sarah, and myself.  Somehow the cat was able to get a nap in now and then although with any alarming sound he would bolt his neck upright and look around the room with big eyes.

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Cinnamon rolls take hours to make.  While the dough was rising the first time Ethan went down the road to get his girlfriend Tessa.

Then it was time to form the rolls.

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I had to leave as the cinnamon rolls went through their second rise.

It was a day I had been waiting for:

At my last cleaning my dentist sent me to an orthodontist because of over crowding and the Doctor agreed that I was a good candidate for invisalign.   I had braces as a teenager but through the years my teeth had shifted and I’m thrilled to get them straightened again.

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I came home to a counter full of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.  And boy were they delicious. . . . .

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The weather was so nice that I immediately went for a walk on the road so as to burn more calories for more cinnamon rolls.  These two passed me on the street; Jacob and his best friend and our perennial weekend houseguest Michael.

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Two more pictures from the day; Dave on the laptop.

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And Sarah Joy telling me that “Michael only won once.”

‘Twas a lovely day.

a muffin morning

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“I’ll measure the flour, you can dump it in,”

“You’re good at measuring.”

“And you’re good at dumping.”

“3 Tablespoons of sugar.”

“You don’t have to mix so strenuously.”

“1 Tablespoon of baking powder.”

“Baking powder?”

“And 1 teaspoon of salt.”

“Did you already put the salt in?  I wanted to use my little teaspoon.”

“Okay, now we have to put the wet ingredients in this bowl.”

“You can crack the egg, just let me pour the milk in first.”

“A whole cup of milk.”

“I need to melt half a stick of butter.”

“The key to perfect muffins is to never over-mix the batter.”

“Repeat after me, I will never over-mix my muffin batter.”

“I will never over-mix my muffin batter.”

Good girl.

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Sarah ate all 6 of her tiny muffins and then ate one of mine.  Then Caleb and Seth each had a muffin.  Ethan came home from picking up Tessa and they ate the remaining nine muffins which meant Michael, David, Jacob, and I did not get a muffin.  (12-3=9)

“I feel so bad,” said Tessa when she realized.

“I don’t.  I’m proud of us.” said Ethan with his eyes closed contentedly.

sewn gingerbread house part 1

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I mixed up Tasha Tudor’s recipe for gingerbread last night with Sarah.

This evening we rolled it, cut it out using a free template that I found online, and baked it.

After it cooled, I put the sides together using Twizzler pull n’ peel candy.

We have done gingerbread houses before using a kit, this is my first attempt at a homemade one.  I bought candy today and hope to decorate it tomorrow.

It’s most exciting.

cherry bars

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The path to the chicken coop is getting easier to trudge.  With all the snow we had last week it became a little annoying to wade through it multiple times a day to check on things.  We still have snow everywhere but our footsteps have stomped away most of the snow on the way to the coop so it’s easier to walk although I do find myself getting grumpy at times.  “Why did we put it so far from the house?” “The snow is blinding me!”  “Oh I just got some in my shoe”  “I hate snow”  “Slip”  “Fall” “trip”.  I spent more time down there this morning simply because although the wind was blowing quite a bit, the sun was shining and there was an actual warmth.  I said hello to the rabbits and the chickens said hello to me.  I sat down on the feed bag and a chicken hopped on my lap.  One sat on the rabbit cage right behind me and softly pecked my hair.  They are curious birds.

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Invariably, we have a cat visitor or two, as well.  The chickens become nervous.

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They like to sink down into the hay to lay their egg and I always think to myself that they seem to enjoy the time spent waiting for it to arrive.  I watch them fuss and arrange the hay strand by strand and get as comfortable as possible.  If another hen comes too close, the one sitting makes an ugly caw  which means “Get away from me!”

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They do not fancy the snow and do not go far these days.  I prop the door open for fresh air and they hop in and out of the coop.

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A favorite egg laying spot.

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another curious cat visitor

He ended up with no where to go, so he had to back shuffle until he could jump back down.  It was cute because he stirred up dust along the way.

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Some of the hens melted down to the floor in the sleepy sunshine.  They stretched out their wings to soak in some healing rays.

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As soon as a hen was done, I took her egg and put it in my pocket.  (They would rather me let them eat them).  I have over a dozen saved in this way.  What to make?

How about Cherry Bars?

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1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 (21 oz) cans cherry pie filling

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the extracts.  Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined.

Spread 3 cups batter into a greased 15 by 10 by 1 inch baking pan.  Spread with pie filling.  Drop the remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over filling.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until done.  Cool on a wire rack.  Combine *the glaze ingredients; drizzle over the top.  Cut into bars.  Yield: 5 dozen

*THE GLAZE
I cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 Tablespoons milk

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recipe source:  taste of home baking classics cookbook  pg 370

 

thanksgiving preparations

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We are hosting thanksgiving dinner for our family on Thursday and this morning I began preparations.

I made the rolls…….

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let in a kitty

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kept making rolls….

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including a round pan of cinnamon rolls to be baked on Thursday morning for breakfast.

(for you, E)

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At this point, everything went into the freezer.  On thursday morning I will take the rolls out and put them in pans to rise and then bake them so they are nice and fresh for our feast day.

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next I will make a couple of

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pies, but first some

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coffee.  With

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Jake.

 

super long but I promise you will enjoy it

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On Tuesday I had to take Grace to the doctors because she was awake half the night in agony.  Turns out she had a full blown ear infection.  She stayed home from school for two days in a row because of it and is on antibiotics.

On Wednesday, Rich and I drove to Vermont to watch the very first wrestling event at Ethan’s college.  We watched him wrestle in the exhibition matches before the main event.  He lost to his opponent and then by the end of the night the varsity team ended up losing by a distant tie breaker. It was such a close competition.  The gym was packed and I loved how the refs encouraged all the young kids in the stands to come down and sit right by the mat to watch.  So, this was my favorite photo of the whole night, just because of this dear little boy who reminded me so much of Seth:

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After the meet Ethan was about to faint from hunger (slight exaggeration) and all he could do was think about food, so we took him to the college cafe and ordered two pizzas.  He wolfed down three pieces and then we got him a Ben and Jerry’s frozen yogurt to take back to his dorm room to eat in bed while watching Netflix.  Rich and I drove back home and were in bed by 1:15 in the morning.

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Moving on…..this post is actually about my son Caleb, who is rarely featured on my blog anymore because he is a little camera shy.  My early posts were pretty much all about him because he was my baby at the time.  Always a mama’s boy, always with a tender heart toward others.  Of course he has his silly side, and has made a name for himself at school and at football as “the boy who can make realistic chicken sounds.”  I’ll record it for you one of these days.

I LOVE KING ARTHUR FLOUR!!!!!!!  Caleb is in 6th grade and King Arthur FLOUR came to his school and taught the children HOW TO BAKE BREAD!!!!!  Can you even imagine?  What a blessed change from assemblies about “bullying” and “whatever social issue needs to be discussed” –not that there is anything wrong with that but you know what I mean.  They learned to bake bread!

Each child was given a fabric bag filled with goodies to take home.  Inside, there were two little bags of flour (so cute!) a flexible plastic scraper (I never knew how convenient they were!), yeast, and an instruction booklet written on a level for children to learn and understand (amusing!)

UNFORTUNATELY for Caleb, he was bit on Wednesday night on the hand.  By Thursday it had become infected and was pink and somewhat swollen.  He told me it was a scratch and as I am a “oh you’ll be fine” sort of mom, we set to work baking the bread together.

After he washed his hands with powerful soap over and over under my watchful eye.

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“Mom, the dough is like pancake batter.”

We kept adding the flour.

One cup at a time.  No mixer, just a bowl and a spoon.

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He learned at school how to use the edge of the scraper to level off the cup.

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The bag of flour was too small to fit a measuring cup inside of it so we dumped each bag into a mixing bowl.

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“Mom the dough is like cake batter now.”

He was very observant.  And you can tell he is experienced in all kinds of batter, too.  Comes from years in the kitchen with Mom.  🙂

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“Mom you stir it now, my hand hurts.”

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Here is the entire free download of recipes if you would like to try Caleb’s bread:

CALEB’s BREAD (King Arthur Flour booklet of recipes for kids)

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Naturally, because of *infection-hand* I did the kneading as well.  (Caleb didn’t touch the dough)

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The finished dough ball.

Truth be told, as I spent time with my son, I realized that his hand was worse than my original diagnosis.  So, I called the doctors and took him in to get it checked while the dough was rising in the fridge.

I was sort of apologetic at first that I didn’t wait to see if it would clear up on its own but the doctor said, “No. I am so glad you didn’t wait on this.  Always trust your gut.  I know you and you have a good gut.”  

Thanks to the mother’s gut, it was antibiotics and an excuse note to miss Football practice for Mr. C.

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For those of you who do not know yet (young moms) if you see a red streak (like what is on Caleb’s wrist) coming from the wound, you should take your child to the doctors sooner rather than later.

It was at the doctors that I learned that his “scratch” was truly a “bite”.  He didn’t want to tell me that he was bitten.

Guess who bit him?

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Therefore, hours later, after the doctors, after football practice (during which Caleb sat out), we finally baked the bread.

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Second rise, right before popping it into the oven (after removing plastic wrap, of course).

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Half the dough was used to make a loaf, the other half to make cinnamon rolls.

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This loaf was taken to school today to be donated to someone in need.

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While the rolls cooled, we naturally watched a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED show full of bready goodness for all ages: Wallis and Gromit’s of A Matter of Loaf and Death.  (it’s on amazon prime I believe)

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The cinnamon rolls were soooooooooo good!  Oh it was a gift, to “snuggie” (that’s what I say, I say, “Seth come snuggie with me.”) on the couch with Caleb and Seth to watch a nice show and then eat cinnamon rolls together right before bed.

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tired mama, but happy mama, & precious boy o’mine

By the way, I rubbed pressed garlic on his infection twice last night and by this morning it was looking much better.  Of course it could have been from the one dose of antibiotics that he had after his appointment, too.  He’ll be on it for 10 days.

Aren’t you glad it’s Friday?  I sure am!

homemade rolls made with love

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Rich’s Aunt Phyllis visited this weekend with her cousin Marie.  Rich’s Dad came, too.  They wanted to watch Grace in a play at her school.  It was such fun to attend together but my favorite part of all was when we were home again and the ladies were snuggling up on the couch reading an old old copy of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  Aunt Phyllis gave the book to Grace and it is special because her mom (Grace’s Great Great Grandma) used to read it to her children at bedtime.  And from this very copy Aunt Phyllis and Marie each read a chapter aloud to the girls.  On Sarah Joy’s lap is a quilt that was given to her Great Grandma which she kept on her lap during her last years.  It was made by another relative.  Aren’t relatives the best, the most inspiring of all?  I love all the women in my family, both in my own family and the family I married in to.  I feel very blessed by all the stories, sewing, quilting, crafting, working, mothering, beauty, books, baking, and so on……that I learned from my sisters, cousins, aunts, Mom, and grandmas.  All so uniquely special and dear.

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I look into their faces and see my self, and own children, in them.

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Rich is hosting an off site meeting today for work and as always, I am making homemade rolls for our sandwiches.  (they are rising as I type)  I don’t divide my Grandma’s recipe anymore because I can use all the dough I can get!  Last night I mixed up the dough and put half in the refrigerator for today’s rolls, and formed the rest into a big pan of cinnamon rolls.  After all, it was a holiday, it was Halloween!  I baked in the kitchen while Davy made clam chowder and Rich took the three youngest children out trick or treating.  We had Harry Potter going on TV and there were a roomful of teen-sized kids in the basement having their own party.

I posted the photo of the completed rolls on FB and Instagram and several of my dear friends requested the recipe.

My Grandma (her name was Mary) used to bake these rolls by the hundreds…she was well known for them in our church and in her home for the holidays.  She in turn passed the bread baking art down to her daughters–my mom Cindy makes amazing bread on a weekly basis and I’ve shared several of her recipes here on my blog already.  She is a most amazing baker and I’m thankful she is just a phone call or text away to answer my questions and eventually answer questions for my girls, as well.  The Mama/Grandma hotline!  So blessed.

Isn’t family wonderful?  I know yours is, too!

ROLLS

3-4 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 T. salt
1/2 cup butter
3 cups water-divided
2 T yeast or 2 packages
2 eggs
close to 5 lb bag of flour

Mix 1 cup of warm water with the yeast and set aside.  Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter until dissolved–let cool.  Add 2 cups cold water to mixture.  Add the 2 cold eggs to the milk mixture.  Combine the yeast mixture with the milk mixture.  Add enough flour till the right consistency.  (Approximately 5 lbs).
Knead dough till smooth on a flour surface.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.  Let rise for about 2 hours (until doubled in size).  Punch down dough-knead-then shape rolls or roll out for sweet rolls.
Place rolls in a greased pan and cover and let rise till doubled– about half an hour.
Bake at 350 for 24-25 minutes, till golden brown and rolls sound hollow when tapped.
Makes about 3-4 dozen dinner rolls and a 9 by 13 plan of sweet rolls.

(note:  children LOVE to watch the process!!  Sarah Joy eats a bit of the dough raw–she loves it!)

SWEET ROLL ADDITIONS

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:  2 cups sugar   3 T cinnamon   1 stick melted butter

Roll dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface.  Pour on melted butter and spread to edges.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Roll up and slice about inch thick with a sharp knife.  Place in well greased pan or into pan with caramel nut topping mixture spread in the bottom.  Let rise for 1/2 to 1 hour and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes

(note: raw cinnamon roll dough is even better!  you can rub it around in the butter left behind on the counter!  My dad loves to do this.)

CARAMEL Nut TOPPING  1/2 cup melted butter    1/2 cup brown sugar    1/2 cup chopped nuts

Thank you to my Aunt Colleen for sharing this recipe and making sure it is in the recipe files of all our families!  You are wonderful.  

NOTE-I use my kitchen aid mixture to knead the dough and then finish it off on the counter because I do like to get my hands on it during part of the process.  It’s so soft and warm….good to work with.

*****

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THIS IS MY HUSBAND’S GRANDMOTHER!  Her name was Sarah Lillian but everyone called her Lillian.  Aunt Phyllis shared this 1980’s newspaper clipping with us.  It is from when Grandma was working in a school cafeteria (the very same school Rich and I and all our relatives attended)  These were the days when children actually ate some HOMEMADE foods, like these big homemade peanut butter cookies (800 of them baked at once).   I love the details in this picture and I know these ladies loved working together.  They made biscuits, apple crisp, and so many other delicious foods for the children.

*****

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My kitchen, where I think of all the women in my family as I work.

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Dedicated to mamas, grandmas, and aunts everywhere.

You make a difference wherever you are, even long after you’re gone.

You are loved.

She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!