Category Archives: Breads

French Bread Pizza


It is no secret that we love where we live, and one of the reasons is all of the wonderful places to eat in the area.   One of our new favorite places is Three Wise Men Brewery.  Not only do they have wonderful beer and service, but their pizza is amazing!  They use all local toppings as well as make the cracker thin crust with their IPA.  All of the toppings are so unique and fresh that it definitely keeps us not only wanting to come back for more, but also have cravings for it.

I really wanted that pizza tonight, but instead I figured to go low key and stay at home and use up some of the ingredients we have in the fridge.  We had leftover pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and garlic bulbs which were a great start to a pizza.  I decided to roast the garlic whole in the oven.  This has become one of our favorite toppings ever since we tried it at Three Wise Men.   Then, I decided to go over to a wonderful little market by our house and get fresh sausage (sweet Italian for the hubby and turkey Italian for me) and a French loaf.  With all these choices we were both able to make our own creations to enjoy.  The recipe below is merely a jumping off point.  Please make it your own and go crazy with the toppings and sauces, but make sure to get hearty enough bread to withstand the pizza.

French Bread Pizza

1 loaf french bread, halved

1 jar pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 bulb roasted garlic

½ lb sausage cooked

20 pepperoni slices

Any other toppings that sound delicious to you!

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Spread the pizza sauce on top of the french bread slices, then top that with the cheese, sausage, pepperoni,and roasted garlic.  Bake the pizzas on a cookie sheet for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the cheese is bubbly and browned.


Calzone for Two


After a fun weekend of traveling to Chicago for a Cubs game, I was trying to think of something simple to make for dinner.  I had a craving for pizza, but did not want take out or frozen, but also did not feel like making homemade dough.  Then it hit me, a calzone would be great!  I remember being a little girl, shopping with my mother and begging her to stop at Sbarro.  I absolutely loved their spinach calzone and a garlic knot.  What if i could combine the calzone and garlic knot?   That is exactly what I set out to do.  My hubby’s favorite toppings are pepperoni and sausage so I decided to use that for a filling.  I used a refrigerated pizza dough and spread it out to a really thin layer.  It worked wonderful to stuff with the fillings I chose.  The outcome was a delicious, cheesy, and comforting dinner.


Calzone for Two

1/2 lb of Italian Sausage

1/2 package of turkey pepperoni

8 oz can of mushrooms

1 1/2 cups of mozzarella blend cheese

3 Tbs grated parmesan cheese

1 tube refrigerated pizza dough

2 Tbs cornmeal

1 jar tomato sauce with basil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Brown the sausage and drain.  Roll out the dough very thin.  Spray non stick cooking spray on a cooking sheet and dust with cornmeal.  Place the dough on the baking sheet.  Layer the cheese, sausage, cheese, and pepperoni until all is used up.  Place 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the filling.  Fold the dough over on itself.  Crimp the edges closed with a fork.  Spray the top with non stick cooking spray and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.  Bake for 14-16 minutes.  Split the remaining tomato sauce between two ramekins and warm in the microwave for 1 minute.  Cut and enjoy!!


Homemade Hamburger Buns


I am always that person running frantically through the bakery section wondering should I get ciabatta, kaiser, or onion rolls for grilling out tonight.  I always end up getting 2 different kinds and then try to figure out what to do with the ones I do not use.  Believe me there are only so many breadcrumbs one person needs!  Then when I was looking through several blogs last weekend I noticed a common theme, homemade hamburger buns.  I thought how perfect! I can make my own buns and not worry about looking like a crazy woman running through the bakery section anymore.  Let me tell you, I was so surprised when I made these.  I could not believe the wonderful consistency and crust on each of the buns.  I also loved baking them on my Silpat, which made them easy to remove and cool.  Last night we really wanted pork burgers and I thought what a perfect time to try out my homemade buns.  They were truly amazing toasted on the grill.  My hubby and I ate all of the bun which we rarely do, since most are so dense.  My next endeavor will be hot dog buns, since these were so delicious!

In other exciting news, my hubby started making me a light box for the blog last night:)  It is definitely a work in progress as we decide the best lighting and also what the best backgrounds.  But, I am so excited that he made it for me and that he is supporting me so much in my blogging.  Look for the pictures to begin evolving since we both taking an active role in the photographing.


Homemade Hamburger Buns

from  Annie’s Eats

3 tbsp. warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. instant yeast
2½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

For topping:
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
Sesame seeds

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, water, yeast, sugar, salt and egg.  Mix briefly to combine.  Add the flours to the bowl, and mix until incorporated.  Mix in the butter.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 6-8 minutes.  The dough will be somewhat tacky, but you want to avoid adding too much extra flour which will create tough buns.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal parts.  Gently roll each portion of dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart.  Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again, 1-2 hours, until puffed up and nearly doubled.

Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center.  Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Homemade Bagels


So it is no surprise to anyone I know that I love bagels.  I love bagels of kinds, pumpernickel, asiago, jalapeno, and even french toast ones.  But anymore when I order a bagel out I have to either share with someone else or thrown half away.  So all over the blog world there are tons of recipes for homemade bagels, but I wanted to start out with the basic bagel and build from that.  Well let me tell you, I will never buy store bought bagels again!  These are so delicious that I could not wait to eat one this morning.  I was simply amazed at the flavor of them, and they are just the perfect size. Also, they are the perfect balance of crunch and softness.  I absolutely loved that they are both boiled and baked as well.  I cannot wait to try different variations and share them with you!!

Homemade Bagels

from Pennies on a Platter

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups water, warm (100-110F)
4-5 cups bread flour (not all purpose)
1 tbsp salt
1 egg, for egg wash

Optional Seasonings:
Poppy Seeds
Onion Powder (I used minced because I didn’t have this on hand)
Sesame Seeds
Kosher Salt

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine yeast, sugar and water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in flour and salt. Mix dough thoroughly until it comes together in a large ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add an additional tablespoon of flour or water, if needed.

If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If using a stand mixer, knead dough with the dough hook until elastic, about 8 minutes on a low speed. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

When dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces (first quarters, then halves). Shape each piece into a tight ball, pinching the corners together at the bottom of the dough. When all the balls are shaped, let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean dish towel.

Once dough balls have rested, the bagel shape can be formed. Using your fingers, poke a hole through the center of each dough ball. Stretch out the dough into a ring with your fingers and be sure to make the hole a little larger than you want the finished bagel to have, as it will shrink slightly while the bagel is expanding during the baking process. Let bagels rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and preheat the oven to 400F. (I used a deep dish skillet because it’s wider.)  Line a baking sheet with paper towels and another baking sheet with parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal.

Working four at a time, drop the bagels carefully into the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer bagels to the paper towels to drain for a moment, then place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining bagels.

Brush boiled bagels with lightly beaten egg (a pastry brush is a good tool for this) and sprinkle with seasonings. Bake for 24 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack (bagel will soften slightly as it cools).  Slice and toast to serve.