Healthy & Fresh Hawaiian Pizza! (with Basic Dough & Sauce Recipes!)

Homemade Hawaiian Pizza

I’ve been sick with (yet another) cold, so I haven’t been able to catch up with my “summer in Japan” travel posts, or the food that I have been cooking! But I wanted to share this recipe for a basic pizza dough and tomato sauce from the book Pizzas and Calzones (Simply Healthful series) which you can use with any toppings to make a delicious, fresh, and healthy pizza! The recipe can be modified to make a whole wheat crust, or you can use bread flour to make a more chewy crust. For the pizza you see above, I made a light whole wheat crust using 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour. We had some Canadian bacon in the fridge that needed to be finished up, as well as some leftover pineapple slices from the Hawaiian sweet rolls I made that same week, so we put these together to make a really tasty Hawaiian pizza with plenty of toppings. For the cheese, I used a Mexican cheese blend from Trader Joe’s; and on the side, we ate a salad made with baby arugula from the garden.

Basic Pizza Dough
Recipe adapted from Pizzas and Calzones (Simply Healthful)

Makes enough dough for two 12-inch pizzas.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    (for whole wheat pizza, substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour; for a lighter crust, substitute only 1/2 cup to 1 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

Notes:

Rising Dough
Dough goes through two risings before it can be shaped and cooked. You can omit the risings if you are in a rush (see notes in recipe). This dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer:

Refrigerating Dough
Punch down the dough after the first rise, then refrigerate dough in a plastic bag (leaving room for expansion) for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before shaping and cooking.

Freezing Dough
Punch down the dough after the rise, then lightly dust with flour and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place into a freezer-proof plastic bag. Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. To use, thaw in refrigerator 12 hours or overnight, and let come to room temperature before shaping and cooking.

Directions

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water. Let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center of flour. Pour yeast mixture and olive oil into well. Stir in flour from bowl with your hand or a large spoon to make soft dough. (If you prefer not to knead by hand, you can also mix together the ingredients using a food processor or similar appliance. Process just until the dough comes together to form a wet, sticky dough.)
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add a little bit of flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. (At this point, you can let the dough rest for 10 minutes, omit the risings, and skip over to step 6 for shaping the dough and cooking. I went ahead and proceeded with rising the dough twice as the recipe called for.)
  4. (First Rise) Wash and dry the large bowl from earlier, then coat it very lightly with vegetable oil. Return dough to bowl and coat top with a little bit of oil. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. (Second Rise) Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 2 minutes. Return dough to bowl. Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
  6. Punch down down. Divide in half. Form each half into a ball, then flatten dough out into a disk. Pick up the dough in both hands, holding it along one edge, and turn it as you would a steering wheel. Stretch dough between your hands as you turn it. When it is about 10 inches in diameter, and about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick, the dough is ready. Repeat for second half (unless storing for future use, then see notes above).

Basic Tomato Sauce

Recipe adapted from Pizzas and Calzones (Simply Healthful)

Makes about 2 cups, enough for two 12-inch pizzas.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Italian-style plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Notes:
This is a basic sauce, which can be seasoned to your liking. I added fresh basil and dried oregano.

Following steps 1 & 2 will create a basic chunky tomato sauce. For a smoother sauce, follow steps 1 & 2, then process in a food processor or blender until desired consistency is achieved.

Directions

  1. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes with juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you want to add.

Use sauce immediately, or cool and store in refrigerator (up to 4 days) or in freezer (up to 1 month).

Baking Directions

When you’re ready to bake a pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the oven rack in the lowest position. If using a pizza stone, then preheat with the stone inside the oven.

When oven is ready, sprinkle pizza stone with yellow cornmeal to prevent sticking. (You can also bake in a cast-iron skillet, baking sheet, etc. whatever you have on hand.) Spread pizza dough onto the cooking surface. Bake on lowest oven rack for 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle your cheese and toppings, leaving a 1/2″ border all around. Bake for an addition 8-12 minutes, or until everything looks heated through and the edge of the crust is browned.

Let pizza stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

hawaiiansweetrolls

The other night, I made a Hawaiian pizza for dinner using dough and sauce from scratch, Canadian bacon, and canned pineapple slices. We didn’t use the entire can, and I didn’t want to waste the juice so I decided to use it in a recipe I had saved on Pinterest a while back for Hawaiian Sweet Rolls from Yammie’s Noshery.

Yammie’s Noshery has some great recipes, especially for tasty looking bread; see Peeta’s Stuffed Cheese Buns. However, I sometimes find that I’m not getting consistent results and have to modify the recipes by either reducing the yeast or adding more flour.

This time, I followed the recipe exactly (using bread flour, not all-purpose flour), except I used pineapple juice from a can of crushed pineapple, and crushed up a slice or two and mixed it in. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly, using only extra flour when kneading and forming the rolls of bread. During the first mix, the consistency was “sticky, but not gooey” just as indicated in the recipe. I punched down the dough, and thought it was fine, until I started to separate the dough into twelve equal pieces.

I had a difficult time forming the balls because the dough began to stick to my fingers and the surface, both of which I dusted in flour. I ended up kneading a little more flour in to make the dough workable, but still had a hard time forming evenly shaped balls. I didn’t want to add too MUCH extra flour since the recipe already calls for four cups, which I thought was a lot! I had been looking over some pan de sal and pan de leche Filipino recipes, and they usually only call for three cups when making about twelve rolls.

I finally managed to form twelve rolls and spaced them evenly, covered them, and let them rise. They more than doubled in size when I checked on them after an hour! And they continued to grow even more during the baking. When I pulled the bread out of the oven, I was afraid I had ended up baking one big tray of bread!

Luckily, I was able to still pull apart the bread, but not without guidance of a butter knife. The rolls are soft and airy, yet dense at the same time. They don’t feel heavy while holding them, but once you start to eat them, you realize that one roll alone is extremely filling.

In the end, a tasty recipe, although I’m not sure I will make these on a regular basis. If you’d like to try it yourself, you can find the recipe here at Yammie’s Noshery.

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread (Bread Machine)

Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

Yum! I’ve been experimenting with different flours, different yeasts, and different baking methods. While my ideal bread would be baked in the oven in a fancy shmancy artisan loaf shape, I’ve gotten the best results using this Rustic Italian Bread recipe with a few modifications.

I’m using a mixture that is part white bread flour, and part all-purpose flour. Last week I baked the same bread using all bread flour, and the bread rose too much and ended up collapsing in the bread machine before baking. When I sliced off the top crust, I discovered a gigantic hole! It tasted great, but bread with a gigantic hole is pretty much impossible to make sandwiches with.

Also, I’m not sure if all bread machines have this option, but I’ve been making using the “European” setting. The dough is in the machine for about 3.5 hours, from start of kneading to the end of baking. I’ve tried baking on the “Regular White Bread” setting, and ended up with an extremely tough bread… though, this is possibly due to the instant yeast. I’ve switched brands and am having overall better results in everything I’m baking. I’ve also tried using the bread machine on the “Dough” setting, and then reshaping the loaf and letting it rise a second time. This also produces good results, but the family seems to like the texture of the bread the best when I bake it in the bread machine. Less energy and less dishes too.

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread
(using a bread machine) 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 cups white bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 – 2 jalapeños, seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Proof the yeast by mixing it with warm water and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all the ingredients into the bread machine: wet ingredients first, then dry ingredients.
  3. Set the bread machine to the “European” or similar setting then let it do it’s thing.
  4. Enjoy the smell of cheddar and jalapeños floating in the air.
  5. When the bread is done, allow it to cool on a wire rack until room temperature. Or, if you’re impatient like me, slice and enjoy while it’s hot and toasty.

Delia’s Scones

Instagram

Last spring, I co-hosted a big hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party at Hamamatsu Castle as part of an event committee I belonged to while living in Japan. Hanami parties are basically outdoor picnics with lots of food, lots of beer, and of course, lots of cherry blossoms. Typical food includes chips, peanuts, mochi, and other finger-food snacks that are easily available in conbini (convenience stores) and supermarkets. However, some of our friends brought some home-cooked dishes to share, including bruschetta that our Canadian friends brought, and delicious, freshly baked scones made by our friends from the UK.

Yesterday, I started feeling a little reverse homesickness for Japan and the friends I made there. With spring just around the corner, I realized this is the first spring where I won’t be hosting and attending hanami events all season long. No more visits to Kyoto. No more strolls through the castle park. There are a few cherry blossom trees within San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, but it’s not the same… 懐かしいなぁ…

To remedy this twinge of homesickness, I baked up a batch of Delia Smith’s Scones, the same recipe my friends used for the scones they brought last spring. I couldn’t find a digital scale in the kitchen, so I had to make do with roughly converted measurements. The recipe below makes five scones, which is just the right amount. I’ve read that scones taste best when enjoyed fresh out of the oven, and that if there are any leftover after baking, they should be stored in the freezer until ready to heat and eat.

Delia Scones

Delia’s Scones
Recipe adapted from Delia Online and BigOven

Makes 5 scrumptious scones.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, room temperature, diced into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsb milk (+ extra 1-2 tsp if needed)*

* Delia Online calls for buttermilk, while BigOven calls for milk. I substituted milk with just a few drops of white wine vinegar to act as buttermilk.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  3. Add butter. Lightly rub the butter into the flour using your fingers until the mixture looks bread crumbs.
  4. In a small bowl, beat egg together with 2 tablespoons of milk. Add to the rubbed-in mixture.
  5. Mix with a palette knife or spatula until it begins to come together. Then use your hands to finish mixing the dough. The dough should be soft, but not sticky, and should leave the sides of the bowl clean. If it is too dry, add a little more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
  6. Shape the dough into a round and place on a lightly floured surface. Lightly roll out the dough, making sure not to roll it out thinner than 1 inch tall.
  7. Use a 2 inch round cutter (I used a drinking glass!) to cut out the scones. Continue doing so until you are left with the trimmings, then bring these together to roll out and form the last scone.
  8. Places the scones on a lightly greased baking sheet (or baking sheet lined with parchment paper).
  9. Bake for 10-25 minutes at 425 degrees F.

 

Artisan Bread (in Five Minutes)

Artisan Bread (in Five Minutes)

While searching for bread recipes on Pinterest, I came across a couple of blog posts talking about “Artisan Bread (in Five Minutes)“, which is a recipe from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I decided to try it out, although I should let you know ahead of time that the title is a little bit misleading.

It takes a couple of minute to mix everything together, but the good news is that there is no bread machine, and no kneading is required which means you can make this bread so long as you have a large bowl or tub, a spoon, and an oven to bake it in. First you mix all the ingredients, then you let the dough rest for two hours on the counter. After the initial two-hour resting period, the dough is ready to go into the oven, or it can be covered (with holes to let the gases escape) and placed in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

The “five minutes” refers to the preparation time once the dough is made. From the refrigerator, you simply tear off a large chunk of dough, sprinkle it with a little bit of flour, form it into a ball, and slash it across the top. Once formed, the dough does need to rest for an additional 40 minutes before being placed in the oven. However the whole process is really simple, and the bread does come out nice and tasty.

I cut the recipe in half, since 6 1/2 cups of flour was quite a bit to use for a first-time attempt at the recipe. Below is the 1/2 batch recipe, which makes two small loaves of bread. For the full recipe, click here, or visit this page for full instructions with photographs.

Artisan Bread (1/2 size)

Makes two round loaves of bread.

Note: You will need the following items for baking:

  • a baking stone or cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • a metal broiler tray + 1 1/2 cups hot water

Ingredients

  • 3/4 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tbsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix yeast, salt, and warm water. Add flour and stir to combine completely. Let the dough rise for at least 2 hours (maximum 5 hours), until it rises and collapses. At this point, you can bake it or prepare it for refrigeration.
  2. Cover dough, but make sure it is not airtight. Place in refrigerator. Leave it in overnight, or up to two weeks. Whenever you are ready to use it, sprinkle some flour on the surface and use a knife or kitchen shears to cut off a piece of the size you desire. For a 1-lb. loaf, cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough. Form the dough into a ball.
  3. Let the dough ball rest for at least 40 minutes, then slash the dough using a serrated knife.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the dough on a baking stone, or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and insert into the oven on the center rack. On the bottom rack, place the metal broiler tray filled with 1 1/2 cups of hot water.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust becomes a deep brown color. If using parchment paper, you’ll want to remove it after 20 minutes to allow the bottom to crust to become crisp.
  6. Cool the loaf on a rack until it is room temperature.

Birthday Blueberry Muffins

Birthday Blueberry Muffins

My aunt just celebrated a milestone this weekend, so I baked a batch of fresh blueberry muffins for her and her family to enjoy. The recipe is based off this “best blueberry muffin” recipe I found on Pinterest. I skipped making the topping, reduced the sugar a bit, and also skipped the step for simmering blueberries in sugar. I find that blueberries will already burst while baking, and wanted the sweetness to come from the fruit itself, not from added sugar.

Birthday Blueberry Muffins

Makes approx. 18 muffins.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1 cup of milk + 1 tbsp white wine vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Make sure the rack is in the upper-middle position. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, or use paper baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until thick. Slowly add in butter and oil until well combined. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Fold the wet mixture and blueberries into the dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened — do not overmix. The batter should still be lumpy with a few spots of dry flour here and there.
  5. Divide the batter equally among prepared muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 17 minutes, or until muffin tops are golden and firm. Cool muffins in tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Spread a little butter on the muffins and devour while warm. ;)
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