Enjoying my Sunday morning peace, with husband, daughter and grandson snoozing away… it will be the only quiet in my day, unless I get a chance to crash for a bit this afternoon. We’ve got a busy day planned – Kels plans to change the oil in her car up at her dad’s shop, as he’s got an oil change bay where she can walk under it instead of crawling under the car. While she’s doing that, her dad and I will be working on furniture–got one more end table to create, and an entertainment center. If we have any lumber left over, we’ll probably make a bookcase. Love working at these things with my family. All that’s missing is John… and he is missed!
But before we go up to the shop, we’re going to make some bread. This time, we’re going to split the recipe in half… Find the halved recipe here. One half recipe will be done like we did it last time, for sandwich rolls. When we’re mixing up the second half, though, we’re going to add Italian spices with a liberal hand. Then we’re going to roll them out for pizza crusts, and if there’s enough left over, for a loaf of Italian herb bread… which makes the best garlic bread EVER.
After your first rise, punch the dough down and split into three pieces. For the first one, just spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, shape the dough so it fits in the pan, cover it with plastic, and put it in a warm place to rise. When it’s doubled in size, put it into a 425 degree oven on the top rack, and bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
The remaining two pieces should be rolled out to fit your pizza pan(s). I usually make one rectangular, the size of my smallest cookie sheet, and then one round for my pizza pan. If you want thinner crust, don’t let it rise again, just roll it out very thin and place on your pizza pan (which you’ve sprayed with cooking spray) and put into a 425 degree oven, on the top rack. Keep an eye on it after five minutes, and pull it out when the top is dry, but not brown. The bottom of the crust should be light brown.
For a thicker crust, you should allow it to rise after shaping, up to about a half-inch thick. The timing for baking the thicker crust is about 10 minutes. Again, just bake it on the top rack until it’s dry on the top and light brown on the bottom. After the crusts have cooled, wrap them well in plastic wrap–you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week, or the freezer if it’s going to be longer.
When you want garlic bread with your Italian meal, whether it’s pizza, spaghetti, fettucine alfredo, lasagna, whatever, take that loaf of herb bread out of the freezer or refrigerator and split it in half horizontally. Mix together 4 tablespoons of softened butter, a couple of teaspoons of garlic powder and a quarter cup of ground Parmesan cheese. Spread the mixture on both sides of the split loaf, and broil until the buttered side is the desired brown. Broiling times vary from one stove to another, just keep an eye on it! Broilers are chancy, and will burn your bread in a hot minute if you’re not careful.
I do love these moments before the day begins for everyone else… I hear a dove outside talking to her mate, and can hear it because we slept with the windows open last night. It’s so nice to feel that safe again. I’m off to get the bread going for the sandwich rolls, and will save the pizza dough for Kels to make. Will add pictures when we’re done… 😀