Saturday, May 1, 2010

Best Ever Bread Dough

This is one of my favorite recipes to make and to share. I love it for 2 main reasons: you can't mess it up, and it still works if you're lazy. (Can it get any better?)

Let me explain: While teaching high school home ec. I had my students use this dough recipe for pizza, cinnamon rolls, calzones, orange rolls and homemade pretzels. Picture high school sophomore boys, who still haven't mastered personal hygiene, pulling out a piping hot calzone and having it look and taste perfect. Ta da! If they can make it without messing up, you can!

Next, this dough lets you be lazy or last minute. It's great when I have time to knead it properly and let it rise, but sometimes I just don't have the time. I skip those steps, yep, it still turns out fabulously. If you're in a hurry, just toss it right to the pan and you'll still be proud of the results. Are you convinced yet?

Follow along with me and learn how to make some amazing bread dough your husband won't be able to resist!

Husband Rating: 5 stars

1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar (divided)
1 1/4 cups milk
4 Tbsp. butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour

Follow along with the photos. It is important that you add the ingredients in the correct order.

1. In a bowl combine 1 Tbsp. sugar with 1 Tbsp. yeast. Add 1/2 cup warm water. (Too hot will kill the yeast, too cold won't activate it. Think of warm water you'd wash dishes with.) Let sit for 5 minutes, it will become foamy and doubled in size.

2. In the microwave scald 1 1/4 cups milk. This takes about a minute and fifteen seconds. (Note: scalding is not burning. Scalded milk has a distinct smell, can't describe, just smell it!) Add in 4 Tbsp. of butter (or margarine) and stir until melted. Chopping your butter into smaller pieces and stirring helps it melt faster.

3. In a mixing bowl add in your milk and melted better. Stir in 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt. If I'm making pizza dough, I like to add a tsp. of Italian Seasoning or some yummy herbs right here. If you're making cinnamon rolls or something dessert, consider adding some vanilla. It's fine to leave it plain though too:

4. Stir in 2 cups of flour. You can use white, wheat, bread, any kind of flour. Use a wooden spoon and stir it until it's mixed completely, no dry flour left.

5. Add in remaining 2 cups of flour one at a time. Stir after each addition. Now it's time to knead, put flour on your hands and work the dough. Sometimes your dough will be extra wet and you'll have to add extra flour. Sometimes it takes an extra 1/2 cup, sometimes an extra 1 1/2 cups just depending. You don't want it to be sticky, smooth and soft is your goal. If you have the time lay some flour out and knead it really well on your counter. (If you're in a hurry, just move on:)

6. When your dough forms a nice ball, and isn't sticky, you're ready to go. If you have time to let it rise, spray the top with cooking spray and let it rise for 15 minutes. If not, go right in to rolling it out for whatever you're making.

7. Baking times vary depending on what you're making, but I always cook it at 400 degrees. It's done when it's golden on top and smells amazing. Here are some ideas and my favorite things to make with the dough, I'll be linking recipes soon

1. Orange Rolls
2. Bacon, Spinach, Tomato Pizza Cups
3. Homemade Pizza
4. Calzones
5. Breadsticks
6. Pizza Bites (freezer recipe)
7. Deep dish pizza
8. Mini Pigs in a Blanket (with lil smokies)

Alright, go forth and bake. This is the recipe my friends request a copy of the most (and now that it's on my blog I don't have to repeat it on the phone anymore!) Leave comments if you have any questions.

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Kari said...

That looks so good that is going on my list of things to make today!

Kristin said...

reading that was pure torture for a pregnant woman!!!

Kari said...

Can I just say that was really good! I made the bread into a calzone and I was not expecting it to make that much. I took some over to my parents house and there was still so much food. I have never made bread that was so nice to knead. It was just the right consistency. I think it will make awesome rolls and bread. Thanks for sharing!

Tracie said...

hmmm....made me want to make pizza. And have each of my labs make different things with the same recipe. :)

Deanna said...

That looks delicious!!! Fun to run across your blog! :)


Jen said...

I would love links to those recipes. Especially a the orange rolls or a good cinnamon roll.


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