Bread Bowls

My son could not believe I made bread bowl – he was pretty impressed by these! He thought I came up with the idea all by myself 😉 I can’t take the credit, but whoever thought of this is a genius. These were so easy to make, they’re basically a giant roll. I weighed out the dough and each bowl weighed 5.5 ounces before I baked them off. They had a thin, chewy crust with a dense interior – kind of like a sour dough bread, and they were perfect for the clam chowder I made. I bet a nice beef stew or chili would be so good in these, or even a broccoli cheese soup!  The recipe made five, perfectly sized bowls and they were really easy to hollow out. We didn’t waste all the good bread guts, but dipped them into the chowder! It was so good, I can’t wait to eat the leftovers 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Bread Bowls – adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt OR 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough into five pieces, and form them into round (not flattened) balls. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover lightly, and set them aside to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, or until they’ve almost doubled in size.

Uncover the balls and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes, to develop a tough skin. Just before placing the bread bowls in the oven, mist them heavily with water. Bake the bread bowls in a pre-heated 425°F oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. Turn off the oven, prop the door open a little, and leave the bread bowls inside for 15 minutes; this will keep the crust crisp.

Remove the bread bowls from the oven and cool them completely before cutting the tops off and removing the insides; (reserve the insides to make bread crumbs). Yield: 5 large bread bowls.

BBQ Chicken & Bacon Pizza

This is M’s fave. He loves the smoked Gouda with our fave barbecue sauce and roasted chicken combo – oh, and I can’t forget the cilantro or the bacon. I baked of some thick cut bacon for this (400 degrees for 25 minutes) and it was perfectly crispy. When I need shredded chicken, I always buy chicken breast with skin and rib bones which I then roast at 350 for 30-35 minutes. I simply season them with olive oil, kosher salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper – it’s perfect and juicy every time. This time I tried fresh mozzarella (the kind packed in water) and it was nice and creamy. I recommend letting the cut pieces dry a little on some paper towel before you put it on the pizza. I was reminded why this was his favorite, it was so good; and the flavors are wonderfully complimentary to each other, It’s a party in your mouth, people! Just try it 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Pizza –

    • 1 – 15 ounce ball of pizza dough, I always use this recipe
    • 1/3 cup of store bought BBQ sauce, I used this
    • 1/2 cup smoked Gouda cheese
    • 3 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
    • 1/8 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 4 – 6 ounces shredded, cooked chicken – sauced with a few tablespoons of BBQ and ranch dressing – trust me on this one!
    • 3 slices of crispy bacon, sliced
    • Fresh cilantro (optional)  if you have it
    • Pizza seasoning and dried oregano (optional)

Directions –

*Preheat your oven to 475 about 15 minutes before you make your pizza. I use a pizza stone and place it on the lowest rack of my oven.

1. On a piece of parchment paper, shape the pizza dough into the desired diameter. I use a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Work from the inside out, and gradually move your hands away from the center of the dough. You could also do this with a rolling pin – I happen to love using my hands for the job. Once you’ve achieved the size you want, take a fork and poke the tines all over the surface of the dough.

2. Spread the bbq sauce all over, making sure to leave about an inch around the circumference. Next, take your torn mozzarella and place on top of the sauce. Because it’s fresh mozzarella, you can leave lots of empty space because this type of mozz melts beautifully and spreads itself nicely when heated. I love the stuff!  Add some smoked Gouda and top with your roasted chicken, bacon, more cheese, cilantro leaves and dried seasoning if desired.

3. Carefully transfer the pizza – still on its parchment paper to an upside-down sheet pan. I use it like a pizza peel to move it to the stone in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. Using the sheet pan again, remove the pizza from the oven and place the parchment paper and all onto a cooling rack.

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

I went and did it – I finally made hot dog buns. Yes, it is easier to just spend the couple of dollars to buy hot dog buns, but why do that when I know how much better homemade tastes? Not to mention, the fact that I know what went into these…have you read ingredient lists on store bought breads? I know these aren’t as smooth and uniform-looking as the packaged kind, but I do know that these taste and smell a whole lot better. And yes, I am a food snob – and I’m totally fine with that! 😉

These make a nice, hearty bun for your hot dog and toppings. M had his with lots of chili and cheese and the bun held up really nice and didn’t get soggy at all. The kids enjoyed these too, and my pickiest eater ate hers faster than her big brother. This recipe made 18 hot dog buns, so I was able to freeze half of these. Next time I use this recipe, I might try to use half the dough for hamburger buns so I can have plenty on homemade buns on hand. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Hot Dog Buns – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 packets or 2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 2 cups warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 to 7 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Directions –

Mixing: In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Kneading: Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Because this dough is so slack, you may find that a bowl scraper or bench knife can be helpful in scooping up the dough and folding it over on itself.

Rising: Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Shaping: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 18 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into halves, then the halves into thirds.

Shape each piece into a ball. For hot-dog buns, roll the balls into cylinders, 4 1/2-inches in length. Flatten the cylinders slightly; dough rises more in the center so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top.

For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they’ll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart.

Second Rising: Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Baking: Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F. (A dough thermometer takes the guesswork out of this.)

When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

My Go-To Pizza Sauce

Quick Post: This is my favorite, and more importantly – my kids’ favorite pizza sauce. I always double this so I can freeze the leftovers for future pizza nights. We like saucy pizzas, but once I portioned it out, I can probably get 8 pizzas worth of sauce, if that makes sense. It is zesty, rich and thick thanks to all that tomato paste. This is so convenient because I always have these ingredients on hand and it is so freezer friendly. I love that I can have this dough and this sauce on hand at all times in case I have no idea what to make for dinner; and who doesn’t like pizza night? I know my kids always appreciate it! Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Zesty Old School Style Pizza Sauce – adapted from The Cooking Photographer
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (without sugar)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir together.

Makes 1 1/2 cups of pizza sauce.