Archives for posts with tag: baking

Almost any homemade pizza dough recipe article will say that their pizza dough recipe is easier than ordering pizza delivery. Few things in this world are easier than calling and ordering a pizza — I am not going to lie. However, this pizza dough recipe I got from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook is very easy and fun for kids.

You need 5 ingredients:
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of water
Olive oil for greasing the pan
Toppings of choice


1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add water to the dry ingredients and mix with a big spoon until incorporated with the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix and don’t knead the dough. You just need to form a ragged mass shaped like a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least three hours or up to 12 hours.

2. When you are ready, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Oil a rimmed baking pan or iron skillet. Stretch or roll out the dough and press it in the pan or skillet and add toppings. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven.


Making zucchini bread is not a sneaky way to get our kids to eat vegetables; rather, it is a sneaky way for kids to get their parents (who otherwise insist on healthy snacks) to make them a cake and let them eat it in the middle of the day.  Anyway, making zucchini bread is a good way to use all the delicious zucchini that is available this time of year; and, make a snack your kids (and the adults in your home) will love.  I got this recipe from Martha Stewart’s website.  It is easy (for a non-baker like myself) and really good.

First, I grated a large zucchini on the large holes of a box grater.  I put it on a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture.

In a large bowl, I whisked together granulated sugar and light brown sugar, some vegetable oil, vanilla, and 2 large eggs.  In a small bowl, I mixed together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt.

Then, I added the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and stirred to combine well.

Then, I stirred in the grated zucchini.

I baked it in a loaf pan (that I sprayed with cooking spray) at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  I cooled on a wire rack for as long as I could get my children to wait for it to cool.

Then, I sat back and watched them enjoy eating their vegetables.

Zucchini Spice Bread



Nonstick cooking spray

1 large zucchini

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2/3 cup of vegetable oil

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and set aside.  Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (to yield 1 3/4 cups); set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, vanilla, and eggs.

2.  Into a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and stir to combine well.  Stir in grated zucchini.

3.  Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack, then reinvert, top side up.  Cool completely before slicing.

My kids are really into those big pretzels at the mall.  It was a rainy Sunday and I thought it would be fun to try to make pretzels at home for three reasons:  1) they could play with the dough; 2) there are a lot of steps so this project can keep them busy for most of the day; and, 3) I had all the ingredients in the house.  First, we mixed flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a bowl.

Then, we added hot water and oil and mixed the ingredients until they form a shaggy dough.

Then, I got a bit of help kneading the dough from my mixer.

The dough rested in a warm place for an hour. My house was pretty cold so I took a shower and brought the dough into the bathroom to heat up.

After the dough doubled in size, I divided the dough into ten pieces and my accomplices rolled the dough into long snakes. We then made an oval with each piece of dough, twisted the top ends around each other twice, and pushed the ends onto the edge of the pretzel. Forming the pretzels may take a bit of practice — just relax, think pretzel, and try your best.  Remember — they don’t have to look perfect to taste good.

Then, the pretzels rised under a clean dish towel for 20 minutes.

A quick dip in a boiling pot of water with some baking soda.

The pretzels puffed in the hot water.

Then, salt, bake, and enjoy.

These were so good that I hate to just call them pretzels. Yum knot? Twist of deliciousness?  What do you think?

Homemade Pretzels

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kid’s Baking


3 cups of all purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

1 package of rapid rise yeast

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of warm water

3 tablespoons plus 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil

2 tablespoons of baking soda

2 tablespoons of coarse salt

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  The warm water must be between 115 and 120 degrees.  Pour the water and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the flour mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until rough, shaggy dough forms.

2.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky.  This can be done by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook.

3.  Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest in a bowl oiled with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.  Turn the dough over the coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl in a warm spot and let it rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

4.  Oil 2 baking sheets with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil.  Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface.  Press gently on dough to deflate it.  Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces.  Role the dough into long snake shaped pieces.  Twist each piece into an oval shape.  At the top of the oval, twist the rope together twice.  Bring the ends of the rope to the bottom of the oval so the that twist is in the middle.  Press down on the ends so the dough sticks.

5.  Divided the pretzels evenly on 2 baking sheets.  Cover the pretzels loosely with plastic wrap.  Set the pretzels in a warm place and let rise for about 20 minutes, until puffed and doubled in size.  While the pretzels are rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

6.  Fill a large pot two-third full with water and stir in the baking soda with a slotted spoon.  Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Boil the pretzels for about 30 seconds on each side.  The pretzels will puff up a bit.  Remove pretzel to baking sheet with a slotted spoon and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

7.  Sprinkle coarse salt on the pretzels and bake for about 15 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.