Getting Started with Homebaked Bread & Pizza

If my text messages or website traffic are any indication, people are rediscovering, or at least trying, the joys (and some frustrations!) of baking homemade bread and pizza during the quarantine. Nothing could make me happier. I’m filling up my freezer with lots of anxiety baking. It might not help my waistline but it is helping my mental health during these strange times.

As a veteran home baker, here are my favorite links and resources to help you succeed in making your own homebaked bread or pizza.

 

Bread Recipes

The biggest lesson you need to learn when baking bread is that if you want a good tasting, good looking loaf, starting early ahead makes a big difference. Making the dough the night before and letting it rise overnight on the counter or for a couple days in the fridge will really improve the complexity and flavor.

Of course sometimes the craving for carbs just strikes and you can’t deny it. Have no fear, there are ways to get bread on the dinner table within the same day. Even within the same hour.

These quick flatbreads can be made in a couple hours if you’re planning a stir-fry or Indian for dinner.

My kids love these one hour soft dinner rolls that can be made in a cast iron skillet or a baking sheet.

If you really want bread for dinner and you think of it in the morning you have a couple options. The artisan bread in five books/website is a great resource and is tried and true. If you are a little more ambitious, I also love the same day recipe from Ken Forkish.

For a better tasting loaf, I’d recommend starting with Bittman and Lahey’s famous New York Times recipe that kickstarted the Dutch oven baking craze in the early aughts. 

 

Books & Videos

I enjoy learning about the science and ingredients in bread baking and so lean more toward books than the internet. These are the four bread baking cookbooks I recommend most for beginner and intermediate bread bakers.

See also:   5 Reasons Your Homemade Bread Is So Dense

I tend to be more old school and enjoy flipping through cookbooks for new baking recipes to try but I did recently discover Steve and his artisan bread recipes on YouTube and have found his short, simple bread baking videos very relaxing. Oh, and they work. It’s the best true sandwich loaf recipe I’ve tried.

 

Pizza Recipes

Doughs

So many different types of pizza to make, so little time. Here are my four favorite pizza dough recipes that should cover most of your needs.

Sicilian

If you need to feed a crowd and don’t want to spend the entire day or night standing by the oven, this easy, no stretch Sicilian pan pizza recipe has you covered.

Alternative Crust

As a pizza nerd, I’ve explored a lot of different alternative crusts. My favorite is the bean and millet pizza ‘dough’ from the Run Fast. Eat Slow recipe. As with any alternative crust, it helps to shift your mindset prior to eating. It’s not going to taste the same! But it can still taste good and satisfy that pizza-like craving.

Sauce

The more I make pizza, the more I appreciate a simple sauce. This dead simple sauce lets the toppings shine.

 

Pizza Tips and FAQs

There are some simple tools and techniques you can learn that will drastically improve the odds of a great tasting finished pie. Still have questions about toppings, pizza stones, timing, temperature or doughs? Check out my pizza FAQs.

 

I hope those links are helpful and give you a good place to start. Homebaked bread and pizza is a great way to feed your family, get your kids involved in baking, or just relax and distract yourself from all the current craziness. Even a bad loaf or bad pie still tastes pretty good.

 

MIKE'S WINDOW

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