60 Minute Whole Wheat Focaccia {and Pizza Dough}

I really like the idea of making my own pizza crust, bread, pasta, etc. There are so many perks to doing it yourself: you can make it whole wheat, you can eliminate the refined sugars and replace them with natural sugars, you can save some moolah, and, most importantly, you can avoid making another trip to the store when you’ve forgotten bread on both of your previous trips to the store that day. {This is a completely hypothetical situation. No way I’m that scatterbrained.} But the thing is, while I like the idea, it always ends up being more work than I bargained for.

Every night, it seems, I inevitably forget what I’m making for dinner. I mean, I know what stuff I’m making that week, but I forget what we’re having it. So that wonderful plan I had when I made the meal schedule for spending a lovely afternoon kneading dough and making my own homemade pizza dough turns into me being highly productive organizing my Pinterest board for the seven millionth time and then freaking a little when I realize I’m making pizza and have no dough. Let’s be real, the majority of folks don’t have all afternoon to carefully craft the perfect pizza crust. Folks need something quick because you’re busy. Am I right or am I right?

But I still want to have homemade pizza, and I still don’t want to go to the store. Don’t worry folks, it can be done! Based off a method I saw over at Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet, this really is one of the quickest and most versatile bread recipes I use. It can be used for sandwiches, deep dish pizzas, or even regular pizzas, and the best part is that it lakes less than 60 minutes.

Kiwi and Peach: Homemade Bread in 1 Hour

 

One Hour Focaccia

3/4 cup hot water
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour {plus about 1/4 cup-ish for kneading}
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to as low as it’ll go. For me it’s 120°F/60°C.

First thing you need to do is to proof the yeast. In a large mixing bowl, measure your water and honey. Whisk until the honey dissolves and then add your yeast. Whisk it a bit more and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes to proof. When you come back to it, it should have about doubled in size and be all bubbly. If it is.. your yeast is alive!

Add your first 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour to the proof and give it a stir. Then add the 1/2 cup of all purpose flour and mix until the flour is incorporated.

Melt your butter and add 2 tablespoons of it to the mix along with the salt. Give it a stir.

Sprinkle in the second 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and the 1/4 cup of all purpose and mix until it’s incorporated. At this point your dough should be forming a ball and pulling away from the bowl, but it’s still really sticky. Sprinkle some whole wheat flour over the top of the dough and flour up your hand. We’re about to get messy.

Working in the bowl {because really, who wants to clean up the counter top?} knead the flour into the dough until the dough stops being sticky and forms a pretty solid dough ball.

Now we can go one of two ways.

If you’re making focaccia:

Grease a skillet {or regular frying pan, just wrap the handle with tin foil} and plop that dough ball in the middle of it. Push the dough out to the sides of the pan.

Turn the oven off and pop the pan in the oven for 20 minutes to let it rise.

After those 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and crank it up to 400°F/200°C. Brush the remaining butter on the top. {You can add all sorts of tasty stuff at this point too. Oregano, parmesan cheese, pizza toppings, the list goes on and on. Use your imagination!}

Return the pan to the oven it’s preheated and bake for 20 minutes.

When its finished, you can just turn the pan over and your lovely focaccia should just fall out. Let it cool for a quick minute and then you can slice it and make any kind of sandwich your heart desires. {We like this one and this one.}

If you’re making a pizza dough:

Line a baking tray and plop your dough ball on there.

Turn the oven off and pop the baking tray in there for 20 minutes to let it rise. While it’s rising, you can be preparing your pizza toppings.

After those 20 minutes, remove the baking tray from the oven and crank it up to as high as it’ll go. {For me that’s 475°F/240°C.} While the oven is preheating, use a well floured rolling pin {or your hands} to roll your pizza dough out until it’s about 1/4 in thick. {I mean, I guess you could try the throwing it in the air technique, but I’m not that much of a risk taker.} Fold the sides up a bit to make a crust/handle part for your pizza then load that baby up with you delicious, delicious pizza toppings.

Pop it back in for 20 more minutes, and your beautiful, delicious pizza will be ready to go!

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Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

Happy Friday friends! Sorry for the blog silence yesterday. It was a holiday here in Bavaria {these wonderful Catholics seem to have a holiday for everything!} and, while it was not my intention to take the day off, sometimes spending quality time with the Kiwi just trumps.

During our day off yesterday, I started reading Inferno. While the Kiwi has some strange hatred for Dan Brown books {despite having never picked up a singe one}, I quite like them, so I’m pretty excited to read this new one. I knew it was set in Florence, but man, its like I’m there again, except for the whole being on the run from an assassin. {That’s not a spoiler it’s on like page 2. Plus what else is Robert Langdon going to be doing? Sightseeing?} Really though, its making me miss Florence, Italian food, and wine. Mostly the wine…and the truffles.

Obviously this Tuscan salad was happening. I was inspired by a recipe one of my absolute favorite bloggers {seriously, Emily’s blog was what introduced me to this wonderful world of blogging} posted a long time ago.  We tweaked it a bit based on what we had on hand and some of the salads we had in Florence, but either way it is a phenomenal salad.

Kiwi+Peach: Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

{inspired by Emily from Jones Design Company}

The Prep
10-12 cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
1 bulb of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

The Salad
150-200 grams {2 cups or so} of mixed greens, washed
8-10 fresh basil leaves, sliced
10 fresh black olives, pitted
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, crumbled
1/4 of a small red onion, sliced

The Croutons
4 thick slices of ciabatta bread
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of roasted garlic, pureed
1/4 cup pine nuts

The Dressing
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. spicy dijon mustard
1/4 of a small red onion
1 clove of roasted garlic
3-4 leaves of fresh oregano
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil

First thing we have to do is put the tomatoes and the garlic on to roast. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. For the roasted tomatoes, slice the tomatoes in half and in a large mixing bowl combine with olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix well and then put them on a lined baking tray.  For the roasted garlic, cut the garlic bulb straight across on the stem end. Set it root side down on a piece of tin foil and pour the olive over the top. Wrap it up in  the tin foil and place on the tray with the tomatoes. Pop them in the oven for an hour.

Go chill out for 45 minutes. Read Inferno, or I guess you could be productive. Anyway…

About 15 minutes before the tomatoes and garlic are finished, come on back to the kitchen and combine all of the salad ingredients in that large bowl you were using before. Also, go ahead and slice your ciabatta bread and brush on the olive oil.

When the tomatoes and garlic are finished take them out and put the oven on broil {or grill for y’all Kiwis}. Toss the roasted tomatoes in with your salad mix.

Pop out 2 cloves from the garlic bulb and puree them in the food processor. Then spread the puree on your ciabatta bread. Place the slices on the baking sheet along with your pine nuts and put it in the oven for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the pine nuts. You just want them to be a bit toasted, not charred. If they are toasted before the bread, just take them out, add it to the salad mix, and put the bread back in the oven.

While the bread is a toasting, let’s make that dressing. Put all of your dressing ingredients in the food processor and pulse until you’re happy with the consistency.

When the bread is toasted, take it out, chop into bite sized cubes, and add it to your salad mix. Pour the dressing over to whole thing and toss well.

Kiwi+Peach: Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

Seed and Berry Honey Whole Wheat Bread

When I mentioned on Monday that I’d love to share my dad’s bread recipe with y’all, I had no idea that Daddy would want to write a whole post. What a sweet daddy I have?! So without further ado, I’ll turn it over to the daddy-o to talk y’all through making some of his tasty bread.


First let me say what an honor it is to be asked to contribute to Lauren’s blog. While Lauren is young and the blog may appeal to her generation, I think a lot of people of my age are in the same situation. We empty nesters are now cooking and preparing meals for two, so paring down recipes {and making them work} is essential.

After a visit with Lauren in the Spring 2012, I came back determined to bake a decent loaf a bread. Everywhere we went in Germany there were bakeries with an array of fresh baked breads and pastries. I think I could have lived just on the bread but then there was the pork knuckle, the steckerl fish, and the different beers I had to try {but I digress}. After several attempts and a few failures, I have settled on the recipe below.  I have found that by using whole wheat flour you just aren’t going to get the light fluffy bread we are all used to. It will be denser but packed with goodness and flavor.

This is not a low calorie deal by any means but a combination of healthy nutritional foods that will sustain you throughout the day. I  have this almost everyday for lunch {crunchy peanut butter sandwich} and it holds me through the rest of the workday and my afternoon exercises.  Making your own bread can seem a bit of hassle but the routine can be very therapeutic. Plus, you can customize your loaf to your tastes switching out seeds or berries to your liking. Give a try.

Seed and Berry Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Seed and Berry Honey Whole Wheat Bread

The Proof
¼ cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 pack active dry yeast {I use Fleischmann’s or Hodgson Mill}

The Wet
½ cup honey
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

The Dry
3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 ¼ tsp salt

The Crust
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Start with proofing your yeast. Directions vary by brand, so its best to follow the directions on the back of package. Usually a 1/4 cup of warm water {120° F} and teaspoon of sugar will get it done. Mix water and sugar first, then add the yeast last and give it a quick stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. It should have foamed and almost tripled in size. {It’s alive!}

While its proofing go ahead and prep the wet and dry.

Mix honey and applesauce together in measuring cup. Stir together and put in microwave for about 20 seconds. Give it another stir and 20 seconds more in the microwave or until it’s warm to the touch.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowel and stir until evenly distributed.

Prepare bread pan by spraying or oiling all sides.

Once the proof is finished, add it and the wet to the dry. Plunge your hands in and starting mixing. Once the mixture becomes doughy and can be lifted out of the mixing bowl without making mess, place it on your kneading surface. {I use a pastry mat but any clean hard surface should do if floured first.}

Knead dough for about 8-10 minutes. If everything is going right, you should get a dough with a nice elastic texture. You will be able to tell while kneading if it is too dry or too wet. Add more warm water or flour depending on your ‘knead’. {Ya get it?}

Form dough into loaf the size of your bread pan and place in pan. Cover with a towel and put in warm dark place for 1-2hrs. When dough doubles in size you should be good to go.

Place the pan in oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes, tent with aluminum foil and put back in oven for 20-25 minutes. The time may differ for your oven but somewhere in the range of 44-50 total time should do it.

Take your loaf out of oven and place on cooling rack. Melt the butter and brush it over the top of your loaf. This will keep the crust from getting too hard. Slice and enjoy!

Seed and Berry Honey Whole Wheat Bread from Kiwi and Peach

The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

The Kiwi is here again today to wrap up America Week by sharing his tried and true biscuit recipe. A while back he declared that he was on a mission to make the most perfect biscuit possible and has made biscuits pretty much every Sunday since in an effort to get them just right. These are, without a doubt, the best biscuits I’ve ever had.


When I first met Lauren we were both recently departed from the southeastern U.S., and both experiencing withdrawal of the staples of Southern cooking. It went without saying, then, that we would be attempting to make biscuits.

For non–American-speaking readers, I must mention that the term ‘biscuit’ does not refer to a harder version of an American cookie, as it does in English. An American biscuit, for the uninitiated, is most closely comparable to a scone, although it’s lighter and fluffier. The secret is that they’re made with buttermilk.

Buttermilk itself is a term with two meanings. It’s sometimes used to refer to the milk that is left over after you make butter—which is watery, and reportedly not very good. The stuff we want is the milk from which you might choose to make butter—which is to say, milk that has already started to go off. It’s sour, and also not very good. Despite this, Germans of all ages drink it neat, and apparently can’t get enough of it. I once saw an old lady in the supermarket scull a pint of it before bringing the empty pottle to the checkout. You can also make your own by adding lemon juice to otherwise perfectly good milk. Don’t. Anyhow, the acid in the buttermilk reacts with baking soda to form carbon dioxide, which makes your biscuits fluffy.

At least in theory. Our first attempt at making them yielded results that had exactly the size, shape, colour, consistency and, indeed, flavour of hockey pucks. We changed recipes and tried again. The result was better but still not good. In the end I baked about 20 batches, experimenting constantly, before I hit on the formula for perfect fluffy biscuits.

This recipe is borrowed from the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook, which you should buy immediately unless you are lucky enough to live near a Tupelo Honey Cafe, in which case you should go there immediately, and then buy the book. Not only because the food is delicious but also because it’s that rarest of things among restaurant cookbooks: one we actually cook out of almost every week. You can probably use any recipe you like, however. I am here to tell you how to make your biscuits maximally fluffy on the first attempt, and that’s something you won’t learn from any cookbook.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can substitute in half a cup of wholemeal flour for a slightly healthier version {pictured below}. Most people don’t make wholemeal biscuits because they tend to be less fluffy, but I have had equally good results even with up to 1 cup of the plain flour substituted for wholemeal.

Kiwi+Peach: The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

{inspired by Tupelo Honey Cafe‘s ginormous biscuits}

150g {about 1¼ sticks} unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sour cream
½ cup buttermilk

The first key to fluffy biscuits is cold butter. Extremely cold. Place your butter in a flat glass dish and then put the dish in the freezer for at least a couple of hours before you start {overnight is even better}. Unsalted butter is preferred, because you want your biscuits to have exactly the right amount of saltiness and that’s very difficult to control with salted butter.

Preheat the oven to 225°C/450°F. Working as far away as you can from the oven, use a cheese grater to grate the butter into your cold glass dish. Finally, return the dish of cold, grated butter to the freezer while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Next, begin cutting in the butter. To ensure it remains cold, I usually add it in 3 batches, returning the remainder to the freezer each time. To stop it from sticking together and forming lumps, coat the butter gratings in flour as you pull them apart. The correct tool for cutting in the butter is a pastry cutter—I love mine and would recommend you get one, but a fork should also work. When you’re done, the mixture should look like a coarse flour.

Kiwi+Peach: The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Biscuits

Add the sour cream and mix it through. Next, start adding the buttermilk, a little at a time, stirring in between. Remember, the chemical reaction between the buttermilk and the baking soda starts now, so it’s important to keep the amount of stirring to an absolute minimum—just enough to get all of the dry ingredients stuck to some buttermilk. Keep adding buttermilk until you get there, it can often take a little more than half a cup.

This is the point where most recipes would tell you to roll out the mixture with a rolling pin, cut out the biscuits with a 3 inch biscuit cutter, and place them on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. This is a sucker’s game. Fluffiness means height, and therefore the last remaining enemy of fluffiness to be vanquished is lateral spreadage. Biscuit cutters are round, and therefore your biscuits will spread into the gaps between them and cost you some of your fluffiness.

Instead, drop the biscuit dough onto a lined baking sheet and prod it gently with your fingers into the shape of a giant megabiscuit about 3cm {1in} thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the megabiscuit into 6, but don’t bother to separate the segments {they’ll separate fairly easily after baking}. Finally, place whatever obstacles you can to prevent the biscuits from spreading. I place them in the corner of a relatively deep baking tray and butt a loaf tin up against the other long side. Use whatever you have.

Place the baking tray in the oven as far from the heat as possible. In the Land of the Free all ovens heat from the bottom and you like it, so place the biscuits at the top. In most other countries you get a choice. Our oven heats only from the top, so I place the biscuits at the bottom and that has worked fine for me.

Bake for 20 minutes. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a small bowl in the microwave {10-15 seconds should do it, depending on your microwave’s power}. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush the butter over the top with a pastry brush. {Since spreading is no longer a risk, you can move the biscuits away from anything touching them at this point, to help stop the edges getting too much crispier.} Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

Give them 10 minutes to cool, then eat them warm with butter and honey or jam.

{This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. That means that if you head over to Amazon from the link and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.} 

Chicken Pesto Pizza

When I was growing up, Friday night was pizza night. My earliest memories of Friday Pizza Night was scarfing down Pizza Hut while glued to Boy Meets World on TGIF. This later evolved into scarfing down Dominoes on my way to football games, but I think we can see the trend.

Not all pizza is made for scarfing though. While granted Pizza Hut and Dominoes are not the kings of culinary sophistication, pizza can be so much more than just a “junk food.” It’s a blank canvas that you can fill with all your favorites in creative and tasty ways. It can even be…healthy.

The Kiwi and I can do some damage to this size of a pizza. I usually only end up with one piece for lunch the next day. However, if you were to have a nice side salad with it, I’m sure you could eke out a few extra slices to get you through lunches for a couple of days.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

The Base
pizza dough
½ cup pesto

The Toppings
½ of a red onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 chicken breast
pinch of salt and pepper
½ cup of grated cheese {I used gouda, but parmesan or mozzarella would be good too.}

Preheat your oven to 475°F/240°C. {The longer your oven preheats the better. You want a really hot oven!}

Start heating a pan on medium high heat. While it’s heating up, slice your onion. When it’s hot, melt the butter in the pan and add your onions and brown sugar. Give it a good stir and let them cook for about 5-8 minutes or until they are nice and caramelized, stirring frequently. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil.

While the onions are caramelizing whip up your pesto. Then get to work on the chicken. Cut it into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Pop the chicken into the pan and cook on each side for about 3 minutes.

Spread a healthy layer of pesto on your rolled out pizza dough. Then layer on the caramelized onions and the chicken. Finally top with grated cheese, and pop it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a bit brown around the edges and the cheese is all melted. Slice it up and enjoy!