Deep dish pizza or focaccia


Cat Campbell A wedge or two of homemade onion bread is great with soup, or add other toppings and create a pizza.

My grandmother, the one born on a small island in Italy, would often make her own version of focaccia. She would make the dough from scratch, as I doubt there was any such thing as frozen bread dough back then.

Her toppings were rather simple, such as a light layer of crushed canned Roma tomatoes, a few sprinklings of Italian seasonings, perhaps a few anchovy fillets and some grated Parmesan cheese. I don’t remember anyone in the family turning this down, even when she used anchovies. (To this day, I love that type of anchovies, but am not a fan of fresh ones.)

Bread has been one of my favorite foods, so it is no great surprise that bread-based pizzas are eagerly devoured at my house. Let’s get to the recipes and see what looks good.

Basic focaccia dough

3 1/4 cups unbleached flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup warm water (temperature recommended on yeast packet)

1 packet active dry yeast

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, combine the water and yeast. Using a whisk, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let rest 5 minutes.

2. Pour the water into the center of the flour, and with a spatula, stir to combine into a sticky mass. Pour this mass out onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead the dough by working the dough with the heel of the palm of your hand. Push outward and pull the inside edge over the top. Repeat this process over again to create a smooth ball of dough free of stickiness.

3. Place the ball of dough into a clean bowl that has been brushed with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise at room temperature until double in size. Punch down, knead dough again as before and set aside until it doubles in size once more. When it has risen the second time, it can be divided in half and the two pieces formed into two balls which will later be shaped into the focaccia.

4. With the tips of your fingers, stretch out and dimple the dough on a baking sheet or baking stone and then add your seasonings, herbs, tomatoes or olive oil to the top. Allow to rise a bit more, if desired, then bake at 375 until done.

Mom’s easy onion bread

I am “Mom.” My boys always loved this with any kind of soup.

1 loaf frozen white bread dough

1 large sweet onion, chopped, at least 1 1/2 cups

1/2 stick butter Paprika

Salt

1. Thaw bread dough. Pat and stretch into greased 9-inch cake pan.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Push chopped onion into surface of dough, forcing some pieces down into the dough and allowing some to remain on or near the surface. Sprinkle with desired amounts of paprika and salt (garlic salt is a good choice).

3. Place small pieces of butter evenly over the dough and onions. Bake in preheated oven until the bread is done and browned around the edges and the onions are cooked. If unsure, poke with a wooden skewer to check dough. This takes about 25 minutes if the oven is ready.

4. Remove from oven, lift bread from pan and cut into wedges. Serve hot with chowder or any soup.

Deep dish sausage pizza

1 package (1/4-oz.) active dry yeast

2/3 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)

1 3/4 to 2 cups flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil and marjoram

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon onion salt

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil and marjoram (for topping)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

2 medium green peppers, chopped

1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes, well drained

2 ounces sliced pepperoni

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 cup flour, vegetable oil and crust seasonings; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3. Punch dough down; roll out into a 15-inch circle. Transfer to a well-greased 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet or round baking pan, letting crust drape over edges. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Preheat oven to 400.

4. In a skillet, saute the green peppers, onion and topping seasonings in olive oil until tender; drain. Layer half the mixture over crust. Layer with half the Parmesan, sausage and tomatoes. Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella. Repeat layers. Fold crust over to form an edge.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with pepperoni and remaining mozzarella. Bake until crust is browned, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Spinach stuffed pizza

1 loaf (1-lb.) frozen bread dough, thawed

1 package (10-oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup pizza sauce

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place thawed dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 400. In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, mushrooms, onion, salt and pepper. Punch down dough; divide into three equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 portion of dough to a 10-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray; press dough onto bottom and partway up sides of pan.

3. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese onto crust. Top with spinach mixture; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a second portion of dough to a 10-inch circle; place over cheese layer. Pinch together top and bottom crusts to seal. (Save remaining dough for another use.)

5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Spread pizza sauce over top; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5 to 6 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Makes 6 servings.

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