Indian Essentials: Homemade Paneer and Naan Bread (Sourdough & Regular)

I absolutely love Indian food. There’s something about the magical combination of spices and textures that I simply cannot get enough of. As a vegetarian, Indian cuisine provides endless inspiration for meat-free meals that are never lacking in flavor or creativity!

If you’re interested in making impressive Indian fare at home, I recommend adding the following easy recipes to your ethnic arsenal. Homemade paneer cheese is a surprisingly simple addition to your from-scratch Indian feast. It takes just 3 ingredients and about 30 minutes of your time! My basic naan bread – sourdough or regular version – is another delicious accompaniment to your authentic Indian meal.

indianessentials

Ingredients are all organic, when available.

Sourdough (SD) Naan Bread:

  • 1/2 cup active starter (fed and doubled)
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour*
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2.5 tbs yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Regular (non-SD) Naan Bread:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour*
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2.5 tbs yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 3/4 cup filtered water

*Flour choice is up to you. I have made this naan with spelt, whole wheat, einkorn, ect. It turns out best when you have at least some portion of all purpose along with your whole grain of choice. Try different varieties and see which you like best! πŸ™‚

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Instructions for SD version:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to create a shaggy dough. Allow to rise 2-4 hours (until doubled), using the stretch and fold method every 30 minutes or so. The rising time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen and how vigorous your starter is. Once the dough has doubled, cover and place in fridge to ferment overnight or up to 48 hours. Remove from fridge and allow to reach room temperature prior to use.

Instructions for non-SD version:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to create a shaggy dough. Knead on a floured surface to until the dough is soft and pliable. The dough will be a little sticky but resist the urge to add extra flour (that will result in tough naan). Allow to rest 30-45 minutes (until doubled).

naandoughprogression

For both versions:

Cut dough into 6-8 equal sized pieces. Roll dough flat, as thick or thin as desired. (I prefer mine thin, so I can roll it up or use pieces to pick up yummy paneer/gravy.) Naan does not need to be perfectly circular like tortillas or rotis. Most traditional naan comes in oblong, asymmetrical shapes making this flatbread super simple to make!

naanrolledout

Cook on a preheated skillet or grill pan for a couple minutes on either side. The naan will puff up, so be extremely careful when handling – those air pockets are dangerous! Place cooked naan on a cooling rack, or in a warm oven, while you cook up the rest!

naanbreadcooking

Quick & Easy Paneer Cheese:

  • 1 quart whole milk*
  • 1 tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch salt
  • Candy thermometer (optional, but if you have one – very helpful)
  • Cheesecloth lined strainer

*The milk you choose is important. Get the best quality you can find/afford. I would prefer to use raw whole milk, but I don’t currently have access to it. Whatever you choose, try to find a milk that isn’t pasteurized using ultra-high temperature (UHT ) as this milk won’t curdle properly. I’ve had great success with Promised Land Dairy as far as grocery store milk goes.

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Instructions:

Pour milk into a saucepan and bring to a slight boil over medium heat. Milk doesn’t boil the same as water, so you’ll know it’s boiling when it’s very frothy. This can take about 10-15 minutes. If you have a thermometer, it should read about 180 degrees F. Stir intermittently while it’s cooking to avoid scorching the milk on the bottom of the pan.

Add the lemon juice, remove from heat, and cover. Allow the milk to sit with the acid about 10 minutes for best results. You should immediately start seeing the curds separate from the whey. After 10 minutes, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth lined strainer (if you plan to keep the whey, put the strainer inside a larger bowl to catch the liquid). Let sit for a few minutes to drain. Add the salt and mix well.

paneercurdswheystraining

Once the mixture is cool enough to touch, pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can (again reserving the whey if you so choose). Twist the ends of the cheesecloth and place the cheese on a rimmed plate. Top with more plates, or a single plate with a weight on top, and press the cheese for several minutes. How long you press is really up to you. It will be ready to eat after about 5 minutes, but you could also press longer for a more solid cheese. I’ve moved the plate-press to the fridge before and allowed it to chill up to an hour with great success.

paneerpressingstraining

After your cheese has reached the desired texture, remove from the cheesecloth and cut into cubes. You can either saute the paneer in a little butter or oil (recommended only if you have a more solid cheese), or add the cubes directly to your gravy.

paneerandnaandinner

Serve with your delicious, pillowy naan bread and enjoy! πŸ™‚

I hope these Indian essentials elevate your next authentic feast! Also, if you end up with leftover naan, it makes excellent naan pizza!

naanpizza

That’s right.. More pizza. πŸ˜‰

Until next time.. Happy baking/making/eating!

~Samantha Sunshine

Lacto-Fermented Curtido

Lacto-fermented foods are as delicious as they are healthy for you. They are a yummy way to introduce natural bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, acids, and probiotics to your digestive system. Eating fermented foods daily can help increase energy, improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and even help you lose weight!

Today’s recipe is for an El Salvadorian slaw type condiment called ‘curtido.’ Curtido can be made with vinegar and served immediately, or you can ferment the ingredients with a salt brine for better health benefits! I personally prefer the taste of fermented curtido and find myself craving it daily!! Try it for yourself and see what you think!

jarredcurtido

Lacto-Fermented Curtido

Ingredients are all organic, when available.

Recipe followed almost exactly from the the original source. (If it ain’t broke..) πŸ˜‰

  • 2 heads of cabbage, cored and sliced
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 jalapenos, grated
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tbs red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs Mexican oregano
  • Salt (3 tbs per 5 lbs of veggies)
  • 2 clean quart sized jars with lids*

*I use the plastic replacement lids for my jars. These can be found at most grocery stores. You could also use an airlock on this ferment, though I rarely do and it still turns out great.

curtidoingredients

Instructions:

To prepare your curtido, begin by rinsing and grating your veggies. I like to use my food processor to grate the onion, carrots, and jalapenos, but you could also do this by hand. Make sure to remove the jalapeno seeds unless you like yours EXTRA HOT!

I like my cabbage to be a bit chunkier, so I slice that by hand making sure to remove the core. Place a large bowl on a scale to measure how much the veggies weigh. You want to add 3 tbs salt per 5 lbs of veggies, so you’ll have to do some math to determine the amount needed. Mine ended up being around 3.5 lbs, so I did a little over 2 tbs worth of salt. Add the spices and salt, then massage the veggies to distribute evenly.

mixedcurtido

Allow the veggies to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes. This will give the salt plenty of time to start it’s magic on the cabbage, which will begin releasing a lot of it’s liquid. Now, grab the two jars and begin filling with your curtido. Fill about 1/3 of the way, then take a blunt ended kitchen utensil (whatever you have that works) and press the curtido down to release more liquid. Continue adding curtido and pressing down until you have nothing left but liquid. Distribute the remaining liquid into each jar.

curtidoliquid

Press the veggies as far under the brine as you can and loosely fasten the lid. It’s not possible to get all the little pieces underneath the liquid, so don’t fret about that too much. Allow to sit at room temperature to ferment for a week, a month, or more. (I usually do a month minimum, though, it has happened on occasion that one jar gets eaten entirely before that time has elapsed lol.)

I like to press down the veggies in my curtido daily to prevent mold for the first few days. After awhile, the veggies will stay under the brine more easily and you no longer have to do this. Taste the curtido as the time passes and see what your ideal fermentation time is! Store in the fridge once it’s reached your desired taste.

finishedcurtido.png

After a month, the curtido will be crunchy and tangy, with a kick of heat and an amazing bite! The unique combination of flavors becomes indescribably delicious!! There are numerous ways to eat this stuff! In fact, I haven’t found a food that I don’t like combining this with yet! The traditional way to eat this delectable condiment is atop delicious pupusas, which, if you haven’t had them before, are pockets of cheesy heaven! (Pictured in the lower lefthand side of the collage below.)

waystoeatcurtido

I also like eating curtido on my chili cheese veggie dogs, inside sandwiches, on salads, and my favorite way might be the simplest: with goat cheese on crackers! However you decide to eat it, this fermented slaw is here to stay!! Here’s to your (gut) health! πŸ˜€

~Samantha Sunshine

ο»ΏSpiced Apple Pie with Sourdough Crust

I have a confession.. I don’t love making pie. I’m not even that crazy about eating it. I much prefer other desserts such as cakes, cookies, muffins, and quickbreads. Pie has never really been a top priority for me.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, is pie-obsessed. The very mention of pie makes him salivate. Out of all the desserts I make, pie is his most requested. Thus, I’ve tried to come up with ways to ease the pie process, to make it more enjoyable for the both of us!

pieslice

One way I’ve improved my pie making experience is to use a food processor to mix the dough. It works flawlessly and leaves me with clean hands to boot! Simply add your dry ingredients and give them a whirl to combine. Pulse in your cold butter, add your liquid, and voilΓ ! Perfect pie dough. πŸ™‚

Another thing that has helped me enjoy making pie (rather than dreading it) is my silicone baking mat. If you don’t have one of these magical things, get one. They make rolling out pie crust (and a variety of other doughs) a BREEZE! Hardly any extra flour needed. Just roll it out and flip it onto your pie plate. Easy peasy.

piemat

The last thing that has really upped by pie game is the recipe I’m going to share with you now. You guys know how I love to add sourdough discard to nearly all my baked goods these days? This pie is no different. The sourdough in the pie really amplifies the crust and, especially in this recipe, creates a lovely contrast between sweet and sour. This crust is equally amazing in savory dishes as well!

Spiced Apple Pie with Sourdough Crust

piecompleted

Ingredients are organic, when available.

For the crust:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour*
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 sticks of COLD butter (1 cup), cubed
  • 1/4 cup sourdough discard (unfed, straight from fridge)**

*The coconut flour in this recipe makes the crust very tender and flaky. It also adds a hint of sweetness that is really desirable. If you do not have access to this flour, you can use all purpose or substitute another flour in it’s place such as whole wheat or spelt.

**This is an approximate measurement. The amount will depend on the hydration of your starter. I just add my 100% hydration starter to the food processor a little at a time until the dough forms a soft ball and clears the sides of the bowl.

For the apple filling:

  • 5-7 small apples, cored and diced
  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tbs cornstarch + 3 tbs water, mixed well

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the dry pie crust ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine. Add your cold, cubed butter and pulse a few times. (You could alternatively do this by hand if you do not have a food processor. Your hands are always the best tools money can’t buy! πŸ™‚ )

pieingredients

Next, add the sourdough discard while the food processor is running. Add enough starter until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Remove the dough from the bowl and separate into two pieces. Form into discs, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer while you make the filling.

piedoughdisc

To create the filling, heat a pan with butter on medium high. Add the diced apples and cook until they are just beginning to get tender. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar, and spices and stir well. After the juices begin to boil slightly, add the cornstarch/water mixure and turn the heat to low. The sauce should thicken rather quickly. Remove from heat and set aside.

piefilling

Remove the pie crusts from the freezer. Take one disc and roll it out on your pie mat (or a lightly floured surface) to a size that will fit in your pie pan. If you’re using a mat, simply flip the mat over on top of your pan and press the crust down gently. If you’re not using a mat, carefully fold over the crust and flip it onto your pan. Cut off any excess around the edges and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Parbake the crust for 15 minutes. I like to lay a piece of parchment on top of the crust and pour in about a pound or so of dried pinto beans. This will prevent the crust from bubbling up while it’s baking.

piecrusts

After the crust is parbaked, carefully remove the parchment paper and pinto beans (I use the paper to carefully create a type of funnel to pour the beans back into the jar I keep them in). Add the filling to the crust and set beside your work station. Roll out the second disc of dough and flip on top of your pie. Add any embellishments you like and make sure there’s at least a few holes on top for the steam to escape while baking.

pieprebaked

Bake for another 45 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and filling is bubbling. You might have to cover the edges with some tin foil (or pie shields) about halfway through baking to prevent them from turning too brown.

Allow to cool sufficiently before slicing so pieces keep their shape. Serve with ice cream, freshly whipped cream, or, if you absolutely must, a slice of American cheese. πŸ˜‰

Enjoy & happy baking!

~Samantha Sunshine

 

 

Cheesy Tempeh & Black Bean Sourdough Tamale Pie

It’s a weekly task, figuring out what to do with all that discard sourdough starter. I can’t stand the thought of throwing out something perfectly useful, especially when I’ve put so much time into it. Thus, I prefer to utilize it in creative and interesting ways!

Today’s recipe incorporates sourdough discard (unfed, straight from the fridge starter) in a semi-traditional masa. It’s then baked atop a yummy tempeh & black bean filling, with lots of gooey cheese, to make a delicious vegetarian tamale pie!

I love to cook this meal in my Dutch oven for an easy, one pot dinner! However, if you don’t have a Dutch oven you could always cook the filling in a pan and transfer to an oven-safe dish prior to baking. It’s a filling meal that everyone will enjoy!

cheesy

Ingredients are all organic, when available.

For the sourdough masa:

  • 1 cup sourdough discard starter
  • 1 cup masa harina*
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

*Masa harina is a traditional Mexican flour used for tamales, corn tortillas, ect. I highly suggest using this flour and not substituting with cornmeal or any other flours for the best results. Bob’s Red Mill makes a non-GMO variety that works wonderfully!

**You want the coconut oil at room temperature so that it is not too hard and not liquefied. You could also substitute lard or shortening if you prefer.

masaingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pkg tempeh (8 ounces)
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounces) with liquid
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounce can)
  • 2 cups cheese* (I used havarti & white cheddar)
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • Capful of liquid smoke**
  • Spices: Chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.***

*This recipe is easily veganized, simply omit the cheese or substitute with your favorite vegan version!

**Liquid smoke is optional but highly recommended! I love the Stubb’s brand because it’s made with minimal ingredients, organic soy, and is manufactured in Austin, Texas!

***I didn’t measure the spices, please adjust per your personal taste.

fillingingredients

Instructions:

First, you want to make the masa. Add all the ingredients to your mixing bowl and blend well. I like to use my KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle for this, but you could also use a hand mixer or whisk by hand. You want the dough to be the texture of hummus or cake frosting. Place bowl in the fridge while you prepare the filling and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

masa

To make the filling, begin by sauteing your veggies over medium high heat. I start with the onions, cook for a few minutes, then add the carrots, celery, and lastly the garlic. When the veggies are tender, crumble in the tempeh and cook for another minute or two. Reduce heat to medium. Add the full can of black beans, liquid and all, to your pot along with the can of tomato sauce. Add white wine vinegar, liquid smoke, and seasonings to taste.

filling

Remove masa from fridge and whip it thoroughly one last time. Top the filling with 1 cup of super melty cheese (I used havarti here). Next, pour the masa into the center of the pot and gently spread it outwards with a spatula, trying your best not to mix the filling/cheese with the masa. Bake at 400 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 10 minutes. Add the second layer of cheese on top (cheddar for me) and bake the final 5 minutes. (45 minutes total.)

cheesyyum

Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving. I topped mine with sliced avocado and lacto-fermented curtido. It would also be delicious with guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream! Or nothing at all! πŸ˜›

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I hope you enjoy this simple recipe to use up that ‘discard’ starter! Until next time!

Adios amigos πŸ˜‰

Sourdough Waffle Pizza

I know, I know.. I JUST did a pizza post! Well, guess what? There’s no shame in my pizza game. I love it in any way, shape, or form! (Especially sourdough.) So get used to it. πŸ˜›

Today, on this eve of the New Year, I am going to show you a delicious new way to utilize that extra pizza dough in your fridge. (Or give you a reason to make extra!)

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Now, I will in no way claim ownership to this idea. A simple Pinterest search yields dozens of recipes for similar waffle-shaped pizzas.Β  It’s a cute, yummy, and whimsical way to use pizza dough! Pinterest WIN!!!

I think kids would love this recipe, and see it working very well at a sleepover. Each kid can choose their own fillings and watch in amazement as you wow them with your waffle skills!Β  Or you could make them beforehand and heat them up in the oven for your kiddos!

dipped

The waffle pizzas get a nice, chewy crust that is great dipped into Ranch dressing or marinara sauce. I was skeptical that the dough would cook fully, but I was pleasantly proven wrong! The only downside to these little waffle pies are that they cannot hold a lot of cheese. (I know 😦 ) I’d say a tablespoon max. Otherwise, you risk the cheese bursting through the dough and dripping (or shooting, as mine did) out of the waffle maker. Better to be safe than sorry. Just save the extra cheese for your regular pies.

That being said, these would be great for vegans, lactose-intolerant people, or folks that don’t like much cheese on their pizza (if any of those exist!). I won’t go so far as to say they are better than actual pizza (nothing can compare to real pie), but they are a fun alternative if you feel like shakin’ things up! πŸ™‚

Sourdough Waffle Pizzas

All ingredients are organic, when available.

Makes 2 waffle pizzas.

You’ll need:

  • 1 ball of sourdough pizza dough
  • 2 tbs marinara sauce
  • 2 tbs finely shredded mozzarella
  • 1-2 tbs toppings (I used banana peppers, red onions, and orange bell pepper.)
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Rolling pin
  • Waffle maker
  • Spray cooking oil*

*Cooking oil is optional. My waffle maker is non-stick ceramic and does not require any.

Instructions:

To begin, prepare your toppings, preheat the waffle maker, and lightly dust your work space.

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Divide pizza dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll the first piece into a circle (or whatever shape) that is roughly the size of your waffle maker. Set aside on a floured surface. Roll out the second ball of dough.

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Working quickly, carefully lay the first piece of dough onto the waffle maker, lining it up as best you can within the cooking area. Spread one tablespoon of sauce onto the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch space along the edge. Add cheese and toppings. Top with the second piece of flattened dough, making sure to seal the edges. Close waffle maker and allow to cook until the crust is light brown. All waffle makers have different heat capacities, so it’s best to use your own judgement here. Regardless, it should only take around 5 minutes or so. Check periodically by lifting the waffle maker lid. Some sauce and cheese may leak out so don’t be alarmed. They’ll still taste yummy!

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Remove from waffle maker and let cool briefly on a wire rack. (They might get soggy if you put them straight on a plate.) Repeat with the rest of the dough. If you’re making waffles for a crowd, simply increase the amount of dough and place waffles in a warm oven while you make the rest! Serve with Ranch and extra marinara!

wafflepizzacrust

 

I hope you enjoy this fun recipe and wish you many blessings in the New Year! πŸ™‚

~Samantha

 

 

 

Sourdough Pizza Perfection

I’ve been on a quest to perfect pizza at home for many years now, and I feel like I’ve finally reached the culmination of that journey. I’ve tried countless recipes, numerous stones, pans, and other tools & tricks claiming to result in “the best” homemade pizza, and they oftentimes left me underwhelmed. I felt like pizzeria style pizza just wasn’t attainable in a home oven and I’d have to settle for subpar pie. Boy, was I wrong.

pizzacollage

Sourdough pizza made in my crappy home oven!

You can definitely achieve near pizza perfection in a home oven.. And I’m going to share with you my tips on how.

First things first, the most important part of any pizza.. the dough. This dough must be bubbly, chewy, and preferably crisp on bottom (more on that later). I’ve found the very best pizza to be made with sourdough vs. commercial yeast. A healthy and hyper active sourdough starter is essential to this recipe!

starterlove

Starter love! ❀

The day before I plan on making my pizza dough, I pull my starter out of the fridge and feed it. I like to make my levain just before going to bed, so I feed my starter around 5-6pm, allow it to double (which can take 3-6 hours), and then make sure it’s reached it’s peak by dropping a small amount into a glass of water. If it floats, it’s ready to make levain! Otherwise, let it rise a bit longer. Patience is key to a perfect pizza! πŸ˜€

Once the starter has doubled and is very active, add 30 grams worth of starter to a bowl (you can then put the remaining starter back in the fridge, unless you’re baking other things!). I like to use a small Pyrex glass bowl (4 cup capacity) with a lid to make my levain. Add 90 grams each filtered water and all purpose flour. Mix well and cover. Let sit at room temperature overnight (or around 12 hours total). The next morning, your levain will look like this:

levain

Nice & bubbly!

Test the levain by again dropping a small amount into a glass of water. If it floats, you can prepare your dough! I like to use a large Pyrex glass bowl with a lid to mix and prove the dough, and I found the 4 quart size to be just perfect! Add the levain and all the ingredients (listed below) to your bowl and mix to create a shaggy dough.

shaggydough

Scooby would approve.. πŸ˜‰

Once the dough is prepared, check the time – I usually write notes to myself and leave them on top of the lid to keep track of things. Now, you’ll begin what is called the stretch and fold. If you are unfamiliar with this term, there are numerous YouTube videos showing you how it is done! Basically, instead of kneading, you simply pull the dough from the bottom to stretch it, and fold it over on itself. I do this 4 times while rotating the bowl. Do this every 30 minutes for 1.5 hours, so 3 times total. After the 3 stretch and folds, allow the dough to rise undisturbed for 5-6 hours (or until doubled in size). Note: This is a fairly high hydration dough and can be sticky to work with. I find getting your hands wet prior to stretching and folding works great at reducing the dough sticking!

stretchandfold

Progression from shaggy to smooth.

After your dough has doubled, pour it onto a well floured surface. It’s a giant blob of dough, so make sure you’ve floured a large spot. Cut the dough into four equal sized pieces, I use a dough scraper but you could easily use a knife if you needed to!

pizzablobandpieces

Pizza blob!

Shape the dough into balls and allow to rest up to an hour. I usually make two pizzas at a time, so the other two balls are put back in the bowl and placed in the fridge. You can keep them in the fridge up to a week and the pizza will only get better! The longer cold ferment allows the dough to develop more flavor and better texture. If you won’t be using them within the week, however, you could also freeze them for future use!

doughballs

Bubbly wubbly pizza dough.

About halfway through the final rest, preheat your oven to as high as it can possibly go. My oven goes to 550 F and I like to utilize every degree I can get! Now, here’s the secret on the super crispy wood-fire oven style crust.. A baking steel! They are relatively new on the market and are seriously a life-changer if you’re a big pizza person. They can be a little pricey, though. We chose this version on Amazon and it’s definitely worth the expense! I’ve busted numerous pizza stones due to baking at high heat or cooking cold dough on the hot stone, but that’s no longer an issue! The steel is indestructible and will last a life-time! Not to mention, it produces the best crust I’ve ever had come out of my oven!! Totally worth the investment if you’re serious about your pie!

bakingsteel

Dough Joe Samurai Baking Steel on Amazon!

After the steel is sufficiently preheated (30-45 minutes at least!), carefully shape the pizza into a circle (or as close as you can get). Again, this dough can be tricky to work with due to the hydration, so I like to oil my hands before handling it. I pick it up on opposite ends with both hands and slowly turn the dough, allowing gravity to do most of the work. It will stretch very easily and this will likely take some practice before you get it down pat. Also, be gentle with it and try not to deflate all the air bubbles you’ve worked so hard on creating! Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper, top generously with your sauce and chosen toppings, then carefully slide it onto the baking steel. I use a flat baking sheet in place of a peel and it works great!

pizzacooking

Baking on the steel under the broiler.

The steel will decrease your cooking time by almost half in my experience, so really keep an eye on it! My steel only took about 5-6 minutes to bake, while typically a stone took around 10-12 minutes. It really makes a difference! Another trick using the steel, is to turn the broiler on just after you’ve put the pizza in. Allow it to cook with the broiler for a couple minutes, rotate the pizza, and then turn the oven back on full blast. I find that I have to crack my oven open for the broiler to work properly, which is fine because that means I get to watch the cheese bubbling and crust browning.. The ultimate pizza porn!! πŸ˜€

pizzasteelcrust

Just look at that crust and undercarriage!

Carefully remove the pizza from the oven. I grab a tip of the parchment paper and slide the paper onto the pan I used previously. The parchment really makes this part so easy! Place pizza on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes to cool. Cut and enjoy the best pizza you’ve ever made!!!!

Sourdough Pizza

Recipe has been modified from it’s original source. Makes 4 large pies.

All ingredients are organic, when available.

For the levain:

  • 30 grams active starter (see above)
  • 90 grams filtered water
  • 90 grams all purpose flour

For the dough:

  • All of the levain (should be around 200 grams)
  • 700 grams ’00’ flour*
  • 200 grams alternate flour*
  • 700 grams filtered water
  • 24 grams coconut sugar**
  • 24 grams sea salt
  • 6 grams vital wheat gluten***

*Flour choice can be adapted to suit your needs. I find using the majority ’00’ flour produces the best, most authentic crust, but feel free to alternate! For the additional 200 grams of flour in the recipe, I usually mix up whatever I have on hand. Some of my favorite flours to combine in this recipe are: semolina, einkorn, spelt, whole wheat, and bread flour. Have fun mixing and matching to see what produces your ideal crust! πŸ™‚

**I like to use coconut sugar in this recipe in place of white sugar. It helps add color and flavor to the crust, and coconut sugar has added health benefits as well!

***I add vital wheat gluten to my flours for added stretch and strength. A lot of whole grain flours and commercially produced all purpose flours (here in the US) are low in protein, so this adds that little extra ‘oomph’ to my dough. Feel free to leave this out if you are happy with your current flour’s protein levels!

Summarized Instructions (full detailed instructions above):

  • Feed starter and allow to rise until doubled.
  • Mix starter with flour/water to create levain.
  • Allow levain to rise overnight (or about 12 hours).
  • Mix levain with other ingredients to create a shaggy dough.
  • Stretch and fold the dough over 1.5 hours, 3 times total.
  • Allow to rise 5-6 hours until doubled.
  • Remove from bowl and cut into 4 equal sized pieces.
  • Gently shape pieces into balls.
  • Allow balls to rise another hour at room temp.
  • Halfway through rise, preheat oven to 500-550 F.
  • Shape dough on parchment paper and add toppings.
  • Place on baking steel and bake for 5-6 minutes with broiler on for half of baking time. If you have a stone or other pizza pan, allow 10-15 minutes to bake.
  • Remove from oven and set on rack to cool.
  • Cut and enjoy!

pizzaperfection

I hope you enjoy this tutorial and recipe! Sourdough pizza is definitely superior to any other pizza I’ve had, maybe ever!! I also hope you look more into a pizza steel, I am not in any way being compensated for promoting this product, it just really is that good! I can’t wait to try baking breads, cookies, and other confections on it as well! πŸ™‚

Happy baking!

Nourishing Anti-Dandruff Essential Oil Scalp & Hair Treatment

Dandruff is a nuisance that I’m sure many of us have had to deal with at some point or another. It can be caused by a number of things, such as dermatological conditions, sensitivities to hair products, a yeastlike fungus that lives on your scalp, or excessively dry skin (especially in the winter time when the central heat zaps all the moisture from your home!). While there are numerous products on the market to combat the shoulder snowfall, my favorite way is to use all natural essential and plant oils!

Coconut oil is one of the plant oils in this recipe, utilizing it’s anti-fungal and moisturizing properties. It also contains lauric acid, capric acid and vitamin E, all of which improve shine and increase strength. Coconut oil penetrates deep into the hair shaft, improving structure by helping to rebuild proteins from the base!

olivescoconuts

Olive oil is the second ultra-nourishing plant oil used in this treatment. It also contains moisturizing vitamin E, along with vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and tons of antioxidants! Olive oil coats the hair shaft, reducing frizz and damage, leaving your hair smooth, shiny, and silky. People have used olive oil treatments in their hair for centuries!

Lemon and tea tree essential oils help to balance the scalp’s oil production, reducing (or eliminating!) dandruff and overly dry or oily hair. They both stimulate the scalp, which in turn promotes hair growth! Tea tree oil also helps unclog hair follicles, while lemon oil adds a lovely sheen to your locks!

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Nourishing Anti-Dandruff Essential Oil Scalp & Hair Treatment

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup coconut oil*
  • 1/8 cup olive oil*
  • 3-5 drops each, lemon and tea tree essential oils

*Use more or less depending on the length and thickness of your hair. My hair is long (mid-back) but very thin, for reference. πŸ™‚

treatment

Mix all ingredients well and apply to hair. Begin by massaging into the scalp, then gradually moving down the shaft of your hair. Pay special attention to itchy, dry areas and massage the scalp really well! Apply extra oil to your ends if they are dry and split. Once hair is thoroughly coated, pile on top of your head with a clip or loosely tied hair band. Allow this mixture to penetrate into your hair and scalp by letting it sit at least 20 minutes. (One hour or overnight is ideal.) Then, wash and condition hair as usual! Use weekly for best results. πŸ™‚

Your hair will be soft, shiny, and dandruff-free after using this treatment! Enjoy!!