Friday, October 28, 2011

Homemade Spider Pizza by Kris

 My husband Kris learned how to make bread three years back when we first started losing weight. After reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan we discovered that the primary foods that were hindering our weight loss were the white foods we had been consuming all our lives. Since store-bought bread, pasta, white potatoes, refined sugar, and processed foods were among the primary culprits in helping us to create and maintain an unhealthy weight, we decided to cut those toxic products out first starting with bread since it was both processed and white. So, being the annoyingly analytical partner within the relationship, I set out in search of information that would help me to better understand what I was doing wrong when it came to eating bread. After a short while, I came to realize that the real evil in bread was the fact that because it was so available(as a give-away in restaurants and a cheap source of calories on the supermarket shelves), we tended to eat too much of it. Also, most store bought bread contains so many ingredients to keep it fresh, that it has ceased to be bread and turned into what Pollan refers to as "edible food product" or manufactured mass produced edible processed products made to resemble foods that our grandmother's may have recognized as food. These products do not process through our bodies the way natural foods do. On the contrary, these edible products collect in your gut causing stomach pains, inflammation and weight gain. Once I recognized this truth, it was clear that all we could do to satisfy our craving for bread while eliminating the toxic preservatives present in store bought bread and continuing to meet our weight loss goals, would be to start making our own bread..hence, the birth of what we lovingly refer to in my house as "Daddy Bread"! Below is a very simple dough recipe for "Daddy Bread". This recipe can be found on the Gold Metal Bread Flour bag (we just make a few adjustments). We bake the bread in a buttered metal or glass loaf pan in our oven and we go through about a loaf a week. This bread isn't fancy but it does the trick. I have not experienced any physical discomfort from eating this bread, we all continued to lose weight while eating this bread and making bread this simple bread together has given us a renewed sense of independence from the processed food industry that translates into a really empowered and excited mindset about pushing the boundaries when it comes to creating food at home.
Our kids get "Daddy Bread" in their lunch boxes, and whenever the mood strikes we make some home-made pizza with Daddy's dough. The process of making bread is a fun and exciting way to engage or play with your food so don't deprive yourself of the experience. Our children especially enjoy "knocking back" or punching the bread. Everyone gets involved and it's a great introductory culinary lesson for children.
Now for Kris' most brilliant invention themed pizza made with Daddy's dough. I hope you all enjoy this whimsical and healthy recipe..Happy Halloween!

Recipe courtesy of Kris:

This is a fun and easy pizza to make for your Halloween festivities.  We usually use kalamata olives on ours, but you can also substitute colossal black olives, green pepper strips, and really any topping that you can shape into a spider shape - or make up your own. 
We prefer to make our own dough so that we are certain that there aren't any additives, preservatives, and other unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients.  The recipe for the pizza dough is the same one we use to make our bread (just a slightly different process).  Before you start you will need a large mixing bowl, fork, clean work surface, measuring cups and spoons, and a clean dish cloth to cover the bowl (not a terry cloth towel) Here it is (makes enough for 2 large pizzas):

3 plus 1/3 plus 1/4 level cups of bread flour (Gold Medal brand)
1 - 1/4 OZ packet of yeast (Fleischmann's RapidRise or Hodgson Mill)
1 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt
1 tsp honey
1 plus 1/3 cups of warm water
1-2 OZ vegetable oil

Pizza Ingredients
kalamata olives or colossal black olives (and any other toppings you want)
8 OZ whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
1tbsp of olive oil

In a large bowl, add the bread flour, the salt, and the contents of the yeast packet. 
Use a fork to stir these ingredients together until they are incorporated well. 
Add the honey, and warm water and stir with your hands, then transfer dough to clean work surface and knead until smooth and springy, but slightly sticky. 
Shape dough into a ball, place in clean mixing bowl, then rub the vegetable oil over the sides of the bowl and the dough. 
Cover with dish cloth, and let sit for 45 min - 1 hour.
Next, remove dough from bowl, and knock it down with your hands so that the dough is flattened. 
Cut it into two halves.  Roll each half into a ball - then flatten into the shape of a round pizza crust.  Next place the dough on a buttered round pizza pan or a baking stone if you have one (if you don't have either, you can just butter a baking sheet and make it a rectangular pizza). 
Brush the tbsp of olive oil over the flattened dough (this prevents dough from getting soggy from the sauce)
Spread about 1/2 cup your favorite pasta sauce over the dough (go with a sauce that doesn't have preservatives or additives - I'll post a homemade pizza sauce recipe later on).
Next spread 8OZ of shredded whole milk mozzarella over the sauce.
Then take the olives and halve about 7 or 8 for the bodies of the spiders.  Next cut some olives into strips to form the legs (spiders have eight legs if you are going for accuracy - but nobody's counting!).
Bake in the oven on the lowest rack at 475-500 degrees for 12-14 minutes give or take.  Keep your eyes on it towards the end - it can burn quickly.  Cut it right away with a pizza cutter, and let cool for five minutes.  Enjoy!

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