Showing posts with label Mozzarella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mozzarella. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Crusty Caprese Loaf for #TwelveLoaves

All the gorgeousness of my favorite summer salad, baked into a lovely crusty loaf, with basil proofed in the dough, mozzarella tucked inside and, finally, a smattering of colorful little tomatoes roasting on top. 

It’s summertime and that means plentiful, flavorful tomatoes and long and leggy overgrown basil. Which makes this the perfect season for making Caprese salad. And crusty Caprese bread. This month Twelve Loaves is celebrating summer fun! We’ve got nine great recipes for you and hope you will be inspired to turn that stove or oven on, despite the heat.

What’s your favorite taste of summer? Aside from the cherries and homegrown tomatoes, mine has got to be fresh purple hull peas, which are really a type of bean. They are hard to come by most of the year but my farmers’ market in Houston has them during the summer and they are divine. A fresh bean is NOTHING like its dried cousin. If you’ve never tried them, start looking for them now. Well, right after you bake some bread, okay?

1/4 oz or 7g active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups or 355ml tepid water
1 teaspoon sugar
12 oz or 2 3/4 cups or 345g flour plus extra for kneading
3 oz or 3/4 cup or 85g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon salt
11 cherry/grape tomatoes, approximate weight  4 1/4 oz or 120g
7 oz or 200g mozzarella
2g or about 10 medium-sized leaves fresh basil plus more for garnish, if desired
Olive oil

Put 1/4 cup or about 30g of flour into your large mixing bowl with the sugar and yeast. Add the tepid water and stir well. Allow to proof for 10 minutes. If the yeast gets foamy, it’s all good.

Meanwhile roll your basil leaves up really tightly and slice thinly. Fancy chefs call this chiffonade and you can too.

When the yeast mixture is ready, add in the basil and stir.

Add in the rest of the flours and the salt.  Mix until well combined and you have a soft dough.

If you are using a stand mixer, change to the bread hook and knead. You may have to add a little more flour. Otherwise, remove from the mixer and knead by hand until smooth and stretchy.

Form into a nice round ball. Drizzle a little olive oil in your bowl and roll the ball around until coated with oil.

Cover the bowl and put in a warm place for a couple of hours. You can continue the process at this point or you can let it rest overnight in the refrigerator for added flavor.

If you put the dough in the refrigerator overnight (like I did) remove it and allow it to come to room temperature before proceeding.

Meanwhile you can cut your mozzarella into thick slices.

Punch down the dough and form it into a nice circle again. Put it in a greased pan.

Use a sharp knife to cut deep slits in the dough and tuck a slice of mozzarella into each.

Pierce a hole with that same sharp knife in each small tomato and push them into the dough.

Cover with a mixing bowl and put in a warm place to rise for about an hour. Set your timer for 45 minutes and preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C when it rings.

Bake the loaf, uncovered, in your preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or when the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 180°F or 82°C.

If you want a crusty loaf, turn the oven off and leave the bread in it for 10 more minutes. Otherwise, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Remove from the loaf from the pan and cool completely on a rack. If you can wait that long to slice it.


Check out all the beautiful summer breads we’ve been making for you!

  • Blueberry and Japanese Yuzu Citrus Muffins from Kim at
  • Citrus Pecan Quick Bread from Renee at Magnolia Days
  • Courgette, Feta, Honey and Sesame Seeds Pull-apart Bread from Luisa at Rise of the Sourdough Preacher
  • Crusty Caprese Loaf from Stacy at Food Lust People Love
  • Fruit and Veggie Quick Bread from Felice at All That’s Left Are the Crumbs
  • Gluten Free Berry Bread from Sherron at Simply Gourmet
  • Grilled Naan Bread from ReneĆ© at Kudos Kitchen by ReneĆ©
  • Iron Skillet Pizza by Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
  • Upside Down Banana Bread from Holly at A Baker's House 

  • Would you like to join us this month? Choose a recipe featuring the flavors of summer! Whatever you bake (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, grissini, braids, flatbreads, etc.) have fun and let's have a delicious month of seasonal bread. Let's get baking!

    If you’d like to add your recipe to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

    1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!

    2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to this month’s Twelve Loaves theme – Summer Fun.

    3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this July 2014, posted on your blog by July 31, 2014.

    #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess.

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    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Rough Puff Tomato and Olive Tart

    Hands up, who has been to Paris?  Who’d like to go?  And what is one of the number one destination for tourists in Paris.  The Louvre, of course.  Well, guess what?  I saw some treasures from the Louvre today.  In Abu Dhabi.  Yes, that’s right.   Right here in the Sandpit.  Apparently, a new Louvre is being built, and it is scheduled to open in 2015.  The plans look fabulous and there is already a small museum to introduce the bigger one to come, full of painted treasures by the likes of Picasso, Gauguin, Klee, Magritte, Mondrian and Twombly, as well as sculptures, ceramics, metalwork, tapestry and even a fascinating mobile by Alexander Calder.  Appropriate to the educational mission of the Louvre Abu Dhabi - bridging and connecting cultures - two ancient religious texts, the Koran and the Pentateuch, sit side by side in one protective glass case.  Entrance to the current exhibit - Birth of a Museum - is free, along with the narrated audio guide.  Now I can’t wait for the whole Louvre Abu Dhabi to open.  It’s going to be a beautiful place filled with beautiful things.

    And now you know why I am late in posting this recipe.   Let us tarry no longer.  We have tart to bake!

    1 rectangle rough puff pastry dough from this recipe
    7 oz or 200g large grape or tiny Roma tomatoes
    2 spring onions
    2 cloves garlic
    4 1/2 oz or 125g (drained) fresh mozzarella
    3 1/2 oz or 100g feta
    15 whole black olives
    2 eggs lightly beaten
    Sprinkle cayenne – optional

    Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

    Roll out your chilled rough puff pastry, with a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.

    Laying your tart pan on top, cut a circle out of the dough with a sharp knife.

    Transfer the circle of dough to the tart pan.

    Fold the top under to neaten the edge.

    Use a fork to dock the bottom and sides of the dough.

    Pop this back in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

    (Stack the leftover dough and wrap in cling film and freeze for later use. Don’t make it into a ball or you will lose your layers.)

    Thinly slice your garlic, chop your green onions and crumble your feta cheese.

    Pit your black olives and halve them and then halve the little tomatoes.   In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

    Okay, now, in a larger mixing bowl, add in your tomatoes, olives, green onions, garlic and the beaten eggs.  Stir to mix.

    Fold in the feta.

    Pour the mixture into your tart pan.

     I like to straighten out the tomatoes and olives and make the rounded sides face up, because I think it’s prettier that way, but if you don’t care, skip this step.  The flavor will be just as lovely.  Probably.

    Now slice the fresh mozzarella into little pieces and poke them in and around the tomatoes and olives.

    Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper if desired.

    If your tart pan has a removable bottom, you’ll want to put it on top of another pan before putting it in the oven.  This will make it easier to remove from the oven when hot.

    Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is nicely golden and the cheese on top is too.

    Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove the tart pan.  Slice into pieces.

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    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Meatzza for #ForeverNigella

    I was browsing through the internet the other day, as you do, (Tell me it's not just me!) and I came across a blog hop devoted to Nigella Lawson and food your family would love.  The original organizer of the blog hop is Sarah at Maison Cupcake, but the host this month is Sally from Recipe Junkie and the Attack of the Custard Creams.  I could appreciate Sally’s attachment to Nigella and baking.  She went through a challenging time when her child was quite ill a few years ago and baking from Nigella's How to Become a Domestic Goddess gave her structure and something she could control.  While my feeling-out-of-control issues are not on par with hers, with all our moving about, I could definitely relate.  If my kitchen is in working order, I am in a safe, familiar place.

    I decided to join the blog hop by making a Nigella recipe from her latest book, Nigellissima.  Whenever we have pizza, my motto is always the more meat, the better.  And the thinner the crust, the better.  This recipe goes one step further on both counts.  No crust at all and it’s basically all meat.  I added cooked lentils because 1. I like them, 2. I knew they would taste good and 3. they would make me feel better about eating what is basically a big hamburger patty with tomatoes and cheese.  This is comfort food for sure.  If you are trying to restrict carbs in your diet, this is the perfect pizza, or rather, meatzza for you.

    1 lb 2 oz or 500g ground or minced beef
    3/4 cup or 100g cooked lentils
    3/4 oz or about 20g Parmesan
    Small handful fresh parsley
    2 eggs
    2 cloves garlic
    Sea salt
    Black pepper to taste
    Olive oil
    1 can 14 oz or 400g chopped tomatoes
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    Crushed red pepper - optional
    1 ball mozzarella – about 4 1/2 oz or 125g – plain or with basil
    1 small bunch fresh basil – for garnish

    Preheat your oven to 425°F or 220°C.

    Chop your parsley and pour your canned tomatoes into a sieve to drain.  (Save the juice for soup or another dish.)

    Put your ground beef, lentils, parsley and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Grate in the Parmesan and one of the cloves of garlic and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir until just mixed through.

    Oil a shallow, round baking tin.  For a thinner crust, choose a wider baking pan.  Mine was only about 8 in or 21cm so this was definitely a deep pan meatzz.  Press the meat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.

    In another bowl, put your well-drained tomatoes, a little sprinkle of salt and the oregano.  Grate in the second clove of garlic and give it a good drizzle of olive oil.  Mix well.

    Spread the seasoned tomatoes onto your meat and then sprinkle with some crushed red pepper, if using.

    Slice the mozzarella and arrange the slices on top of the tomatoes.

    Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of your meat layer.  I was a little bit concerned initially because the meat juices came up and around the tomatoes and cheese, which was not attractive.  But at the end of the cooking time, the top was browned and it was all good.

    Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Decorate with the basil and cut in wedges to serve.  I served a good wedge along side a salad of arugula or rocket with a simple vinaigrette to complete the meal.

    Nigella’s recipe says it serves four to six people but even with a side salad and my addition of the lentils, I don’t think you could stretch this to feed more than four.   It was delicious though and I would definitely make it again.


    And again, check out the other #ForeverNigella favorites in the blog hop right here.

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    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Tomato Appetizer

    Now, you may never have this problem:  Leftover pepperoni.  But I had lovely guests last night and we made pizza!  It was delicious and the companionship sublime.  I finally saw the final, final Harry Potter movie in very good company.  When he died?  My heart stopped.  When his eyelid wiggled, my heart leaped.  J.K. Rowling is a master.  

    Anyhoo, I had leftover pepperoni and since I had spent the day cleaning out my cupboards and freezer in anticipation of my move to Cairo, I felt I deserved a bit of bubbly.  And you just can’t drink bubbly, even one glass, without a little something to go with it.

    As a child, I remember fondly the days my mother would let us fry, yes, fry, salami.  Did we not have bacon? Did we prefer salami?  I have no recollection of the reasons why.  But I do remember how the salty salami tasted and how it rolled up to a little bowl when it cooked.  I wondered if pepperoni, basically a small salami, would do the same.  If it didn’t, my plan would be spoiled.

    Whoo hoo!   It does curl up.  Which means I can fill it.  Man, I am happy!

    Pepperoni – as many slices as you need to feed your guests at least two or three each (But, this isn’t the only appetizer you are serving, right?)
    Mozzarella – this can be the packaged kind.  As much as you need to cut a small cube of 1cm or 1/2in each per pepperoni slice
    Red, ripe tomatoes – once again, as many as it would take to cover your pepperoni with a thin slice of tomato
    Black pepper

    Drizzle a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and then fry the pepperoni until it curls up into tiny bowls, turning them over halfway through.

    Turn the fire off and remove the pan from the stove.  Cut small chunks of mozzarella and put them in each pepperoni bowl. 

    Cover the skillet and let the cheese melt.  Meanwhile, slice your tomatoes pretty thin and cut the slices into pepperoni sizes pieces.

    Check on the cheese.  Fix the ones that melted out of the pepperoni bowls.  As the cheese cools again, it will stay in the pepperoni.  Just keep putting it back in.

    Transfer your mozzarella-filled pepperoni bowls to a plate.  Top with the tomato slices.  Give the whole plate a good couple of grinds of freshly ground black pepper.

    I can’t tell you how nicely all these three things go together: the spicy, salty pepperoni, the mild mozzarella and the naturally, slightly acidic tomatoes!  Especially with a cold glass of bubbly.  Try it yourself.   Pop this in your mouth!

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