My top 10 fave kinds of bread

At a time when its “in style” to go gluten free, I’m letting everyone know how much I enjoy making bread and even better eating it. Seriously if you have a gluten sensitivity then of course stay away, otherwise enjoy the staff of life. Bread has been around in many forms for thousands of years, my grandparents all made it to their nineties except for one who died at 104… bread was a big part of their Mediterranean diet.

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Pita
Baguette
Ciabatta
Focaccia
Grecian olive bread
Pizza
Naan
Multigrain (but not the commercial grocery store kind)
Rye bread
Pumpernickel

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Calzone

I love calzone as much as I like pizza, it’s a pizza that’s filled, kinda like a pizza pocket or a closed pizza. Sometimes these are called a Panzarotti which is the kind that is sometimes deep fried. Make it yourself and you will be amazed how easy and fun, besides tasty. This is something that takes a bit of time, so it’s a good Saturday or Sunday afternoon fun, get the kids involved, they love rolling out the dough.

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
3 ½ cups of All Purpose unbleached Flour
1 cup fine semolina flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp of active dry yeast
Extra flour for rolling out dough

Note: if using whole wheat flour, add a tiny bit more salt and a bit more water.

Put the warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and allow for yeast to foam for about 5-7 minutes. In a large bowl sift both flours, flax and salt, make a well in the flour and pour in the olive oil, foamy water and mix with a wooden spoon, or a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix dough until it comes together. Begin kneading the dough on a liberally floured surface. If dough is too wet keep adding flour until dough becomes soft and stretchy ( knead for about 10 min.). Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap, allow dough to rise for at least one hour in a warm place. Prepare filling ingredients while dough is proofing.

Punch down dough on a floured surface, knead dough for few more minutes. Cut dough into four equal balls or three equal balls for three large calzones, put dough balls back in oiled bowl and cover again until ready to roll out.

Roll out dough ball one at a time on lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to about 10 inch diameter like pizza put filling as a topping only on half the pizza, (see below for filling suggestions) fold over other side to make a half moon, crimp the edges well to seal calzone. Using the point of a knife make a few holes in the top of calzone so steam can escape.

Heat pizza stone or tray to 400* and place calzone in centre of oven, cook for 15-20 minutes until dough is golden brown and remove from oven when done, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot. When ready to eat a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh parsley or basil is a good option.

Suggested combinations for filling:

One large tablespoon per item, maybe two tablespoons for dominant topping or your favourite ingredient, I think it’s better to overfill than to under fill as once it cooks it will puff up and may seem hallow if under filled.

Passata tomato sauce with pinch oregano, salt and olive oil
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Mozzarella cheese grated
Chopped pancetta or ham

Marinated artichokes
Pickled pepperoncini peppers
Drained capers
Pesto sauce
Goat cheese
Sundries tomatoes

Sliced tomatoes
Bocconcini cheese
Fresh basil
Roasted red peppers
Pitted Kalamata olives
Olive oil

Passata tomato sauce
Broccoli florets
Fresh spinach leaves
Minced garlic
Sliced zucchini
Feta cheese

Small can tuna drained
Chopped celery
Aged cheddar cheese
Fresh dill

You could have a party, double or triple dough recipe and put out variety of toppings and let people make there own.

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Focaccia

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tbls olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus extra for rolling out dough
1 tbls instant dry yeast 

3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbls ground flax seeds
10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 clove garlic finely chopped
Pinch course sea salt
Tsp dried basil
1/4 cup olive oil

Note: if using whole wheat flour, add a tiny bit more salt and a bit more water

Preparation:

In a bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey. Set aside and allow yeast to foam for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon combine the flour, flax and salt and make a well in flour. In the well ad the olive oil and add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft ball forms Knead the dough for about 10 minutes on a floured work surface. shape dough in a ball and place in a clean and lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rest in a warm and humid place for about 1 hour or more until the dough has doubled in size. 

Punch down dough on a lightly floured surface and knead again for a few minutes. Stretch and shape dough with hands to and oval shape approx 8″ x 12″, allow to rest again on a cutting board or floured service, covered with a tea towel for 30 minutes. Make indentations in dough with fingers or thumb. Mix garlic, basil and olive oil and pour into indentations on dough. place tomato halves in the indent holes of dough, brush entire top of dough with remaining olive oil and sprinkle course sea salt on top. Preheat pizza stone in oven to 400* for 10 minutes. Place dough directly on hot pizza stone and cook for about 10-12 minutes until golden on top. When done remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting

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