Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bigger than a bread box?

Not everyone who wants fresh homemade pizza wants to deal with mixing and kneading with her own two hands. Frankly, just thinking about the sticky, gooey feeling of a yeasty dough on my hands, where it dries into a tight, plastery mess makes me frantic to wash my hands.

But I love to make fresh bread. Oh, the quandry.

And that is why I love my brother. In a Christmas related tangent, several years ago, he bought me one of my favorite kitchen tools. My bread machine. (Insert delighted sigh here.)

My bread machine lets me make fresh bread on an almost daily basis. Everything from crusty Italian for my husband to "school made" rolls for my siblings to my updated version of my grandma's traditional Swiss pear bread, bitterbrot. And it doesn't require anything more than throwing things in the pan and pushing three buttons. No mixing. No kneading. Absolutely no icky hands.

Now...should I want to make rolls, or sticky buns, or...oh, I don't know...pizza? Then I have to get up close and personal with the dough, but by that point, it's an elastic, springy mass, perfectly pliable and non-gooey.

Making pizza dough in the bread machine doesn't just mean less mess. It can mean more flavor. Even a simple cheese pizza can get an influx of flavor by adding great ingredients to the bread dough itself rather than putting on toppings. And picky eaters might be more likely to try olives in the crust than seeing black polka dots on top of their cheese.

1 c. warm water

¼ c. milk

1 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 T. oil

3 c. bread machine flour

2 t. bread machine yeast

Layer ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Place on dough setting and let the machine work its magic. In about an hour or so, depending on model, you’ll have all the benefits of homemade dough without the work or sticky hands.

Variations are even easier in a bread machine since most models have a built in beeper that tells you when to throw in extras. You can try the ones here, or go for something different. There are things I will attempt with a bread machine that I never do by hand.


Olive Pizza Dough - Add ¼ c. sliced black olives to dough when your machine permits, or during the second kneading.

Red Pepper Dough - Add 2 T. coarsely chopped roasted red pepper.

Spicy Pizza Dough - Add 2 T. crushed red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper and 2 T. grated parmesan cheese.

Pepper Jack Dough - Add ¾ c. shredded pepper jack cheese.

Extra Extra!!!

The Best Thing Since What? – What’s the big deal about sliced bread? Well, until the 1928, nobody ever saw a whole loaf of sliced bread. Bread, if you didn’t bake it yourself, came to you from the bakery in one whole unsliced loaf. Otto Frederick Rohwedder initially built a machine in 1912 that sliced bread, but no one was interested because of fear the slices would quickly become stale. Sixteen years later, his upgraded model that both sliced and wrapped the loaves was first used in a Missouri bakery. No one is quite sure when “the best thing since sliced bread” was first uttered.


  1. I'm supposed to be getting a bread machine here soon, and I am really looking forward to cutting out some of that work, though at the same time I really enjoy the feel of the dough in my hands. Oh well.

  2. I understand. I love the connection of working with bread, but the messiness? I'm just so torn. For my Italian bread, I have it in such a rhythm that just my mixer is all I need. But the stickier a dough, the more I love my bread machine.