Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuscan Flatbread Recipe

A few short weeks ago I started a new job working for the university hospital. I have come to find out the many wonderful benefits of working for the university. One of these great benefits is the campus library. To many a university library may seem just another boring library filled with endless journals and volumes of who knows what sitting on the shelf. Perhaps many libraries do this description; however, to me it meant FOUR wonderful floors of exploring. Sheer delight I tell you! This is where my adventure began and I started with the cook books.

Perusing through all the various cookbooks, I quickly discovered not all the books were available. There are many (and I do mean many) that one can view but not take home. When I inquired why I couldn’t check these books out I was told they are no longer in circulation because they are few copies left and no longer being published. They don’t want the books to walk away and never return basically. No matter I loaded my arms with as many books as I could carry this trip and made my way to the check out desk. Because many of the books I checked out were years old, I thought at the time this would be perfect. Remember I was not only looking for pizza crust recipes but bread recipes as well. I came across two pizza crust recipes, both from the same cook book entitled; The Best Recipes 2000 by Stephanie Cross.

The first recipe comes from a lady in Sacramento, who used a Tuscan bread for an Italian dessert she was trying out. In reading several recipe books, I learned Tuscan bread recipes are used in many pizzeria’s for their yummy crust. I decided to try this one for that reason but was also very curious because of the amount of sugar and oil used. The recipe calls for quarter cup of olive oil and sugar. I know, I know it’s a lot but I have to tell you all we have a NEW winner. This recipe looked like it came from a pizzeria and it tasted wonderful. Much better than the Pizza Hut recipe that has been number one now for months. My taste tester was told he could not have one slice without some serious critique. Best thing I could have ever done was cut off his pizza supply because the feedback came flooding in. My son told me he liked this crust the best so far because of the sweet taste. I scoffed and said sweet taste, how can that be? The combination of the salty cheese mingled with the slightly sweeter crust seemed to be a perfect match. When I tried it I agreed, I could have eaten just the crust all by itself. So here’s the recipe below, I strongly urge everyone to try this recipe, but remember I still have one more recipe to try from the same cookbook. I’ll be back with more updates.

Tuscan Flatbread Recipe
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/4-4 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Place the water in a large bowl and spronkle the yeast on top. Add the sugar let stand for 15 minutes until bubbly. Add the flour, olive oil, salt and mix well. Knead until dough is smooth and pulling away from sides of bowl. Place dough in oiled bowl, let stand for one hour or until doubled in size.