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I stumbled upon this recipe about 1.5 years ago, and have made it numerous times since- I just cannot get enough of it!!

I found it on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog, and I love that it is so versatile- I can make pizza buns, french bread, baguettes, pizza crust, focaccia bread, or any combination of these things with this recipe- wow!

To get started on the pizza buns, first we start with the basic french bread recipe.

Part 1: Start With Basic French Bread

1. Stir together 2 tbsp each of sugar and oil, along with 2 tsp of salt and 2 cups of  hot tap water.

2. Add 4.5 to 5 cups of flour and 2 tbsp of instant yeast, adding the yeast when the dough is still very soft. Add enough flour so that the dough holds a ball shape, and does not stick when handled with floured hands (I have found that this is usually closer to the 5 cup mark.
3. Set aside, cover with a tea towel, and let rise until double- about half an hour.

Part 2: Decide What you Want to Make

This recipe will make 2 pizza crusts, 2 loaves of french or focaccia bread, 2 dozen pizza buns, or a number of smaller baguettes.

I will demonstrate below how to make the pizza buns, but for:

French Bread
Divide and roll out each half to about 12x15” rectangle. Roll up jelly roll style and place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cut diagonal slits on top. Let rise about 30 - 45 min. Brush with mixture of 1 egg and 2 Tbsp milk, beaten with fork.
Bake at 400F for 20 min, or until golden.

Focaccia Bread
Add about 1 tbsp of each (fresh if possible) thyme, oregano, rosemary, chopped into tiny bits, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1- 2 tsp garlic powder to the dough, as you're mixing it. Cover and let rise.

Press dough into 2 - 8 X 8 greased pans. Make indentations with end of wooden spoon and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal and rosemary (optional)
Cover and rise 1/2 hour. Bake until light golden, about 25 - 30 minutes. Serve with Olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Pizza Crust
Instead of rolling out the dough, just divide and press onto 2 GREASED (trust me- I have made this mistake one time too many!) pizza pans. Bake at 400F until light golden - just done. About 12 minutes.

Smaller Baguettes or Dipping Bread
Use any kind of combination of flour and grains that you like, roll out to make long skinny loaves (baguettes) and slice at an angle. Great with Spinach dip.

Part 3: Make the Pizza Buns Cause They are Best

1. Roll the dough out as though for french bread (note that I have yet to master the art of rolling dough into a rectangle).
2. Spread lightly with sauce, and sprinkle with anything you like (cold cuts, peppers, cheese, spices, etc). I used bacon bits, cheese and oregano.
3. Roll up jelly roll style, and using a very sharp knife, string (or in my case, floss) cut into 12 - one inch pieces.
4. Place pieces on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and then cover with a tea towel and plastic. Let rise until fluffy- about 30-45 minutes or so.
5. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. These freeze very well, and make a wonderful substitution for a sandwich at lunch time.
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Pizza Bun Recipe Recap

2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 Tsp salt
2 Cups hot tap water
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
2 Tbsp instant yeast

1/4 Cup pizza (or tomato) sauce
Cheese
Any toppings you like

Method: Mix first 7 ingredients in order given, adding the yeast that while dough is still very soft. Add enough flour to make a dough that holds together in a ball shape and is not sticky if you handle it with floured hands. Cover.

Let rise until double, about 1/2 hour. Divide in half.

Roll out into two 12x15” rectangles.

Spread lightly with pizza (or tomato) sauce and your toppings. Roll up jelly roll style, and slice into 12 - one inch pieces. Transfer to a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets, covering with tea towels and plastic.

Let rise until fluffy, about 30-45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 mintutes.

Enjoy!
5/28/2011 10:05:00 am

Oh man, Nate bought a fresh out of the oven pizza pretzel at the local bakery today and it smelled (and tasted) SO GOOD! I will have to try these for sure!

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