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JOY

I choose JOY.

Today and in days to come.

JOY in little things.

In simple everyday moments.

JOY in each and every moment.

Spine tingling bone aching JOY.

JOY right to the very core of my being,

to the soul of who I am.

JOY is the expression of not only who,

but why I am.

JOY.

 

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A Marvelous Season

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As a wonderful season draws to a close, I stand amazed at the heaps of merciful blessings it has brought to us. The Farmer’s Market was an outstanding addition to our Homestead life! It was a great family experience. If you have not yet joined a market, I encourage you to do so next season! I could have never imagined the joy that it added to our weekly routine.

I had contemplated joining the market for years, but had not yet stepped out to do it. Sometimes it takes an act of boldness and bravery to motivate a homesteader out of their comfort zone. (Oh, wait! Maybe that’s just me?!!) Stepping out was met with more than just financial compensation. It was a wonderful experience to join the community of makers, bakers, and growers.  It was deeply endearing to interact with all the “regular” customers at the market, bringing with them joy in their participation of it all.  It was a blessed season of sharing, bonding, and mingling with like-minded individuals.

I am still reveling in gratitude for a marvelous season. A hearty homestead ‘Thanks’ to all of you local, loyal customers, and we look forward with joy and anticipation for next year!

Farmers Market

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It’s a beautiful day for the farmers market! Today we will be joining other local area farmers, homesteaders, growers, and makers for another fun-filled afternoon at the market. Come on down and say “Howdy!”

Our homestead contribution to the market will be our beautiful handmade artisan bread, fresh organically grown veggies, herbs, flowers, and some awesomely delicious granola. 

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See you at the market! 

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Our Homestead Newbie

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Meet Oliver.

We have welcomed a homestead newbie to our pastures this week.  Oliver is a Texel sheep, meat breed, a one week old bottle baby.  He is the first sheep in our homesteading adventure.  We are all learning lots from him, most of all how luxuriously soft and snuggly baby sheep really are.

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Oliver is amazing.

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Teaching Oliver to take a bottle.

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All was well for the first couple of days, then yesterday, Oliver got sick.  When I went out to get him for his early morning feeding, he had a very thick yellow/green mucous discharge coming out of his nose.  So naturally, I did what any homesteader would do.  I brought him in the house.  Oliver spent the day with me in the kitchen.

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I got baking done between bottle feedings, and he got to nap where it was warm and dry while his antibiotics were kicking in.

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Please excuse the early morning crazy….just keeping it real for you folks.  Just. Keepin’. It. Real.

 

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I am glad to report that he was jumping the bucket barricade that I had put up to keep him contained by supper time, so back out to his pen he went.  I was very relived that he was getting a little spunk back.

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Babies of all kinds can be a little touchy, sheep included.  Each require special care, and even then stuff happens.  It is very stressful for them to leave their herd, their families, and move to a new home.

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He is a very healthy lamb, but big changes like that are hard on little guys.  He is learning to use the bottle well, and his appetite is improving now that he is feeling better.  He is beginning to adjust to being the newbie on the homestead.

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A few things we have learned through this experience so far are:

  1. Never hesitate to call the farmer you got your animal from.  They are more than happy to help, or should be.  Our farm family that we adopted Oliver from was extremely helpful, came right over with medicine, and to check on him.  It was a great opportunity for the three young girls who were previously in charge of Oliver’s care, to check in on him, and see his new home.  They were so loving, and happy to see that Oliver was a very spoiled little lamb who got to hang out in the kitchen with his new family!
  2. Have a newbie first aid kit on hand should any, and I mean ANY need arise.  Most emergencies are unexpected after all.
  3. Have a plan as to how you will care for your newbie before you bring it home.   * A quick note:  This makes it sound as if we were not prepared, we were, or so I thought…we planned for our bottle lamb, but realized in doing so that many do not.  Bringing home a new baby to your homestead is nothing to take lightly.  It is a commitment that requires a lot of thought and planning, and even then, when you have planned, be prepared to change that plan.  Babies are unpredictable.

I hear Oliver calling….time to feed the homestead newbie!

 

Shared with our neighbors at The Barn Hop

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com

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Keeping Chickens Pt 2

 

Meat vs. Eggs: Choosing a breed of chicken

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Let’s start with the meat birds. A meat bird is a breed of chicken raised specifically for butchering. They tend to be more densely muscled and have larger breasts than breeds that are primarily egg layers. The most popular meat birds for butcher are the notorious Cornish Rock Cross. You either love them, or hate them, in my case a little of both. Let me explain. The Cornish Rock Cross is a fast growing broiler that is ready to butcher in 6-8 weeks. They reach approximately 5-6 lbs. in this amount of time on a high protein feed that is recommended for broilers. They are a white feathered bird, very plain-looking with a medium comb. Some of the controversy over this breed is that they grow so fast they can end up with broken legs, heart problems, and premature death. You must restrict their feeding to daytime hours only, or they will quite literally eat themselves to death. Not quite natural, however, economic since they grow quickly and require less feed. Monitored closely these birds do come out to be the most economical for time and money spent.

Cornish Rock Cross Slow Broiler: A similar cross as the regular Cornish Rock Fast Broiler, but a hybrid chosen to slow down the growth by reaching maturity approx. 4 mo. slower than the fast broiler. I have not personally raised these, only the fast broilers, but understand that they are a very similar bird in temperament and appearance as the original Cornish Rock Cross.

Black and Red Broilers: Also a hybrid chicken, chosen for meat production. They tend to be a more active bird and less prone to leg problems. These are also slower growing than the original Cornish Rock Cross breed, maturing a full 4-6 wks. longer than the fast broilers.

Freedom Rangers, or Colored Rangers: This breed is non-designer, non-hybrid good old butcher chicken. I would like to try these this year. I have heard good reports, but know nobody personally who has raised these. Quinn from Reformation Acres raised Freedom Rangers last year and has a wonderful post comparing/contrasting Freedom Rangers with Cornish Rock Cross breeds. Check out her post here. There is also lots of info on butchering, stats and what it costs to raise freedom rangers here. Freedom Rangers or Colored Rangers as some breeders call them, do just what their name says they do; free range. So the cost of feed may be reduced if you have room to pasture them. Some prefer the taste and quality of the meat compared to the hybrid breeds. They seem like a pretty interesting proposition, although it appears that they have smaller breast meat. I also wonder if they pluck out as well as white feathered birds…my only experience with plucking colored chickens was with mostly black birds, and let’s suffice it to say it was not fun. The feathers did not pluck out, and the pin feathers were a nightmare, we eventually ended up just skinning them, as it was a lost cause. This makes me a little apprehensive to try them, as skinning a few free birds is another story, rather than your entire flock that was intended for a years supply of meat.

Dual Purpose Breeds: It should also be mentioned that a dual-purpose chicken may be a wonderful choice for your homestead. These birds can be raised for meat and eggs. They will grow slower, but can be utilized completely by placing a large order of one breed of chicken, (most hatcheries require a minimum order of 25 of the same breed, and the price goes down when purchased in larger quantities) then butchering the extra young birds when they reach the desired weight for culling, and keeping the number of egg layers you would like.

A quick list of a few popular dual-purpose breeds are as follows:

Rhode Island Whites

Plymouth Rocks

Orpingtons

Australorps

New Hampshire

Heavy breeds can also be considered a dual-purpose breed, but they are much slower to reach maturity for butcher. Nonetheless they are still worth considering.  When picking a dual-purpose breed, just be careful you don’t wind up with a January butcher if you live in Northern MN.

These are a few of the most common chicken breeds raised for meat, or dual-purpose.  This is by no means a complete listing, there are many other breeds that can be and perhaps should be, raised for butcher.  As you continue on your homestead journey you will be sure to find your families favorite!

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Let’s move on to the Egg Layers!

There are many variables in choosing the breed of chicken that will work best for your homestead when it comes to eggs. Most people find they have a personal preference or opinion of what type of egg they like best. Perhaps the color is important to you, or the size of the egg, there are many choices, but most importantly the quality of your homegrown eggs will win you over! Nothing beats the feeling of a warm in your hand, fresh from the nest egg! And flavor is off the charts! The yolks are a rich orange and have a rich creamy consistency to providing sustenance and titillation, while the white is decidedly firm accepting salt and pepper with fortitude. Mmmmm….. We choose heritage breeds on our homestead to fill our coop. I feel it is important to continue the old-world style standard breeds, rather than furthering hybrids. The old breeds have been carefully raised and selected for quality and productivity over a long-span of time, and some have met extinction, or become endangered. By choosing heritage breeds it ensures that they will continue on creating a much more sustainable eco system for the future. Please consider a heritage breed when you are choosing which chickens to raise.

For the sake of time and sanity, I will give a few popular breeds of egg layers. Please let this be a starting place for you, as there are so many breeds out there. Check out some online catalogs from hatcheries and research what might meet the needs of your homestead.

A very incomplete list of egg laying breeds as follows:

Plymouth Rocks: Includes Buff Rocks, Barred Rocks, White Rocks, and Partridge Rocks. Considered a heritage breed Plymouth Rocks are generally rock stars in the egg laying world! Ha, ha, couldn’t resist! They are prolific layers and generally lay a large brown egg. They are considered a dual-purpose breed. They are a steady breed, and their temperament is active and friendly.

Black Australorps: One of the best layers of light brown eggs. This breed was selected and refined for egg production. One hen on record layed 364 eggs in 365 days! They are a heavy breed and are considered dual-purpose. Their temperament is quiet and gentle.

Rhode Island Reds: A very popular breed and truly American chicken. Developed in the United States in the early part of the century, Rhode Island Reds have outstanding egg production, laying brown eggs. They are also a dual-purpose breed with a temperament similar to Plymouth Rocks.

Orpingtons, Buff and White: An excellent dual-purpose breed. Orpingtons are very popular, produce a nice brown egg, and are good mothers willing to set on a nest and raise a brood of chicks. While the catalogs describe Orpingtons as a quiet, docile and gentle breed, this has not been my personal experience. Those I have known have been broody, flighty, active, and even aggressive. I know many people love their Orpingtons, but they are not my personal favorite.

Jersey Giants, White, and Black: Beautiful extra-large breed of chickens, they aren’t kidding when they call them giants! They are nearly twice the size of the average chicken! They are a super heavy bird, considered dual-purpose, but grow very slowly, so their feed conversion is not as good as other dual-purpose breeds. They are beautiful chickens. The whites are pure white, while the black giants are jet-black with an iridescent green sheen. They have large bright red combs, which makes them a very handsome bird. They are very good layers of EXTRA-LARGE brown eggs. The temperament of those I have personally known has been calm, and gentle.

Brahmas, Light and Dark: Brahmas are my all time favorite chicken. I love the Light Brahmas for their beauty, temperament, and egg production. They are considered a dual-purpose bird, although we have not raised them specifically for butcher, but have culled our flock when their productivity has tapered off into the stew pot. They are a very old heritage breed of massive size, they are very heavy. They have very striking plumage and pretty little red pea-combs. They lay very large brown eggs, sometimes with speckling. They are prolific layers, especially in cold climates like ours. I also love the feathered feet! It makes them very endearing. They are exceptionally quiet, gentle, and easy to handle. Which makes a great starter bird when you have small children. They are not generally flighty, and love to come for treats, without being aggressive. Light Brahmas are my very, very, favorite.

Wyandottes, White, Columbian, and Silver Laced: Another dual-purpose breed, Wyandottes are easy to dress and are good layers of nice brown eggs. They are beautiful and hardy, making them an excellent choice on the homestead. They are an active, friendly breed. Araucana/Americana, “Easter Egg Chicken”: This breed originates from Chile, but have become popular in America. Often times they are a mix of the original Aruacana, and Americana breeds, not the original breed discovered in Chile. They are called the Easter Egg Chicken because of their beautifully tinted pastel eggs. The colors can range from turquoise, to deep olive, to varying shades of brown and beige. They are wonderfully fun for children, because each trip to the coop to gather eggs is like an easter egg hunt! It is fun and exciting to see all of the colors! They are a hardy breed and come in all colors, plain and fancy. They are a fun, friendly flock.

Whew! Well folks, I am going to stop there.  I hope this helps you find a starting place for your chicken adventures!

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(*Photo Credit: David Snobl)

 

Happy Chicken Keepin!

 

*Just a quick note…The photo credit goes to my youngest son, David Snobl, for his great pictures!  He captured of our flock on a warm spring day… the featured image at the top of the blog post, and this fun angle at the end are his awesome work!  Way to go Davie!!!

 

 

Shared With Our Neighbors at The Barn Hop

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com

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Keeping Chickens

So, you want chickens do you?  You should be forewarned that chickens are the gateway homestead critter.  Food and fun, chickens can be extremely rewarding with only a little work involved.  But just to be clear, they don’t call ‘em the gateway animal for nothin’!  Once you start having fun with your chickens, you will begin to wonder if maybe, just maybe, we could manage a critter for milk, or perhaps, meat.

And the answer to that is YES!

Of course you can!

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We all need to consider how our food is handled, from live seed or cell all the way through the journey to the plate, and the understanding of that journey is of utmost importance.  From start to finish what we raise to eat, and how we choose to process it is up to us on the homestead.  That is what makes the choice to homestead so empowering.  You make the difference, not someone else.

Whether you are interested in keeping chickens for putting eggs or meat on the table, how you raise and care for your birds are very similar. The first step in keeping chickens is to decide what your homestead needs are, eggs, meat or both, and what breed(s) best suit the needs of your homestead.  There are breeds specific to each purpose, and also dual-purpose breeds suited to meeting the needs, of both eggs and meat.  With a wide variety of chicken breeds, there is something for everyone, and every homestead.

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A few things to consider when choosing a breed:

Environment:  Where do you live?  What types of chickens are suited to your local weather patterns.  If you live in an extreme climate like we do in Northern Mn. you need to factor that into the equation.  Extreme cold, as well as extreme heat can be hard on certain breeds of chickens and should be taken into careful consideration when choosing the best breed for your homestead flock.

Urban Homestead vs. Rural Homestead:   Do you live on an Urban Homestead, or a Rural Homestead? Keeping chickens is not only possible on any type of homestead, but rewarding in many ways.  Gathering eggs, using manure for compost, and allowing your flock to turn over garden soil greatly enhances your homestead.

However, regardless of where you live, you need to consider your neighbors wellbeing.  Not everyone finds a 4:30 am rooster crow an invigorating alarm clock.  So if your home is positioned close to another, you may want to skip keeping a rooster, and only keep a lovely flock of laying hens.

An Urban Homestead also comes with another special considerations.  You need to find out your city’s ordinances and laws regarding chicken keeping within city limits.  Some cities or towns do not permit you to keep chickens, and some only permit hens.  It is best to find out what is permitted in your area, rather than have angry neighbors and police at your door seizing your flock later on. 

Shelter:  What type of shelter do you have, or intend to provide for your homestead flock?  Will you need to heat/insulate your coop, is there adequate ventilation for the birds?  These are important things to keep in mind when setting up your chicken shelter or coop. There are many types of plans on the internet to build your own, anything from a pallet chicken coop to a deluxe fancy model.  Do a google search, and you will see what I mean.  Remember, it doesn’t need to be fancy to get you started, it only needs to meet the basic needs of the flock, which are shelter, food, clean water, a place to nest and roost, and room to roam.

Room to Roam:  How much space do you have to keep your flock?  You need approximately four square feet of space for each full-grown chicken you keep, if they are permitted to free range. You also do not want to overcrowd your chicken run so limit the size of your flock to the space that they will have available to them on a daily basis.

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Free Range, or Not?  Let’s face it, we all love the idea of allowing our chickens to free range as creation intended them to, however, this is not always practical, and in some cases deadly.  A secure fenced in structure, or chicken tractor (moveable shelter), is a must in some areas to protect your chickens from predators.  Consider what types, and how many predators you have in your area.  This is of utmost importance in caring for your flock.  You need to be sure that you are protecting them to the best of your ability, not only to care for them, but also to protect your investment.  Chickens are not only entertaining on a homestead, but they are your source of food, whether eggs or meat.  In the age of convenience we live in it is easy to forget this.  Sustainability and self-reliance are built on providing at least a part of the food supply for your family on your homestead.

Temperament:  Just like other breeds of animals chickens have certain temperaments as well.  Often this is overlooked when choosing a breed, but should not be.  Especially when choosing a laying hen.  Remember your layers will be around a while, and you want your daily experience with them to be as pleasant as possible, matching your personality with the breed of your hens is a must.  You need not be terrified to do chores, or you will lose your joy in a hurry caring for your flock.

Chicken temperaments are often described as:  Quiet, docile, gentle, calm, friendly, or active, excitable, alert, flighty, broody, aggressive, and lively.  If any of these words send up red flags it is for good reason, remember this is chicken code talk for a potentially scary bird.  If you are a first time flock keeper you may want to choose breeds that are described as quiet, docile, gentle, and calm.  Friendly can innocently mean an over inquisitive well meaning chicken who may innocently chase you, just because she wants to be your friend.  Just sayin’.  ;)

Do you have children?  There are special considerations to be made if you have children. The ages and personalities of your kiddos play an important role in choosing your homestead flock.  Please consider the temperament of the birds you choose, and that of your kids when picking out a flock to keep.

If your children are fearless, this allows you to choose any breed you may like, but avoid anything that is listed as aggressive when you have children involved to safeguard a good experience for all.  Teach your kids to respect your family flock and treat them with kindness.  Any chicken can become aggressive if it feels threatened.

If your children are not confident about keeping chickens, or are very young, start with a very docile and gentle breed, and let them learn and gain confidence as you go.

Let’s take a breather right here….I did not realize when I started this post that I was writing an ebook! ;)  So for sanity’s sake and clarity, I have broken it into two parts.

Next time we will continue with Chicken Keeping Pt 2….. Meat vs. Eggs:  Choosing a Breed of Chicken.

I hope this gives you a starting place in your chicken adventures!

Happy Chicken Keepin’!

 

 

Shared With Our Neighbors at The Barn Hop

www.theprairiehomestead.com

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Handmade Pizza

Friday nights are pizza night on the homestead.  I love pizza, communally prepared, many hands customizing slices, working side by side, elbow to elbow, loud laughing chaos.  This is what pizza looks like in our kitchen.

Thursday night I prepare the dough for the simple handmade artisan crust.  It takes five minutes.  Honestly.  The dough then rests quietly working it’s magic until called upon Friday evening.  This pizza almost makes itself, it is so entirely simple to assemble, especially with a houseful of hungry boys.

Friday evening commences with a call out for veggie choppers, cheese sprinklers, and sauce stirrers. Chaos ensues.  Loud raucousness in the kitchen.  Love it.  I unfurl parchment, allowing each individual to create his own masterpiece.  The customizing of crust begins.  As I scoop dough from bowl, they begin to hand sculpt custom crust densities, dough malleable and smooth in nimble yet muscled hands. The results are full thick crusts, thin crusts, and everything in between.  Each individual’s propensity toward diversity is remarkable.  No two are ever alike.

With oven blazing heat waves, because this is the best way to cook pizza, fast and hard, to seal distinct flavors, add crisp to crust, and zest to life.  I begin to slide in sheets of custom crusts.  Some like them cracker crisp, shards landing on tongue with each bite, and some like them billowy soft savoring the perfect chewiness between jaws.  Precooking the crust allows perfect customization.  When each artists’ level of crust perfection is reached, I remove sheets from the oven, fresh canvas at the ready for creativity.

Sauce splashes, herbs float haphazardly in the air, toppings are passed, and the competition ensues for best flavor combinations, presentation, and originality.  Please understand the nature of teenage boys.  No matter what is happening, it is a competition.  Vying for number one spot in any category.  Always.  Lovingly jousting each other to bring out the other’s best.  This is how they are.  A tribe of raucous, rabble-rousing, crazy, I-want-you-to-be-your-all, always.

All in, all up front, all heart.  Always.

I  Love it. Every crazy minute.

The pizzas come together, chests puff, and anticipation ensues as the final timing quietly counts down the moment of unveiling masterpiece.  Wafts of basil, oregano and garlic dance in the air together mingling with yeast.  Calls out for best combinations, and presentation begin to fall hushed as the sacred moment approaches.  You can feel it in the air.

The shrill telling of the timer releases the chaos once more.  Everyone crowds in the kitchen gathering around a single oven to witness the first coming forth of greatness.  Glimpsing of golden mozzarella, veggies piled high, or simply, blasts of heat heavily scented with herbs, and admonitions from me to stand back from the oven so no one gets burned as they are jockeying for position, I remove the first handmade pizzas.

Oooohs and Aaaahs, back-slapping commences and congratulatory words circulate the room.  Tasting, sharing, and camaraderie continue late into the evening as everyone shares in the joy created in the kitchen.

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Artisan Crust Recipe

From:  artisanbreadinfive.com

Oven temp 450 degrees

3 c.  lukewarm water

1 T.  granulated yeast

1 1/2 T.  Redmond Real Salt, or Sea Salt

6 1/2 c.  all-purpose flour

Mixing the dough:

You will need a very large bowl or bucket with a lid to mix your dough.  It needs to be at least 5 quarts to allow room for the dough to rise, I use a 6 quart bucket with a lid.

  • In your bucket or bowl, add water, yeast, and salt.
  • Dump in all of the flour at once, and begin to stir.  A long handled, sturdy wooden spoon works wonders.
  • Stir well, until all the flour is incorporated, and makes a wet, rough dough. (This dough will not be smooth like other bread doughs).
  • Put the lid on your container.  If it seals tightly, leave a lip of the lid unsealed to allow gases to escape as the dough is working.
  • Allow dough to rise for 2-12 hours.  You will know it is ready when it has risen up in the container, then fallen back in on itself. The longer time the dough has to work, the more flavor develops.
  • Your dough is now ready to be used, or refrigerated.  You may choose to use the dough, right away without chilling, but it is easier to work with once it has been chilled.
  • Dough will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks.

This is a master recipe from Artisan Bread in Five.  Their breads are designed to be mixed in large batches of dough, then refrigerated and baked fresh daily.  I love these recipes.  They are simple, tasty and wonderfully homemade.  They are our bread of choice on our homestead.

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Handmade Pizza Recipe

Oven temp 450 degrees

Gather together your favorite pizza toppings and prepare.

Some of our favorites are:

Veggies

Kalamata Olives

Fancy Green Olives

Natural Black Olives

Green and Red Peppers

Onions, sliced thin

Mushrooms

Jalapenos

Meats

Homemade Sausage

Pepperoni

Homemade Bacon

Ham

Cheeses

Homemade Mozzarella

Parmesan

Provolone

Monterey Jack

Colby

Herbs

Oregano

Basil

Sauce

Homemade Pizza Sauce

We usually use what is on hand in the garden seasonally, and also what we have frozen from the garden first.  Otherwise, we choose the basics.  Usually, homemade meats, mushrooms, and a few veggies and olives. I also make our pizza sauce from our garden tomatoes I have canned in the summer, but you may also used a prepared sauce to your liking.

 Making pizza night in your home is a wonderful family tradition.  It gets everyone in on the action, preparing veggies, and assembling pizzas.  We do pizza night for birthday parties, and set up a pizza bar.  Each kid gets a ball of dough on parchment to shape into their own personal crust, and topped to their liking.  It is a huge hit.  My youngest sons’ friends all request this for his party now.  A lot of kids have never handmade pizza before, love the experience and the tasty results.

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Homemade Pizza Sauce

1 quart (36 oz)   tomato sauce, or puree

2 T.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 t.  dried sweet basil

1 t.  dried oregano

  • In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add olive oil and garlic.  Sautee garlic 1-2 min. to release the flavor, do not brown.
  • Add tomato sauce, or puree.
  • Simmer for 5-10 min.  Less if you are already using sauce, more if you are using puree to reduce it down to sauce….
  • Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer 5-10 min. more, until sauce is at the consistency you like to top your pizza.

This is really just a basic recipe.  I usually do it a day or two ahead, and put it in the fridge so the flavors can mingle and deepen.  This could also be canned in the summer when the tomatoes are in abundance.

 

Assembling the Pizzas

Oven temp 450 degrees.

Let’s start with the crust.

When making individual pizzas I use parchment underneath, so each person may first shape his dough out on the countertop, then I transfer to a baking sheet to slide into the oven to bake.  Otherwise, if I am just assembling the pizzas, I oil my sheet generously with olive oil, sprinkle with cornmeal or flour, and shape the crust directly on the sheet.  In these pics, I was out of parchment paper, so we just used the direct method of shaping on the baking sheet.

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Begin by removing lid from dough bucket/bowl.  Sprinkle with all-purpose flour.  Remove a softball sized hunk of dough from the bucket for a full-sized baking sheet, baseball sized if you are making individual pizzas for kids.  If your dough has been refrigerated, you will want it to allow it to stand at room temp for about 20 min. before shaping.

Place dough onto prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with flour.  Gently shape the dough with your fingertips, so as not to completely flatten, allowing all the little hills and valleys in your crust, so you do not crush out all the air.  This keeps your crust light.

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Continue pressing the dough out toward the edges of the baking sheet, allowing all the little air bubbles to stay enveloped in the crust.

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Once your crust has reached desired thickness, place in preheated oven to bake. 

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Bake for approximately 10 min. or until desired crispness is achieved.  I like to bake mine until the crust is just golden on the bottom.  It gives a crust that is crisp underneath, and has the perfect chewiness in the center.

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Remove from oven.  Notice the fork holes in the crust.  If you have gotten large air bubbles in the oven, just gently pop with a fork before adding sauce.

Gettin’ Saucy, Finishing Your Handmade Pizza

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You are now ready to add sauce and toppings to your prepared crust.  Use caution, the edges of your baking sheet are hot.

When working with small kids in the kitchen, I do not prebake crusts.  The kids shape their dough on parchment, add sauce and toppings, and I bake all at once, to avoid burns. 

  • Generously spread crust with prepared pizza sauce.
  • Add cheese and desired toppings.
  • Return pizza to the oven for approximately 10-15 min. until cheese is melted, browned and bubbly.
  • Remove from oven.  Let stand 5 min.
  • Cut into slices, dish and enjoy!

 

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