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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dairy Free (or not) Pizza Buns

Well, since we've found out about my sons' hearing loss (which I blogged about here), we decided to take him off dairy, to see if it would clear up his congestion and perhaps improve his hearing.  I took him to see an allergist shortly thereafter and it was actually confirmed that he has a true dairy allergy (along with about a million other things).  Because I like to explore all my options, I'm planning to also take hime to a naturopath, as I like to keep myself and my kids as "un-medicated" as possible, and I'm hoping we can find some effective solutions with lifestyle and diet.  So far he's been off dairy for about a month, and its been going great, and although we have yet to have his hearing re-tested (we see the specialist sometime in mid-May), he has commented a few times about how he thinks things are improving and that he feels much better, which makes me so glad.

Because of all this, I have been trying to come up with some good ideas so that he doesn't feel like he's missing out on too much.  We've bought dairy-free ice cream, cheeses, milks, yogurts and so on.  I've even made my own dairy-free yogurt (which may need to be another post).  Today, I thought I would share a dairy-free version I've recently come up with for one of our families' favourite lunch ideas that I've been making for my kids for a while: The Pizza Bun.

Every Wednesday my kids' school has a pizza lunch for those who wish to pay for it.  I for one, do not wish to pay for it, but I also hate to disappoint my kids.  The other thing I hate to do is make sandwiches every day, so I got creative and came up with a plan that solves both problems.  Every three and a half weeks I take an afternoon making Pizza Buns.  Once made, I pop them in the freezer and pull them out when I make lunches.  It's so simple, the kids think its fun and yummy, and I can rest easy knowing I've saved time and money.  So here's how it's done:

Prepare the dough of your choice.  I've tried a number of doughs and this one is my favourite, as it rises the most and makes beautiful, puffy pizza buns.  In the order listed below, measure ingredients into a bread maker, set to dough setting and press start (this process takes 2 hours on my machine, so be sure to plan ahead for that if this is the method you're using):

Dough Ingredients:
1 3/4 c. water
2 T. shortening 
2 T. sugar
2 t. salt
4 1/3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. yeast

Remove dough, and on a floured surface, working from the centre of the dough outward, form a rectangle approximately 13" x 23" in size.  This can be done by hand or with the help of a rolling pin, although I prefer my hands.

Spread pizza sauce of your choice onto the dough, staying about 1" from the edge on all sides.  Next, evenly space pepperoni on top of the sauce.

Layer cheese on top of the pepperoni.  In my case, I chose to use Daiya Brand Vegan cheese.  The photos show mozzarella, although I have used both cheddar and mozzarella with great results.

Top with a light sprinkle of basil, oregano and Parmesan topping (I chose to use a Rice based Dairy-free Parmasan Flavoured topping.

Form a long roll, rolling lengthwise as shown.

Cut the roll into buns, cutting every 1", using a piece of dental floss, approximately 20" in length, as you would when making cinnamon buns.  This is the most effective cutting tool, as is avoids squishing the buns and losing their shape.  If you are unfamiliar with this method, here is a helpful video to guide you.

Spray 2 cookie sheets (I use one small and one large) with cooking spray, and place each Bun onto the cookie sheets as you cut them (approximately 16-18 buns total).

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Cover buns with a clean, dry kitchen towel.

 Let rise on preheating oven for one hour and remove towel.

Bake at 350° F for 15-18 minutes, or until slightly browned on top.  Remove from oven.

Place on cooking racks.  By now your house will smell so delicious that you will be salivating.

Let cool and enjoy, or place in freezer bags and use as needed (wanted), which hopefully will be often.

Pizza Bun Ingredient List 
(excluding dough, which is listed above separately):
1/2 c. pizza sauce
100g pepperoni
8 oz grated cheese (or cheese substitute)
1 t. basil
1 t. oregano
1 T. Parmesan Cheese (or cheese substitute)
20" length of dental floss

Hope you and your families have fun with Pizza Buns!  Make often and enjoy!!!

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