A friend of mine requested this recipe and I've been meaning to post it for awhile now. I just keep forgetting because, honestly, I don't make this very often. I mean, face it. Even with the addition of a whole grain crust and lots of veggies, pizza still doesn't quite qualify as "healthful." Unless, of course, you leave off most of the cheese and pepperoni. And then, really, what's the point?
Anyway, for those times when you absolutely MUST satisfy your pizza craving, this is a tasty way to make it a bit healthier for you ... even if you go for the meat-lover extreme version.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
I use a combination of white whole wheat flour and spelt flour for this dough, because I like the flavor the spelt adds to it. It can totally be made with just the white whole wheat flour if you don't have, or don't like, spelt. You can also try substituting red whole wheat flour for the spelt, if you prefer, but you will probably need more water.
A bunch of the ingredients below are listed as optional. That means you can leave them out if you don't want them. Or don't have them. They do add quite a bit of flavor to the crust, which I enjoy. To get a more neutral, plain crust, just omit them.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1-1 1/4 cup warm water (about 120-125°F)
- 2 tsp rapid rise yeast
- 1 Tbls sugar
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup spelt flour (or use a total of 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- 1/2 tsp thyme (optional)
- 1/2 tsp oregano (optional)
- 1/2 tsp marjoram (optional)
- 1/2 tsp basil (optional)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (optional but highly recommended)
WHAT YOU WILL DO:
Measure all ingredients, except for water and olive oil, into a large mixing bowl. That's right, just dump it all in there together. I know, it sounds too easy. Just go with it.
Give it good stir to mix it all up.
Check your water temperature. You want it pretty warm, about 120-125°F (ask Google if you want that converted to Celsius). If you don't have a cooking thermometer, a good way to judge is that the water should be warm enough that it's uncomfortable, but you should still be able to keep your finger in it without actually taking damage.
Add the water and olive oil to the dry ingredients and mix well. Switch to a dough hook and allow machine to knead the dough for 6-7 minutes until dough is very elastic. If you don't have a dough hook, you can toss the dough on a lightly floured counter top and knead it by hand for about 10 minutes.
Spray or grease a bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to grease the top.
Cover with a towel and allow to rise until double in bulk, about an hour.
You can tell the dough has risen enough when you gently poke it with two fingers and it leaves an impression. Don't ask me why two. I don't know. You can try one or three, but I won't be responsible when your dough doesn't turn out right.
I like to cook my pizza on an actual pizza stone. It makes for a much crisper crust. Plus, it sounds cool to say you cooked the pizza on a stone.
To do this, shape the pizza on a large piece of parchment paper. You can place a pizza pan under the parchment to help you get it the right size and shape. If you prefer to cook it directly on the pizza pan, you can still use the parchment paper or skip it and just grease the pan.
Either way, when the dough is ready, punch it down and start smooshing it into shape. If you've had a rough day, all this punching and smooshing can really help you release some of that tension.
Keep smooshing and stretching until the dough is about a 15-16 inch circle. Leave a little lip on it so that the toppings don't all fall off the edge.
If you prefer smaller pizzas, you can divide the dough in half and make two individual sized pies. That way, you don't have to worry about YOUR pizza getting contaminated with pineapple. Since I was doing the cooking, there were no pineapple worries so I went with one big one.
Place the pizza stone (but not your crust ... you still need toppings, silly!) in the oven and preheat them both to 425°F. If you aren't using a stone, then I guess you won't be putting it in the oven now, will you? Still preheat the oven though. Pizza cooks faster in a hot oven.
You can finish putting your pizza together while things heat up. I mean get hot. Ahem. You know what I mean.
Top the shaped crust with sauce and your favorite toppings. Or your partner's favorite toppings if you are trying to earn some brownie points. Though, come to think of it, actual brownies might be better for that. Mmm, brownies. Er ... what was I saying again?
Slide the pizza, parchment and all, onto the pizza stone. Or place the pan in the oven if you are going that route.
Cook for 15-18 minutes. If cooking on a pan instead of a stone, you can slide the pizza off the pan and cook it directly on the oven rack for the last 2-3 minutes to get a crisper crust. Don't try doing that at the beginning though. You'll just end up with a gooey mess in the bottom of the oven and you'll have to order delivery even after all that work.
I slide the pan I used to shape the pizza under it when I cut it. That way I don't leave a mess all over the stove top. See how clever we are? Oh, yeah, it's recommended you let the pizza sit for about 5 minutes before cutting it. Good luck with that.