Project:Whole Wheat Pizza
I know you are all used to either hearing garden or school updates from me but I thought I would share a cooking project from earlier this month. I know that I should be eating healthier but it shouldn't mean that completely give up my favorite foods. Instead of banning pizza from my menu, I decided that it needed a makeover. Since most of the calories are in the crust and toppings, that is where I would focus. Before hitting up JO(our site) for ideas, I looked around the internet for whole wheat pizza crust recipes.
Of the few I found, they all had the same problem: The general concensus was that it was too dry. Every recipe I found had roughly a half and ratio of whole wheat to white flours. Given that I hadn't attempted to make a pizza from scratch in years, I was more than a little nervous. Before I go any further with this post, I want to send a special shoutout to JoyYamDaisy for letting me pick her brain during the recipe process. The recipe for the crust goes like this:
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
3 cups flour(1 1/2 whole wheat, 1 1/2 to 1 1/4 Unbleached AP)
Oatmeal 1/4 to 1/2 c
Cornmeal 1/4 to 1/2 c
Brown Rice 1/4 c
Cooked Mashed Sweet Potato 1/4 c
Sesame Seeds or Linseed 1 to 2 Tbls
***Pick only 1 add-in at a time***
1 tsp yeast or 1 pk of active dry
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
water to mix
1. Add dough blade and ingredients to food processor.
2. Pulse the "Dough" button until the ingredients form a ball.
3. Remove dough from workbowl and knead for 10 mins.
4. Proof for 1.5 to 2 hours in glass or plastic bowl.
5. Prepare Toppings.
6. Shape crust.
7. Preheat Oven to 425 F/220 C.
8. Add Sauce, Cheese, and Toppings.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
10. Cool slightly before cutting.
Being stubborn, when did this recipe I used two add-ins: oatmeal and flaxseed(linseed). In hindsight, while I don't view this as a total mistake, I should've upped the moisture factor by cooking and cooling the oatmeal before using it. Also, when shaping the crust I noticed that the dough broke apart when I tried making a larger crust. To combat this, I suggest either working the dough for slightly longer than 10 minutes or using bread flour for the unbleached all-purpose portion. Also, to lessen the mess of kneading...I sprinkled flour into a large glass mixing bowl and used the "turn, fold, push" method until the flour disappeared. Afterwards, I drizzled the top with oil, mixed it around until coated, and then let it rise in the bowl under a clean kitchen towel.
For toppings, I used the traditional fare as well as testing out some unconventional ideas. The pizza on the top left is a stuffed crust with turkey pepperoni, onions, peppers, zucchini, and carrots...yes, carrots. The zucchini worked but the carrots did not. Although, they were sliced to 3/16s on a V-slicer, I should have cooked them prior to adding them on. As to the mozzarella inside the crust, I used string cheese sticks. The mozzarella in the crust as is didn't melt, so I recommend slicing it into halves or fourths before cutting it into bite-size pieces. Seems like a lot of work I know, but that is the best thing I can suggest to make sure that all of the crust gets cheese in it and that it melts thoroughly.
The pizza on the right is traditionally topped: pepperoni, onion, peppers, black olives, and mushrooms( the one my mom's preferred).
The pizza did stick to the pan despite the dough being oiled, though I easily overcame this by removing the pizza with a cake spatula when it was done. The crust did rise all over but docking before dressing may combat this. If that rising throughout doesn't bother you, don't worry about it!
Overall, it was a long process(for me) but with practice, I feel I can perfect the end result. The experience made me more confident in my bread making and I am even considering adapting other types of breads into pizza crusts. Dare I suggest...reuben-sandwich pizza with rye crust? Ah, okay maybe not.
Though, perhaps I will make other cooking projects and tell you about them here.
Well done...Thats seemed to be quite a mega task !
I enjoy making bread , but at the relly on a machine to kneed the dough for me .
We dont have pizza very often but enjoy it when we do.
I can recommend using an overnight starter for the tastiest bread and pizza dough, really gives it some character without the hassle of a sourdough
@Mummza: Thanks. It was but it was fun. I am really looking forward to using my herbs and doing more cooking.
@Marcus: Thanks...do I make the starter or buy it?