Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pizza...semi-healthy style

Uh..Blogger went and totally reformatted things on me.  So if this post looks a little weird, it's because my whole posting screen looks a little weird!

My daughter asked me for pizza today.  "Sure!"  I said.  After all, we often pick up a take-and-bake on Sundays.  Then I remembered the crap I've been letting her eat the past few days.  On Thursday, I asked my coworker "does it make me a bad mom if I serve my kid hot dogs for dinner two nights in a row???"  "Nah, it just makes you realistic," was her reply.  This is how life has been lately.  Normally I'm all about getting my family a decent meal for dinner, but I've just been flat out exhausted the last few weeks, and they're lucky to get anything made at home at all (in my defense, we ALWAYS have our vegetables.  We're big salad people around here).

So I decided to make pizza at home.  That way I know I can dump a ton of veggies on it.  I also decided to seek out a new crust recipe.  I've been using the one from The Complete Tightwad Gazette for years, but lately I haven't been so enamored with it.  It's simple, and quick, and doesn't take a full yeast rising, which makes it appealing most days.  But today, I had time, so I decided to make a full-on yeast crust.  I pinned this recipe a while back, and decided to see if I could substitute some whole wheat flour and make it a success.  I was quite pleased - it was a good mix of chewy and crunchy, and my hubby didn't pick up on the fact that it was half whole wheat.  I'd call that a success!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Adapted from Sugar Cooking

1 3/4 cup warm water, divided
2 1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 T. olive oil, divided
2 c. white whole wheat flour
2 c. bread flour
2 t. kosher salt
1/4 cup cornmeal

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/2 cup warm water.  Let stand five minutes, or until it "blooms".  Add remaining water and 2 T. of the olive oil.

Meanwhile, put the flour and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  While running on low speed, slowly add the liquids.  Once it is mixed, switch out the paddle for the dough hook.  Knead on low speed for five minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Pour the remaining oil into a deep bowl.  Pull your dough out of the mixer, form it into a ball, and swirl it around in the oil until it is completely covered.  Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about two hours.

Once your dough has fully risen, preheat your oven to 475 degrees, making sure your rack is in the bottom third of the oven.  If you're using a pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan, make sure it's in when you turn the oven on.

Divide the dough into two pieces.  If you need two pizzas, work with them one at a time, keeping the other covered, or just freeze the second piece if you only want one pizza.  Form dough into balls and let rest 10 - 15 minutes.

After resting, spread the cornmeal on your pizza peel (if you're using a regular metal pizza pan, you can forgo this step and roll out your crust right onto the pan. Whatever you're used to doing).  Take one piece of the dough and press it out into a circle right on the peel, checking occasionally to make sure it doesn't become stuck to the peel (there's nothing more frustrating than trying to get a pizza from the peel to the pizza stone when it's stuck tight!).  Add your toppings, and bake until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly - about 10 - 14 minutes.  Remove from the oven, let rest a few minutes, slice and serve!

Now, usually when I make pizza at home, I make barbecue chicken pizza.  Today, I wanted something different.  So, our toppings were:

tomato sauce
Italian seasoning
sliced garlic
sweet Italian chicken sausage, cooked and crumbled
red bell peppers
Italian-blend cheese

Best pizza I've had in a long, long time.  I'll definitely be making it again!

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