Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whole Wheat: It's Not Just for Breakfast

Welcome to the very first edition of.....
Whole Wheat: 
It's Not Just for Breakfast

This is where I show and tell about how I incorporate whole grain wheat into my family's diet.  You can read more about my whole grain philosophy and practice here.   

Today, I'm going to share the recipe for what we had for dinner last night.
This is good, good stuff, folks!  Not only is it healthful, delicious, and easy to make, but pizza made with whole wheat is far more filling than a traditional crust.  You'll actually get more yummy mileage from a pan of this stuff--generous leftovers or enough to feed a crowd.

Here we go.  First, you need to assemble the ingredients for the crust.

Ingredients for Whole Wheat Pizza Crust:
* These amounts will make one large pizza crust.  When I make pizza, I double these amounts so that I can have two pizzas. 

1 rounded tablespoon yeast (my favorite is SAF instant)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons cooking oil (I prefer canola)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions for making whole wheat pizza crust:
Begin by dissolving the yeast in warm water with sugar.  Because I use instant yeast, I toss it into the sugar and water and just whisk them altogether.  The yeast dissolves very quickly, making the water cloudy.
Next, pour the oil into a mixing bowl.  (I used my Kitchenaid mixer.)  Gently tilt your bowl around in a circle, so that you coat the sides about halfway up with oil.

Once you've done that, you can pour in the yeast mixture.

Next, add about half of the flour and all of the salt.  It will look something like this.  You can read more about how I get the best whole wheat flour here.  
Now, you can turn on your mixer, or stir by hand, if you prefer.  It should blend together fairly quickly.  Go ahead and add the rest of the flour if you are using a mixer.  If you are stirring by hand, knead the rest of the flour into the dough.

At this point, feel free to pull out your pizza pan and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  

Once you've mixed in all the dry ingredients, your dough is going to look something like this.  It will be soft and sticky.  
Toss 1/4 cup of flour (white or wheat, your choice) onto your countertop or breadboard.  Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and drop it onto the flour.  Knead the flour and dough together for 1-2 minutes.   The dough will look like this before kneading:
After kneading, your dough will be less sticky and more smooth, more like this:
After kneading, pick up the dough ball and make sure there is a little flour underneath it before you set it back down.  This will keep it from sticking.  Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare your pizza pan and toppings.  I like to spray my pan with non-stick spray, then sprinkle a little cornmeal over that.  I have a pizza stone that I use sometimes, but I like using a large cookie sheet for pizza.  The rectangular size makes it easier to top sections of the pizza differently.

Most of the toppings I decided to use last night were already in my refrigerator or pantry:

Sauces - marinara (leftover from spaghetti night last week), alfredo sauce, barbeque sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is THE BOMB)
Meats - pepperoni, grilled chicken breast strips
Veggies - zucchini (thinly sliced), red onion, mushrooms, sliced olives, fire-roasted red peppers (I really, really wanted fresh basil, but I don't have any in my garden, yet, and I couldn't find any at the store, either!)
Cheeses - mozzarella, parmesan

Assembling the toppings shouldn't take too long, but there will still be time while the crust starts to bake, so make sure you go back to that dough I told you to leave on the counter for 5-10 minutes.  Hopefully, it is still there!  Stretch and press it evenly across the bottom of the pan.  It will be thin, very thin.  (For now--it will rise while baking, giving a more substantial crust.)  Prick the crust several times with a fork before putting it into your preheated, 425 degree oven,  Let it bake without toppings for about 10 minutes.

Pull the crust out of the oven, and throw on your favorite toppings.  Put the topped pizza crust back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Last night, I tried these topping combos on our pizzas:

Traditional Pepperoni - marinara, pepperoni, mozzarella
Mushroom Pepperoni - same as above, with mushrooms
Traditional Vegetarian - marinara, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, olives, mozzarella
Italian White Pizza - alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, zucchini, onions, olives, parmesan, mozzarella
BBQ Chicken - BBQ sauce, grilled chicken, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella

When you finally pull your pizza out of the oven, it will look something like this: of those pizzas got a little too toasty, but it was still delicious!

Again, mmmm.  If you baked your pizza on a large sheet pan, you can slice it into small squares.   Like I said before, this is very filling pizza.  

Last night, we enjoyed our pizza with a fresh, green salad and some watermelon cubes.  Can you say "YUM?"  
Note:  Special thanks to two of my real-life friends, Amy G. and Joyce B.  for inspiring this recipe for Gourmet Whole Wheat Pizza.  The first time I tasted a whole wheat pizza with zucchini on it was at Amy's house.  I adapted Joyce's fail-proof pizza crust recipe to use whole wheat.  

Did you know I'm hosting my first-ever giveaway right now?  Click here to enter.  


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1 comment:

  1. Just found you next door to me at Tatertots and Jello. This looks absolutely delicious! You've inspired me this morning with this pizza. You've also touched my heart with your family story! Not only are you an inspiration in the kitchen, you are an inspiration in Life!
    Have a wonderful weekend,