We were at Pizza Hut on Tuesday for lunch so he had pizza on his mind. I had left Pizza Hut sorely disappointed. I have not been there for quite a while and I guess my taste buds have changed. All the pizzas on their lunch buffet was too salty and tasted the same!
This past Wednesday night was fun. I did not set the timer as I knew it would take 2 hours for the dough to rise, but after the dough rose it took only about 2-3 minutes to roll it out, oil it, put the sauce on, and add the cheeses (and pepperoni on half for Matthew).
I popped the pizza onto a pre-heated pizza stone. About 9 minutes later both Dylan and Matthew were eating whole wheat cheese pizza. Neither of them are used to whole wheat pizza crust, but Dylan had two slices and Matthew had four!
So it was all pretty quick and easy. I must admit I had picked up a whole wheat pizza dough from the local grocery store just in case the dough did not turn out. I have to have more faith in myself!
I should say that I don’t care about having a round pizza, so I just roll it out to the thickness I want and don’t worry much about the shape; this way, it looks more home made! Maybe next time I will use all-purpose flour and they might eat even more.
I made a veggie one for myself, with sauce, green peppers, red onions and garlic slices. I popped it into the oven and 8 minutes later realized I forgot to put the cheese on it. It was vegan pizza! But I like my cheese so I pulled out the rack, threw some cheese on it and popped it back in for another 2 minutes. Perfection. It was one mistake that turned out quite well.
I talked to a friend of mine who’s Sicilian, and she adds her cheese at the end too, so it turned out not to be a mistake, just a bit of brilliant insight. At least that is my new story and I’m sticking to it.
I was going to make my own tomato sauce but when I started looking for tomatoes in my cupboard, canned tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, anything with tomatoes. I realized that for some strange reason, I was out of tomatoes – I’m always buying canned tomatoes, so I don’t know how I could have run out of them! But I did find a can of Organic Pizza sauce so I went with the canned sauce this time.
I adapted the recipe for the dough from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book (pg 137) and I basically followed their recipe on page 139 for the cheese pizza and did my own upside down version of that for my veggie pizza. It’s a great book, by the way. I have made quite a few breads from it and they all turned out well. Or at least my loving family said they did.
My older son had the leftover pizza for breakfast the next two days, so I think I will be making this again. The dough takes some advance planning time but everything else is last minute so it would make a good casual party meal: prepare the dough ahead of time or when the guests arrive and then have everyone make their own pizzas with whatever toppings they like (that you have on hand).
Basic Pizza Dough
makes two 14″ pizzas
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1/2 cup hot water
4 to 4-1/4 cups whole wheat flour (hard)
1-1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup hot water
14 oz (398ml) Organic pizza sauce, divided
2-1/2 cups mixed cheddar cheeses , grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 pepperoni, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
- Combine yeast and 1/2 cup water in small bowl and let stand 5 minutes or until frothy.
- Add 4 cups whole wheat flour, 1-1/2 tsp fine sea salt to a food processor (with a dough blade if possible) and pulse to mix.
- Add yeast mixture and mix.
- While running the food processor, add oil and 1 cup water through the chute and continue to process. Use a spatula to bring dough off sides and process some more.
- When dough comes together, let rest for 2 minutes and then process again for 30 seconds.
- If the dough is too wet at this point, add flour in tablespoons until it comes together.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and shape into a ball. Place ball of dough in an oiled bowl, spray non-stick oil over ball and cover the bowl for 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F and place a pizza stone on lower third rack
- Take dough out and divide into two on a floured surface. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet. Roll one half of the dough into a 14″ pizza, transfer to the baking sheet. Brush dough with olive oil
- Add 1/2 the pizza sauce, leaving at least 1/2″ of the edge free of sauce. Add cheeses and pepperoni (for veggie pizza add the green pepper, red onion and garlic).
- Place pizza and parchment on pizza stone (slide it on carefully – the stone is very hot). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Set your timer for 8 minutes and check it and if the crust still needs some browning add another 2 minutes. If necessary, keep browning for another minute and so on, until done to your likeness.
- Carefully slide the pizza and parchment back onto the baking sheet and transfer to cutting board. Let rest at least 5 minutes.
- While the first pizza is baking, make your second pizza. Repeat steps with second pizza
- Slice pizza and enjoy!