I love pizza, but don’t order it very frequently. Not enough veggie options, too greasy, too enticingly cheesy, I enjoy cooking at home, I want Luis not to die of a heart attack while we’re dating. So many reasons not to order pizza. So, instead, when I have the time, I make pizza crusts to keep on hand when the pizza craving strikes.
Yummy, tasty, crusty, and most importantly, whole wheat, crusts are not hard to make. It takes a bit of thought in advance, but less than your average loaf of bread. Only one rising is required. It is a great Sunday afternoon activity. In addition to satisfying my craving for pizza this afternoon, I also got to try out my new toy.
My mother gave me this lovely Jenn-air mixer as an Epiphany/Birthday/I love you gift. Aside from being a nice piece of art gracing my home, it also has a bread hook – something I’ve never had the chance to use before. I found that it creates a very smooth, even, dough, still a little sticky when it balls completely around the hook – which gave me the opportunity to knead by hand (which I must admit enjoying greatly), for about two minutes. Somehow, making any sort of bread without kneading doesn’t feel right. Not just that it’s too easy, but I’m not as connected as I like to be. It definitely is easy though, and lets you do other things while the bread is kneading.
I ended up with a lovely dough, which rose, from the generous ball above, very quickly (less than an hour!). Then I rolled out the dough and onto the hot pizza stone in the pre-heated oven it went, and 5-8 minutes later: half-baked pizza crust! I let them cool and three of the four crusts went into the freezer for future easy dinners.
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust – makes 4 12-inch crusts
- 2 packages yeast (4 1/2 tsp.)
- 2 2/3 c. warm water
- 7 c. flour (5 whole wheat, 2 white)
- 1 1/2 T salt
- 1 T sugar
- 1/4 c. olive oil
1. Mix water and yeast in a deep bread bowl or bottom of a mixer. Allow yeast to “melt” for about 5 minutes.
2. Turn mixer on low and add 5 c. flour, salt, sugar and olive oil (or add olive oil to yeast mixture and add wet ingredients to dries) and mix to combine. If using a mixer, wait until a dough forms, then slowly add the rest of the flour, and wait until the dough balls up on the bread hook, take out of the bowl and knead for 2 minutes until the dough is smooth and only tacky. If mixing my hand, stir until a dough forms, then knead for 8-10 minutes.
3. Allow to rise for an hour, or until the dough doubles.
4. Punch down the dough and shape into four balls. Allow the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes and pre-heat the oven to 475F.
5. Flour your board with corn meal and roll out one ball into and 12-inch circle, crimp the edge, divot the rest of the dough to avoid bubbles and spread olive oil on top.
6. Bake the crust for 5-8 minutes until no longer wet and only just beginning to brown.
7. Repeat the process with the other three balls et voila! you have four beautiful half-baked crusts, ready for topping or freezing for future dinners.
All that remained of tonight’s butternut squash, tofu, red bell pepper, sun-dried tomato, feta and mozarella pizza. It seems to have gone over well.