I invited my coworker Kathy and her two awesome, adorable genius-children over for homemade pizzas last night. I've never made pizza dough before, but I figured that if I could make acceptable brioche and cinnamon rolls, pizza dough should be a piece of cake (or pizza, as it were). And it really was. Pizza dough is quite possibly the easiest yeast dough I've ever come across.
I used a recipe for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. I cannot find that recipe online, but I'll try to replicate it from memory and change it once I get home if need be. Anyway, I was afraid that the dough would be too thin and dry (admittedly, I still have a childhood "Eeww, wheat!"-stereotype niggling in the back of my mind). This dough was anything but dry. Instead, it was flavorful and light, but strong enough to hold up a decent amount of toppings. In short--I will definitely be making it again.
Whole Wheat Crust (from Cooking Light)
-1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
-1 tablespoon honey
-1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
-2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon olive oil
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in a cup of warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Using a spoon to lightly scoop into measuring cups and a knife to level, measure the flours into another bowl. Add salt and mix well.
3. Gradually add the flour mixture into the yeast-honey-water mix. Add olive oil. Stir enough to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Oil a mixing bowl and place dough ball inside, turning to coat. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place (about 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about an hour.
4. Once dough has risen, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a 12" circle (it doesn't need to be a perfect circle). Place each crust on a oiled baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes (**NOTE: Mine did not really "rise" this second time, so I don't know how necessary the step is). Bake as directed in the recipe.
-Servings: 8 slices
**Note: The dough may be frozen for up to a month. To do this, punch the dough down, divide in half (before rolling it out), wrap up, and freeze. To use, let defrost for 12 hours and come to room temperature before rolling out.
Basic Pizza Sauce (from Cooking Light)
-1/4 cup finely chopped onion
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1/4 cup white wine
-2 tablespoons tomato paste
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
-1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in wine; cook 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, oregano, pepper, and tomatoes.
2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; stir in basil and vinegar. Cool.
Note: Nutritional analysis is for 1 1/3 cups Basic Pizza Sauce.
Spicy Pizza Sauce Variation: Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper with the oregano and black pepper; omit basil. Yield: 1 1/3 cups.
-Makes 1 1/3 cups.
-Calories: 203 (for 1 1/3 cups). Carbs: 42.2g, Protein: 9.6g, Fat: 0.3g.
Our "adult" pizza for the evening, was a modified version of Pizza Salsiccia from Cooking Light. It goes as follows:
Spicy Sausage & Goat Cheese Pizza (modified from Cooking Light)
-12" whole wheat crust
-1/3 recipe for Basic Pizza sauce (above)
-1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
-1 (4oz) hot turkey sausage link, casing removed
-1/2 can sliced black olives
-1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
-1/2 teaspoon dried fennel
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-3/4 container of goat cheese crumbles (or to your taste)
-Sprinkling of shredded mozzarella (to your taste)
-Sprinkling of shredded parmesan (to your taste)
1. Heat oil over med-high heat. Add the onions, fennel, salt, and turkey sausage. Saute until sausage is cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Spread sauce on pizza crust. Add toppings as desired.
3. Bake in a preheated 500 degree oven for 8 minutes.
-Servings: 4-8, depending on the hungriness of your people.
-Calories: Approximately 200...I would guess.
So, we let the kids make their own pizza. Girl Child is kind of picky and will only eat cheese pizza. So, we made a cheese half and a pepperoni half. Honestly, though I liked our adult pizza, I liked the pepperoni pizza best. You can't mess with a classic.
Cheesey-Pepperoni Pizza (modified from Cooking Light)
-12" whole wheat pizza dough (above)
-At least 1/3 recipe for Basic Pizza sauce (above)
-2 cups shredded mozzarella
-1/2 cup shredded parmesan
-Turkey pepperoni slices (how many is up to you)
1. Spread sauce on prepared dough. Add toppings as you see fit.
2. Bake in a 500-degree preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until cheese is nice and melty.
-Servings: 6 (if you cut into 6 wedges or 12 smaller pieces)
-Calories: Approximately 350.