One of my family’s most favorite meals is pizza. That’s fine by me…it’s a pretty well balanced, semi-nutritious food. Although it’s way easier to pick up the phone and order in, it’s not always economically feasible. When your family loves pizza, one pie is never enough and they always want some sort of topping. It starts to add up.
Now, my son’s birthday is coming up shortly and we offered to make him a surprise birthday party. He just has to let his friends know the date and time and we’ll take care of the rest…surprise! What to serve teenage boys? They are the equivalent of human vacuum cleaners (in a nice way of course). There has to be a lot of food, but on the other hand we still would like to be able to buy food the rest of the month!
Pizza! Lots, and lots of pizza! Everyone loves pizza, and there can be different types of pizza to accommodate everyone’s tastes. The little voice in my head (or is it my husband?) keeps reminding me of the budget…remember the budget it nags (over and over)! The only way to resolve this dilemma is to actually make the pizza myself. No problem…here’s why:
Many years ago, when I was pregnant with my first son, I came across a pizza recipe that used whole wheat flour in order to make it healthier. It also used apple juice, instead of water to add sweetness and a little nutrition. I’ve been making pizza using those concepts ever since. I have changed and tweaked the recipe over time but it’s a tried and true one. The key is using white whole wheat flour and rapid rise yeast (if you’re in a hurry). The white whole wheat flour is my sneaky way of adding a little nutritious fiber into the crust. I have found that white whole wheat flour also has a lighter weight than regular whole wheat flour and a much milder taste – it doesn’t taste “whole wheaty”. When I’m out of the white whole wheat flour I will use regular whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or when serving those with a particularly refined palate I have used regular all purpose flour (or bread flour). This recipe is also a fast one. A few ingredients in the mixer with a dough hook (or even by hand), let the dough rise covered in a warm place for just 5 minutes and the dough’s ready! I have been known to leave the dough in the bowl rising for longer and it still comes out great. I also bought an inexpensive pizza stone (it’s a big round stone) by Oneida and the crust comes out pretty crispy. On the days when you don’t want to heat up your oven you can divide the dough into eight balls, roll them into small circles, and make individual pizzas in the toaster oven. What’s also nice about this is that each kid/adult can make their own personal pizza. Make mine with everything please!
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup apple juice (or warm water)
1 envelope rapid rise yeast (2 ½ teaspoons)
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
8 oz pizza sauce
8 oz shredded part skim mozzarella or pizza cheese
1 8 oz can stewed tomatoes, drained
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 med red pepper, diced
4 vegetarian sausages, crumbled
4 oz vegetarian pepperoni, sliced
8 oz broccoli florets
1 small onion, diced
4 oz sliced olives
Preheat oven to 375* F. Microwave the apple juice for 30-45 seconds, untilwarm. Add yeast to juice and mix well. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add oil and yeast mixture to flour. Mix until smooth using a dough hook, around 5 minutes-until dough is smooth and elastic, adding additional apple juice if necessary. If kneading by hand, knead until smooth and elastic. Remove dough from bowl, spray with non-stick vegetable spray and return to bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm placed for at least 5 minutes. If making two thin 12” round pizzas divide dough into two. If making one 16” pizza, do not divide dough. Roll/stretch dough onto pizza stone or pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Cover with sauce, then additional toppings, then cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is completely melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, cut into 8 slices. Enjoy!
NON WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA
For non whole wheat crust pizza, substitute 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour for the whole wheat flour.
PERSONAL TOASTER OVEN PIZZAS
Preheat toaster oven to 400* F. Divide risen dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle. Cut 8 pieces of foil the size of the toaster oven rack. Spray each piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray. Place each mini crust on the foil and follow remaining pizza directions. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, around 10 minutes.
STUFFED CRUST PIZZA
For stuffed crust pizza roll the dough around 2-3 inches larger than the size of your pan. Using either part skim mozzarella cheese sticks or shredded part skim mozzarella/pizza cheese, evenly distribute the cheese approximately 1 inch in from the edge of the dough. Fold crust over the cheese and gently press to seal around the cheese. Add sauce and toppings and bake as directed above.
THICK CRUST PIZZA
Follow crust recipe as directed above. Allow to rise at least 5 minutes. Roll one entire recipe of dough into a 12” circle. Place in a 12”x2” cake/pizza pan. Cover and allow to rise for and additional 5-10 minutes (or longer). Add sauce and toppings and bake for 25-30 minutes.
WHAT IS WHITE WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR? To quote the King Arthur description of white whole wheat flour: “White whole wheat flour is milled from hard white spring wheat, rather than traditional red wheat. It makes lighter-colored, milder-tasting baked goods and you can use it as you would traditional whole wheat flour.”
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