Monday, June 20, 2011

Confessions of a Pizza-holic!

I LOVE pizza!  Like.....LOOOOOOVE pizza.  I could eat pizza everyday for a week if it was from a different place every time.  I got really into making my own pizza about 2 years ago.  For a long time I just used the same recipe over and over again.  I didn't try anything new or play with it.  I kinda get scared to experiment.  Since we moved from Texas to California and I have no life ( no seriously haha ) I have taken up baking.  I have baked and baked and BAKED since I moved.  I am so glad I did not gain all the weight back that I have taken off since I had my last baby.  It has been nice getting to know the kitchen better and trying new things AND experimenting!  One thing I finally decide to mess around with was our pizza recipe.

Before moving onto my tips and tricks, I wanted to start off by telling y'all that I REALLY try to bake with whole wheat.  My pizza recipe that I used called for half wheat flour and half white flour.  I wanted to try and find one that was ALL wheat. It was nearly impossible.  After discovering white wheat, which has been my savior in the kitchen, I usually use half white wheat and half wheat flour.  For those of you who have no clue what white wheat is LOOK IT UP!  You won't be sorry.

After many attempts at baking different kinds of pizza, my friend Sarah bought me a Whole Grain cook book for my birthday back in April.  It has been wonderful.  I have picked up a few things from it.

ONE-  they have several different recipes for pizza dough.  One thing I LOVED from one of the doughs was to add dry basil, dry oregano and some cayenne pepper to your flour mixture.  Um can we say YUM!  I have since started adding in some garlic powder too.  Let me tell you this gives the dough a great flavor.

TWO-  if you have cooked any kind of bread or rolls before you have been told to put a wet tea towel over the dough while it rises.  I have done it a thousand times.  My cook book says it used plastic wrap instead and I have to tell you that every since I started doing that my dough rises better and faster.  SCORE!

THREE- Before I roll out my dough I put down a layer of Semolina Flour on the baking sheet or pizza pan.  This makes the pizza crust, well CRUSTY!  I LOVE this.  The first time I did it I hadn't realized my pizza wasn't crispy before.  Now I do this and my pizza is wonderfully crusty on the outside but still extra soft on the inside.  You can also use corn meal but I like the semolina flour because it's more like really soft sand and isn't as corse ( in my opinion any ways )

FOUR- I roll my pizza out, poke it with holes with a folk so it doesn't get huge air bubbles in it and then I rub some olive oil on it to crisp it up.  Then I put it in the oven at about 400 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes.  This helps the dough cook up all the way.  The thing with pizza is the toppings don't really need to "cook" and cheese does not take long to melt.  Sometimes I need my crust to cook longer then planned and the mozzarella ends up burning a little.  So take your time cooking the dough before topping it.

FIVE- pull it out of the oven and put on your toppings.  I like to put down cheese then toppings, then sprinkle more cheese on.  I also like to use lots of different kinds.  Lately I have been into putting on provolone, then mozzarella, then some pepperoni and olives ( or Jalapenos ) and then a little cheddar and Parmesan.  I don't used powdered Parmesan either.  I can't STAND the smell of it.  I use fresh kind.  Put it in the over for another 8 to 10 minutes or until everything is nice and brown.

SIX- I pull the pizza out and immediately I spread melted butter on the crust and then rub some garlic on it.  It makes it SOOOOOOOO good.

Here is a recipe I have found that I love.  I have added some things to it but for the most part it was perfect the way I found it.  Try it and use my six steps and you will NOT be sorry!  Oh and of course ENJOY!

Pizza Dough

1tsp white sugar
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water ( not too hot or you will de-activate the yeast! )
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white wheat flour
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp dry basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder ( or garlic salt )

dissolve sugar in warm water.  Add yeast and let rise for about 10 minutes until nice and foamy.
Stir in olive oil and salt into yeast mixture and then add wheat flour and half of white wheat flour.  Also add basil, oregano, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.  Mix until the dough seems to be together.  Add as much remaining flour as you can.  If dough seems SUPER sticky, add more.  Dough should be soft and not overly dry.  Use dough hook on mixer or knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface.  Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise one hour or until dough has doubled.

Now here is where you can do two things.  One you can roll out the dough now on a layer of semolina flour on a cookie sheet or pizza pan ready to cook.   OR you can let it rise a second time.  It depends on my mood and how much time I have.  Usually I don't let it rise again.  This dough is pretty thick so I spread it out pretty thing because it expands even more when you cook it.

Now you just need to follow steps four, five and six and you are good to go!  I usually set my oven to 400 and cook the first time about 7 minutes and the second time 8 to 10 minutes.  I used to have my oven set at 500 but found that the inside of the dough wouldn't cook all the way.

Let me know if anyone tries this.  I cooked it tonight and it was excellent.  Sorry I didn't take a picture of the finished product but take my word for it, it was YUMMY!  I love this too because for the most part it is pretty healthy.  You are getting lots of fiber and depending on your toppings this can be a great source for some veggies.

One thing I didn't talk about was sauce.  I make mine.  Again this depends on my mood.  USUALLY I take a can of organic Italian style tomatoes and throw them in my food processor with a small can of tomato sauce, some garlic and some olive oil.  If you only have a regular can of tomatoes, then just throw in some dry basil and oregano in place of the "italian style" tomatoes.  It's pretty much the same thing.  Then I blend it until smooth but I know some people like chunky sauce so just do what you like.  This is a pretty sweat tasting sauce.  If you want it to taste more like a pasty sauce like you would get from Pizza Hut, then don't use can tomatoes and just use tomato sauce, basil, oregano and some garlic.  Both are delicious.  In fact the first sauce I gave you directions for is what I use when making any kind of pasta.  We love it!

One last thing, ENJOY YOUR PIZZA!  I know we do.

Linking up to Tuesdays at the Table


Sarah @ Sugar Bananas! said...

I'm so glad you like the cookbook. This recipe sounds so good. I now have a loooong list of things to make! I hope you guys are having a nice Tuesday :)

TABC Certification Online said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe it's definitely a really good reward for my brother who got his Food Safety Course last week. But still work on the dough first. I'm not really the cook-type but I'd like to do something special for him.

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