Wednesday, January 26, 2011
This pizza was part of our efforts to eat whole foods and no chemicals. I know, we really sacrifice a lot, don't we?
The crust is homemade and whole wheat. This was part of my goal to take on yeast. I was incredibly nervous about it, and fretted that I had 'killed' the yeast and was overwhelmed with flashbacks of the unleavened bread disaster from this summer. I checked on it so much that it took a little longer to rise, but rise it did. The great thing about the recipe (which I will include below) is that it makes two crust. I made one pizza on Sunday and then saved the rest of the dough to use last night.
In a perfect world, I would have made my own marinara sauce but this was a weeknight. I chose Amy's Marinara Sauce for two reasons. 1: All the ingredients were actual foods, no chemicals. 2- Sugar was not an ingredient. This is tricky because many marinara sauces add sugar. So even though this had more fat than Newman's Own Marinara (a favorite of ours), it had half the sugar.
You would think that it would be easy to find mozzarella cheese sans chemicals, but alas. All those packages of shredded cheese have chemicals to keep it looking fresh and to prevent it from clumping. This was a disappointment I have to admit. Shredded cheese would have made this an even easier dish, but to find cheese without any added chemicals or preservatives, I had to get a block of fresh mozzarella.
Usually, I cook with reduced fat mozzarella but went with the full fat version for this pizza. In addition to a definite boost of flavor and creaminess, the full fat cheese melts so much better! As you can see from the picture, the cheese is literally oozing off the crust. When I have made pizza with reduced fat cheese, I have always used a full package which is a pound and sometime it still seems skimpy. So when we made this one, I did the same. While it was good to have all that cheese, it was too much. Next time I will just use a 1/2 pound. So even though I am using a full fat cheese, I have learned I don't have to use as much.
Now, the chicken sausages we used are a processed food, but I did buy the Target Organic brand. Like the marinara sauce, all of the ingredients listed were actual foods as opposed to chemicals.
The recipe for the dough is from the Cooking Light Complete Cookbook.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 package of dry yeast
1/4 tsp of sugar
1 1/2 cup of warm water
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1-2 Tbsp of yellow cornmeal
1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Add 2 1/2 cups of of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oil and salt to yeast mixture. Stir until well blended.
3. Turn dough onto floured surface. Kneed until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Add enough flour to keep dough from sticking to hands. It should still feel tacky.
4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and, turn the dough so the top is also coated.
5. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place (85 degrees) and no drafts. You will know it's properly risen when you can gently press your fingers into the dough and the indention remains.
SIDE NOTE: This is where I freaked out a bit. I had read about turning your oven on its lowest setting for ten minutes and then turning it off and putting the dough in. But then I worried that I didn't wait long enough between when I turned it off and put the dough in, so then I opened the oven door. Then I took it out. Then I got impatient and put it back in the oven. Then I opened the oven door. Then it got hot in the kitchen. Then I cheered because the dough was still rising. Then I shut the oven door. Then...well, you get the picture. It wasn't the most efficient process. I will keep you posted as I continue to learn how to raise the bread.
6. Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes.
7. Divide dough in half. (Here is where I stuck one half of the dough into a ziplock bag to be used later)
8. Roll out on a floured surface and place on a 12 inch pizza pan (greased unless you are using a pizza stone) and dust with cornmeal.
9. Proceed with pizza directions.
TIP: Before putting on toppings, bake crust for 5 minutes. The first time I did not do this and the center was a little soggy. When I pre-baked it, the crust was crispy throughout.