Why do we always see our friends with bags of pizza dough from the local market or pizza shop in their fridge? Pizza dough should really be called lazy man’s dough, or easiest dough, because it is super easy and fast to make! I admit that I was one of those people not too long ago. When PB and I first started making our trips back and forth to Philadelphia (for me) and R.I. (for him), we often began our weekends together with a Boboli crust, canned sauce, and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
Those days are long gone. I will be honest and say that it got to a point where one of us would call the other one to advise our arrival time and to get the oven hot and the dough rising! I remember many nights waiting in the airport, delayed, hungry, excited to see PB…. Arriving to his home with the smell of homemade pizza in the air was the greatest welcome. And it still is, except now it is our home.
PB is the doughmaker in the family. I just can’t make a classic pizza dough as well as he can. However, after a bit of experimentation, I was able to make a pretty rocking partial whole wheat dough! This one took a little while to perfect, and in fact I am still perfecting it, so any thoughts are greatly welcomed! I would love to make a perfect whole wheat pizza dough eventually. Also, I have found that you can’t use 100% whole wheat flour or the dough is just too dense.
Pizza Friday disappeared back in June, the last time I was in Philly before our wedding. I have decided to reinstate Pizza Friday, except now it will be Pizza Thursday since we are always out of town Friday night. So excited!!!! I am going to try really hard to make fantastic cheese-less pizzas for myself, but give me a few months to perfect that one… For now, I give you this:
One of last night’s cheese pizzas:
A random pizza two weeks ago, when PB had a stressful day:
Last night’s grilled zucchini pizza, which rocked:
And an extra cheesy pizza for PhillyBoy:
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
olive oil for greasing the bowl before rising
1. In the small bowl add the water and sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast has dissolved and the water mixture is slightly bubbly. Stir to dissolve if needed. Meanwhile, mix the whole wheat flour, bread flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the water/yeast mixture to the flour and combine. As the dough starts to come together dump it out on a floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Put the ball of dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil seam side up (I just wash the one previously used for the flour). Flip the dough over so that both sides of the dough are coated with the oil. Cover the dough directly with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until the dough has risen, about one hour.
4. Once the dough has grown in size, press it down, split into two for thicker crust pizza and into four for thin crust pizza*, and reform each portion into a ball. Place each in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, letting it rest for 15 minutes.
At this point you are ready to make your pizza! If you want to freeze it just pop it in a plastic freezer bag. To defrost place overnight in a large oiled bowl until the dough rises again.
*We usually make a big batch and freeze 2 of the balls for later use.
Basic tips of making your pizza:
1. Preheat your oven for at least an hour. The hotter the oven is the better your pizza will be. I usually preheat for about 60-80 minutes at 500 degrees.
2. Pizza stones are relatively cheap. Buy one. They do wonders for the crust. We keep ours in the oven at all times. Even if you don’t make sure you put it in the oven to preheat.
3. A quick brush of olive oil before placing your toppings on your pizza help the crust to not get soggy. Further, keep the toppings light so you don’t weigh down the pizza.
4. Cook your dough brushed with olive oil for a few minutes before adding your toppings. The dough needs more time then the toppings and you don’t want them to burn waiting for the dough.
5. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Everyone has different tastes and each component of the pizza can change the end result dramatically. Experimenting can help you find your favorite pizza… one that you can recreate at home over and over again.
To make your pizza:
1. Roll out your dough on a floured surface. I like my pizza to be super thin so I cut each bowl in half further to form 4 balls. Each one can make a 9 inch thin pizza. Brush with olive oil and place on pizza stone. Puncture in a few places with a fork so that the dough doesn’t bubble too much. Bake in oven for 5-6 minutes until the bottom of the crust is lightly brown.
2. Pull the pizza stone with the crust on it out of the oven and top the dough. I usually add about 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes mixed with oregano plus about 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese**. Put back in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and brown, about 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!
*We now buy dry mozzarella cheese in blocks and shred it in our food processor. We have found this method to be the best for the kind of pizza we like. However, you don’t even need cheese! I have experimented with adding sauce + vegetables and it is equally delicious, especially with a sprinkling of fresh basil before serving.