Whole Grain Pizza

pizza-11

I recently got the magazine Cook’s Illustrated recommended, and the magazine is really interesting. It has fairly long articles on the how and why’s of the recipes, and some of the experimental steps the authors go though.

The latest issue (May/June 2013) had an article on thin crust whole wheat pizza, and it looked really delicious. My mom used to bake a whole sheet pan of pizza, and I have not made it ever myself (not counting providing toppings at a party I held years ago, an Italian friend of mine insisted that she brought the dough when I wanted to make pizza – of course I didn’t get the recipe).

I love thin crust and whole grain stuff, so I thought I would try it out. The recipe also required the use of a pizza stone, and I have been thinking of getting one for baking too. Cook’s Illustrated is great in that it also contains equipment (and ingredient) reviews and recommendations, I got an Old Stone Oven pizza stone, so far I like it.

I cut the recipe in half to only make one pizza, and I made it by hand though the original calls for using a food processor. I prefer doing anything but pie crust by hand, and it was really easy.

Ingredients: (orginal recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, June 2013)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (120g)
  • 1/2 cup bread flour (75 g)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cup water (150 ml)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

1. Mix together whole wheat flour, bread flour, honey and yeast.

2. Add water until the dough is just coming together, then make it all come together with your hands. Let stand for 10 min.

Adding the water and mixing

Adding the water and mixing

After gathering together with my hands

After gathering together with my hands

3. Add olive oil and salt, knead it in and keep kneading for a couple of minutes.

pizza-3

4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap (I use a big elastic band to keep it tight) and refrigiate for 18 hours or more – up to 2 days.

Ball of dough

Ball of dough

After 36 hours in the fridge

After 36 hours in the fridge

5. About 1.5 hours before you are ready to have your pizza, take the dough out of the fridge, punch it down and form a ball. Leave it to rest on your work surface with some oiled plastic wrap over for an hour.

pizza-6

6. Mean while, place your pizza stone about 4.5 inches/10 cm from your oven’s broiler and turn oven to 500 F/ 260 C (check you pizza stone instructions to make sure it can take 500 F and broiling).

7. Prepare your toppings while you wait.

8. After the dough has rested an hour, press flat to an 8 inch/20 cm disc. Keep stretching it at the edges, partially by lifting it up, until it is 12 inches/30 cm across. I found this quite difficult, it probably requires a little practice!

Stretching to a small disc

Stretching to a small disc

Working it out to a big disc. It was a little hard not to get it too thin in the middle

Working it out to a big disc. It was a little hard not to get it too thin in the middle

8. Turn on broiler to run 10 min before the pizza goes in the oven.

10. Transfer pizza dough to a well floured pizza peel or cutting board – I used a bamboo one iand it worked ok. Stretch to maintain the shape, but make sure the pizza can move freely on the board.

Not quite perfect round on the board. I found it hard to have it stay in shape when it didn't stick to the surface

Not quite perfect round on the board. I found it hard to have it stay in shape when it didn’t stick to the surface

11. Top your pizza.

I choose goat cheese and pesto

I choose goat cheese and pesto

12. Slide the pizza from your board to the pizza stone. Turn oven back to 500 F / 260 C.

13. Bake for about 8-12 minutes, until well browned and crisp. If your oven is uneven it is a good idea to turn the pizza half way through.

14. Take pizza out by sliding it back on your board or peel, and transfer to a wire to cool a min or two. Enjoy!

Despite my dough-stretching being less than perfect, the pizza turned out really well. I was surprised how filling it was, the whole grain made it hearty in the good way.

Cook’s Illustrated recommended non-tomato based toppings and had a couple of suggestions, we used pesto and goat cheese, others were things like mushrooms and cream sauce or braised onions and gorgonzola. I used a great pesto recipe from simplyrecipes.com.

I can’t wait to try some breads on the pizza stone, and maybe also some different pizza dough recipes.

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