Monday, March 2, 2015

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Over the last few years pizza has become a beloved Friday night staple in our house. At least during the winter months. Every Friday there's a bit of a buzz in the house...we've made it through another work week, we have a whole weekend ahead of us, we can stay up a little later than usual tonight - letting Riker stay up past his bedtime to watch a family movie, and then putting the kids to bed to drink a bottle of wine and binge watch 4 more episodes of Orange is the New Black - and, there's pizza. There will almost always be pizza, and it will almost always be eaten on TV trays in the living room while watching a Disney flick. Because, Friday.

The pizza varies. On some Fridays we just really don't feel like cooking. The work week has been extra tiresome or the kids haven't been feeling well or I had to work late on Friday...or I just simply don't feel like cooking. I'd rather crack open a beer or pop the cork off a bottle of wine, relax and play with my babies for an extra hour while we wait for the delivery guy to come. On those days we call our local favorite, Tony's, and wait with anticipation for it to arrive (I admit, those days are Riker's favorite. "The PIZZA GUY IS COMING!").

But on other Fridays I like to make homemade pizza with all kinds of fun toppings. Like caramelized butternut squash, crispy kale, pomegranate seeds and fontina cheese.

Or like last Friday's masterpiece, garlic ricotta, balsamic caramelized onions, shaved Brussels sprouts and mozzarella. I absolutely adore Brussels sprouts on pizza, by the way. If you haven't tried it yet, do it. They get all crunchy and golden and delicious, and you can tell yourself that you don't need a salad on the side because your veggies are already on the pizza.

(For these less traditional pizzas, we always make Riker try a bite before letting on that I've made a regular sauce & cheese pizza for him as a backup. He loves green veggies so will usually eat half a slice before saying he doesn't want any more, which is when I bring out a regular slice for him.)

Pizza dough is so easy to make, and I usually make a batch big enough for two doughs so I can stash one in the freezer for another day. There is something so satisfying about making your own, and the taste is really, really good. This particular dough is nice because it's 100% whole wheat but it doesn't have a cardboard-like texture. It's a bit chewy and has a nice crunch on the bottom.

It's a blank canvas! Pizza Friday will take a hiatus this coming weekend since we're going to my in-laws' for dinner, but I've already planned out the Friday after that. Taco pizza. With homemade refried beans as the base. Friday, where are you?

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Makes 2 crusts

1 tsp. coconut sugar (can use regular sugar or honey if you don't have coconut sugar)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and warm water and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the top, and let the mixture stand until foamy, about 5-10 minutes. Add the salt and olive oil to the yeast and stir to combine. Slowly pour the flour into the yeast mixture and stir, allow wet mixture to be absorbed before adding more. Continue mixing until the dough is combined. Form the dough into a ball.

Coat the inside of another large mixing bowl with some olive oil and place the ball of dough in the bowl; turn it once so the dough is oiled on all sides. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Divide the dough into 2 pieces; either wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this stage, or roll out on a floured surface. Top, bake, enjoy!

When ready to make the pizza, bake it at 450 for about 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

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