Thursday, January 23, 2014

Whole-Wheat Pizza or Flatbread Crust

My husband really likes pizza. Me, not so much. I set about trying to find something healthy that would satisfy both of us. I figured if I could come up with a pizza recipe that he liked, it would be better than one in a restaurant or from the frozen food aisle of the grocery store.

Since I am not cooking today, this blog post will not have any pictures of the crust. I will be sure and add some to this post the next time that I prepare this recipe. 

I tried many of the whole wheat packaged crusts in the grocery store, as well as many recipes (modified, of course!) before I hit upon one we like. I usually shop at Meijer, since that is the best supermarket in the west Michigan area. The Meijer whole wheat pizza crust has more fiber and less sugar that any of the other prepared whole wheat crusts in my local store; however, I do not like the taste of the crust. Many of the recipes that I found online turned out tough or the ingredients contained mainly all purpose white flour and only a small bit of whole wheat flour.

This recipe is a slightly modified flatbread recipe that I found on the Food Network

2 t. sugar substitute
1 t. yeast
1½ T. extra-virgin olive oil
2¼ c. flour - whole grain and white combo; I use about 1¼ c. of whole wheat
¾ t. salt

Combine 1 c. warm water, the sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. 

Add 1 T. oil, both flours, and the salt. Stir to form a sticky dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, dusting with flour. I use whole wheat flour for the dusting while kneading. 

Brush a large bowl with the remaining olive oil. Add the dough, and turn the dough to coat it with the oil. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size, at least 1½ hours. The last time I made this, I let it rise for a few hours because I was busy, and it turned out even better than usual.

Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Stretch the dough onto the baking sheet. I stretch the dough in the air first; kind of like they do in pizzerias. I do not like real thick crust, so I always have excess dough. I roll the excess into rope-like breadsticks, and then place them on a second baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Cover the dough with a towel. Let rest until doubled, at least 30 minutes. Again, I often let this rest for more than 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475ยบ. Scatter dough with desired toppings and bake until crust is golden—15 to 20 minutes.
dough after kneading; ready to let rise

**Update ~ I have added a few photos for this recipe. If you end up making a few single-serving size crusts to freeze for later use, like I did, be sure and reduce the cooking time for them. I cooked the ones in the photo about 5 minutes less than the actual pizza, and I should have reduced the cooking time by at least 10 minutes.

dough ready to cover
and let rest for the second rise
I top our pizza with fresh vegetables, and for the meats I use turkey pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and cooked ground turkey sausage. When I cook the turkey sausage, I add a bit of fennel and crushed red pepper flakes. Sometimes, I add toppings like unsweetened pineapple tidbits, fresh spinach, and sliced fresh broccoli. Use your imagination!

After baking - the crusts would have  been thicker, if I had let the dough rise longer. I did not have as much time the day that I prepared this, and I did not let the dough rise as much as usual.