It’s not Delivery…It’s Homemade: Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

First off, sorry for going MIA last week. It was the final week of classes before spring break and things were getting pretty hectic. I am glad to be home this week for some much needed time with family and friends and some good ol’ R&R. I was planning to take it easy this spring break, but things have been popping up and I have actually been busier than I was expecting!

Last night was really the first chance I got to spend some time in the kitchen and I decided pizza was a good idea. It had been at least a month since I had had the stuff and a craving needed to be satisfied. I’d have to say Pizza Hut is my favorite delivery pizza (nothing beats some stuffed crust), but that I actually prefer a home-baked pie.

pizza

Veggie-heavy pizza – just the way I like ’em!

When I first tried my hand at homemade pizza, I struggled with making a decent crust. It always seemed to be crispy on the edges, but still raw in the center, and needless to say, NOT what I was looking for. But over the years, with many trials and errors, I have finally found my crust-making mojo!

This recipe is for a thin, almost flatbread style pizza pizza. It uses half whole-wheat flour for some added nutrition and a heartier texture, along with a few tablespoons of cornmeal for a bit of a crunch and that classic pizzeria taste.

IMG_1982

Gather the goods.

Let the yeast bloom.

Let the yeast bloom.

Combine the dry ingredients and make a well. Then pour in the yeast and oil.

Combine the dry ingredients and make a well. Then pour in the yeast and oil.

Now it's time to knead. Who knew you get a workout on in the kitchen?!

Now it’s time to knead. Who knew you get a workout on in the kitchen?!

Dough is all tuckered out..time to rest until doubled in size.

Dough is all tuckered out..time to rest until doubled in size.

And this is where my hunger got the best of me and I forgot to photograph the rest of the process…oops. But  after the rise, you simply roll out and get to pizza-making!

It does take some planning ahead since you need to let the dough rise, but it will be worth it in the end when you have a hot and cheesy pie in front of you at the dinner table! Also, read on below for make-ahead tips!

Oh and we haven’t even begun to discuss the toppings. This crust is versatile and works well with a classic, tomato-based sauce, a white sauce, or even just olive oil! Spread on some pizza sauce, pile on the veggies, throw on a few slices of pepperoni, and sprinkle with a handful of cheese. Or try sliced sweet potato, some baby kale, a drizzle of olive oil and some feta cheese. Raid your fridge and throw on some leftovers – the options really are endless.

Last night I went with my favorite combo: red sauce, fresh tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, thinly sliced carrots, pineapple, a few slices of Canadian bacon, and some shredded mozzarella. Aaaand a hefty shake of crushed red pepper. What can I say, I like spicy.

pizza meal

 

Served with some string beans and un-pictured garden salad, this meal really hit the spot.

I love this recipe because it makes about a pound of dough and is perfect for making one large pizza or 4 individual pies. I always make 4 individual crusts – there is just something about having the whole pizza to yourself 😉

square pizza

Another, more square, but just as delicious, version of my homemade ‘za.

 

Whole-Wheat Thin Crust Pizza Dough

A healthy, hearty twist on the classic takeout pie.

Prep Time: 20 minutes – Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes – Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 c water (110°F – 115°F)

1 pkg (2 ¼ t) rapid-rise active yeast

1 T olive oil

½ t sugar

½ t salt

1 c whole-wheat flour

1 c bread flour

2 ½ T finely ground cornmeal

Directions:

  1. Pour warm water into a cup or bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Use your fingers to gently stir yeast mixture so that all of the yeast is submerged. It is essential for the water to be between 110°F and 115°F so the yeast can work – any warmer could kill the yeast and any cooler will not activate the yeast properly. I like to use my candy thermometer to measure the temperature, but any thermometer should do. (Once you make this a few times, you will begin to get used to what the proper temperature feels like and won’t have to test it each time.)
  2. Let yeast mixture sit and bloom for 5 – 10 minutes. (You should see bubbles forming.)
  3. Meanwhile combine whole-wheat flour, bread flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Stir well.
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in yeast mixture and oil. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  5. Knead dough for 10 minutes on a lightly floured counter top. Shape dough into large ball.
  6. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and place dough ball inside.
  7. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°F. Punch down dough. Divide into 4 equal pieces if making individual pizzas. Roll out dough using a rolling pin on a surfaced lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.
  9. Place on a greased baking sheet or pizza pan and bake for 5 minutes.
  10. Remove crusts from oven and top with desired toppings. Return to oven and bake 8 – 10 minutes longer for individual pizzas and 12 – 15 minutes longer for a large pizza, or until cheese had melted and crust is done as desired.
  11. Let pizza rest a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes:

I like to par-bake the crusts before adding my toppings – this ensures that I don’t end up with soggy, undercooked crust in the center.

Bread flour contains more gluten and allows for a chewier crust, but feel free to sub in all-purpose if that’s what you have on hand.

Have a food processor? Whip up this dough in no time by letting the machine do the mixing and kneading.

Want to do some pizza meal prep? Follow the recipe through step 5 and then place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge overnight or up to one day. Or alternatively, wrap dough ball(s) in greased plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough in the fridge overnight. Always make sure to let dough come to room temperature before rolling out.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well.

What’s your favorite pizza place?

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

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