Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pizza Crust

If there was one food item that I would choose if I could only have that, it would be pizza - there are so many ways to make a pizza and flavor combinations you can make! After years of searching for a great pizza dough, I think I have finally found one, I've used it the past few times and love it. Plus you can use it to make breadsticks as well - however I do advise using twice as much yeast if used for breadsticks. Pizza variations found below - Enjoy!

Pizza Crust

In a large bowl dissolve 1 Tablespoon sugar in 1-1/2 cups warm (105-115 degrees) water.
Add 1/2 Tablespoon yeast (remember to double to 1 Tbsp if making breadsticks.)
Wait 5-10 minutes until yeast is bubbly. Once yeast is bubbly add 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Add 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups all purpose flour.
Mix until combined
Next add 2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use only all purpose flour if you would rather.)
Stir until flour is mixed into the dough.
Dough will be sticky, but able to be manageable.
Place dough onto a floured surface and knead in 1/4-1/2 cup flour.
Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place into a large bowl that has been greased (I usually just spray with non-stick cooking spray.) Let rise until doubled in size. (Or if you are in a hurry you can skip this step.. I usually do.)
If you let the dough rise, punch down. Place on a flat surface sprinkled with flour and roll out.
I usually roll my dough onto my baking stone (it makes it easier!) If you rolled out on the counter, fold into fourths and place onto baking sheet or stone (grease and sprinkle with corn meal before placing pizza crust on baking pan.) Fold in edges.
Poke dough with a fork to prevent bubbles while cooking. I usually bake my dough for 8 minutes at 400 degrees before topping, but if you roll out a thin crust this step can be skipped. Crust should be baked for a total of 20 minutes.
Top with your favorite toppings.
Some of my favorites:
Chicken Soup Pizza

Chicken Fajita Pizza

Cordon Bleu Pizza

Pesto, Spinach, Feta Pizza
 Spinach Chicken Alfredo
 and the veggie pizza I just made - here's the crust variation and the basics of how I put together the veggie pizza:

Spinach Pizza Crust:
In a blender blend 1/2 cup water and 1 cup fresh spinach until spinach leaves are pureed. Reduce warm water to 1 cup before adding sugar and yeast. Add spinach with water after the oil. You will need to add a few tablespoons more flour.
For a really spinach crust, use 1 cup water (reduce the amount in the recipe to 1/2 cup before adding sugar and yeast), and blend in 4 cups of spinach. I blended in 1 cup at a time because I don't have a fancy juicing blender. 

Veggie Pizza:
I used a basic marinara sauce - except I added 1/2 cups carrots to the tomatoes in a blender before simmering.
For toppings: Add any veggies you wish, I used broccoli, onion, green bell peppers and tomatoes.

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