10.10.2008

Pizza Dough

Have you ever tried to make pizza dough from scratch? About a year and a half ago I decided I was going to have more control over our food and make pizza dough at home from scratch – instead of always buying pizza at Costco, as delicious and cost effective as that is. I searched recipes, decided I wanted to make whole wheat pizza crust, bought the more expensive whole wheat flour and proceeded to make pizza crust. I was happy with myself with the healthy choice for my family I was making.

So I began one morning, preparing the dough, getting the yeast to foam, using the bread hook on my countertop mixer, put the dough in one of my Pyrex bowls, placed it in a warm spot in my kitchen to rise and left it alone. The appropriate time later, according to the recipe, I came back and no rise in my dough or at least certainly not enough! So I let it longer thinking the kitchen was not warm enough. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I turned the oven on low to warm things up, set the bowl near the vent on top of the stove – not much better. I went to plan “B” for dinner that night.

I though perhaps it was the yeast, it had not expired but I only had it a few months. I bought more yeast and a few weeks later tried again. Same results. I was frustrated, but I was going to concur this challenge! I found another recipe and tried again, this time using a bit more yeast, thinking that might help. The weather was warmer, so I put the dough out side in the sun to rise and left it for twice the specified time. Still no success – we went to Costco for pizza that night, I was very frustrated.

I let the project rest for a few months, even though the “third time” was NOT the charm, I still wanted to try and rise to the challenge. But how to do so. I read some stuff on whole wheat flour, and finally found an actual whole wheat flour pizza crust recipe – not just the pizza crust recipes I had been working from and substituting whole wheat for regular white flour. The whole wheat flour pizza crust recipe I found called for just a little bit more white flour than whole wheat flour proportionately. Apparently, whole wheat flour does not rise the same as white flour – go figure!

I bought more yeast, new whole wheat flour (I had used up the bag I had on all my “errors”), and new white flour – just to be safe. I combined the feature of one recipe I thought sounded good, with fresh rosemary in the crust, along with my new whole wheat pizza crust, and viola! The dough did not rise as much as I thought it would, but it sure rose a lot more than my three other attempts. I was so excited to finally be serving homemade whole wheat pizza that night!

We agreed that it had a good flavor, with rosemary and sea salt, but that it was still more like flat bread than the airy pizza crusted you get at a pizza place. And at least I can better control what is on the pizza like homemade red sauce, low fat mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni (don’t tell my husband!)

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