A Case for Pizza! And a recipe for perfect dough
Pizza is healthy. You can quote me on that. Of course, there is a spectrum of health to discuss following that statement. Let’s put a meat lover’s double stuffed crust on one end and a homemade veggie pizza with whole grain or cornmeal crust on another. There’s a lot that falls in between and will suit you depending on your overall diet and nutrition goals. Following our overall philosophy on nutrition and making sure everything is balanced, focused around vegetables and home-cooked as often as possible, you can certainly make a pizza choice that fits our definition of healthy.
A little tip to to make that home-cooked part a little easier is to make your own dough ahead of time and freeze it. The following recipe makes 4 balls of dough, so it’s perfect for saving for later. I have also been known to stock up on Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods pizza dough to make life even more easy. Sometimes, I look forward to the meditative kneading of the dough, while other times the task feels overwhelming and messy.
Another tip that is not necessary but highly recommended is to get a pizza stone. A pizza stone not only makes the crust super crispy and delicious but it makes the cooking time really fast. Once you get the stone and the oven pre-heated, the pizza itself will only take 5-8 minutes to cook. If you have the dough pre-made, you can assemble and bake a whole pizza in 15 minutes. That’s less time than it will take to order a pizza and get it delivered. It’s also a fraction of the price and it’s a fun thing to do with the family or friends. Have everyone bring their own topping and make it a pizza party!
That brings me to my last tip… get creative with toppings and chose lots of veggies. In the winter we like to top pizzas with roasted veggies; in the summer sauteed zucchini. An ofcourse, you gotta throw some kale on there for good measure.
Makes 4, 12” pizzas
1 ¾ warm water
1 packet dry yeast
1 Tbs honey
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1-2 cups whole wheat flour*
2-3 cups white bread flour
- Place water, yeast, and honey in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Add oil, 1 cup whole wheat flour, then salt and mix together.
- Add the rest of the flour as needed and knead into soft dough. Knead for about 15 minutes and add flour as needed. Leave in a warm place and rise until tripled in volume. This may take about 2-3 hours.
4. Cut dough into 4-5 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place on oiled tray, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The flavor is more developed if left overnight. Remove from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes before using
5. Flour crust well before shaping.
6. Using your fists, stretch the dough into a thin disc.
7. Place on the back of a cookie sheet or a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal.
8. Place toppings on dough, leaving a border for the crust. Make sure to not overload the pizza with toppings. This will cause the crust to not bake properly.
9. Place pizza stone in oven and preheat for at least 30 minutes on the highest setting, 500 degrees for most ovens.
10. Gently and swiftly slide assembled pizza onto stone. You may want to sprinkle the stone with a little cornmeal just before putting pizza in oven
11. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the dough is bubbly and browned. Watch the pizza carefully!