Monday, June 20, 2011

Perfect Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Perfect Pizza Crust - Makes perfect Calzones too!
Perfect Pizza Crust - Whole Wheat Crust
So I've posted the recipe that I use for thin crust pizza dough recipe but I haven't yet shared with you my all time favourite pizza crust.

This recipe is perfection. Its crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside. This recipe comes together very easily and freezes well for use at a later date.

I stress the importance of using bread flour. Bread flour makes for a much better pizza crust. When I've used AP the crust is good, it just isn't as good as when I use bread flour. I do use whole wheat bread flour and I love it! I don't understand pizzerias that don't offer a whole wheat crust option. I just adore the chewy, nutty flavour that whole wheat lends to a pizza.

Also, I'm finally admitting that a pizza stone works wonders on crust. I didn't cave and buy one like everyone has been telling me to. I received a cast iron skillet as a wedding gift. It's a perfect multi purpose tool (just what one needs in a tiny place) and it has a dedicated home, outside on our BBQ. So no need to store in the kitchen! Win Win! I now have a pizza stone to bake my perfect crust on and I also have a cast iron skillet for outdoor cooking and tortilla making!

Perfect Pizza Crust - Base for Mexican Pizza
Perfect Pizza Crust
adapted from Annies Eats

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup warm water 
  • 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast 
  • 1 tsp of honey or agave
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 cups whole wheat bread flour, plus more for dusting (I've used AP flour too and you can use white bread flour as well) 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2 heaping tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 heaping tsp of onion powder
  • 1 heaping tsp of dried basil
  • 1 heaping tsp of dried oregano
  • parchment paper or silpat for baking
Directions:
  1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast, add the honey and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add oil and stir to combine. 
  2. Place the flour, seasonings and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (It takes me longer with whole wheat, sometimes 10 minutes of kneading) Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  3.  Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500F for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two equal pieces for 2 large pizzas or 3 pieces for three medium pizzas. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes. 
  5. Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or parchment paper. Top as desired. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone or place parchment paper on the stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use. 
  6. You can also preheat oven to 500F and bake the pizza on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper OR preheat oven to 480F and bake the pizza on a baking sheet lined with a silpat. 
  7. I find that frozen/defrosted dough has more flavour. It's that defrost and long rise over the course of the day that lends flavour to the dough. If I have time I've started making the dough in the morning and letting it rise all day in the fridge.