Pizza is the ultimate convenience food. There is the restaurant pizza, ready in minutes, delivered to your table, warm and sliced. There is the delivery pizza, delivered to your doorstep with the push of a few buttons. In the freezer section, there are countless versions of the frozen variety, ready to be brought home and baked or microwaved in a manner of minutes. There are even pre-made pizza doughs and pizza crusts, leaving the harried home chef with some room for creativity and imagination.
To be sure, we’ve tried each and every one of the above combinations. But lately, we’ve enjoyed making our own pizza, totally from scratch.
Homemade pizza is not a difficult endeavor. And after mixing the dough two or three times, making the dough will become second nature. The trick, at least for me, is making the dough first, the minute you get home. The dough takes only a few minutes to mix and knead, but will require an hour to rise. To that end, the first thing to do is to prep the yeast and mix the flour. Once that is done, you have an hour to kick off your shoes and put up your feet. Or even go for a run.
After that hour of television or exercise, the dough is nice and fluffed, ready to be rolled. Rolling out the dough is simple and only takes a minute. Once the dough is rolled, be sure and put the dough on your cooking instrument — you want to do this before you load up the dough with the toppings. Otherwise, it will be very hard to transfer the pizza from the rolling surface to your oven.
This recipe makes three, eight-inch (give or take) pizzas, perfect for a his and her variety, as it were!
WHOLE-WHEAT HOMEMADE PIZZA
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
DOWN TIME: 1 hour
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
YIELD: Three, 8-inch Pizzas
WHAT TO GRAB: FOR THE DOUGH 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (1 envelope) 1 teaspoon sugar 1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115° F) 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading 1 cup whole-wheat flour 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 2 tablespoons olive oil FOR THE TOPPINGS 1 cup shredded mozzarella 1 red onion, thinly sliced 2 links of andouille sausage, thinly sliced Roasted eggplant or squash, thinly sliced Sliced olives Sun-dried tomatoes Tomato sauce (optional) Salt and Pepper, to taste Arugula 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
HOW YOU DO IT:
PREPARE THE DOUGH
1. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the mixture doesn’t foam, you’ll have to discard it and start over with new yeast.) When the yeast is dissolved, add one tablespoon olive oil, the Kosher salt, the flour, and remaining cup of water. Mix well.
2. Remove the dough to a lightly floured board, and knead it by hand for about five minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 50 to 60 minutes.
PREPARE THE PIZZA
3. Preheat the oven to 450 to 475 degrees. Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 8-inch circle (roughly). Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. With a fork, prick the edge of the dough to create a nice, airy, crust.
4. Sprinkle the toppings of your choice on each pizza. For our pizza, we used mozzarella, sliced onions, roasted eggplant, roasted squash, sliced olives, sun-dried tomatoes, andouille sausage, and some tomato sauce. After that, we added a sprinkle of salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. (You can also add some arugula for after the pizza has cooked).
5. Bake the pizzas for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the crust is golden brown.