Monday, January 24, 2011

Yummy whole wheat rosemary pizza crust!

So I've been doing a diet game with a bunch of ladies where we break into teams and add up points for eating right and exercising throughout the week. A little healthy competition has helped me stay far more on track than trying to go it alone. Basically we eat five small meals a day with a carb (whole grains or fruits only), a lean meat, a healthy fat, and then we need to eat about four cups of veggies spread out however we'd like through the day. This has been a big change for me because I've had to get really creative with my meals when I've always eaten a pretty carb-heavy diet.

In this vein, I've been looking up and adapting recipes that fit the parameters of the contest, and are still interesting and yummy. Last week I tried a whole wheat pizza crust--only the recipe I looked up was only half whole wheat, and half white flour, so I made some adjustments. What we got was a crust that's crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and even my husband--who usually tosses the edges to the dogs--ate the whole thing.

I actually used wheat that I'd sprouted, dried and then ground into flour with my little hand-crank grinder, but you can (obviously) use whatever comes to hand. Plan to start mixing this a good three hours before you want to eat because it is a yeast bread and has to go through two risings. Alternately, you can mix it in the morning and let it raise in the fridge through the day, then do the second rising while you prepare ingredients that evening.

Rosemary Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 C whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp gluten
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary, dried

Mix sugar, warm water, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Almost all yeast sold in stores now is the instant kind that you don't have to let grow first, but you can if you like! If you do use the other kind of active dry yeast, use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. Mix in the olive oil, salt and gluten. Then add the flour slowly until a dough ball forms. This is when I added my rosemary, but before you add the flour might be better. Knead the dough on a lightly floured counter top for about ten minutes, or until it makes a nice smooth dough ball.

Place in a lightly greased bowl (I use olive oil) and cover with a dish cloth or piece of plastic wrap for approximately an hour or until doubled. I grease the bowl put the dough ball in, and then rotate it so the whole thing is lightly covered in the olive oil.

When it's has doubled you can split the ball to make two pizzas about nine inches in diameter for thin-crust pizzas or leave it as one ball for thicker crusts. I made a pizza that covered the top of a standard-sized cookie sheet and it was a nice in-between thickness. When you have a compact ball (or two) allow to rise another forty-five minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare your dough for the pan. You can roll the ball out with a rolling pin, and then stretch it carefully on your fists until it fits the right shape, but I just rolled it and spread it on a lightly greased cookie sheet (again, I used olive oil).

Load it up with whatever toppings you choose and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown slightly and the cheese melts.

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