Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A little bit of a Cheat

Okay, so yesterday we were alighting about how fab it is that Spring has Sprung. Alas, with Spring comes the inevitability that Summer is just around the corner. For us girls, this realization brings with it that familiar feeling of dread - bikini season. Now, as we've told you time and time again, we ladies here at Gourmet Galley love to eat - dieters we are not! Sure, we eat fairly healthfully - you have to when you spend your summer days sampling savory goodness from the all-too-close kitchen, not to mention our cured meat vice (mmmmm soppressata...), and constant carb cravings. Warm weather means no more beef bourgignone (though we are always up for an April frost so we can make stew one.last.time.), no more spaghetti and meatballs, no more Chinese takeout. Instead, we have to find ways to make our favorite foods just a tad bit healthier, and with this in mind, we bring you this awesome whole-wheat pizza crust recipe. (Last night Chef Tim made an awesome Hawaiian pizza with leftover Easter ham, some ripe pineapple, simple tomato sauce, and low fat mozzarella cheese - yummm).
It's super simple, just takes a bit of planning ahead.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, via
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115F)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
2/3 cup fine semolina or yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

This recipe is really just for a pizza dough with a crunchy crust, but some topping suggestions are included below as well. Don't be tempted to replace all of the white flour with whole wheat, as it just won't have sufficient gluten to be chewy like pizza crust (it will be more cake-like).

This dough is not a stand in for an all-white flour pizza dough but is an interesting change for an occasional treat.

Dissolve 1 tsp. sugar in warm water with yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes until mixture foams.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, semolina or cornmeal, salt and red pepper (at this stage, you can add a pinch of other seasonings, such as basil, oregano, garlic powder, etc., if you like). Mix until ingredients are well combined.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir the flour mixture into the center using a wooden spoon or clean hands until the dough begins to come together to form a ball.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 10-12 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding a little flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to surface (or knead using the dough hook of your stand mixer for 5-8 minutes).

Brush a large bowl with olive oil and place the ball of dough into the bowl, turning once to coat well with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 90 minutes or more).

Punch dough down. Use within 2 hours or refrigerate until the next day or freeze for up to 3 or 4 months.

To use, when the dough is at room temperature and has begun to rise, stretch it out into as thin a pizza crust as possible leaving a slightly higher ridge along the edges to keep the ingredients in. Sprinkle coarse cornmeal or semolina on the baking pan and spread the stretched dough onto the pan. Top as desired and bake at 400, rotating in the oven until crust is golden brown and center is cooked through.

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