One of my favorite things to make and eat is pizza. Most people think of pizza as the ultimate cheat food, if they're following a healthy diet. On the contrary, I think pizza can help compliment any healthy diet, if you just employ a few guidelines. First, use a whole wheat pizza crust. Whole wheat is much healthier than its white crust counterpart. Second, go easy on the cheese and add extra sauce. Last, use lean meats and plenty of vegetables. Now, I've made plenty of pizza doughs and sauces and if you've never tried it, you are really missing out. Yes I know that you don't have time with work, school, kids, nagging family members....blah blah blah. But I promise you, the time and effort with be worth the investment.
I usually make my pizza dough a day or two in advance because developing flavor takes time and care. I chose "whole wheat," simply because it's better for you and because I don't eat refined or white breads. If you are not a whole wheat fan, then you can try making a "transitional" pizza crust, a mix 50% white and 50% whole wheat flours. I've had exceptional results with Peter Reinhert's method of bread making from his "Whole Gain Breads" I consider him a genius when it comes to artisan bread making and his methods have proven extremely successful results. I used his recipe found here.
I used a "biga" starter and soaker. Starters such as "biga' (Italian) and poolish (French) help to impart extraordinary flavor by a delayed fermented process. A soaker is necessary with whole wheat flour to soften the wheat grains, to help produce a lighter dough. I chose a Hawaiian style pizza, but I don't regularly eat ham, so I replaced that with a pineapple-ginger marinaded chicken breast cut into chunks. I made a tomato base pizza sauce made with roasted garlic, onions, and a habanero pepper, Italian seasonings, pineapple juice, and red wine. I used a store bought 4 pizza cheese blend and I "lightly" dusted the pie with cheese.
The only problem that I did experience, was trying to get the entire crust as crisp as possible, before the toppings started to burn. Even though I do possess a pizza stone, my electric oven still doesn't get hot enough to accomplish this. Next time, I will try prebaking the crust before I add toppings, that way, the crust should have enough time to crisp up before the toppings start to burn. Enjoy!
Adding ingredients to be mixed and kneaded (starter, soaker, flour, olive oil, honey, yeast, and salt)
After ingredients have been mixed and kneaded
About an hour or so the dough has doubled in size
punched down for shaping
Shaped and resting to be hand tossed
Hand tossed and ready for toppings
Topped and ready for the oven
Fresh, hot, and ready for slicing with a nice glass of moscato or reisling