Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

This recipe is a bit complicated, but it’s a great one to have in your repertoire. The key is just to follow all the steps exactly, and your pizza will turn out perfectly. Pizza crust is a very versatile food, and can be used as the foundation for many toppings, or even as a bread for soups and stews. It’s also a wonderful thing to have in your freezer for busy weekday dinners, or lazy Saturday lunches. Just wrap the crusts tightly in plastic wrap and foil before putting in the freezer.

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup warm water, 110A? to 115A? F.

1 envelope active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Be careful that the water is the correct temperature (use an instant read thermometer) as it will affect the yeast otherwise. Add the yeast to the water and stir until it is dissolved, about 1 minute. The mixture should be a beige color. Let stand for five minutes, allowing a foam to cover the surface. This tells you that the yeast is active. If no foam forms, get a new packet of yeast, and start over.

Combine one cup of the all purpose flour and all the whole wheat flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture, salt, and olive oil. Using the flat beater, mix for 1 minute at medium speed. Now using the dough hook, beat for 5 minutes at medium speed. If the dough feels sticky, add more flour. If it is dry, add warm water, one tablespoon at a time. Remove from the bowl, and shape into a ball. Place in a large, well-oiled bowl. Coat the ball with oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until it has doubled in size. Then punch down the dough, compressing all the air bubbles. Form into a ball, turn to coat and cover tightly again. This process can be repeated up to four times before the dough is spent. It can also be refrigerated overnight if necessary. Make sure the dough is at room temperature before moving on.

For this particular dish, I like to cut the dough in fourths and stretch the dough by hand. But you can use a rolling pin, and the entire ball of dough as well. Gravity is your greatest ally here, so stretch the dough by allowing it to hang in the air, as you gently manipulate it onto a circular shape. Heat the oven to 450A?. Once the dough is stretched to the proper size, place it on a pizza stone or baking sheet. For a traditional pizza, add your toppings now. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through and gently browned. Serve immediately, or cool before freezing.

By Laura