Monday, September 5, 2011

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

Today's the end of my extended long weekend.  It's been a busy one!  I really needed the extra day off to fit it all in!  Today alone has been a whirl-wind, including two separate visits with friends, and walking my very first 1/2 marathon distance!  So, to 'celebrate' a bit for that, and the end of my fun weekend, I'm making myself pizza.

To start, I'm making the dough.  It's a recipe I've made three batches of before, so it's starting to get to be habit now.  I was intimidated by the idea of kneading it at first, but I feel I'm progressively getting better, and the dough is turning out less and less tough, so my skills must be getting better.

The recipe itself recommends dividing the dough into two balls to provide two pizzas for a typical family.  Since I'm only me, I divide the dough into six personal pizzas and go with that.  I've adjusted the baking time accordingly, and it seems to be working well.  I get to use my pizza stone to boot, so I'm a happy camper.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

Makes: 2 1-lb dough balls, or six mini dough balls.

1 Tbsp honey
1 cup less 1 1/2 Tbsp lukewarm water, divided
1 pkg active dry yeast (1/4 oz or 2 1/2 tsp)
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, divided
4 tsp vital wheat gluten (try: Bob's Red Mill)
1 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

In a large bowl, mix together the honey and 1/3 cup water.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes UNDISTURBED (don't stir or move the bowl) until the yeast is foamy.  If it doesn't foam, the yeast is dead and you'll need to start over with all new ingredients.

While yeast is proofing (foaming up), mix together two cups of flour, the wheat gluten, and salt in another large bowl.  Once the yeast has foamed, add the remaining water and 2 Tbsp of oil to the yeast mixture, then pour in flour mixture and gently fold until just combined.  The mixture will be a very wet dough ball.

Coat a third bowl with the remaining olive oil, and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it just enough to coat the ball with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to sit aside at room temperature for one hour to rise.  The dough will be very soft and sticky.
 Dough before and after rising for one hour.

Lightly dust the counter with some of the remaining flour and knead dough ball for one minute.  Transfer ball back to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit again for 30 minutes to rise.
 Dough before and after kneading and rising for 30 minutes.

Transfer dough ball back to the counter and knead again for 30 seconds.  Divide the dough to form two balls.  Lightly knead each for about 30 seconds and reform into balls.  Dough is now ready for use or to freeze.  To store, wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap.  Dough can be kept in the fridge for 24 hours, or frozen for up to one month.
 Bagged and ready for the freezer, minus tonight's supper!

To use from the fridge:  remove dough from fridge and let it warm up to room temperature about 10 minutes before forming pizza crust.

To use from freezer:  transfer dough from freezer to fridge and let it defrost overnight before following the use from the fridge steps above.

Source:  Best of Clean Eating Magazine.

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