I got this crust recipe from Nie Nie here, and I was excited because her recipe leaves room for lots of creativity.
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour is also ok, I learned)
1 envelop active dry yeast***
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (since I was using pesto sauce, I chose basil olive oil)
1/4 teaspoons sugar
***Using yeast was VERY intimidating for me as I prepared for this recipe. I watched Anne Burrell make pizza on her show the other week, and she recommended adding a pinch of sugar to the mixture and making sure the water is just warm enough to cultivate, not too hot. I wasn't sure what to look for to indicate it was ready, but by the time I'd mixed the dry ingredients and added the olive oil in a bowl, I could smell it and it turned out well.
Directions: Add yeast to one cup of warm water (not too hot), let sit. Mix dry ingredients together, then add olive oil. Add yeast mixture (including water) and combine kneading for about 5 minutes. Let rise for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and roll out the dough. I had to do this twice because I didn't flour my rolling pin or my pizza stone well enough. Oh yeah, I cooked mine on a pizza stone, but I'm sure it would turn out just as well in a pizza pan or a rectangular cookie sheet. Make sure the dough is even or else it won't cook evenly. I pressed uneven spots down gently with my fingers. You can either make the crust thin or thick, depending on the circumference of your rolling.
Add your toppings. I spread pesto sauce for a garlicy punch, crumbled feta cheese, pre-cooked chicken and bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. It would be a great thing to make sure toppings aren't piled too high, they're chopped into bite-sized pieces so they cook evenly, and if you are using raw ingredients, make sure they are cooked ahead of time in case 15 minutes isn't enough to do the job!
Bake for 15-18 minutes in a 450-degree oven. Mine baked for 16 minutes. Next time, I might try baking the crust with the sauce for about 6 minutes, adding the toppings, and then baking the rest for 12 minutes. Not sure if that would work. I counted one spot in one slice that wasn't "doughy," but wasn't as crunchy as the rest of the crust.
Now that I've accomplished this, and it's pretty easy to do, I am excited about all of the variations I can do. Here are few of my ideas:
- To sweeten the dough for fruit or dessert pizza, add a little honey
- Pineapple, canadian bacon, spinach and mozzarella pizza
- Cinnamon apple pizza (a little cheddar sounds good, too!)
- Leftover fruit pizza
- Taco pizza: cheddar, seasoned ground beef, tomato and avocado
The possibilities are endless!