Whole Wheat Cheese Pizza

 I love pizzas, but the version that’s loaded with veggies. I had never cared much for cheese pizzas, which is quite funny because the very first pizza that I had was a cheese pizza!  I was probably in the 6th grade and my dad had bought these pizza bases from Nilgris and he set out to bake a pizza using Maggi tomato ketchup (yep! you got that right) and processed Amul cheese in that tiny oven that we had! That my friends was home made pizza in a Madras household in the early 90’s, and what a delicious thing it was. Well, my life changed that day and soon I was making these little snacks myself and dad 🙂  Heck, I even made this pizza for my cousin once and took it over in a plate covered with a crocheted napkin! If only we had  smart phones in those days I would have clicked a picture.  It looked so gourmet for the times and the taste was just…..bliss!

 Back to the present, I started giving current day cheese pizzas another chance when my little one discovered “cheese peezzzaa” 🙂 And every time I saw him munching away with glee on a cheesey and floury slice, it always bothered me. Bothered me, because it was floury and not to healthy. Our saving grace is that we don’t eat pizza often…seriously, imagine what the calories from 2-3 slices of a deep dish pizza can do to an adult waist line? And me, I really don’t need it, though I love the cheese!

DSC00608

So, I did what any red blooded mother would do –  a search for a wheat pizza crust. I recently discovered the book, King Arthur’s Whole grain baking which is filled with many great recipes that use grains such as wheat, rye, millets etc., and as luck would have it they have some great recipes for pizza too. I found that I could adapt the herbed spinach and mushroom recipe for a gourmet meal for the lil one. And considering that I prefer thin crust pizzas to the thick crusted ones, this recipe was a winner. So one Saturday, as I hung out with the little man in my life, I asked him if he would like pizza for dinner and this was met with an enthusiastic “Yes”. And even better was the fact that I actually had all the ingredients that was required in my kitchen. Few hours later, a grand cheese pizza was greeted loudly by cheers of “Cheese Peeezzzaaa” by the little one who insisted that he eat it immediately and was not too happy when I told him it was hot. He put up with me for just a little while, allowing me to take some pictures and gladly posed with the Pizza too 🙂

Needless to say my best award that day were the words “Thank You Mommy! I like the cheese peeezzzaaa”. All complete with prancing, clapping and a cheesy mouth.

DSC00605The recipe without anymore rambling. Adapted from King Arthur’s ” Whole Grain Baking”

 For the Crust

  • 3.3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1.5 tsp instant yeast
  • 1.5 cups cool water
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1tbp Olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1tbso dried Oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes

For the topping

  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.1.4 or less of grated mozzarella cheese

I just threw in some mushrooms on one half of the pizza as I had them in the fridge at that time. You can always experiment with your toppings!

Making the Crust

  1. Mix 2 cups of flour and the yeast in a bowl.
  2. Add water and honey and stir the mixture well. Cover with an air tight lid, and let it rest for about an hour
  3. After an hour, the mixture would have bubbled and started rising.
  4. Combine olive oil, salt herbs and pepper flakes and add to the dough.
  5. Add he remaining 1.3/4 cups of flour and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is shiny and elastic. The dough would still be soft.
  6. Coat the dough and the bowl with some olive oil and let the dough raise until it is doubled. This would take about 1.5 hrs – 2hrs.
  7. Once the dough has risen, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and split into two and let each half rest for about half hour. It will rise again.

If you prefer a thick crust pizza you need not split the dough

Preparing the Topping

If using mushrooms, gently saute the mushrooms until they have lightly browned. If using other veggies like onions and bell peppers, chop them and toss them with some olive oil, dried herbs like oregano and basil and salt and keep aside.

Pizza

Shaping and creating the Pizza

I baked my pizza using a standard pizza baking plate. If you have a pizza stone you can use that – it would definitely yield a more yummilicious pizza! 🙂 Make sure you pre-heat the stone when the oven is also pre-heating.

  1. Set the oven to 375F and start the pre-heating process
  2. Grease the pizza pan with some olive oil or coking spray and then gently using a well floured rolling pin, roll the dough gently and place onto the pizza pan
  3. Roll the edges of the dough to make a small rim around the ends of the pizza (see pic above)
  4. Prick the dough all over with a fork and then bake the crust in the oven for about 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, take the crust out of the oven and increase the temperature of the oven to 425F
  6. Top the crust with the pizza sauce. I used home-made marinara sauce, but you could use a store-bought version. 
  7. Spread the cheese on top of the layer of sauce. Take care not to add too much cheese or sauce. It makes the pizza soggy
  8. Spread the mushrooms if you are adding them
  9. Bake the pizza for about 10-12 minutes until the cheese melts and becomes bubbly
  10. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve.

Enjoy!

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