We love pizza, but usually try to restrict our love for pizza to just once a week. Friday night is “pizza night” in our house. My husband happily enjoys the same pizza every week, which is a Margherita pizza topped with arugula and prosciutto after it is cooked. I prefer to play around with my pizza toppings, often changing the ingredients along with the seasons. Although we are lucky enough to own two backyard pizza ovens, one here in North America, and one in Umbria, you can make great pizza in your oven as well.
In my ongoing challenge to make our weekly meals healthier, I have been playing around with the dough, incorporating whole grain flour in with my pizza flour. We love our old pizza dough which is both tender and crisp, so I found that using all whole wheat just made too tough of a crust. It took a few tries, but I am now using 50% white wheat flour, and 50% pizza flour (also known as tipo “00” in Italy which is similar to cake flour). In the US I buy Caputo pizza flour which works the same as the Italian tipo “00”. I also use one cup of white wine along with the water, which helps to create a tender dough. My choice of toppings for this pizza were influenced by the season, choosing a combination of asparagus, goat cheese, Kalamata olives, and fresh tomatoes. This dough recipe makes 4 to 6 pizzas depending on the size, so you will have dough leftover. Simply weight the dough into equal 8 ounce balls, and wrap the unneeded balls and freeze for future pizzas.
My tips for creating great pizza –
• Allow the dough to come to room temperature before shaping. I usually take my pizza dough balls out of the refrigerator at least two hours before I need them.
• Weigh the dough for individual pizzas. I generally make my pizzas 250 grams or 8 ounces in size.
• Thirty minutes before you need to make your pizza, lightly flour the ball, then press it out into a disc about 1 inch thick. Cover with a kitchen towel until needed.
• Use your hands and not a rolling pin to shape your crust which will help to create a light crust with air pockets. The rolling pin pushes all the air out and will give you a flatter, less tender pizza crust. Use the base of your palm and fingers and keep turning the disc of dough as you gently stretch it.
• Brush olive oil around the edges of the pizza dough before you add the sauce and toppings to ensure a golden brown crisp crust.
Deborah Mele 2014
- 3 Cups White Wheat Flour
- 3 Cups Pizza Flour (See notes Above)
- 1 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 to 1 1/4 Cups Warm Water (Approximate)
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Rapid Rise Yeast
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 (3 Ounce) Log of Soft Goat Cheese
- 1/2 Pound Asparagus, Trimmed, and Blanched Until Tender Crisp
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Pitted Kalamata Olives
- 1 Pint Ripe Cherry Tomatoes, Chopped, and Seasoned With Salt & Pepper
- For the dough, in a large bowl mix together the two flours, the white wine, yeast, salt, and olive oil.
- Slowly add in the warm water, stirring as you go until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Dump the ball out onto a lightly floured surface and using your hands, knead with your hands until the dough is very smooth, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap and let double in size.
- Divide the dough up into 8 ounce portions, rolling each in a ball.
- Place two of the balls on a lightly oiled plate and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
- Wrap the remaining balls in plastic wrap and freeze for future use.
- Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before needed, allowing them to completely come to room temperature before using.
- Preheat your oven to the highest setting (usually 500 degrees F.).
- For Each Pizza: On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to press your dough out to a 12 inch circle.
- Lightly cover a baking sheet (or pizza peel if using a pizza stone) with cornmeal, and place the dough on top.
- Lightly brush the outer edge of the pizza with olive oil, then scatter the mozzarella and crumble the goat cheese over each pizza, leaving a 1 inch border all around.
- Arrange the asparagus on the pizzas, then scatter the olives and diced tomatoes on top.
- Bake each pizza until golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes each.