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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday Night Pizza - with WW and Flax Seed Crust



Friday night dinner in our house is pizza 95% of the time.  We are all trying to eat a bit healthier (not a lot - just paying a bit more attention to it) and I'm tweaking recipes where I can to get in more fiber and more natural and organic products.   This is a week-end where John is home so I decided to try to ramp up the pizza crust to something a bit more special than our regular offering.

I use the Martha Stewart Basic Pizza Dough recipe most of the time - sometimes I switch out AP flour for Whole Wheat.  This week, however, I purchased a package of Bob's Red Mill Ground Flax Seeds with the intention of adding a bit of fiber to a few recipes.  Our pizza turned out awesome!  I made a big batch of dough and then realized how visible the ground flax was, and I knew the teen would not eat it...so I made a quick recipe for him to use with just white whole wheat flour...and he never noticed the difference.

Here's how I tweaked the recipe...it was delicious! (BTW - you can half this easily)

WHOLE WHEAT WITH FLAX SEED PIZZA CRUST

Ingredients:

5 teaspoons Instant Yeast (that's two packets Active Dry Yeast if not using bulk instant)
1 1/2 cups hot tap water
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more to oil the rising bowl)
3 1/2 cups up to 3 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour (it is true whole wheat - look for the WHITE whole wheat - I use King Arthur brand - I like that they only use wheat grown in the U.S. - closest to home is best when possible)
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill ground flax seed
Extra flour for kneading
Cornmeal for pizza pan

Method:

Instant Yeast doesn't need to be proved - but I do it out of habit - so that's how I started.  If you use any other type of yeast, you would need to do this step.  Instant can actually be mixed into the flour and go forth.

Pour hot tap water into bowl of stand mixer with dough hook attached.
Add yeast and sugar, turn on the mixer for about five seconds to get things mixed together.
Turn it off and leave it for about 5 minutes until foamy and active.
Add olive oil, 3 1/2 cups of flour, and the ground flax seed. Turn the mixer on low speed to allow the dough to come together.  Once you see you won't have fly-away flour, turn up to medium and allow to run until the dough has completely pulled away from the sides of the bowl - allow the mixer to knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  If it doesn't come together, or stays too sticky, sprinkle in more flour until it does.

Oil a large bowl.  With oiled fingers remove the dough from the dough hook and place into prepared bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise (I heat my oven for just 10 seconds while the dough is kneading, then turn it off and leave the door closed...that is a perfect place in my kitchen for dough to rise because I have an a/c vent that really blows in the kitchen).  Allow to rise until at least double in size.  I let mine rise for one hour and it was about 2 1/2 times the original size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack placed in the middle position of the oven.  Do that now so when you are finished prepping your pizza the oven is nice and hot.

Using lightly floured hands, punch down and then divide the dough in half.  Turn half of the dough out onto a floured surface (re-covering the second half so a film doesn't form on the dough) and roll it out to the shape you desire.  We like a fairly thin crust so I rolled it the length of a cookie sheet.  I carefully rolled it onto the rolling pin, dusting with flour anyplace that looked potentially sticky (from where it sat on the counter) and carefully transferred it to the cornmeal dusted baking sheet.

I pinched up the edges of the dough, just slightly, to ensure no overflow of the sauce.  This time I used a store-brand of pizza sauce - and we really like it - it's a dollar cheaper than the name brand and we don't see the difference.  I spread about 1/3 of a jar of sauce all over the crust - you don't want too much or your crust will get soggy.  You want to be able to see the dough through the sauce for the most part.

I chose fresh mushrooms (cleaned and sliced) thinly sliced red onion, kalamata olive halves, pepperoni, and crumbled bacon for our toppings tonight.  I first laid down a layer of thinly sliced provolone all over the pizza sauce, then arranged the toppings evenly over the provolone.  Lastly I layered a good amount of grated mozzarella, asiago, and Parmesan to almost cover the toppings.  Four cheeses - yum!

Baked for 10-12 minutes, gently lifting the crust to ensure it was just lightly browned on the bottom.  Allowed to rest for a minute or two before slicing.

We had a salad while it baked and that was probably a good thing - we would have easily eaten the entire very large pizza by ourselves if we hadn't pre-filled our tummies with some nice romaine lettuce based salad!

This was really, really delicious.  You could see the flecks of flax seed and the crust was a nice brownish color - but it just tasted like a hearty pizza crust - I couldn't feel the flax seed at all.  I was so happy knowing it was a healthier version of our usual Friday night fare.  The teen made a calzone with his and we all settled in front of the television and watched the DVR'd double hitter of Big Bang Theory's season premier.  We laughed so hard we cried.  The teen was whooping and hollering over the sarcasm and innuendos (yay, he got them!).  I can't say how happy the evening made me.  The family together, good food, hilarious laughing together.  It was awesome!


Bon Appetit, Y'all

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