“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”- Dave Barry
I think alchemy occurs when you take a well made dough, add cheese and a few choice toppings then bake quickly in a blazing hot oven. If you have ever had a beautifully made wood fired pizza in a great restaurant, you know what I am taking about.
Now let me clarify, I do not claim to make the best pizza in the world however, I have made enough of them in my life to say that I make a pretty decent homemade pizza. My dream is to one day have a wood oven so that I can take it up to the next level but, I will say you can make a pretty good pizza at home with your average kitchen oven and a $10 pizza stone. There are a million ways to make a great pizza and equally as many opinions on the subject. When I imagine my favorite pizzas they are either whole wheat or white, thin crust with a few choice toppings cooked extremely hot and fast.
I make Pizza every Friday and I start by making the dough the day before.
Let's make our first pizza together. This one has a sweet bar-b-q sauce base with shredded chicken and hot sauce for some contrasting heat. Sweet, spicy yumminess!
Honey Whole Wheat Dough
You will need:
1 1/2 tsp regular yeast
1/1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour (more for kneading)
1 tsp salt
Step 1: in a bowl add warm water, yeast and honey. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes until you can see the yeast has activated and is getting foamy.
Step 2: add whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt. Mix in the bowl until it becomes too stiff to stir. Scrape the bowl onto a floured counter and continue to mix until all the flour has been incorporated. Add additional flour as needed until your dough is no longer sticky to the touch.
Step 3: place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap. This bowl needs to be large enough to accommodate the dough as it rises. You can let this dough rise for as little as 1 hour on the counter before using however, I think the flavour is much better if you cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in fridge until next day. The crust gets this nice chewy interior and a crunchy bottom if you let it rise for at least 24 hours and cook it on a pizza stone.
Step 4: Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll out each pizza on a piece of parchment paper with some flour to avoid sticking. I like to roll out thin so that the pizza is the same size as the pizza stone. I find using parchment paper to be easy to put in and out of oven plus the stone stays cleaner and if any toppings happen to fall off the pie then end up on the paper and not on the stone which can burn and start smoking in the oven...its just cleaner (ask me how I know all these details! ...right cause I have done it all wrong before)
For the Topping:
- sweet bar-b-q sauce (like a honey garlic)
- 1 ball of pizza mozzarella - grated
- 2 chicken breasts-cooked and shredded
- sprinkle of Italian seasoning
- Hot Sauce
Step 5: Top the dough with a layer of sweet bar-b-q sauce. Do not add too much sauce or the toppings can slide off.
Step 6: top with grated mozzarella cheese (I buy a ball of pizza mozzarella, then cut the ball in half and shred each half directly onto each pizza). I don't buy the pre-shredded mozzarella because they use preservatives to keep it all nicely separated. Top with shredded chicken, Italian seasoning and some hot sauce. I used Frank's red hot because it is not too hot but you can use what you like.
Step 7: Bake directly on a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. If you are nervous about cooking it so hot you can cook at at 475 and it will still be great. It takes 5-8 minutes to bake. watch it! take it out when its browned around the edges and browned and bubbling on top. I use a pizza peel to put the pie on the stone & to remove it. If you do not have one use a cutting board to slide over to pizza stone.
Slide off the parchment paper and wait a few minutes to let it cool slightly. If you cut it right away the cheese can get runny. Get yourself a lovely glass of red wine and then slice it and enjoy!
Then bake the next one.
If you don't eat it all it can be frozen and quickly re-heated in a 350 oven for 5-7 mins.