Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (at high altitude)

Home-made Pizza

There are two main positions on pizza at home, in my opinion. One position is taken when you’re damn hungry, don’t have any food at home and don’t feel like cooking anyway. So, you order up some delicious melted cheese on some baked bread and enjoy. Making the pizza at home is a completely different position. Making your own dough requires about an hour to let it rise (possibly longer in lower altitude places) but the result is lovely. It tastes healthier, it can be packed with veggies, it is likely cheaper, you can be more selective about your ingredients (for instance: organic flour, veggies, sauce; part-skim mozzarella) and is kinda fun.

I found a tasty little recipe for home-made whole wheat pizza dough today from Vegweb.com. I didn’t know that website even existed, but it looks to be a good resource for vegetarian and vegan recipes. This dough came together really nicely, was easy to roll out and was also quite tasty. The only change I would suggest is that if you only make one pizza with this amount of dough, you’ll have a pretty thick crust. The Spice Raconteurs prefer something a little crunchier so I made two pizzas with this amount.  (Oh, we also didn’t have any what gluten– it turned out fine.)

For the dough, here’s what you need:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 oz)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil (separated)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon gluten (optional ?)
yellow cornmeal

What to do:

  1. Combine the water, yeast, sugar, gluten (or 1 T flour) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Let this sit for 5 minutes until the yeast show their vigor by making the mixture foamy on top.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt. Mix with a spoon (it will be be pretty wet.)
  3. Add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until you get a nice dough ball. Incorporate the flour as you knead until the dough ball is just barely tacky. 
  4. Slice the ball in two and then knead again to make both balls smooth. 
  5. Put the rest of the oil into two medium sized bowls and place one dough ball in each. Roll them around so they are covered with the oil. 
  6. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit for about 1- 1 1/2 hours in a warm (but not hot) place. (I turned the oven on for about 2 minutes to warm it up, turned it off and then put the dough in there.)
  7. After the dough has doubled in size, take them out and roll them out.

Pizza!

For the pizza*:

  • 1 can (15 oz) pizza sauce (I like Muir Glen
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 2 small zucchini sliced thin
  • lots of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 a white onion, sliced
  • grated part-skim mozzarella
  • pepperoni
  • Parmesan cheese

What you do:

  1. Spread a little less than half the sauce on each pizza round
  2. top with all of the toppings
  3. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees

* You can really use whatever you want and be creative. This is what I did tonight. Yummy.

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Healthier Zucchini Bread

Well, it’s that time again. Zucchini time. Our garden zucchini plant is regularly producing 2-3 zucchini’s every few days so we’ve got a bit of an excess on our hands. One way to use up zucchini– especially those zucchinis that got a little too big and aren’t as sweet and delicate as you’d like– is to make zucchini bread!

My mom has a fantastic zucchini bread recipe that she got from her friend Rose Meyer. And Rose probably got it from somewhere else, but I don’t know where. The original recipe has a lot of oil and sugar in it, as well as all white flour, and since T likes to have this for breakfast, I set out to make it a little healthier. In the end, I think I succeeded in making each slice about 70 calories less, and decreased the fat by half (from 10 grams to 5 grams) and doubled the fiber. I think that some more changes could be made to make it even better for us (such as adding nuts to increase protein, adding flax seed for more fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids, decreasing the oil even more, or cutting out some of the egg yolks) but those changes may have to wait for another time. (Also, I kind of hate recipes that complicate things by making me waste a good egg yolk just to save some fat and cholesterol– egg yolks have a ton of vitamins in them so why not eat ’em?)

For now, I present to you a recipe for healthier zucchini bread:

What you need:

  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil (like canola)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c. coarsely shredded zucchini
  • 1 8-0z. can of crushed pineapple
  • 3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is best!)
  • 1 c. raisins (or currents)
  • 1 c. applesauce

What do do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Whisk it up.
  2. Stir in the zucchini, pineapple, applesauce and raisins.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients gently into the zucchini mixture until just blended.
  5. Divide batter into two greased 5.5 x 9.5 loaf pans.
  6. Bake in the center of a 375 degree oven for 5o minutes.
  7. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn onto rack.
  8. EAT IT! Yummy.

Nutrition facts per slice (based on 12 slices per loaf):
Calories: 170
Fat: 5 grams
Protein: 3.5 grams
Fiber: 1.4 grams