Mar 4, 2013

Whole wheat Veggie Pizza with 7 spice base


To make the perfect pizza has been one of my life quests ever since we landed in the USA and I had on hand a great big oven. There have been quite a few experiments and not all of them have turned out palatable. There have been thick crust pizzas with crusts so thick that we got exhausted chewing on them. There have been thin crust pizzas which have been so thin that we were hungry even after consuming 2 10-inchers. There have been pizzas where the topping just dropped off and we ended up eating the whole thing like chapathi and curry. There have been cheese-less pizzas for the days when I felt extra conscious of the dent I was making in Mother Earth. There have been sauce-less pizzas for those lazy experiments. There have been over garlicky pizzas and there have been bland ones too. The highlight and turning point arrived when one weekend T was craving Rosatt's pizza and I offered to make it at home instead. Immediately an aghast kiddo looked straight into my eye and explained "But amma, appa meant he wants to eat yummy pizza".
Now I am not complaining about the duo who are the guinea pigs in all my experiments. They are real sweet and supportive but I guess there is only that much they can take when it comes to a mood uplifting food like pizza. 
I am now happy to announce that I seem to have stumbled upon the best recipe for pizza. I was inspired by this post of theKitchn. Mostly I used the technique of baking specified and was charmed by the fact that I had only vessel to wash. Almost making a pizza a one-pot dish!

I do like to make the pizza base at home because that gives me more control over what goes into the end product. I have tried to make this with 100% whole wheat flour but the resulting base was more like cardboard. I need to give it another try but for now I use half and half whole wheat and all purpose flours. I have also tried making the base with Rapid rise yeast - without proofing and setting aside for the rise and have been thoroughly disappointed with the end result. The base had a over powering yeasty smell owing maybe to the fact that the recipe called for using the whole packet of yeast (around 2.5 - 3 tsp). The base did puff up in the oven but not to my liking. After most of my failed attempts with rapid rise, I gathered up enough courage to get Active Dry Yeast and proof it. Its not that complicated and you get used to what to expect after a couple of times. 


Whole wheat Veggie Pizza with 7 spice base

Servings : 2 9-inch pizzas 
Prep Time: 2.5 hrs (including 2 hrs rise time)   Cook Time: 10 mins * 2

Whole wheat Pizza base

Ingredients

1 cup Whole wheat flour
1 cup All purpose flour
1.5 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
3/4 cup warm water (I microwave water for 20 secs on high)

Flavour variations to add into the dough (that I have tried)

- Dried basil leaves 
- Italian spice mix 
- Black pepper powder
- Indian spice mix - Cumin powder, Coriander powder, Carrom powder, black pepper powder
- All of the above (This is what I have used in my pizza here)

Instructions to make the base

  1. Stir in the yeast into warm water along with sugar. Let sit for around 10 minutes. In the meanwhile the water should become frothy and a little bubbly. The surface of the water will look bulged. This process is called "proofing". 
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Add the yeast water to the dry ingredients and mix till the dough comes together. Use water as much as required, adding little at a time. 
  4. Do not knead too much. 
  5. Once the dough comes together in a ball, keep in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap or a lid.
  6. Keep the covered bowl in a warm place for 2 hours for the dough to rise. Top of the refrigerator seems to work the best. Hot air rises!

Instant Pizza sauce

Ingredients

2 Tomatoes / 5 heaped tsps of unfavoured natural tomato paste
2 garlic pods
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Olive oil or Vegetable oil or Canola oil

Instructions

  1. Grind all the ingredients together adding 1 tbsp of water if required

Pizza Toppings

Cut up the following and more and keep aside
1 Medium Onion -chopped Julienne
1 Medium Capsicum - cut thin lengthwise
2 Medium Tomatoes cut into small pieces / 10 Cherry Tomatoes halved
1 cup sweet corn
12-16 thin slices of Jalapenos
2 cups Mozzarella cheese



Putting it all together

  1. Once the dough has risen, gently press into the dough and smooth it out into a ball. Do not rough up the dough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F
  3. Divide the dough into two parts and keep one of them covered till the first one is done.
  4. Cut 2 parchment paper  squares of dimension 10-inch * 10-inch
  5. Keep a cookie sheet or inverted cake pan ready to bake the pizza. I don't own a pizza stone so cant really say what to do with that. Inverted cake pan makes it easier to cool and serve. 
  6. Now here is where I did it differently - Keeping one of the balls of dough on one parchment piece, flatten it by pressing it by hand. I did not need extra flour since I worked on parchment (cleaner). Continue to keep it on the parchment paper and roll it out with a rolling pin to desired thickness. I could get a near 9-inch circle at 1/4-inch thickness. Again be nice to the dough, it takes 5 minutes.  
  7. Cut the paper around the edge of the base as close to it as possible. 
  8. Now scoop half the sauce onto the center of the base and spread it outward with a spoon.
  9. Spread the toppings you have ready and sprinkle cheese right at the top.
  10. Slide the whole thing along with the paper onto the cookie sheet or inverted cake pan.
  11. Bake in the oven for 5 mins. 
  12. At this point remove the pizza from the oven and slide the paper out from under it. 
  13. Continue to bake for another 5 mins. 
  14. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.
  15. Repeat the process with the second pizza. 
My pizza is being YeastSpotted!
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