At first I used to buy the pre-made pizza dough where you just had to plop on the ingredients and put it in the oven. Yea, it was convenient, but it tasted mass produced and had a bunch of weird ingredients I couldn't even pronounce in it. I guess it has to have all those in there so it can be shelf stable and not mold for weeks on end. Then I decided to buy the real pizza dough that you had to form yourself. This was easy because all the rising was done and you just had to roll it out. It was nice and rustic, but I wanted to try my hand at the real thing. The pizza dough recipe that we always use is a whole-wheat version adapted from CookingLight and it comes out really well. I encourage you to try your hand at your own pizza dough, because your efforts will be rewarded and it's much cheaper than buying the pre-made stuff.
Instead of making pizza this time around, we made calzones. These are great because you can pretty much take any of your favorite ingredients, toss them inside the dough and bake! We also had a food party where each person got to make their own calzones with a variety of different toppings to choose from. It was a lot of fun!
I would also recommend using a pizza stone to cook the pizzas or calzones. It gives it that pizza oven texture without having the pizza oven. We also use a pizza peel to transfer the calzones with some cornmeal on the bottom to prevent the dough from sticking.
Let me know if any one tries it!!
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
(adapted from CookingLight)
2 (12-inch) pizza crusts, or about 7-8 calzones
Note: To freeze, follow directions for kneading dough and then freeze (see below)
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1- 1 1/4 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
- 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Additional spices I like to add: garlic powder, herbes de provence
- Cooking spray
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes until it gets foamy. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, wheat flour, oil, salt and seasonings; stir until well blended. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky). You can also do this in a stand mixer.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide in half; roll each dough half into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. Or form into 7-8 oblong rectangles for calzones. Make sure to slice several small slits on top of the calzones so steam can escape before baking and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
Note: To freeze, follow directions for kneading dough and shape into 2 balls. Coat with cooking spray and place in freezer in a zip-top plastic bag. To use them, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85º), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Shape as instructed.For ours we sauteed some chicken sausage, mushrooms, and zucchini. Then we added some fresh basil, shredded mozzarella, fontina and goat cheese on top. We placed them on the pizza peel, generously sprinkled with corn meal, transferred them to a pre-heated pizza stone in a 500 F oven and baked for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Serve with a nice side of marinara to dip!
Filling the calzones . . .
Forming the calzones . . .
Enjoying the fruits of our labor with a nice side salad and glass of wine . . .