I am a judgment broker who writes a lot. This article is my opinion about how to make pizza dough and crusts as healthy as they can be.
To make healthy or regular pizza crusts, you will get the best results using this equipment:
1) An regular oven.
2) A metal pizza screen (metal, about 18 inches, find them cheap on EBay).
3) A round pizza baking stone, 18 inches in diameter is best.
4) A baking rolling pin.
5) A flexible baking screen.
6) A quality electric mixer, because healthy pizza dough seems more like wet cement than dough. Be aware that mixers do not last as long when making ultra-healthy pizza dough. The first KitchenAid I bought at Costco lasted 3 years, the second one I bought in 2012, shuts off because it is not strong enough to avoid overheating when mixing healthy pizza dough, arghhh. Got a Professional 6000 KitchenAid mixer, so far so good!
7) A wooden cutting board, bigger is better, find them on EBay
8) A big knife, a cleaver works best.
Making pizza crust at home is baking, which is not digital. The analog results depend on a wide variety of conditions including humidity, temperature, equipment, ingredients, your effort, etc. So, any recipe, including the one below cannot be exact. If the dough is too thick or too thin, it will not work right, more about that in the recipe.
The ingredients below will make a tasty whole wheat taste with excellent nutrition. However, not everyone will like it. You can alter the recipe by substituting one or more ingredients with white flour, to your preference of taste and convenience. The dough needs to rise for 6-24 hours (six works, 12 is best, and 24 hours will still work.)
For this recipe, use the metal bowl that comes with electric mixers, and add these ingredients, which have my recommended brands:
2-3 cups of premium whole wheat flour (I recommend King Arthur brand).
1/3 cup of coconut flour (I recommend Tropical traditions).
1/3 cup of barley flour (I recommend Arrowhead Mills).
1/3 cup of resistant wheat starch (I recommend Hi Maize).
1/3 cup of oat fiber (I recommend Lifesource Foods, LLC).
1/3 cup of white flour now, a small amount more later (I recommend King Arthur brand).
2 tablespoons of pizza dough flavoring (I recommend King Arthur brand).
3 tablespoons of ground or crushed flax seed.
3 tablespoons of hemp protein/fiber powder (I recommend Nutiva brand, and of course it will not get you high) Note this should be kept in the fridge and occasionally I forget it is in the fridge, so I add it to the sauce and the pizza sauce tastes good with hemp powder..
2-3 tablespoons of honey.
2 tablespoons crushed rosemary.
1/2 a teaspoon of sea salt (or regular salt).
1 teaspoon of yeast (I recommend SAF Instant – hot weather use a bit less).
1 cup of water (more as needed).
Start the mixer on a low speed, the number 2 position on most mixers works well. The speed should be fast enough to provide the torque and speed needed for this super-fiber dough, without tossing any dough out of the bowl. It takes about 15-20 minutes to mix, and you must supervise and work on it.
There are two things to watch for while the dough mixes. First, is there enough water? When there is not enough water, the flour will be dry at the bottom of the bowl. Slowly, add only as much water as is needed. Be patient because it takes a while for the water to blend in.
The other situation to monitor, is that the thick dough tends to form islands of dry, unmixed ingredients on the sides of the bowl. Because the dough is more like cement than white flour doughs, you should tilt the blender while it is still running, in different directions, to make the dough mix in better. Sometimes, you have to turn off the mixer, and use a spoon to gently scrape any unmixed flour globs back down the bowl.
The goal is for the dough to form a single ball, that is turning into itself in the mixer. You may have to add a bit of white flour, to make it behave more like “dough”. I have found it best to add a little too much water, so the powder is completely absorbed, and then add white flour gradually, until the dough is not sticky to the touch.
For the final adjustments, you have to add a little water and flour as needed, to make it function as a ball of dough, yet not be really sticky.
Like most works of art, sometimes things do not go perfectly. Sometimes the dough forms patterns and spikes, and just does not seem to want to mix well, because it is so fiber-rich. If you have to, turn off the mixer, and take the dough out of the bowl. Then, turn on the mixer and add 1 inch chunks of dough back into the bowl, which forces it to mix well. This is easier and faster than it sounds.
When the dough is one ball, turning into itself, and is not too sticky, turn off the mixer, take the bowl out, and cover it with plastic wrap. Move the bowl to a slightly warm location – on top of a fridge, above a lighted cabinet, or a similar quiet and warm place. I think room temperature would work if you let the dough rise longer. Eight to sixteen hours seems to work best. A vacuum cleaner works very well to clean up any spilled or loose flour dust. It is best to pre-cook homemade pizza crusts, see recipe below.
While the dough is rising, make sure you have some pizza sauce. You can buy sauce or make your own. Here is a good recipe for sauce, which makes enough for 2-3 big pizzas, and stores well in the refrigerator:
2, 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce.
2, 6-ounce cans of tomato paste.
1 teaspoon of onion powder.
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
1/2 teaspoon of anise seed.
1/2 teaspoon of basil powder.
3 tablespoons of sugar.
1 teaspoon of pizza seasoning (I like Frontier Pizza salt-free brand).
Mix these ingredients in a big bowl with a big fork for a few minutes to blend the tomato paste with the sauce, and to distribute the seasonings. Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, to allow the flavors to blend.
In addition to pizza sauce, you need a pizza crust. You can buy them or make your own, see recipe above. If you buy a pizza crust or shell, it probably does not need to be precooked. If you have dough, preheat a pizza stone (baking stone) in the oven at 350 degrees. Take the dough out of the bowl, and place it on a plastic baking mat. Plastic mats work best when on top of a cutting board made of wood.
If you have dough, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a circle, about 18 inches wide, or to match your pizza screen size. When the rolling is done, put the pizza screen on the dough. Turn the plastic mat upside down, and carefully roll the dough onto the pizza screen. If any parts of the dough extends past the pizza screen, fold those parts back.
Then, put the pizza screen (with the dough on top) in the oven, and precook the crust for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Then take it out, and place it on the cutting board, or another heat-proof surface. Then, turn the oven up to 425-435 degrees.
To assemble your pizza, spread the sauce on it. What cheese should be used for your pizza? Almost always, two kinds of cheese works best. I use about 4 ounces of Monterey jack and 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese. If you use a second cheese, cut it into cubes. I put 1/2 inch cubes of Monterey jack on the pizza, especially an inch away from the edges, then mozzarella, then I put the toppings on.
What toppings will you use? Many toppings such as mushrooms, meats, and peppers, should be microwaved or cooked first, to precook them most of the way, and the liquids drained first, to avoid a soggy pizza. If the toppings are too hot, a big knife or cleaver can be used to hold them, and you can use the tool to flick hot toppings onto the pizza.
After all the toppings are on the pizza, bake it for about 10-12 minutes, checking it at 8 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted, and only a tiny bit brown. When it is done, turn off the oven.
Then, take the pizza out, and put it on the cutting board. Using both an oven mitt and a big knife at the same time is a good way to take a heavy pizza out of a hot oven. It is a good idea to first cover the cutting board with paper towels.
After the pizza is safely out of the oven, slide the pizza off the metal screen, onto the cutting board. Sometimes, you need to use a knife to run under the screen, and gently push away any stuck areas of the pizza from the screen. Put the screen back in the oven, and let it cool there.
This is the hard part – leave the pizza alone for at least half an hour. It will be a big pizza, and it will stay hot for a long time. Then, cut it with a cleaver or big knife and enjoy. Wrap leftovers in tin foil, but not when the slices are hot, because they will stick to the tin foil. This pizza will be very good for you, and you can learn to like it!