I was hungry for homemade pizza today but wanted to do something a little different than I normally do. I had some tomatoes I needed to use and lots of basil in several pots on the back porch growing like crazy. So Pizza Margherita it was. As I started to make the dough, I had the idea to make a whole wheat crust. So I used half whole wheat flour, half unbleached bread flour. I also normally make my pizzas in pans, especially when I'm making them for a houseful of people. Since it was just me tonight, I decided to bake the pizza directly on my baking stone. I couldn't have been happier with the results!! The crust was crispy yet chewy with a wonderful texture and added flavor due to the whole wheat addition. I need to make pizza this way more often!!
1-1/2 cups tepid water
1 packet yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Mix flour, yeast, olive oil, and water. Let dough rest in mixing bowl 10 - 20 minutes. Add salt and mix until well incorporated. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, until dough forms a smooth ball. Place dough in large well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put bowl in a draft-free area. Let dough rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
Divide dough into 2 pieces and either place on oiled pizza pans or pat into 2 rounds. Let rest 30 minutes. If baking on pans, place untopped pizzas in 500 F. oven for 10 minutes. Remove from ovens and top with sauce and desired toppings (pepperoni, sausage, sauteed onions, sauteed mushrooms, grilled eggplant, sliced olives are a few of my favorites) and grated mozzarella. Place back in oven for approximately 8 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
If baking directly on baking stone, form dough into round, place on pizza peel sprinkled with corn meal, top dough with desired toppings, and slide onto baking stone. Bake at 500 F. for approximately 15 minutes, or until dough is sufficiently browned and cheese is melted.
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