Monday, April 11, 2011

Flying Time...and Molasses Wheat Pizza Crust

Where did the past three weeks go?  I cannot believe that we are already well into April.  Where have we been while those weeks flew by?  Like time, we have been flying from day to day and place to place.  Our weekdays have been full of class, paper-writing, presentations, a new babysitting job, and a school culture night (we represented the South again this year; this time with all desserts and a pitcher of sweet tea!).  Our weekends have been full of studying (of course), but also baby showers, art shows, flower arranging, church anniversaries, dinners with friends, dates-nights, and the occasional crash-and-do-nothing weekend.  Our weather has been full of sporadic changes; with snow, rain, and 70 degree days all within the span of a few short days.  And our kitchen has been full of good food, but we have rarely slowed down enough to photograph any of it!  For that I am sorry, because we have truly enjoyed some treats.  

Desserts from Culture Night (Pecan Pie, Praline Cake, Coconut Cream Pie, and Cream Cheese Pound Cake)
The Amazing Flower-Arranging Team (Flowers in celebration of our Church's 4th Anniversary Celebration)
The Pretty Mom-to-Be

That's an overview of our past few weeks.  But there's something else I have been keeping from you; something we have enjoyed for a few months, actually.  This semester, we have started a tradition of Sunday night pizza.  That means we've made over half a dozen pizzas, and not one of them has made it on the blog!  In fact, not one has been photographed, and it's not that we have not enjoyed them.  

The process of pizza making has become almost a science in our kitchen.  Every other week I have made a batch of my favorite pizza dough (which has been slightly updated).  Once it rises, the dough is split, and half is wrapped up and frozen for the next week.  I lay a piece of parchment over my pizza peel and sprinkle it with cornmeal, then press the prepared dough out with floured hands.  I "dress" the pizza with our desired toppings and then use the peel to transfer the pizza (and parchment) to a hot pizza stone in the oven.  After 10-12 minutes in the hot oven, we'll be having yet another conversation about how good this pizza is, and  we'll discuss how this one might be our favorite, or tied with the Thai Chicken Pizza...or the Gorgonzola Mushroom Pizza...or the Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza...and we go on and on.  Again, I am sorry that I have not shared these with you.  

This week's option was a Breakfast Pizza, complete with ricotta, snipped basil, spinach, slightly runny eggs and a drizzle of truffle oil.  And while this pizza combination is completely delicious, I don't want to neglect the crust itself.  It has evolved ever-so-slightly over the past year or two, and I think this is where it will stay.  I prefer to use half of the dough to make a thin 12-inch crust, but you could certainly make it smaller for a thicker crust.  

Molasses Wheat Pizza Crust

2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup warm water (110-120 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs (optional, I usually use a combination of basil and oregano, but I can imagine an Italian blend or Herbes de Provence would be wonderful)
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus a little more)
cornmeal (for sprinkling the pan)

Stir together the molasses, water, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until bubbly.  

Add the flours, salt, herbs and olive oil, and mix with a dough hook for 6-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  

Grease a medium bowl with olive oil.  Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat the top with oil.  Cover with a clean dish towel and set in a slightly warm place for 30 minutes.  

While the dough rises, place a pizza stone in the cold oven.  Preheat the oven (and stone) to 425 degrees.  

Divide the risen dough into two portions.*  Place a piece of parchment over a pizza peel, and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Press one portion of dough into a 12 inch circle with well-floured hands.  Arrange toppings over pizza crust.  Transfer the parchment and crust to the hot oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is cooked through and the toppings are beginning to brown.  Remove the stone and pizza from the oven, cut and enjoy.**  

*If you plan on freezing the second portion of dough, wrap it well in Saran wrap and freeze.  To prepare, transfer dough to the refrigerator for eight hours to thaw, then let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before shaping into the crust.  
**If you plan on preparing two pizzas, you should leave the stone in the oven.  Prepare the second pizza while the first is baking, remove the first pizza from the stone with the pizza peel, and transfer the second pizza to the stone, leaving the stone in the oven the entire time.  

Pin It!


carolinaheartstrings said...

That looks so fantastic......what great pics.

Kimby said...

Eggs on pizza -- who'da thunk? That looks fabulous!!

P.S. Made your Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce the other night -- simply irresistable!