Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Hippie" Crust & Fresh Tomato, Onion, and Spinach Pizza

It took me awhile to decide what to post today; I haven't cooked anything overly romantic or sexy/love inspired lately.  Then, I briefly became very depressed with my life, because I learned that there is such thing as a professional glitter artist and I am not one.  Then it hit me.  We love pizza.  Pizza always makes me feel better and homemade pizza is perfect for any occasion in my opinion.  I guess you be over the top gross for Valentine's Day and make it into a heart, but I feel like might lead uneven cutting and a possible fight over who is getting more pizza.
This crust has become our favorite.  It came out of having all these random "health food" items and wanting pizza, but wanting something a bit healthier than a white crust.  It has been dubbed "hippie" crust.  It is nutty, chewy, and crisps excellently on the bottom.  Because of the whole wheat flour, don't expect it to be soft and doughy.  This crust is much denser than regular pizza dough.

Hippie Crust
2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C wheat bran (or wheat germ)
1/3 C ground flax seed
1/4 C chia seeds
1 pkg yeast
1 Tbsp honey
1 3/4 C very warm water
1/2 tsp salt
~1 C better for bread flour*
~2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

   Combine whole wheat flour, bran, seeds, and yeast.  Add honey and water.  Mix.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until bubbles form.
   Add salt and half cup better for bread flour.  Mix.  Add more flour if necessary.  The dough will come together and form a ball that is slightly sticky.  At this point, turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes (maybe up to 10 minutes)  When the dough is no longer sticky and feels uniform in texture, it is done.
   Put oil in a large glass or ceramic bowl.  Roll dough in oil.  Cover bowl with a damp towel, place in a warm area**, let rise for 1-1 1/2 hrs, until doubled in size.
   Punch down dough, form into pizza (enough for 2), let rise for 15-20 minutes.
   Pre-bake at 400 deg F for 5-7 minutes.
   Ready for whatever toppings your heart desires!

*You need the higher gluten content of the better for bread flour to play off the heaviness of the whole wheat flour.  It gives the finished product a much texture.
**I like to preheat my oven to 200 deg F while making the dough.  As soon as it is preheated, turn it off.  This creates a nice warm, moist environment perfect for rising dough.

Fresh Tomato, Onion, and Spinach Pizza
3 C fresh chopped spinach
1/4 of a lrg sweet onion, very thinly sliced
2 C shredded mozzarella
1/3 C parmesan
1 1/2 C fresh chopped tomatoes (remove as much pulp as possible)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp roasted garlic

   Combine sauce ingredients, spread on pre-baked pizza crust.  Top with spinach and onions, then cheese.
   Bake at 400 deg F for about 12 minutes, until cheese is brown and bubbly.

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