Thin-Crust Whole-Wheat Pizza with Garlic Oil, Three Cheeses, and Basil

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Have I ever mentioned that I usually cook two different meals for dinner? Well, I know that I have at least said a thing or two about my Husband, Dave’s, picky food habits… which leads me to no other option than to cook two entirely different meals more than half the time. And it’s not just him that leads to the difficulty- it’s me too. I have a real distaste for meat. Dave on the other hand, would eat meat all day long if he could. So you see, if I would just eat meat than I wouldn’t have half the trouble planning meals that I do. We’ve simply been at an impasse about food for our whole marital relationship (5 years this June- wohoo!). But now that my daughter is getting older and she is going to start eating real food soon, I am on the search for meals that both Dave and I will eat. I don’t want her to see me cooking a separate meal for him and then end up having her expect that she can have something different too. That’s all I need is to be cooking three meals a night…

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I am lucky enough that although Dave is picky, he doesn’t usually have a problem with healthier options, specifically whole-wheat. Which brings me to this pizza! It’s made of 73% whole-wheat flour, giving it a hearty dose of fiber and nutrients that you don’t normally get with the basic white pizza dough. The dough is a bit wetter and stickier than usual because of the added water to make up for the flour changes, just use a little extra flour for easier handling. 

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We make pizza ALL the time at my house. Multiple times a month. It’s just one of the very few meals that we agree upon so it’s a natural solution to make my life easier. I always use this pizza dough recipe. It is my favorite for getting a thin crust pizza with great flavor and texture. It’s a Cooks Illustrated recipe and so is this one. This is like the healthier “sister” recipe to that one. They both function off the same principles and use the same technique for preparation- made in the food processor and given a long rest in the refrigerator. So not only are these recipes easy, but they are make ahead too. All you need to do for dough prep the day of is to plan on taking them out an hour before baking. Love it.

As far as the normal tomato sauce and mozzarella topping goes- it gets old. At least it does for me when I have to make it 4 times a month. I was really pleased to see that Cooks Illustrated was offering something different to top this dough with. And something not so strange that Dave wouldn’t eat it either. They actually mention in the article that the sweet, acidic red sauce didn’t pair well with the whole-wheat crust in testing. I could see that, but I am sure it would be just fine for most of us.

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I am just glad to have a new alternative to the white pizza dough/red sauce/mozzarella combination. I don’t know about you, but when I eat it I always feel like it just sits in my stomach for hours and doesn’t digest. That and I can never get enough water afterwards. Terrible feelings of thirst. I would say that I think it’s from all the salt in the cheese, but I didn’t get that feeling with the whole-wheat pizza after eating my usual serving. Maybe it’s the white pizza dough then?

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So, if you are interested in this recipe but need confirmation about how it turns out, here it is- this whole-wheat pizza dough is delicious! Absolutely wonderful. The wheat flavor isn’t overwhelmingly strong, just enough to know it’s there. The texture is light, airy, and chewy. Don’t worry one bit about it being cardboard like- it’s not. And the method for baking creates a perfectly crisp crust, by far the closest I have come to a pizza parlor crust in my own kitchen. If you like to make your own pizza at home, you’ve got to try this. And if you don’t have a baking stone, don’t worry, I don’t either (2 years ago my Pampered Chef one cracked after I took it out of the oven). I use a round sheet pan that I bought at Walmart. It doesn’t work as well as a baking stone, but my oven here in Germany is so tiny that I wouldn’t be able to fit one in anyways. When I do finally get back to the States, I am going to pick one up immediately. Specifically Old Stone Oven’s Baking Stone (per the recommendation of Cooks Illustrated). Can’t wait!

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Thin-Crust Whole-Wheat Pizza with Garlic Oil, Three Cheeses, and Basil
Author: 
Serves: makes two 13-inch pizzas
 

Ingredients
  • For the Dough:
  • 1½ cups (8¼ ounces) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup (5½ ounces) bread flour
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ¾ tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1¼ cups ice water
  • 2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1¾ tsp salt
  • For the Garlic Oil:
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • Additional Toppings:
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese

Instructions
  1. For the Dough: Process whole-wheat flour, bread flour, honey, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 2 seconds. With processor running, add water and process until dough is just combined and no dry flour bits remain, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until it forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 45 to 60 seconds. Remove from bowl and knead on oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 18 hours or up to 2 days.
  3. For the Garlic Oil: Heat oil in 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add garlic; anchovies, if using; pepper; oregano; red pepper flakes; and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl and let cool completely before using.
  4. One hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack 4½ inches from broiler element, set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500°F. remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Shape each half into smooth, tight ball. Place balls on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic coated with vegetable oil spray; let stand for 1 hour.
  5. Heat broiler for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on well-floured countertop. Using your fingertips, gently flatten into 8-inch disc, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. Lift edge of dough and, using back of our hands and knuckles, gently stretch disk into 12-inch round, working along edges and giving disk quarter turns as you stretch. Transfer dough to well-floured peel and stretch into 13-inch round. Using back of spoon, spread half of garlic oil over surface of dough, leaving ¼-inch border. Layer ½ cup basil leaves over pizza. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Pecorino, followed by 1 cup mozzarella. Slide pizza carefully onto stone and return oven to 500°F. Bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and partially browned, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through baking. Remove pizza and place on wire rack. Let pizza rest for 5 minutes, slice, and serve.
  6. Heat broiler for 10 minutes. Repeat process of stretching, topping, and baking with remaining dough and toppings, retuning oven to 500°F when pizza is placed on stone.

 

Laura is the publisher of Laura’s Sweet Spot- a blog making regular contributions about baking, cooking, and blogging tips!

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