I don't usually make pizza with wholemeal dough but I'm trying to get a bit healthier with my diet so I came up with this. I've never tried putting vegetables into the dough before but it worked. This is also the lightest wholemeal pizza base I've ever eaten.
The secret to a really light and flavourful dough is in the proving. You do not have to just do one proof, even if you use easy blend yeast like I did. More proving is more air and more flavour. Of course, there is a limit. Once the yeast runs out of food, you end up with a dough with no structure but there's nothing wrong with proving 2 or 3 times, perhaps even 4. When you think about it, especially if your children eat their tea at a different time to you (like mine does) this multiple proving can be a blessing. I will explain as I go along.
This is definitely a weekend recipe; that said, I did try to get my (23 month old) son involved but he just started eating mushrooms. Older kids would definitely have fun with this though. They could help mould the dough (you could give them some to make into bread rolls or just for fun) they could help top the pizza too. Involving kids in what they eat is surely a good way to ensure they are invested in the process and likely to give it a go?
This can be meaty, veggie, fishy, it's up to you!
The salt is on the low side because I'm trying to limit it thinking of kids but if you want you can increase to 1 tsp.
Wholemeal Pizza - serves 3-4 easily, suitable for all the family (and babies on finger foods too)
For the base
350g, 12.5oz Wholemeal flour
1 tsp Sugar
1 courgette (zucchini), grated
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Olive oil
Sprig of Rosemary, chopped
1 pack (7g) of easy blend yeast
For the sauce
I made a batch of tomato sauce in the slow cooker using this recipe. It's a recipe full of vegetables but you only need a few tbsp. To thicken it up, I propped open the lid slightly for the last hour.
2 balls of mozzarella
a small handful of grated parmesan
My son had fried mushrooms and sweetcorn (frozen)
I had tinned anchovies
My husband had finely chopped chillis and pepperoni
A good few hours (think 6-7 at least) before you're thinking of eating, mix the flour, grated courgette, sugar, rosemary, salt, oil and yeast in a bowl. Add 200ml of warm water (approx 1 part boiling water to two parts cold is the right kind of temperature) and mix to a dough. I found this dough was far stickier than I expected and I had to use a lot of flour each time I kneaded it. I suspect this is due to moisture coming out of the courgette but it's not a problem, just flour your hands and the bowl.
Set a timer and knead for 10 minutes. I suggest setting a timer because it's easy to think you've kneaded for that long when you haven't and the longer you knead, the better the texture (but it's hard work). The dough should be pretty smooth after this but you will see the flecks of the courgette and rosemary. Put in a bowl and cover. I cut open a plastic food bag and oil it with olive oil to stop a skin forming on the dough, I then tuck it in around the dough ball.
When it's doubled in size, knock it back (reknead it briefly) and allow to rise again. You can repeat this depending on how much time you have.
When you're about 60-90 minutes away from your child's tea time, take out the amount of dough you want to use for them, knead slightly and roll out onto floured baking paper which is on top of a chopping board. Cover again with the oiled plastic and reknead the remainder in the bowl and cover that too (so then you have an extra prove for your own pizza base).
Allow the rolled out dough to rise a bit.
Preheat your oven to 220-230oC (around 440F) and if you have one, put a pizza stone in the oven to heat. If you don't, use a heavy baking tray. When your oven is hot and your dough has puffed up slightly, add a small amount of tomato sauce (I used about 1 tbsp for my son's pizza and maybe 1-2 for the adult ones). You will think there's not enough sauce but if you add too much the pizza goes floppy and wet.
Add torn up pieces of mozzarella, again add way less than you think you need and some parmesan. Add on the toppings of your choice, for my son he had mushrooms and sweetcorn.
Now, this is why I suggested you roll it out on baking paper on a chopping board. You then take it to the oven on the board and slide the pizza (still on the baking paper) onto the hot stone or tray. Trust me you do not want to be taking a hot pizza stone out of the oven if you don't need to and this way by cooking it on baking paper you stop the stone getting caked with cheese and tomato.
Now these bake pretty quickly, think 8-10 minutes, keep an eye on them as they do cook super fast. To remove, I just slide the baking paper with the pizza on directly onto a plate.
This was Mummy's pizza:
Cut into wedges, allow to cool a little and serve.
Also don't forget that cold pizza is surprisingly tasty and so this could even be a picnic option, just pack a few tissues!
I saw a link to this article on the guardian today. I have to admit it annoyed me a bit. I agree with the points regarding teaching cooking in schools. I understand school curricula are busy but food and cooking is a public health issue of huge importance; as important as making sure kids get exercise. I do take issue with demonising all of the food industry and the words "junk food". What is "junk" exactly? I mean, is this pizza junk? In traditional terms you'd have to say "yes" but my son's pizza contained 8 different vegetables; courgette, pepper, tomato, carrot, onion, garlic, mushrooms, sweetcorn as well as unrefined grains. Now that's very different to a commercially available pizza. The problem is that definitions of "junk" can end up excluding items we want in kids diets like full fat milk, yoghurt or cheese.
Anyway, I like to think I'm doing my bit to promote home cooked food because for me, cooking something home made not only says "I love you" to the person you have made it for, it also has to be the furthest thing from my definition of "junk food" possible, even if what I've cooked is pizza.
Perhaps that should be my new tagline, Mamacook; food cooked with love; because that is what I do and why I do it. I hope some of you will do the same. x
This has been linked up here.