I used to make pizza all the time before starting this diet. It was one of my “quick-I-don’t-know-what-to-make-for-dinner” things to make. But after getting rid of all the white flour in the house, I wasn’t sure if it would work anymore. 100% whole wheat crusts can just be so…heavy. And dense, and kind of bitter. And so I just didn’t bother for a long time.
But this week I finally got around to trying it – with a whole grain spelt crust instead of whole wheat. And guess what? It was delicious! My kids actually said they like it BETTER than the one I used to make with white flour! It had a lot of flavor, and is really soft with a great texture. Not hard or chewy or bitter. Just great!
And that crust, combined with my homemade pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil? Spectacular.
But the best thing about making your own pizza – beyond it being a quick and easy meal, and it tasting great – is that you know exactly what you’re eating. There are very few pizza places that will have both 100% whole grain crusts and pizza sauce without sugar, so making your own pizza is the perfect solution!
First, put a cup of whole grain spelt in a bowl with a package of yeast (preferably the kind specifically for whole wheat breads) and some salt.
Then pour in a cup of very warm water (I just run the hot water until it’s as hot as it’ll get) and a couple Tablespoons of olive oil.
And mix it all together with a wooden spoon.
Dump in the rest of the flour, and mix it in as well as you can. There will be a lot you can’t mix in.
And then put it all in the bowl of a breadmaker to let it do the hard work of kneading for you!
Now, if you don’t have a breadmaker – and I’m sure lots of you don’t – no worries. Just knead it by hand. Dump the dough out onto the counter, and start mixing/folding it together, incorporating all the flour. Use your hands to sort of fold the dough over on itself, over and over. Be a little rough with it – you really want to work the dough. You might need to add a little extra flour as you go if it’s too sticky (which it probably will be.) Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic – about 5 minutes.
But, for those like me who got a breadmaker SOLELY for the purpose of not having to knead anymore – turn it on to the pizza dough setting and let it go!
While that’s going, assemble the ingredients for your sauce in a pot: tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, and spices.
Mix it together and let it simmer gently for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are cooked through and soft. When it’s ready, just turn it off and wait for the dough to be done.
This dough doesn’t need to rise if you don’t want to, so once the machine is done the kneading, you can take it right out. This makes it faster, obviously. However, it’s not a problem to let it go through the rising stage either. I had turned it on before taking my kids to piano lessons, so when I came home it was risen. I’ve done it both ways – letting it rise and not letting it rise – and I’ve never noticed an appreciable difference.
If you don’t let it rise, though, at least cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes.
When the dough is ready, turn the oven on to 400. Take the dough out of the bowl and put it in the middle of a pizza pan liberally greased with olive oil. Since this is all whole grain, it sticks more than white flour so you’ll really want to grease it well.
Pour some olive oil into your hands, and use your fingers to start to work the dough out from the middle towards the edges with your fingers, forming a crust edge as you go.
Make sure there are no very thin spots or holes ripped in the dough.
If the oven is done preheating, put the crust in and pre-bake it for about 5 minutes. If you like a crispier crust, bake it for closer to 10 minutes.
While that’s baking, puree your sauce. I have a stick blender that I just use right in the pot, which is really easy! If you don’t have a stick blender, though, you can just pour it in your regular blender instead. Just be careful if it’s hot.
Blend together until it’s smooth.
Use a ladle to spread on a thin layer of sauce. You might be tempted to use a LOT of sauce, since it’s yummy, but your pizza will be soggy if you do, so resist!
Spread it out evenly. There will be sauce left over. Use it for another pizza, or store in the refrigerator for use as a dipping sauce, or (our favorite) a sauce on top of homemade macaroni and cheese! If it will be a while before you think you’ll use it, freeze it instead.
For the cheese, you can obviously use whatever you want. But our hands-down favorite is fresh mozzarella. It comes in containers like this.
And looks like this.
Put them on a cutting board and slice them into thinnish slices.
Distribute them evenly over the pizza.
If you have some shredded cheese on hand – mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, whatever – you can put a little on top too. I personally like the combination of mozzarella and provolone. Don’t put too much, though or, like the sauce, it will make the pizza soggy.
Put the pizza back in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is browned.
Mmmm…cheesy goodness! (See how excited my son is? Everyone’s excited when I make this for dinner! I love the look of anticipation in the first picture. )
To make it REALLY good, put some fresh basil on top. You can slice it up, or (if you’re like me) just rip the leaves into pieces. It’s very, very, very good like this, so I strongly recommend it!!
Eat it up!! This makes enough for a family of 4 to each have 2 pieces. So…you might want to make TWO pizzas if you think you’ll eat more!
- 2¼ cups whole grain spelt flour
- 1 package active dry yeast (preferably the kind for whole wheat flours)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup very warm water (120-130 degrees F)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- (optional) ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Fresh mozzarella
- (optional) shredded provolone (or other) cheese
- (optional) fresh basil leaves
- Combine 1¼ cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Pour in the warm water and olive oil and mix together.
- Stir in the other cup of flour as well as you can. If using a breadmaker, put everything in and start it on "pizza dough" setting. If kneading by hand, put it out on the counter and fold the dough over on itself firmly, working in the flour (and using more as necessary if it's sticky) until it's smooth and elastic - about 5 minutes.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
- Combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, and spices in a pot. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft. When it's cooked, puree the sauce with a stick blender or regular blender until smooth.
- Turn the oven on to 400 F.
- Put the dough in the middle of a pizza pan that's well-greased with olive oil. Pour some olive in your hand and use your fingers to work the dough away from the center towards the edges, forming the crust edges as you go.
- Pre-bake the crust for 5 minutes for a soft crust, 10 minutes for a crispier crust.
- Use a ladle to spread a thin layer of sauce evenly over the baked crust. Store left-over sauce in the refrigerator, or freeze.
- Slice the fresh mozzarella into thin slices and place evenly over the sauce. If desired, sprinkle on some shredded provolone or other cheese.
- Put back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.
- Top with fresh basil leaves torn into pieces.