Cookin’ with Condley

Published 1:03 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

By Sarah Condley

Columnist

It seems my husband, Brad, has developed an allergy to white flour. He gets congested and sneezes whenever he eats something made with regular flour.

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I would be away from home most of the day, and I asked Brad to get something out of the freezer for supper. He asked what I wanted, and I told him it didn’t matter. When I got home late in the afternoon, he told me we would have homemade pizza, and he was starting the process of making whole-wheat pizza dough.

He’d researched the internet and found a pretty simple recipe and just wanted to see how it would turn out and if it bothered his allergies. I have no idea which website this recipe came from.

He asked me to move one of the oven racks to the upper part of the oven and then turn it on to preheat. I complied.

He then asked if our blender had a food processor attachment. Even though it didn’t, he combined the dough in the blender and used the pulse button to combine the ingredients. I thought that was a pretty good idea.

To get started on making the actual dough, he started running hot water at the kitchen sink. I asked what that was for, and he said to proof the yeast. I told him I typically put the water in the microwave and then used a meat thermometer to test to see if the temperature was right because you have to have just the right temperature. Not too hot, so you don’t kill the yeast, yet hot enough for the yeast to work. He looked at me and said, “Don’t forget I was a chemist.” Which meant he could tell by feeling if the water was warm enough. I raised my eyebrows and said, “OK.”

Before adding the water, he put oil, honey, and dry yeast in a large liquid measuring cup. After a few minutes, and him testing the water with his finger, he added the “just the right temperature” hot water and set the mixture aside.

After the yeast mixture sat for a few minutes, Brad raised the measuring cup and said, “Look.” Sure enough, the yeast had worked and was almost coming over the top of the measuring cup. So OK, I guess his years as a chemist paid off.

Next, he poured the wheat flour, Parmesan cheese, and salt into the blender and used the pulse button to combine. Because we (excuse me, he) was using a blender, he stopped it, lifted the lid and poured in some of the yeast mixture, put the lid back on, removed the lid, added more yeast mixture and put the lid back on again. You get the picture.

Once the dough formed a loose ball, he dumped it onto the floured counter and asked me to knead it since he wasn’t sure how to knead it.

The dough came together nicely, and I divided it in half. I wrapped one half in plastic wrap and set it aside. We planned to freeze the unused half for another time if this happened.

Brad also asked me to roll the dough out. Since the recipe said to bake the pizza on a parchment-lined pan, I rolled the dough out on the paper and slid it onto the round pizza pan.

After Brad brushed the entire pizza dough with olive oil (he can’t eat much tomato either – another allergy) so we used olive oil as our base. The second ingredient to be added was some oregano. Now we were ready for the good stuff: bacon (of course), ham, green pepper, caramelized onions, a few mushrooms (only on his portion of the pizza) and finally, some pizza cheese.

I placed the pizza on the top rack of the preheated oven and set the timer for ten minutes. When the timer sounded, I checked the bottom of the pizza by lifting it with a spatula and saw the crust wasn’t done enough for us. Since we like a thinner crust and we like it to crunch a little, I slid the pizza out of the oven, pulled the parchment paper from under it, and moved the pizza down to the bottom oven rack to finish baking. After just a few minutes, we rechecked the bottom of the pizza, and it looked about right, and the cheese was beginning to get a golden brown around the edges – just right.

I placed the pizza on the table, and after Brad prayed, blessing the food and thanking God for how he provides for us, we started eating.

I’ll have to say this pizza was delicious, and the whole wheat crust worked out great. I put the second dough half in the freezer, and we are looking forward to another at-home pizza night. So, Brad “Nailed it!”

Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Ingredients

• 1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees (very warm, almost too hot for comfort)

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tablespoon honey or sugar

• 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid-rise or instant yeast

• 2 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour

• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1 teaspoon fine salt

Instructions

• Preheat oven to 500 degrees, with a rack in the upper third of the oven.

• Whisk water, oil, honey, and yeast in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl.  Allow yeast to proof for 5 minutes.  It should puff up some by then.

• Pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt in food processor until combined.  While running the food processor, slowly pour in the water mixture and process until a shaggy ball forms, about 1 minute.

• Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and quickly knead dough a few times until it comes together.  Halve the dough.

• On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough into two rounds about 11 inches in diameter.  For best results, roll the dough out about as thin as reasonable possible.  Aim for even thickness rather than a perfectly round shape.

• Carefully lift and transfer one of the rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush the outer 1-inch of the dough with a light coating of olive oil.  Add half of the pizza sauce or crushed tomatoes (crush the tomatoes over the sink to get out as much liquid as possible).  Sprinkle with half of the cheese and any other toppings you’d like to add

• Bake on the top rack until the crust and cheese are lightly golden, about 10 minutes for cheese pizza and 12 minutes for pizza with additional toppings.  Repeat with the remaining dough, then slice and serve.