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Homemade and wholesome pizza

a fun and tasty family affair

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Homemade and wholesome pizza

The first time I had pizza was in my year 8 home economics cooking class. It was made with a baking powder biscuit dough, canned tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

The first time I had pizza was in my year 8 home economics cooking class. It was made with a baking powder biscuit dough, canned tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Coming from an English-Scottish-Irish household, I thought it was the most exotic food I had ever eaten. I begged my mother relentlessly to let me make this amazing delicacy. After days of teenage nagging she caved. One bite of Italian nirvana, and she too became a pizza lover.

Why not try a homemade pizza night? It’s a great way to get your family into the kitchen to create a meal together. Add a salad and a glass of skim milk and you have a fabulous family-friendly meal. 

Basic Wholemeal Pizza Dough

You need a large food processor for this recipe, which can be doubled if you need extra dough.

1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
3 tsp (15 ml) wholemeal flour
2 1/4 tsp (11 ml) dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water
3 tsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Up to 1/4 cup (60 ml) additional wholemeal flour (if needed)

Using either a mini-whisk or fork, whisk together water, flour and yeast. Cover and place in a warm place for 5 to10 minutes, or until foamy.

Place flour and salt into bowl of the food processor. Pulse three times. When yeast mixture is foamy, stir and pour into flour and salt mixture. Add warm water and oil. Replace lid and pulse several times till dough starts to come together. Process for 1 minute. Add 3 tsp (15 ml) flour and pulse for 20 seconds. Add another 3 tsp (15 ml) flour and process for 1 minute. The dough will have formed into a ball. If the ball of dough is very sticky, add up to 6 more tsp (30 ml) flour and process for 1 minute.

Remove dough from food processor and knead on lightly floured counter for about 2 minutes or until the dough looks smooth. Place dough back into bowl of the processor, cover and place in a warm spot. Proof (the baking term meaning to let rise) for 1 1/4 hours. When dough has risen, remove from bowl and stretch into size.

Tip: Microwave 1 cup (250 ml) water on high power for 90 seconds. Place dough in the bowl of the food processor, uncovered, into the microwave and close the door. This way, the microwave acts as a mini proofing oven. 

While the dough is proofing, preheat the pizza stone (see sidebar). If you aren’t using one, preheat oven to 220 C for at least 10 minutes before baking to make sure the oven is really hot.


Mediterranean Pizza

For the best flavour, slightly blacken the grilled aubergine.

1 completed recipe wholemeal pizza dough
3 to 6 tsp (15 to 30 ml) cornmeal
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Fresh basil leaves, snipped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 tsp (2 ml) dried basil
1/4 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
2 canned artichoke hearts, sliced thinly
6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced thinly
1 small eggplant, sliced thinly, grilled
75 g mozzarella cheese, grated
30 g asiago cheese, grated (you could also use matured pecorino cheese)

Tip: Want to reduce your fat intake? Choose low-fat cheese.

Preheat oven to 220 C. If using a pizza stone, place on the middle rack and let preheat for 1 hour. If using a regular pizza pan, preheat oven.

Shape and stretch dough into a 30 cm circle.

Sprinkle counter with cornmeal. Place circle of dough on top of cornmeal; press down lightly; shake off excess and transfer to either baker’s peel or pizza pan.

To make the tomato topping, add the diced tomatoes, basil, garlic and salt to a bowl and mix well. Spread evenly over top of dough. Sprinkle with basil and oregano. Evenly scatter artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, eggplant and both cheeses over top.

Carefully slide onto pizza stone. If it sticks, use a spatula to loosen an edge and then slide onto stone. Alternately, place pizza onto pan and into oven.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Using baker’s peel, slide pizza off the stone or remove pizza pan. Place onto chopping board and cut into equal slices.

Makes 8 slices.

One slice contains:
879 kilojoules; 8.9 g protein; 6.3 g total fat (2.3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 29.5 g carbohydrates; 7.3 g fibre; 303 mg salt


Kid-Friendly Cheese Pizza with Homemade Sauce

If you opt for homemade dough, you can make the sauce while the dough is proofing. For evenings when time is limited, you can use a pre-made pizza base. Check the package for organic ingredients and minimal additives.

1 completed recipe wholemeal pizza dough
540 ml can diced plum tomatoes
1 tsp (5 ml) dried basil
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
75 g mozzarella, grated
30 g asiago cheese, grated

Mash tomatoes with potato masher. Place into small saucepan with basil, oregano and garlic. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cook uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until reduced to approximately 1 1/2 cups (375 ml). Cool for at least 20 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 220 C.

If using homemade dough, shape and stretch into a 30 cm circle and place on baker’s peel. If using ready-made shell, place on pan.

Top with 1/4 cup plus 6 tsp (90 ml) tomato sauce, mozzarella and asiago cheese.

Bake for 12 to15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven. Place on chopping board and cut into equal slices.

Tip: This recipe makes enough sauce for four 30 cm pizzas. If making only one pizza, divide the remaining sauce into three separate freezer-proof containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Makes 8 slices.

One slice contains:
670 kilojoules; 7.8 g protein; 4.8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 23 g carbohydrates; 0 g fibre; 321 mg salt


Tex-Mex Pizza

The flavour of nachos on a crust.

1 completed recipe wholemeal pizza dough
1 cup (250 ml) corn kernels, fresh, canned or frozen
3 to 6 tsp (15 to 30 ml) cornmeal
3/4 cup (180 ml) refried beans
1/2 cup (125 ml) salsa, mild, medium or hot
2 shallots, sliced thinly
125 g mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh coriander, leaves only, chopped

Preheat oven to 220 C. If using a pizza stone, place on the middle rack and let preheat for 1 hour. If using a regular pizza pan, preheat oven.

In medium frying pan over medium heat, char corn kernels till slightly blackened. (If using frozen corn, place in a colander and rinse under hot water till thawed. Place on a clean tea towel and lightly dry.) Set aside.

Shape and stretch dough into a 30 cm circle.

Sprinkle counter with cornmeal. Place circle of dough on top; press down lightly; shake off excess; and transfer to either baker’s peel or pizza pan.

Spread refried beans evenly over pizza shell. Spread salsa over top. Sprinkle with blackened corn and shallots. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Slide onto pizza stone, if using.

Place stone or pan into oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven. Place on chopping board and cut into equal slices. Sprinkle with coriander. Serve.

Makes 8 slices.

One slice contains:
890 kilojoules; 9.5 g protein; 6.8 g total fat (3.2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 30 g carbohydrates; 5.5 g fibre; 394 mg salt


Spanakopita Pizza

A Greek-inspired pizza.

1 completed recipe wholemeal pizza dough
8 cups (2 L) baby spinach
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 6 tsp (15 to 30 ml) cornmeal
6 tsp (30 ml) tapenade or olive spread
125 g goats’ or sheeps’ milk feta cheese, finely crumbled
3 shallots, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 220 C. If using a pizza stone, place on middle rack and let preheat for 1 hour. If using a regular pizza pan, preheat oven.

Heat medium frying pan over medium heat. Add spinach and garlic and let wilt in pan, stirring occasionally. Place colander in the sink, add cooked spinach and press out any excess liquid. Set aside.

Shape and stretch dough into a 30 cm circle.

Sprinkle counter with cornmeal. Place circle of dough on top; press down lightly; shake off excess; and transfer to either baker’s peel or pizza pan.

Spread tapenade evenly over pizza shell. Evenly divide cooked spinach over top. Sprinkle with feta cheese and shallots. Slide onto pizza stone, if using.

Place stone or pan in oven. Bake for 12 to15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven. Place on chopping board and cut into equal slices. Serve.

Makes 8 slices.

One slice contains:
722 kilojoules; 7 g protein; 6.62 g total fat (2.35 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 23 g carbohydrates; 4.7 g fibre; 349 mg salt


Pizza toys

If you’re going to become a pizza aficionado then you’re going to need the toys for success.

Pizza stone: a large flat stone placed in an oven that has been preheated to 220 C on which the pizza is baked. The stone produces an evenly cooked and crispy pizza crust. If you don’t have a pizza stone, use a regular pizza pan.

Baker’s peel: a long-handled wooden paddle used to slide the pizza on and off the pizza stone.

Pizza wheel or pizza cutter: a sharp rolling wheel for slicing pizza. 

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