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How can I make consistent pizza: good, nutritious, thin crust?


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I'd like it to be at least partly whole wheat (for nutrient reasons), and I would do it with organic ingredients, but can usually find organic versions of whatever is suggested. And done within cookie sheets with edges to keep the toppings in place (plus I have nothing so fancy as pizza stone). And this is primarily for teen boys.  Eat a lot and seem for some reason pickier than when they were little.


I have tried and I get inconsistent results.  One time it was great and whole large sheet of pizza got all eaten up in about 5 minutes.  Next time pretty yucky and left to sit. (I am GF so don't eat much of pizza if any, but I taste tested these two and agree that first was better.)


Problems have been crust getting too thick, or not cooking evenly.  Toppings too salty or too wet or too much or not enough.


Do you have recipes for great crusts that use at least part whole wheat?  Toppings that work well?  Especially ones that add some good food stuff, like vegetables, for example.


Hints to not have what is apparently identically done be radically different from one batch to next?


Even better would be if I could make several sheets of it at once and freeze half of them for later easy warm-ups.

Edited by Pen
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Whole wheat flour can be finicky. It depends on the kind, the age, etc as to how much liquid needs to be added. Much more so than white flour IMO. King Arthur white wheat may work for you. I've read varying things about whether "whole wheat" flour is any "healthier" than white, so sometimes I don't even bother. Especially with pizza. :) Mel's Kitchen Cafe has a whole wheat pizza crust I've made successfully, but the liquid/flour ratio always needs to be tweaked based on humidity and the flour.


I love my pizza stone and keep it in the oven most of the time, so it doesn't take up storage space. If I need to make more than fits on it, I preheat a sheet pan and flip it over to bake the crust on the bottom. I also usually dock the crust and parbake it for a few minutes to set up before adding sauce and toppings. This makes a big difference in a home oven to not having a gooey crust.

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This is my crust recipe - http://www.saucemagazine.com/blog/?p=24007 - it uses white flour, but you could try subbing some whole wheat flour for the white. Just remember that whole wheat flour is more finicky and the bran does hamper to some degree the gluten development. Maybe master one with white flour first before branching out.


Peter Reinhart has a pizza crust class on Craftsy that you might want to consider. His new book focuses on sprouted flours. He has a pizza crust using sprouted flours too - http://www.cleveland.com/cooking/index.ssf/2015/05/peter_reinharts_sprouted_wheat.html


Hydration is influenced by humidity levels. So that can certainly impact the end product. Ambient temperature, temperature of water, temperature of dough all play a role in how yeasted doughs behave. I find I have more consistent results when I weigh my ingredients, but also with practice. The more I do it, the better I get. That includes if I don't make any for an extended period of time.


When shaping your dough, I find stretching it by hand is better than rolling it out or trying to stretch it in a pan. I watched YouTube videos the first few times until I got the hang of it. If the dough springs back, let it rest and then stretch again after the gluten has relaxed. I prefer hearth baking at a high temperature, but I have used a jelly roll pan at the highest possible temperature for the pan which I think is 425. For hearth baking I cook mine at 500 on a flat stoneware pan.


Then toppings - precook most veggies to cut down on the amount of water. Onions, peppers, mushrooms, and eggplants are musts for me. Broccoli and spinach can go on uncooked, but do it over the cheese, not under. The spinach gets crispy and is lovely.

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Here's a good tutorial on rolling out a crust for a nice, thin pizza: http://dish.allrecipes.com/forming-pizza-crust/


This a good tutorial on pre-cooking veg: http://www.sweetphi.com/hot-air-balloon-pizza/


http://www.sweetphi.com/fail-proof-whole-wheat-pizza-dough/  Her recipe is pretty close to my whole wheat flour recipe, only I toss some additional spices into the crust dough.  I also use a blend of cheeses in topping.

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