Let’s start the year and the weekend off with something healthy yet decadent at the same time, this whole wheat pesto pizza. We are all about a balanced diet over here 😉 . This pizza dough is made with 100% white whole wheat flour, olive oil and honey. I only used all-purpose flour for kneading on the board. I’ve wanted to tackle pizza making for a while, but was afraid it would be too complicated, and I don’t have a pizza stone. Turns out, you DON’T need a pizza stone, and it is NOT complicated at all! If you can make a bread dough, you can easily make a pizza dough. It is the same simple process.
My recipe for the pizza dough will yield two 10” pizza or one really large pizza about 10”x15” which will serve at least four people with big appetite. Since I was making pizza for two, I only used half of the dough for one 10” pizza. I froze the other half. The dough freezes well; however, the crust doesn’t raise as much as the first time, but the taste is not affected. It still makes a damn good pizza! If you want pizza two days in a row (it’s not a bad thing!!), you could just refrigerate the dough instead of freezing it.
Now let’s talk about the toppings… I used Mezzetta Basil Pesto (I think Ryan picked this up at our local Sprout’s), turkey bacon, chicken sausage and lots of vegetables to continue with our healthy theme. But feel free to use any kind of bacon and sausage you want, or make it a veggie pizza (who am I kidding?), or a meat lover! Now that you have the pizza dough, you’re free to use your imagination. There is no 3 toppings limit at this pizza joint! Please! My pizza always looks like Mt. Everest after I add the toppings. But that’s the beauty of homemade 😉 .
So in place of a pizza stone, I used this baking sheet, which I picked up at Target a while ago. It’s an insulated cookie sheet without a lip so you can easy slide the dough on the parchment paper on and off it. I like that it is insulated so that the bottom cooks evenly, but any baking sheet will do, there’s no need to go out and buy this particular one or a pizza stone for that matter, just thought you might want to know 🙂 .
For the dough:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- AP flour for kneading
- Extra olive oil for bowl
For pizza topping:
- 2 tablespoon basil pesto
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella - divided
- 1/2 cup shredded Romano
- 3 – 5 turkey bacon slices
- 1 chicken sausage or any sausage of your choice (optional)
- 1/4 cup sliced olive
- 1/4 cup artichoke heart
- 1/2 cup sliced white button mushroom
- 1/4 of a large red onion
- 3 – 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup jalapeno (optional)
- Olive oil for brushing the crust
- For the pizza dough, dissolve 1 tablespoon of honey in 1 cup of warm water. The temperature should be about 105 - 110°F. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast over the water. Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast expands.
- Add the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl, mix with a whisk or spatula. Add the olive oil and yeast mixture. Knead with the dough hook until everything is combined and a dough forms. The dough will be somewhat wet and sticky.
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured board and shape into a ball, kneading a few times until smooth.
- Place the dough ball into an oiled bowl, roll the dough around to coat it with the oil and let rise for 1 – 2 hours or until double in size if you want to use the dough right away. Otherwise you could let the dough rise in the fridge overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before baking.
- Divide the dough in half, and shape into disks. Refrigerate or freeze one disk. Place the other one on a piece of parchment paper and roll out into a 10” circle. Slide the dough onto a baking sheet, cover with a towel and let it rise while the oven preheats. I usually set the baking sheet on top of the stove so the heat from the oven can help the dough rise faster.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. And start cooking your pizza toppings while the oven preheats.
- Cut the turkey bacon into bite size pieces. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan and cook the turkey bacon until browned and slightly crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
- Remove the sausage from its casing and cook until almost done, breaking it into small pieces. Remove from the pan reserving a little bit of the fat in the pan, set the cooked sausage aside in another bowl.
- Thinly slice the onion and chop up the garlic. Cook the onion and garlic in the reserved sausage fat until onion is translucent. Set aside.
- Cut up the artichoke heart into bite size pieces if desired.
- When the oven is ready, spread 2 tablespoons of pesto on top of the dough evenly using a small silicone spatula, leaving about 3/4” crust. Brush the crust with olive oil.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella and 1/2 cup of shredded Romano over the pesto.
- Add the rest of the toppings, bacon, sausage, onion & garlic, olive, artichoke heart, mushroom, and jalapeno.
- Sprinkle the rest of the shredded Mozzarella on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before digging in.