Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Whole Wheat Rye Pizza Crust

It was Sar's birthday a few weeks ago (I KNOW I'm a terrible post-er...I'm busy...please try not to judge me) and, although I didn't make her a birthday loaf, I gifted her something a bit more lasting and still bread related, obviously.  I gave her a pizza stone! I'll be honest - I'm definitely going to enjoy the pizza stone, too, especially if we continue to make delicious pizzas like the one we made May 22nd.  Please do not check your calendars and think about how long ago that was.  Please.

This pizza was epic.  The battle we fought against the smoke detector - also epic. For some reason our smoke alarm detects not only smoke, but also heat in general and apparently our frustration, as well.  The worst part is that the alarm is 9 feet up on the ceiling and Sar and I are both short individuals.  There was no getting up there to dismantle the thing, so we had to resort to swatting at it with a towel while jumping wildly in the air.  Eventually I defeated the alarm by rigging a fan on high stacked on top of R2D2, our human-sized, portable pseudo-AC.   He's yet to pay rent, but he certainly played a solid role in defeating the smoke detector.  Anyway, the battle was won, but I'm guessing the war is not over.

Back to the pizza.  The pizza stone really made the difference in the crust - it was both crunchy and chewy, and it held up against the toppings even after sitting on the counter for a bit.  Dennis, Sar, and I downed a whole pizza - not too shocking, but definitely a positive indicator.  The combination of whole wheat and rye flours in the crust was fantastic.

Here's the recipe:

Whole Wheat Rye Pizza Crust
Makes 2 medium sized pizzas

1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon maple sugar (which we actually had! if you don't, syrup is fine)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

What to do:
In a large bowl, combine the water, maple sugar or syrup, and yeast and let sit for about 10-15 minutes until the yeast gets foamy and active.  In the meantime, mix the flours and salt in another bowl until they're evenly combined.  When the yeast are nice and lively, mix in oil and then start adding the flour a bit at a time until you can no longer mix the dough in the bowl.  Stop adding flour if you notice the dough is getting dry or stiff - it should be soft, but not quite sticky.

Turn the mixed dough and any loose flour that hadn't quite combined onto a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is well combined and elastic.  If it still feels dry while you're kneading, drip (and I mean one drop at a time) some water onto the dough and knead it in.

Once you're done kneading, clean out one of the bowls and oil it lightly.  Place the dough into the bowl and cover with a towel.  Allow the dough to rise until doubled.  This took about 45 minutes for me in a warm kitchen - it could be a bit longer, depending on the kitchen temperature.  After it's doubled, dump the dough onto the kneading surface again and gently deflate it.  Knead again for 1 minute and then return the dough to the bowl to double again.  Bread is a waiting game, what can I say?

After the second rise, you can then turn the dough out onto a surface and get it ready to be topped.  It's pretty easy to handle, as pizza dough goes, so be careful not to stretch it too thin.  That's exactly what I did here and we had to split it into two halves and then halve one of the halfs and make an accidental calzone.  I'm telling you - things get weird when it's too thin.

[Bigger than our oven]

While you're shaping your pizzas, pre-heat the oven (with the pizza stone in there if you have one!) to about 525 or 550 degrees F.

Top the pizza with our red or white sauces (recipes here ) and some fresh mozzarella, basil, or any other toppings you'd like.  We used broccoli florets sauteed with minced garlic.

[Half of that beast being topped by Sar's beautiful hands]
Transfer directly onto the pizza stone as best you can.  Having a pizza peel would make this a million times easier.  It would have also helped us avoid this:

[Strangely-shaped blob]

Or this...

[Accidental, yet delicious, calzone-ish thing]

Bake for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges, as seen above.

Warning: I suggest having at least 4 people around to eat this pizza because you will finish it.  Or maybe make sure you don't have anyone around, if you're feeling greedy :) 

Happy birthday, Sar.  You ask for it, you get it.


  1. The pizza looks yummy - even the calzone thing! Don't disarm that smoke alarm - it could be a good thing someday!

  2. Pizza stones are incredible. Initially, I just perceived them to be just another gadget. I wish all my gadgets were this valuable.