Pizza, very easily, crossing the boundaries of Italy, has established itself in all parts of the world. It is a household name in our country too. Serve chapati to children and they will make all sorts of faces. Serve them pizza and they are ever ready for it.
Over the years, there have been tremendous changes in the form of pizza. From all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour, from regular base to thin crust and from exotic vegetables to very simple seasonal vegetables.
Whole wheat pizza? Yes, trust me it is just as good and as yummy as a regular pizza made of all purpose flour.
In simple words, you can say that it is a beautiful makeover of our dear Chapati. Though nothing to beat the taste and goodness of chapati but keeping in tune with the times, if the same chapati is served in a new style, then?
Then it is a good change keeping everybody happy and looking forward to meals.
Made of whole wheat flour, loaded with veggies and great in taste….then why say no.
Also, everybody just loves to eat it. The name ‘Pizza’ itself brings a smile on their faces and they start feeling hungry.
Not only that but also too easy to make.
But frankly speaking, this was not the case with me till a few months back. Though I could bake loaves of bread, garlic bread, buns etc but the pizza was raising doubts. Doubts as to whether to bake the base first or to bake base with sauce or with everything, etc etc. Somehow I was not comfortable making pizzas at home. Also, the results were not great so pizzas took a back seat. Sometimes, the problem is not as big as we project it in our thoughts. Probably, this was the case with me also.
But, as usual, with practice and reading, I have overcome this aspect and now, we have pizza in our dinner at least once a week, that too, of whole wheat flour.
I see a lot of similarities between our Indian chapati and Italian Pizza.
Pizza dough is kneaded the same way as chapati dough except that in the former yeast too is added.
You can make this dough with whole wheat flour or with all-purpose flour or a combination of both.
But seriously there is no need for all purpose flour. You try it and the difference will not be apparent at all.
I have tried to clear each and every aspect of pizza making.
As far as pizza base is concerned, once the dough is ready then straight away roll the dough, put sauce, veggies and cheese and then bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180 degrees C in OTG or 2oo degrees C in microwave convection.
Or, you can make the base in advance and keep in refrigerator till use. To make the base, roll out, bake at 18o degrees C for 5 to 7 minutes. Let it cool on wire rack. Pack in ziplock bags and put in the refrigerator. Use within a day or two.
Both are fine, whichever suits you more.
But needless to say, fresh one tastes much much better.
However, for thin crust pizza, it is better to make directly, that is roll out, spread toppings and bake.
Also, after the first rise of the dough, you can keep it in refrigerator up to a day. Whenever you need to make, take out 30 minutes before making so that it softens up. And then proceed as usual.
You can make it on the baking tray or pizza stone or pizza pan.
Well, I make it in my baking tray of OTG.
Also, for beginners in bread making, pizza base is good to start with. You get an idea of the yeast, dough etc and then can move easily to bake loaves of bread.
I have simplified the process by adding yeast to the flour only. So, ensure that your yeast is good.
Also, I have used homemade pizza sauce here. For the recipe of homemade pizza sauce, click here.
In my family, everybody prefers thin crust pizza, so I make that only.
But if you want normal pizza then just roll it little thick. Also bake it little longer, say for 5 minutes more.
For information regarding yeast, you may read my article, “Understanding Yeast”…
And to learn about kneading and proofing the dough, please read, “the basics of bread making.”
Now, let’s move to our recipe of pizza dough and then to pizza…
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: 4 Thin Crust Pizzas : 8″ round or 8″ by 8″ square
For Pizza Dough
3 Cups +1 Tbsp (400 gms) Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Instant Yeast (See Note 1)
1 tsp Sugar
1.5 Cups (300 ml) Warm Water (See Note 2 and 3)
1 tsp Oil
For Making Pizza
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (for dusting etc)
1/2 Cup Pizza Sauce, Homemade or Store bought
2 Bell Peppers
1/4 Cup Corns, mushrooms, olives etc
400 gms Pizza Cheese
2 tsp Olive Oil
Oregano to taste
Chilli Flakes to taste
For Pizza Dough
- Sift flour and salt.
- Add instant yeast and sugar to the sifted flour and mix nicely.
- Start kneading, using warm water.
- Knead for at least 15 minutes till dough stops sticking and becomes smooth and shiny (See Note 4).
- Take a greased bowl. put the dough in it and then invert the dough so that the greased side comes on the top. This is important or else the dough may dry up and form cracks while rising.
- Cover the bowl with cling film or lid and let it rest for an hour or so, in some warm place (See Note 6).
- When the dough gets doubled, deflate it to release the gases and knead for 30 seconds or so.
- The Pizza dough is ready now.
- At this stage, you can keep it in refrigerator up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months or just go ahead and make pizzas.
For Making Pizza
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C for at least 15 to 20 minutes. During this time, do the following preparations.
- Divide the dough into 4 parts, make balls and keep it covered for just 10 minutes.(See Note 7)
- Chop veggies, as per your liking and grate cheese.(See Note 9)
- Sprinkle flour on the kitchen platform, take a ball and roll it thinly using a rolling pin. Roll it just the way you roll out a chapati.
- Sprinkle some flour on the baking tray and put the rolled out base on it. This is done so that the base does not stick to the tray.
- Lightly brush oil on the base all over, for 2 reasons. Firstly, by doing so it will not get soggy once the sauce is spread and secondly, the crust will get crispier on baking.
- Spread pizza sauce, toppings and cheese.
- Keep it in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1o to 15 minutes, till cheese melts and the bottom gets well cooked.(See Note 12)
- Serve immediately with love, oregano etc optional.
- This time, I have mixed yeast directly into the flour so please ensure that your yeast is of good quality and is not expired. If not sure, then please proof it in warm water first. For proofing take 1.5 cups warm water, add sugar and yeast. Cover it and leave it for at least 10 minutes till frothy. Knead sifted flour with this water.
- Use warm water only for kneading otherwise yeast will not activate and consequently, your dough will not rise.
- The quantity of water may vary slightly, a tablespoon more or less, depending on the flour, so take care of this and add water slowly. In case, you end up adding too much water then add a little flour, as required.
- For kneading, sprinkle very little flour on the kitchen platform, put the dough there, press it with the heels of your hands at different places. when spread then fold it and again start pressing. Do this for about 4-5 minutes till the dough becomes smooth, shiny and clears the poke test.
- If you poke a finger in the dough, it will spring back. Also, if you hold the dough in your hand then it will be firm and not be sagging.
- Rising time depends on the quantity of yeast and on the weather conditions. During summers it may rise in 45 minutes to 1 hour. Whereas in winters it may take even up to 2 hours.
- When dividing the dough into 3 or 4 parts, it’s better to roll a log and cut with pizza cutter. Do not tear it with hands as it may destroy the gluten developed during rising.
- Use and chop veggies as per your liking and preference.
- If grating cheese in advance, then mix a little salt in it so that it does not stick.
- You can even make Margherita Pizza, that is just sauce and cheese, no veggies.
- Always lay toppings after placing the base in pizza pan/ baking tray, this is because once laid, it is very difficult to lift it in the raw state.
- If the top gets cooked and the bottom is not then cover the top with aluminium foil and if possible, shift the baking tray to lower rack.
- Since I have made it thin crust, I roll out thinly. If you want to make normal then roll slightly thick, say 1/2″ thickness. Also, bake it little longer. Remember, it rises during baking so do not roll very thick.
- If you want to use just half the dough, then after deflating and dividing, pack the remaining half in cling film, place it in an air tight container and keep in refrigerator up to 24 hours.
Some pics showing Detailed method
1. Add yeast and sugar to the sifted flour.
2. Knead using warm water.
Divide like this.( This pic is just to give you an idea how to divide the dough)
3. Roll out on kitchen platform
4. Dust the baking tray with flour.
5. Keep the rolled-out base in this tray and may stretch to fit in there. Do not worry if it tears here and there.
6. Spread Pizza Sauce….
7. Arrange veggies of your choice…
8. Sprinkle Cheese…
9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180 degrees C. Take out…
10. Sprinkle Oregano, chilli flakes and lots of love and serve….
To make Pizza Base in advance
Roll out and prick holes using a fork.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 5 to 7 minutes, till half done.
Cool on wire rack and pack in zip lock bags and keep in the refrigerator.
Take out, make pizza as usual.
Keeping Pizza Dough in Refrigerator/Freezer
After the first rise of the dough ( that is after step 9 of ‘making dough’ method), you can keep it in refrigerator up to a day or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Whenever you need to make, take out 30 minutes before making so that it softens up. And then proceed as usual. If in the freezer, take out and keep in refrigerator overnight. When becomes soft, take out and proceed.
But, I will repeat that fresh base tastes the best.
If you have liked this recipe, then please leave a comment, with your suggestions, if any.
Also, join me on my Facebook page.
Let’s move together…