I have missed the last edition of International Food Challenge because of summer vacation and possibly poor planning on my side. Even this post is late, but I didn’t want to miss the 1st Anniversary of IFC. Hearty congratulations to Saras and Shobana for coming up with the event idea and completing 1 successful year.
For this month’s challenge, Saras picked 2 dishes from each of the previous years challenges. It was quite tough picking just one and I ended up making California Veggie Pizza that Joanne T Ferguson suggested.
My son has been asking for a pizza and I thought I can shoot 2 birds in 1 shot 🙂 I wanted to try whole wheat pizza crust and voila King Arthur has an amazing recipe for whole wheat pizza crust. One thing to keep in mind while making this crust is that the dough has to be refrigerated overnight, at least 18 hours, so plan accordingly. Don’t tell your kids you are making the pizza until you are ready to put it in the oven or you will be in a night long trouble.
For the California veggie toppings, I looked for recipes, but couldn’t really find any that were helpful, so I went with the toppings I saw on California Pizza Kitchen menu. They had baby broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, corn, sundried tomatoes, red onion and mozzarella. I added the ones I had in the fridge and the final pizza was very colorful and looked like a salad on pizza 🙂
The Whole wheat pizza crust needs a mention here. After the rise in the fridge, my dough didn’t rise as much as I saw it on KAF’s site. But I went ahead with spreading it out on the baking sheet and put it for the 2nd rise. I baked it as suggested, all this time worried that the final crust is going to be tough and I might have to make another dish for dinner.
I shouldn’t have worried because it is a KAF recipe 🙂 It turned out just PERFECT. It has a medium crust like a Sicilian pizza — not very thick, not very thin. My son loved the crust so much that he said ‘this is the best pizza crust, he has ever eaten’. This is going to be my go-to pizza crust going forward.
Another thing about the whole wheat crust (information from KAF), is that research has found that pizza crust made with whole wheat flour, when allowed to rise overnight and bake in a very hot oven for a relatively long time, is better for your health than a standard pizza crust. The reason is Antioxidants, the nutritional substance in certain foods (including whole wheat flour), counteract the harmful effects of oxidation on your system. Research shows antioxidants may help prevent diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and cancer, among others. Which means that this Pizza Crust recipe is a complete KEEPER.
California Veggie Pizza Recipe on Whole wheat Crust
- 3 cups Whole wheat flour - (I use KAF white whole wheat flour)
- 2 tsp Yeast Instant
- 2 tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 1¼ tsps Salt
- 2 tbsps Orange Juice - luke warm
- ¾ cup Water - luke warm
- Pizza Sauce (Tomato sauce)
- Red Onions
- Broccoli (I steam them a little beforehand)
- Eggplant (sauteed)
- Mushrooms (I prefer cooked, so I saute them in some oil)
- Corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- tomatoes Sundried
- Mozzarella cheese Grated
- The night before you want to make the pizza, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Cover and set it aside for 30 minutes, this gives the whole wheat to absorb the liquid.
- Now knead the dough with hand, mixer or bread machine and knead into a soft, smooth dough -- about 4~5 minutes on the stand mixer and a little longer by hand.
- Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Then refrigerate the dough overnight for at least 18 hours (a little longer is OK).
- Remove from the oven and spread it out onto a baking sheet (18"x13"). If the dough fights back, then let it rest for 10~15 minutes before trying again. This brief rest will help relax the gluten and the dough will spread much easily. Cover the dough and set aside for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Position the racks in the bottom and the top of the oven.
- Spread the pizza sauce in a thin layer on the crust. Top with the veggies. If you are using raw veggies, then you might want to add them now, so they get a chance to become tender. Since I cooked most of them on the stove top, I added them later.
- Place the baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
- Now add the cheese and the veggies that don't need that much cooking (or the already cooked veggies) on the crust and return the baking sheet -- now to the top rack of the oven. Bake for 6~8 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese has melted.
- Cut into slices and Enjoy!!