Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spinach, Onion, and Mushroom Whole Wheat Pizza

 So I was trying to decide what to do with my leftover caramelized onions, and I realized that with all the bread books I've checked out from the library, I cold combine the onions with baking and make a pizza. Of course I had this brainstorm at work on Friday, when I wouldn't have time to throw together a crust for dinner that night. But on Saturday I got up first thing and threw one together--I selected the recipe from the Cooks Illustrated Baking Illustrated book, because it had an option for whole wheat and had instructions for kneading by hand.

Dough Ingredients:

1/2 c warm water (110 degrees)
1 envelope instant yeast
1 1/4 c room temperature water
2 tbs olive oil
11 oz bread flour
11 oz whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

The warm water and yeast is combined in a large measuring cup and left to sit for 5 minutes until it had foamed and activated. Then the rest of the water and oil are added in to combine. Add half of the flour and salt to a large bowl and all of the liquid ingredients and using a large spoon combine. Then add the rest and mix until all the flour is absorbed, then dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Then knead the dough until smooth, about 7 minutes.

 The dough goes into an oiled bowl and rises for about 2 hours, or until doubled. At this point it can be divided into three portions and refrigerated or frozen or baked into a pizza! I froze two portions, and put one into the fridge for pizza!

Before I got to making my pizza, I put my pizza stone in the oven and cranked the temperature to 500 degrees. It needs time to preheat so the stone will have the heat to get a crispy crust. The dough also needs to come out of the fridge and come to room temperature.


1 1/2 c chopped frozen spinach thawed and drained
8 oz  brown mushrooms chopped
1 c caramelized onions
3 cloves garlic finely diced
red pepper
thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper
1/4 c lowfat ricotta
1/3 c 2% Italian cheese blend

The minced garlic, red pepper, and mushrooms go in a frying pan and are cooked until fragrant and the mushrooms start to brown. Then the onions and spinach are added, with the rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. This cooks for a bit to get the flavors into the onions and mushrooms.

While that is cooking, the dough which has to be brought to room temperature before being used, can be spread. I put some flour on the counter and used my hands to spread it--the Baking Illustrated has a really nice illustration of how to do this.

It goes on a cornmeal dusted surface--I don't have a pizza peal, so I used the back of a sheet pan.It didn't work well for transferring to the oven. Once the dough is spread the spinach mixture is added to the top of the dough, leaving an edge around. I dotted the top with ricotta and transferred the pie to the stone, which is easier said than done, and let it cook for 12 minutes. My nicely shaped pie got all distorted, but it still tasted good! Once it was out of the oven, I sprinkled on the mixed Italian Cheeses.

The Verdict: This is a delicious pizza, with a nice crispy crust, and a good balance of toppings. When I make the next one I think I'll add some olives to give it a bit of a salty kick. It is nice to have the two balls of dough in the freezer, so I can pull them out and have pizza that evening.

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