Anyone who knows me, knows that I am an avid proponent of made-from-scratch meals. I believe one of the biggest health threats to our society is the constant consumption of heavily processed and ‘fast’ foods. Convenience foods, if you will. What’s inconvenient, however, is that these pre-packaged food-like products come with a hefty amount of added oils (usually hydrogenated & GMO), sugars (in the form of GMO HFCS & sugar beets), and massive amounts of sodium. They also include numerous chemical additives, synthetic preservatives, and so-called ‘natural’ flavors (usually containing MSG or worse things, like beaver ass glands). Yuck!
All these extra acronyms only add up to BAD health. Obesity, heart disease, and even cancer can be prevented (and sometimes cured!) by eliminating these processed food-products. I have seen the benefit in my own life, as I have (over many years) cut out nearly all processed foods. I rarely have food cravings, I have clearer skin, never get sick, and am able to maintain a healthy weight for my frame. (I am just shy of 5’2 and typically weigh between 105-110 lbs.) The word ‘diet’ to me does not mean a constant battle between my mind, body, and food, but rather, the ways that have shaped my views and goals on eating healthy – FOR LIFE!!! 🙂
Now, a lot of people think that ‘eating healthy’ means you have to give up many of your favorite foods. (So long ice cream, grilled cheese, and pizza! Hello kale!!!) I am here to tell you, that is just not the case. My food philosophy (foodosophy, if I may) is to eat meals made from scratch, with REAL ingredients, and eat them in moderation. You CAN enjoy homemade cakes, mac ‘n’ cheese, and the like – just don’t overdo it! As you’ve seen in my recipes thus far, I LOVE cheese. I also love butter, chocolate, breads, and sweets. And I eat them! A LOT! The reason I don’t weigh 300 lbs is not due to metabolism or genetics. I attribute it to eating in moderation, real, wholesome ingredients.
Today, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite health foods: PIZZA! (Okay, okay.. health food might be stretching it some. It IS made from scratch with real, organic ingredients though. And that’s a whole lot healthier than sticking a chemical-laden DiGiorno in the oven. Just sayin.)
The other day I found the BEST pizza dough recipe. I thought my old stand-by was good, but this recipe is beyond superior. I will summarize the steps below, but feel free to refer to the original site for an amazing picture tutorial and tips!! Professional style pizza made quick & easy!!! 🙂
The Best Pizza Dough EVER!
Slightly Adapted From: Here
- 3 1/3 cups flour (I use 2 cups organic AP and 1 1/3 cup white wheat)
- 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
- 2 1/4 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
- 4 tablespoons organic brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil
- 1 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water
First, you want to mix all your ingredients until incorporated. I currently use my bread machine to mix dough, but if you have a fancy stand mixer by all means use that! Once the dough is formed, cut into 2 equal sized pieces. You want to “Roll one piece up tightly like a carpet. Turn the dough 1/4 turn. Roll it tightly again like a carpet. Form into a tight ball shape by bringing the seams to the top and pinching to seal. Turn the dough seam side down and continue to pinch seam to form a tight, smooth ball.” (See link above for pictures to reference.) Place the balls of dough onto an oiled pan and cover lightly but completely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled.
At this point, I went rogue and stopped following the instructions for rising/proofing. I allowed my dough balls to rise about an hour and then froze one portion. (By the way, it thaws for a later use wonderfully!) Then I just stretched the dough, shaped it onto my pizza stone (I have one that doesn’t need to be preheated), and topped the pizza with some organic marinara and smoked provolone cheese. Bake at your highest temp until crust is lightly brown & cheese is melted.
This makes the softest, most foldable, thin crust pizza I’ve ever had. Better than most pizzerias!!
As delicious as this authentic pizza is, I have a small confession to make. I LOVED Totino’s pizza! However, since they are made super cheap and are chock-full of chemical and most-likely GMO ingredients, I never eat them. Nonetheless, I’ve never had a pizza with a crust quite like Totino’s… No matter how much I scoured the internet, I couldn’t locate ANY recipes for the one-of-a-kind crust!
Yeah… THAT’S not happening in my kitchen. So I did a little research. I found a biography of Rose Totino and learned that her signature crust was FRIED before being topped and baked!!!!! That’s it! That is the secret behind that crispy, airy, light, & crunchy Totino’s crust! (That and the overly-watered down tomato sauce & cheaply made processed ‘cheese’. 😉 )
I decided to try this out IMMEDIATELY! I found this tutorial on frying pizza crust (why hadn’t I seen this SOONER?!). I thawed some of the frozen pizza dough from my last adventure and got to work. You want to heat your oil in a pan (I filled a non-stick skillet with about 1 inch (deep) of grapeseed oil. To make things super easy, I recommend making the pizza the same size as whatever you decide to fry it in.) Shape your pizza and pinch several holes in the dough, avoiding the outer edges where your crust will be. Fry on both sides for about 1-2 minutes, until very lightly brown. Drain the crust on a few paper towels to remove excess oil. Now just add your toppings and finish it off in the oven (at the highest temp) for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melty!
BETTER than the original. And I can feel good knowing each and every ingredient that was used. Next, I plan on experimenting with freezing the pre-fried & topped crusts to see how they do!
This pizza also makes great personal pizzas and is even better cooked on the grill! 🙂
That’s all for now! Namaste!