Tag Archives: Pizza

A Band (and choir) of Gypsies

 

Hey everyone! It’s almost noon here at Chicago O’Hare.

We left Plainview at around 9PM last night and arrived at DFW airport a little after 3AM. My trip was spent watching The Phantom of the Opera on a classmate’s laptop while the rest of the bus watched the fifth season of The Office. After a while, though, it was “lights out” and I attempted (unsuccessfully) to sleep.

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We arrived at DFW at around 3, but we had to wait around for the airport to actually open at 4:45. My mom and sisters were gracious enough to meet me at the airport to give me my shoes I accidentally left at their house over the holidays! Now I won’t be walking around Europe in flip flops!

By the time I got through security, it was 5:45 and our flight was scheduled to board at 6:05! Not many things were open for breakfast, so I grabbed some kind of peanut butter+banana protein smoothie. It was good and filling, but after all the dried and fresh fruit I brought, I was kinda tired of all the sweets!

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The flight to Chicago was fairly pleasant. I managed to half-sleep most the way, which is significantly more than I can say about the bus ride. Maybe I was just that tired. But when I woke up I looked out the window and saw what looked like we were flying over the Arctic. Nope! It was clouds!

 

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I’ve never been to Chicago! This airport is pretty awesome! Where else do you find psychedelic hallways and toilet seats that replace your toilet seat covers for you??

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I went to Washington D.C. in 2002, and until today, that was the farthest north I ever traveled. I’m sort of excited! I was walking through the terminals looking for food and turned to Justin and noted that once one gets out of the South, the food options apparently get a lot healthier. Every food place pretty much served the same stuff! Fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, cold cut sandwiches and wraps, salads, etc. I was pretty excited at the thought!

 

And what did we end up getting? Deep Dish Pizza.

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I got a spinach and tomato pizza, which was alright. The sauce needed more flavor, and it could have afforded more cheese.

Justin got a pepperoni+Italian sausage pizza. I had a bite of it and the meat had enough spice that the flavorlessness of the sauce wasn’t noticed. His was pretty good!

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Sure, it’s not “real” Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, but it’s the best we can do during a 6 hour layover.

And no worries, I plan on getting an overpriced banana later so I can eat my almond butter on the plane.

Meanwhile, I need to change clothes. I’ve already given myself a wet wipe bath and refreshed my deodorant and makeup. I don’t get to take a real shower until tomorrow night, so I guess we’ll be living like gypsies for a few days!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I was right! I said in my previous post that perhaps the reason why my pizza crust was too crunchy for my liking was the fact that I left it in the oven too long. I decided to use some leftover dough for dinner and this time it was only in the oven for about 5-8 minutes. Perfect chew! Many people like thin crust for the crunch. Honestly, I prefer a chewy crust. I go for thin crust because it means fewer calories. So if I can get my chewy crust in thin form, all is good in the world! And that seems to be the case in my kitchen right now.

This recipe is something of a combination of Roni’s Thin Crust Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, Jenna’s Best Pizza Crust, and a little know-how as learned from Mr. Alton Brown. I wanted to create a “’high-protein” whole wheat pizza crust for Weight Watcher Points Plus’ sake, and so I incorporated soy flour. And because I love a great deal of chew, I used bread flour, a higher-gluten wheat flour, in place of all-purpose, and opted for an addition of vital wheat gluten to ensure a nice rise and chewy texture, which can be difficult to achieve when using whole wheat flour and the completely gluten-less soy flour.

Michelle’s Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
makes 2 large pizza crusts (can easily make 24 slices of pizza, total)

2 1/2 tsp (or 1 packet) of active dry or quick-rise yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water (preferably about 120 degrees)
1/2 cup soy flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil + more for rubbing

Combine water and yeast together in a small bowl (I used a measuring glass) and allow the yeast to “bloom” for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all the flours, the flax, the gluten, and the salt together thoroughly. Stir in the olive oil. Once the yeast has bloomed (it will look foamy), stir into the dry mix until you get a sloppy ball.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead the ball for about 10 minutes, or until the whole ball is smooth and evenly moistened without being sticky or dry to the touch. Add more flour or water in the kneading process, as needed. Sometimes it’s needed. Sometimes it isn’t. Ball will be done “kneading” when it becomes sort of elastic. It shouldn’t tear easily when you fold it over on itself, and you should be able to poke it gently with your fingertip and have the dough bounce back fairly easily.

Lightly oil the ball on all sides and place in a large bowl and cover tightly. Place in a warm place for several hours at minimum (until the ball doubles in size), or up to a day. I prefer to leave mine out for, at minimum, overnight, since that gives the gluten time to relax and make the dough easy to roll out without pulling back into a smaller round.

Once you’ve allowed the dough to rise for the amount of time you wish, cut the dough in half (for two large pizzas. I wrap up the second and stick it in the freezer for a quick pizza night at a later date) and with one ball, press out into a small round starting with the center of the ball. Use a rolling pin if you wish to roll out the dough, starting the pin from the center of the dough and rolling outward, turning the dough after each roll so you get whatever shape you wish (round, oval, amoeba… whatever).

Top with whatever ingredients you wish (pre-cooked where applicable. Don’t try to “cook” ingredients that require more than a few minutes in the oven, because you don’t want to overcook your crust), and place in a 400 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes, or until the crust firm at the bottom and a bit puffy on top. Or, if you’re using cheese as a topping, when the cheese is sufficiently melted to your liking is a good gauge.

Serving size: 2 slices (1/12th of the recipe or 1/6 of a whole pizza crust)
Calories: 154
Fat: 2.7 grams
Carbohydrates: 24.88 grams
Fiber: 4.32 grams
Sugars: .06 grams
Protein: 8.98 grams
Points Plus: 4

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