Baking for health: Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

By: M.E.Welch,  AS, CPhT, Author

Baking for health: Whole Wheat Pizza DoughPizza’s reputation as a high-fat, unhealthy food is not based on the crust. Whole Wheat Pizza Dough is relatively low in fat and calories. When the dough is made from whole wheat flour, you gain complex carbohydrates, fiber and essential nutrients.

One slice of whole wheat dough from a 12-inch pizza has 136 calories, 25 grams of total carbohydrates and 2 grams of fat. The carbohydrates are almost entirely complex carbohydrates from whole wheat flour. Some pizza dough recipes call for honey, but it’s such a small amount that the sugar in once slice would only amount to 1 or 2 grams. One slice of whole wheat dough also has 5 grams of protein.

Fiber

Pizza doesn’t have a reputation as a source of fiber, but a slice of whole wheat pizza dough has 4 grams. That represents 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber for men and 15 percent for women. Whole grain wheat is a good source of insoluble fiber that keeps food moving through your digestive tract and prevents and relieves constipation. It also lowers the risk of developing diverticular disease.

The whole wheat flour in pizza dough is a source of iron and magnesium. One slice of plain dough provides 16 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron for men and 7 percent for women. In addition to helping carry oxygen through the bloodstream, iron has a role in chemical processes that make amino acids, neurotransmitters and hormones. Magnesium stimulates muscle relaxation throughout the body, including in the heart and blood vessels; it helps maintain a steady heartbeat and regulate blood pressure. One slice of plain whole wheat pizza dough delivers 12 percent of the recommended daily intake for magnesium.


B Vitamins

Whole wheat pizza dough provides all of the B vitamins except for vitamin B-12. Most of the vitamins come from whole wheat flour. Thiamin, riboflavin and niacin are all essential for the chemical processes that turn food into energy. Niacin also lowers cholesterol levels, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. One slice of whole wheat pizza dough contains 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of thiamin, 12 percent of niacin and 6 percent of riboflavin. You’ll gain 12 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin B-6 and 7 percent of folate from a slice of dough. Both of these vitamins lower levels of homocysteine in the blood, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Folate is critical for the creation and growth of new cells. Everyone needs adequate folate, but it’s especially important for preventing birth defects in the early months of pregnancy.

So, where does the carbs and sugar come from?

Toppings are not normally a cause of carbs and sugar, however, a few choices such as Pineapple can. 1.7 ounces of this delicious fruit contains 7.4 carbs and 6.8 grams of  sugar. A deal killer? Not really if you include it in your carb counting at dinner time. So what is the culprit in pizza?

The sauce!

Most sauces be it from the supermarket or what is on your delivery pizza is made with a lot of sugar. Sugar tends to counteract the acid in tomato and makes the mixture more pleasant to the palate.

pizza-mixSo, what to do?

Remember, we are making our own delicious home made pizza! I will share my home made pizza sauce later. When making fresh homemade pizza it is essential to use fresh ingredients including whole wheat flour, vegetables, herbs, meats and even the sugar you use. YES! I said the “S” word. If you have a bag of processed white sugar throw it out! Use light brown sugar instead. Lets move on to the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

Lets make Baking for health: Whole Wheat Pizza Dough!

Servings: Approx. 6

Prep Time: 1 hr. 40 min       Cook Time: 15-17 min.        Total Time: Approx. 2 hrs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1 cup non-bleached flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I prefer organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Combine the yeast, light brown sugar and salt in a bowl. I am using a stand mixer, however by hand works just as well.
  2. Add the work water and mix well with a whisk.
  3. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the olive oil and stir. The water and oil will separate. Don’t be alarmed!
  5. Add the flour(s) and using a dough hook mix  until it comes together and is sticky. We want it sticky.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead into a ball.
  7. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm for 1 1-2 hours. (Doubled in size.)


Whole Wheat Pizza DoughIt is at this point you have options depending on your needs. You have (hopefully) a large ball of fresh dough. Here are my suggestions:

How many pizzas will you get out of this batch? Depends and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. How many people are going to eat your delicious homemade delight? Am I making thin, regular or thick crust pizza? What size am I making? A personal 8″ or perhaps a 13″ for two. Maybe you need to make a 13″ Big Daddy deluxe for the family. All of this comes into play when deciding what to do with the dough.

For me, I like to take the lot and put it into a 1 gallon zip lock back and toss it into the fridge. Since I make 8″ pizzas. for me it is more convenient to take it out, cut off what I need and return to the fridge.

As you can clearly see, the choices are many and it is all up to you. If you are a novice, don’t panic! Doing is learning and before you know it you will have  a routine that fits your needs.

Final Note: Bake this dough at 450 degrees. Ovens vary but I have great success by cooking my pizzas any where from 15 to 17 minutes depending upon the amount of toppings and cheese(s). 


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