Every Friday night is pizza night at our house.
It has been this way for years, in fact. Long before we had kids, we had pizza night: more or less successful, over the years, depending on what recipe I used for the dough and whether it was fresh or frozen from last week and whether I could get the pizza peel to cooperate with me. (Note for next time: buy the wooden one.)
Many nights we ended up tossing hopelessly misshapen pizzas that had folded over on themselves and splattered cheese and sauce all over the bottom of the oven while we fought with the dough and the peel in a vain attempt to get the uncooked pizza onto the baking stone. (Why not just make the pizza on the stone, you ask? Because I like the way the crust cooks when I pre-heat the stone. And because I never seem to like the obvious solution.)
Since we moved into this house—with its little peninsula of countertop that is ideal for cooking with children—Friday night has become make-your-own pizza night. Right from the start it has been a huge hit; around Wednesday, every week, Asher starts asking each day whether we're making pizzas for supper that night.
Make-your-own pizza night offers an added bonus for pizza-challenged folks like me: it is much easier to get little personal-sized pizzas onto the baking stone. And if one winds up on the floor because...say...I turned too quickly taking it out of the oven and it slid right off the peel and flew halfway across the room like a Frisbee? No problem: there are plenty more.
I have tried too many pizza dough recipes to count over the years in my search for the perfect crust: not too thick, not too crispy, not too doughy. When I found one that we loved, I put it in my recipe binder under the name "Best Pizza Dough Ever."
And then, naturally, I started playing with it—substituting a bit of whole wheat flour here, taking out some sugar there—because even the best pizza dough ever can be improved on, no?
The Best Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Ever
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2–2 1/4 cups tepid water
in a mixing bowl. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Mix again for 5 minutes—I use my stand mixer with the dough hook on speed 2—and add more flour or water as necessary to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and cover with a towel to rise for an hour or two.
Heat oven (and baking stone, if you have one) to 500 degrees.
Shape and top pizzas, and bake on the hot stone for 7–9 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dough is baked.
This recipe makes enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or 8 little personal-size pizzas; it easily doubles for a larger crowd and also freezes well.