Friday night - I wanted pizza. Making your own pizza crust takes a couple of hours of advance planning, to give the dough time to rise, but it's really not very difficult (this recipe will also work in a bread machine on the dough setting). And it's a great way to put a whole new face on just about any kind of leftovers.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (makes 2 12" pizzas)
2¼ teaspoons (or 1 pkt) dry yeast
1 cup very warm water
3 cups flour (I use half whole wheat and half unbleached flour)
1 teaspoon salt
Sprinkle yeast over warm water, let set a couple of minutes to dissolve. Mix salt into 2 cups flour and stir into yeast mixture. Add third cup of flour, stir in as much as possible, then dump dough and excess flour onto cutting board and knead for 10 minutes (to knead dough: flatten and push the dough away from you with the heels of both hands, pull the farthest part to double it back over on itself, and spin the dough a quarter-turn; continue in a push/pull rocking motion), adding up to ¼ cup more flour until dough is smooth and doesn't stick to your hands or the board. Pour a few drops of oil into a clean bowl, use the ball of dough to spread it around the entire inside, and then turn the dough so the oiled side is up and cover with a clean cloth. Let rise 45-60 minutes, punch down (punch your fist into the ball of dough, and when it collapses push the edges into the center, dump it out and shape it back into a ball). Add a few more drops of oil to the bowl, smear it around and flip the dough ball oiled side up again and let rise another 45-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475º. Prepare your toppings - chop or slice veggies, pre-cook meat, shred cheese. Lightly oil your pizza pan(s), and dust lightly with cornmeal. Divide dough in half. If you'd like to freeze half, roll it into a cylinder, place it in an oiled 1-pint freezer bag and press all air out before freezing (later, thaw in refrigerator without opening bag until ready to use). Let the dough rest 10 minutes before shaping, by rolling and pulling, to fit 12" pan. Add toppings (we like lots of home-canned tomato sauce, a sprinkle of oregano, shredded mozzarella cheese, and then whatever leftovers, bits and pieces I find in the refrigerator or pantry). Bake on lowest rack 15 - 20 minutes.
Tips: My oven isn't big enough to fit two pizzas on the bottom rack, so I cook them one at a time when making two. For some insight into tossing your pizza crust, practice the throwing and spinning motions with your dish cloth - it's an art.