Tuesday, March 08, 2011

March's Pizza del Mese: Broccoli and Tomato Sauce Pizza

This is my third pizza employing the delectable Classic Pizza Sauce from January's Pizza Margherita. Like last month, I tried a whole different dough--Spelt Pizza Dough.

Here's a telling little bit of trivia. There are eight pizza dough recipes in Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Every pizza recipe recommends a dough to use and offers a backup. Only two of the dough recipes never appear as a "first choice" in a pizza recipe: the Gluten-free Pizza Dough and this month's Spelt Pizza Dough. The Spelt Pizza Dough, slightly sweet and nutty in flavor, is not going to be everyone's favorite, but it is a healthier alternative to the white flour doughs offered.

I didn't bother with the Window Pane Test because, according to Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, the spelt flour doesn't have the higher level of glutens present in doughs made with all-purpose or bread flour. The book also says that spelt is high in protein and the potato flour in the recipe gives the dough some elasticity. I'm beginning to catch on. Gluten is a type of protein present in wheat, but not all proteins present in wheat are gluten. Spelt is high in non-gluten proteins, so while it's good for you in the sense that it has a higher ratio of proteins to carbohydrates, spelt doughs lack elasticity, don't keep their shape as well, and, once baked, don't have as chewy texture.

Once baked, this spelt crust sort of breaks into pieces on contact. The downside: it totally would not come off the pizza pan in one piece, or even in a whole slice. The upside: if chewy doughs give your jaw trouble, this is a yummy, healthy alternative. I don't just mean the aged and TMJ sufferers. I think this is the perfect crust for a toddler's first pizza. And the healthy toppings on the Broccoli and Tomato Sauce Pizza would probably make this combination perfect overall for a toddler's first pizza. I haven't tried it out on my toddler yet, but I'm definitely going to.

Where the recipe calls for 3 oz. provolone, Muenster, or Havarti, shredded, I used Beemster with Mustard, a cow's milk cheese from Holland, which was recommended by the geniuses at The Cheese Cave. It is SO good. It sets off the spicy pizza sauce and roasted red pepper puree perfectly. Like last time, where the recipe calls for 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, finely grated, I used Canestrato di Filiano, also from The Cheese Cave. The combination with the broccoli was so amazing you might not notice it's all on top of a healthy crust.

Broccoli and Tomato Sauce Pizza adapted from Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough


  • Vegetable oil to apply to the cooking surface of Lodge Pro Logic Cast-Iron 14-Inch Pizza Pan
  • One recipe Spelt Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
  • 1 large jar pimiento or roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 C Classic Pizza Sauce (see recipe in January's Pizza del Mese: Pizza Margherita)
  • 3 oz. mozzarella, shredded
  • 3 oz. provolone, Muenster, or Havarti, shredded
  • 2 C frozen broccoli florets or fresh florets, steamed
  • 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, finely grated
  • Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450.
  • Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the surface of the cast iron pizza pan. Lay the dough at its center and dimple the dough with your fingertips. Then pull and press the dough until it forms a 14-inch circle on the pizza pan.
  • Puree the pimiento with the red pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth.
  • If using fresh broccoli florets, steam them over 1 inch of simmering water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the florets to a colander set in the sink and refresh under cool water until room temperature.
  • Ladle the pizza sauce into the middle of the dough, then use the back of the ladle to spread the sauce evenly. Evenly cover the sauce with the shredded mozzarella and provolone/Muenster/Havarti.
  • Sprinkle the broccoli florets around the pie. Dot the pimiento puree over the top, using about 1 t for each dollop. Top with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Place the pie on its pizza pan in the oven on the middle rack. Check it about every three minutes for the first nine minutes to pop any air bubbles that may blow up at its edge or across its surface. Bake until the cheese has melted and is bubbling and the crust's edge is golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
  • Transfer the pizza pan to a wire rack to cool for 3 minutes. Remove the pie from the pan, transferring it directly to the wire rack to cool completely. Transfer the pie to a cutting board to slice the pizza into wedges to serve.
Spelt Pizza Dough adapted from Pizza: Grill It, Bake It, Love It! by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough Ingredients
  • 3/4 C lukewarm water (between 105 F and 115 F)
  • 2 t honey
  • 2 t active dry yeast
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 3/4 C plus 2 T spelt flour, plus additional as needed
  • 2 T potato flour (not potato starch)
  • 1 t olive oil, plus additional for greasing the bowl
  • Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with warm tap water, drain it, and dry it thoroughly. Stir the water, honey, yeast, and salt together in the bowl just until everything is dissolved. Set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes to make sure the mixture bubbles and foams. If it doesn't, either the yeast expired or the water was not the right temperature. Throw the mixture out and start again.
  • Add the spelt flour, potato flour, and olive oil to the yeast mixture, attach the dough hook, and knead at medium speed until well combined and uniform, about 3 minutes.
  • Wipe a clean, large bowl with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel. Place the dough in the prepared bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Because spelt dough lacks many of the glutens found in all-purpose or bread flour, this dough can be very difficult to shape by tossing and stretching. Instead, place it on a lightly floured work surface, dust the top with spelt flour, and roll with a rolling pin to desired shape.
Previous Pizza del Mese: January's Pizza del Mese: Pizza Margherita February's Pizza del Mese: Mushroom Pizza

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Rebecca said...

Looks delicious. Maybe I will attempt some pizza making during spring break. What's your pizza making strategy? Do you start the dough in the morning and make the pizza that night?

Sarah said...

It was delicious! My strategy is to make the dough at lunch time and then make the pizza that night. Now that I've already got the sauce made (which was pretty quick), the rest of the toppings come together pretty quick. I don't see why you couldn't start the dough at breakfast, maybe let it rise in the fridge to slow down the pace a bit. I dunno, that's what the blogs say. The dough is still my weakest link, so I'll take any dough making suggestions.

Derrith Wieman said...

On yogurt: the biologist in me has to say that the organisms that turn milk into yogurt are not actually "yeast" but various strains of Lactobacillus i.e. bacteria - proof that not all bacteria are "bad"!

Enjoy your yogurt, knowing that it is good for you, healthy bacteria to repopulate/increase the beneficial bacteria populations in your gut, improving your immune system.