Sunday, February 3, 2013

Whole Wheat Pizza Party in your Freezer

Everyone loves quick and easy meals, right? Especialy homemade pizza. Try stocking your freezer with pizza for those lazy nights (yup, you have to do  a little work up front). For us, I plan to stock up the freezer for when the baby comes; I know we will be pretty busy, and I know Chris loves frozen pizza! He is great at baking frozen pizzas:) (one of his many talents!). Try your favotite toppings; I love pesto, shrimp and goat cheese, and plain ol' tomato basil.

Whole Wheat Pizza Party in your Freezer
¼ cup dry active yeast  or 4 packages
2 tsp. sugar
3 cups water, divided
4 cups bread flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
4-6 tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup cornmeal for dusting and rolling
Fig and Prosciutto Pizzas:1 1/2  cups prepared fig jam/preserves
8 oz. reduced fat shredded pizza blend cheese
1 cup sliced roasted red peppers
6 oz. prosciutto, torn into strips
5 oz. crumbled gorgonzola
½ cup sliced green onion
For the 2 kid friendly/ Simple Pizzas:
1 ½ cups prepared  sauce
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
2-3 oz. sliced pepperoni
1 lb. reduced shredded fat mozzarella or pizza blend cheese

1. Warm water in microwave in a large glass bowl or a 4 cup Pyrex® measuring cup (105-110˚F). Stir in yeast and sugar. Place in a warm area (try turning oven to 300˚F).
Let sit for about 5 minutes until doubled in size.
2. Place flour and salt in large bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast mixture, remaining water and oil. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes with arm attachment (or do this by hand, on a clean work surface, if you are tough!)
3. Coat dough or bowl with oil or cooking spray. Place in warm place, covered with a warm damp towel, and let sit for about an hour until doubled in size.

4. Punch dough down and divide into four. Place on a greased baking pan (grease top of dough lightly if desired) and let rise again, covered with a piece of plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes until swollen and puffy.
5. Preheat oven to 450˚F.  I used disposable cookie sheets for my baking/freezing vehicle, but you can use round pans if desired (something that will fit a 14 inch crust).  The cookie sheets fit nicely in freezers. Coat pan lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of cornmeal. Place dough atop and gently press down with fingers, shaping into a rectangle (or circle). Use a rolling pin to carefully flatten dough to fit pan, not need turn dough over once you get it to fit pan.
Dough should be about ¼-½-inch thick depending on how you like it. Try to flatten it with as few strokes from rolling pin as possible; it just makes it easier. Continue with remaining crusts or shape while others are baking (this is what I did).

6. Bake dough for 5 minutes, until puffed over. Remove from oven and place a wire rack over top. Flip over to transfer crust to rack and allow to cool while others are baking. If you cool crusts on pans, the condensation and moisture build up will give you a soggy crust.
7. Once cool, return crusts to pans, making sure any moisture is wiped from pans. Spread desired sauce evenly over crusts. I like to spread sauce to the edge! Add toppings, starting and finishing with a layer of cheese. Cater wrap the pizzas, making sure they are fully sealed with plastic wrap.
To do this, pull a long piece of plastic wrap out of the box and place the tray on top of it. Bring the wrap up and around to completely seal the tray. If there are still gaps, turn the tray and repeat the process. Freeze pizzas until ready to use.

8. To bake, thaw slightly while preheating oven to 400˚F. Bake for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned and deliciously melty!

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