It’s not really a secret that making dough from scratch kind of scares me.
The whole yeast thing- letting it rise…how many times was I supposed to knead it?…do I need to do the shake-the-baby-bottle-on-the-wrist test to see if my water is the right temperature?…
I’ll be honest, I find it a little overwhelming.
And then, of course, I stumbled upon the glory that is beer bread. It makes dough-making easy enough that even I’m not afraid of messing it up.
For some reason, it had never really occurred to me to try using beer bread as pizza dough. When I recently stumbled upon a post on Holly’s blog for beer bread pizza dough, I figured it was something that I needed in my life. And fast.
Of course, knowing me, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and make the dough as is. I’m always thinking of ways to add a little boost of nutrition to a dish, so there’s a little surprise in the crust recipe below. WINK.
Whole Wheat Spicy Chicken Sausage Pizza
3 c white whole wheat flour (feel free to experiment with different flours – most will work here)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 medium carrots, grated
1 12-oz bottle/can beer (I used Miller Lite because I’m classy like that)
2 links chicken sausage (I used Trader Joe’s jalapeno sausages), cut into thin coins
1 8-oz can pizza sauce
3 oz fat free monterey jack cheese (I used Lifetime brand), shredded
3 oz fontina (or mozzarella), shredded
1 oz parmesan, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add chicken sausages. Cook until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Whisk to combine.
4. Stir in grated carrot (I grated mine on a box grater) and then slowly pour in beer while continuously stirring the mixture. Using your hands, need the dough just until it fully comes together.
5. Using either your hands or a rolling pin, roll dough out onto a greased sheet pan (or lined with parchment paper or a Silpat) fairly thin. Mine was probably a good 15×11 and I could have rolled it out even thinner.
6. Pre-bake the crust for about 10 minutes, then remove from oven,
7. Top crust with pizza sauce, chicken sausage and cheese. Place on top rack of oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and beginning to turn golden brown. If desired, turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes at the end. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes before slicing.
Yet another reason to love Trader Joe’s: they sell white whole wheat flour! It’s not quite as dense and, for lack of a better term, “wheaty” as regular whole wheat flour, but is a heck of a lot better, nutritionally, than white all-purpose flour.
I would definitely recommend seeking this kind of flour out for this recipe, but feel free to experiment with different kinds. You can combine different varieties (like 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 all-purpose if you’re afraid of going all in for your kids), or seek out lesser known varieties, like spelt flour. Most will work in this recipe!
See those little specks of orange in there? You honestly can’t taste the carrot (and you don’t even notice it once the pizza is topped and baked). I think I’m going to experiment with different veggies in the future. Zucchini or yellow squash, or even finely chopped broccoli would work.
Any way you cut it, you’re adding extra vitamins to your pizza dough for practically no extra effort. (One note: I’d resist using pre-shredded bagged carrots in this recipe – they are too thick and won’t soften enough to disappear into the dough)
You could certainly make your own pizza sauce if you’re so inclined, but…I wasn’t.
There are actually some pretty good canned/bottled options out there nowadays, just be sure to check the label to make sure you aren’t adding a ton of funky chemicals to your pizza. (I mean, why throw in the towel after you went through the effort of making your own dough, right?)
Could I be any more anal-retentive about making sure I had my sausage coins evenly distributed over the pizza? I mean, chill, Megan.
The combination of fat-free monterey jack/fontina/parmesan was not an accident, by the way.
I like to call it the Pizza Cheese Trifecta. Here’s why:
- You’ve got your fat-free variety for bulk. The way I see it, you want to actually be able to notice that there’s cheese on your pizza, amiright? By using a light cheese, you can use more!
- The fontina is for the melting factor. Fat free cheese for bulk is great, but it doesn’t melt all that well. Use an equal amount of a cheese that melts very well and you’ll have the stringy-ness that you’re looking for.
- Parmesan adds a ton of flavor, and what’s a pizza without the cheesy flavor?
Have I over-thought the cheese?
But you all know that cheese is my life. I may have missed my calling as a dairy farmer.
Use whatever cheese you like (and have in your fridge) – I won’t be mad.
Honestly, I didn’t feel bad eating (maybe) a slice too many. At the end of the day, it’s pizza, yes. Maybe you don’t eat it every day. But as far as pizzas go, this one is at the top of the pile in terms of nutritional benefits.
Plus, I mean…I used light beer. So it’s health food, right?