Lately I’ve been on a roller coaster of sorts, both physically and emotionally. It has nothing to do with anything particular and everything to do with the normal way of life. Sometimes living can suck the energy out of you, which is ironic in a way. Ending the day feeling tired to the bones feels like proof that I’m living a real life and no longer in the protective bubble that I seemed to have lived in during my years as a student.
Life had been fairly simple back then, my only responsibility to do with doing my best in school. I’ve never been much of a slacker in the first place, but when I really put my mind to it (or when I’m “in the zone”), I can work like a well-oiled machine. If I think about it, all the stress and hard work I put in then to be able to graduate with honours pales in comparison to what my present responsibilities are. There are days- when I’m too tired to think clearly. There are days when I feel so overwhelmed I want to drop everything and go on a well-deserved vacation. But somehow I am tied to this place, afraid that if I disappear even for a second something will be forgotten; something will go wrong. It’s tiring and ridiculous, but I think I’m programmed this way. Sometimes I tell myself it’s not fair to complain, because having a lot of work means the business is doing well. Right? And yet, I hate this feeling of exhaustion that takes over me all the time.
There has to be some way to insert more fun in my life.
It’s kind of funny despite how tired I am, I still somehow make it to the kitchen early every Sunday (my only rest-day in the week). Sometimes I spend only half a day in there, sometimes I spend nearly my whole day working away on some bread or pastry. The fact is, I’m never sorry for doing the things I love no matter the circumstance or situation. I have this feeling in my gut that if I don’t partake in any of my passions after a wild week at work, I am going to go stark raving mad. So here we are.
I chose to make pizza for two reasons, the first of which is that I’ve never made pizza at home before. The second reason is simply because pizza is major comfort food. Not only did the recipe look easy, the result looked immensely gratifying in that magical way pizza is. I just figured I needed all the pick-me-ups I could possibly gather. Now I picked Pizza Margherita for my first pizza foray because it was straightforward and required little effort. Since the toppings consisted only of cheese, basil, and tomatoes scattered about, pretty much all you needed to do was clean and slice and voila! You have instant pizza.
The whole wheat pizza dough is made with the mixer and super easy to handle, with some added health benefits since it’s whole wheat if you’re concerned about any of that. You can make your pizza into a square or a circle depending on your mood, and since this recipe makes two pizzas anyway, you can make both shapes like I did! I forgot to take a photo of my risen dough but this does rise up rather nicely. If you’re having a hard time perfecting the shape of your pizza through rolling, you can just throw the roughly-rolled dough into the pan and stretch it out with your fingers.
As I made the dough, I could already imagine the finished product– all nice and cheesy and smothered with Sriracha. A winner for sure. Slice, squirt on Sriracha, consume. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Makes two 13- to 15-inch pizzas
For the dough
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water, 100°F to 115°F
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 ½ to 3 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour, as necessary
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
For the topping
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese, diced or shredded
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). If you're using a baking stone, preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).
To make the dough
- 2. Stir together the yeast, water, honey, and 1 cup of the flour in a large mixing bowl, in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in the bucket of a bread machine. Cover the mixture and let it stand for 30 minutes; it'll be very soupy.
- 3. Add 2 cups of the remaining flour, the vital wheat gluten, and the salt to the yeast mixture, along with the olive oil and sesame seeds. Mix and knead the dough-by hand, mixer, or bread machine-for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to make a smooth elastic dough.
- 4. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for at least 2 hours, or until it's doubled in size.
Assembling the pizza
- 5. Divide the dough in half, roll each piece on a floured surface into a 13" to 15" round (depending on the size of your pizza pans), and place the rounds on lightly oiled pans. (A 13" diameter yields a thin crust; a 15" diameter yields a cracker-thin crust.)
- 6. Turn in the overhanging edge to form a rim. If you plan to use a baking stone to bake the pizza, place the dough on two baker's peels, dusted with cornmeal or surfaced with parchment.
- 7. Brush each round with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Divide the tomato slices between the rounds. Divide the cheese and sprinkle it on top of the tomatoes.
- 8. Divide the basil leaves and sprinkle them on top of the cheese. Divide and sprinkle on the salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
- 9. Bake the pizzas in the pans for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top and bottom crusts are nicely browned. If you're using baking stones, bake for 15 to 25 minutes (leaving the pizza on the parchment), or until the crust is nicely browned on the bottom.
- 10. Cut into wedges and serve immediately, garnished with additional fresh basil, if desired.
To rectify this sad situation of a fairly pizza-less life, I have begun gathering some pizza recipe ideas on a Pinterest board. Pretty sure there will be more pizzas popping up here because pizza-making kind of relaxes me.