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Monday, November 22, 2010

Chorizo pesto pizza with whole wheat pizza base

I can't recall I ever had whole-wheat pizza before. It sounds rather un-Italian but I want to experiment a little and see how the whole-wheat pizza would turn out. It would be great if it works so that we can, at least, claim that it's wholegrain pizza and somewhat a healthy choice, even though it is fully loaded with cheeses, chorizo, and etc, lol. 

When I told S that I was making whole-wheat pizza for dinner that night, he went "baby, you know, those Italians, they know their stuffs and they will never make a whole wheat pizza". Umm, that remark didn't stop me, I determined to find out. In fact, that saying "Those Italians, they really know their stuffs" is actually mine. Every time when I have Italian food, I would say this. I think Italian food is one of the best cuisines in the world. The simple and fresh ingredients that they use match each other perfectly. Think about basil and tomato with a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It’s simple yet so delish.


I used pizza base recipe from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and replace 70% of bread flour with whole wheat flour. The recipe incorporates the cold fermentation, which Peter Reinhart suggests that it provides two benefits, one for the flavour and the other for the shaping.

Overnight fermentation brings out more flavour trapped in the starch. It also helps relaxing the gluten and make dough shaping easier.

When it comes to pizza topping, less is more. More toppings doesn't equal good pizza. It is, in fact, counterproductive. It makes the crust soggy and takes longer to cook. It is recommended to limit to only 3-4 toppings, including the tomato sauce.

Instead of tomato sauce, I spread the pizza base with Italian pesto (I got three big jars from CostCo that will last for so many pizzas and pastas) and topped it with mozzarella cheese, onion and chorizo (spicy Spanish sausage). The cooked pizza then topped with baby rocket leaves (arugula). Chorizo is something I love to cook with. It has such an intense well-rounded flavour that complements any dishes really well.

The whole wheat pizza crust works quite well. It is not as moist and soft as the one made with white flour. The crumb is also not as open but it is tasty nonetheless. I also feel that the whole-wheat base is crispier than the white flour base.  

I couldn't help myself pinching the crust to check the crumb!

Not bad crumb, after all!

Yes, those Italians know their stuffs, but it is also good to find a way to enjoy our favourite food in a somewhat healthier way. The whole-wheat pizza is not bad after all and it can still feel Italian to me:)

Recipe note:
I halved Peter Reinhart's recipe. You can double the recipe and make 3 large pizza crusts.

The dough can be stored in fridge for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.

The recipe calls for chilled flour and iced cold water. If you don't have cold water at hand, mix a number of ice cubes with water to get an iced cold water.

Chorizo pesto whole wheat pizza recipe

Whole wheat pizza base recipe
make 2 medium size pizza crusts (255 g or 9 oz each)
Adapted from Peter Reinhart's pizza napoletana from The Bread Baker's Apprentice

200 g whole wheat flour, chilled
90 g bread flour or all-purpose flour, chilled
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
29 g olive oil or vegetable oil (optional)
397 g water, ice cold
6 g Salt

Pizza topping

3 tablespoons basil pesto
1 small onion, thinly sliced
70g mozzarella cheese, shredded
250g (2 sausages) chorizo (spicy Spanish sausages), sliced into 0.30-cm thick
100 g baby rocket leaves (arugula)

1.    Stir together the flour , salt, and instant yeast in a large bowl. With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with a paddle attachment). If kneading by hands, knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If using electric mixer, switch to dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should be clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50F to 55 F (10 C – 13 C).

2.   Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Mist the counter or a tray lined with parchment paper with spray oil. Using dough scraper or blunt knife, cut dough into two equal pieces (approximately 255 g or 9 oz each). Sprinkle flour over the dough and lightly coat them with flour. Gently shape the doughs into balls and transfer the dough balls into sheet pan or a zip-lock plastic bag. If using sheet pan, slip the sheet pan into a food-grade plastic bag and chill the dough overnight in refrigerator. The doughs can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

3.   Remove the dough balls from the fridge 2  hours before making the pizza. Dust the counter with flour, and the mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour, gently press the dough into flat disks about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with flour; mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Rest the dough for 2 hours.

4.   About an hour before making pizza, place a pizza baking stone on a bottom rack of an oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (I preheated mine to 275 C or 527 F). If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can bake pizza on the back of baking trays or on a pizza pan. However, you don’t need to preheat the trays.

5.   Generously dust the pizza peel or back of sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Stretch the dough disks into flat pizza pieces. Lay the dough onto pizza peel or baking trays. Spread the pesto thinly onto the pizza base. Put mozzarella cheese on top, followed by sliced onions and top with sliced chorizo.

6.   Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the baking trays)  and close the door. Checking after 2 minutes if the pizza needs to be rotate for even browning, do so if it needs to.

7.   The pizza should take about 6-10 minutes to bake depending on the crust thickness and fillings.

8.   Remove pizza from the oven and transfer to the cutting board. Top the pizza with baby rocket leaves. Wait for 3 –5  minutes to allow the cheese to set before cutting. Top

This post is submitted to YeastSpotting

Buon Appetito

Washed down the pizza with our favourite beer, Corona with a slice of lemon.
It cant’ get any better.


  1. Oops! It's 6 g..I just updated the recipe.

    Thanks for pointing that out.