Creating the Healthy Pizza

Written for Bellissimo Foods by Tom Lehmann

Consumer demand for healthier pizza is on the rise. Here are a few tips on how to make a great whole grain pie.

The Dough: Use whole wheat flour or other whole grain/multi-grain flour blends. Add honey or non-enzyme active malt syrup to sweeten. Sea salt can be incorporated, but regular olive oil should do quite nicely as it is already recognized as a “healthy” oil. Because these doughs tend to be rather dense, they are best made with slightly higher than normal yeast levels (2 to 3% yeast based on total flour weights works well). Remember to increase the total dough absorption to something in the 65 to 68% range, and allow two or more hours of fermentation time for the fiber portion of the flour to absorb the added water. When forming the dough into skins, do not use excessive dusting flour as this will result in a less than ideal appearance and flavor. It is also recommended that you use the dough the day you make it to preserve optimal moistness and flavor.

The Pizza: When you are finished with our dough, be sure to brush it lightly with oil before applying a thin application of traditional tomato, pesto or even teriyaki sauce. A good cheese choice could be a 50/50 blend mozzarella with a no-cholesterol cheese product, or you can simply forgo using any cheese at all. The pizza can now be finished off by adding an assortment of delicious vegetable toppings such as crisp snow peas, bean sprouts, juicy thin-sliced tomatoes, grilled onion quarters, fresh shiitake mushrooms, yellow zucchini, Japanese eggplant, sweet bell peppers, artichoke hearts, and the like. The list is only as short as your imagination! For meat alternatives, try grilled Portobello mushrooms, chicken or seafood selections.

Preparing a “quality” healthy pizza is nor nearly as daunting as some operations would believe; it only requires a little extra time and creativity. Just think fresh, flavorful and, especially, lean!

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