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Calorie Count Blog

I Knead a Pizza


By +Janice D'Agostino on Aug 12, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.” - Yogi Berra

“Yes, that will be all. No thank you. I don’t need bread sticks or soda.” As I punched the disconnect button on the cell, I paused for a moment to think about the soon to arrive pizza. Over the past few years, I’ve tweaked my food choices in a number of ways. I cook more often so I am in control of the ingredients, read labels, eat less fast food, and make better choices in restaurants. But when the urge for pizza strikes, I continue to automatically punch the phone number so conveniently entered into my cell. Not a very mindful eating thing to do. So what's a pizza lover to do?

The sodium content alone for a typical delivery pizza should have made me reconsider my devotion to delivery. I've got awesomely easy and delicious recipes for sauce and pizza crust, so I plugged the ingredients into the Calorie Count analysis and discovered that my pizza has less calories, sodium, and fat than delivery! The nutrition links for each step - crust, sauce, and my usual toppings are with the recipes at the The Mindful Palate.

Have you ever made a homemade pizza? Even if you are not set up to mess about in the kitchen with flour and yeast, there are still lots of good options for you. Frozen bread dough, both whole wheat and white, sit in freezer cases of stores everywhere just waiting for you to thaw it, shape it, top it, and bake it. Only have a toaster oven? No problem; make great pizza in a few minutes in pre-made pizza shells, whole wheat muffins, or flat bread. Following a low carb way of eating? You still have pizza crust options! Try making your dough out of flax meal. Here's a link to an about.com flax crust recipe. Or try the fantastic cauliflower pizza dough in the recipe list below.

If you do have a couple hours to spare, making traditional dough is tremendously messy, fun, and the tastiest of all the options. Don’t be afraid of kneading it’s really quite simple, can be a terrific stress reliever, and it is nearly impossible to over knead by hand.

Things you knead to remember:

  1. Keep the bag of flour and a measuring cup handy. Sprinkle the dough and the kneading surface liberally when things get sticky. Sticky means the dough does not have enough flour, so add a bit at a time until it is not sticky.
  2. If you like to be precise for calories, keep track of the amount of flour used in kneading, and should it exceed the amount requested by the recipe, simply create a new recipe analysis for it on Calorie Count! Or, better still, use a recipe that weighs the flour instead of one that uses cups. That is the only way to make sure your calorie count is right on the money as measured flour tends to pack and the amount used will be different every time!
  3. For the most efficient kneading and the most awesome crust texture, use the weight of your body, push the dough with the heal of your hands, fold the dough in half, turn a bit, repeat – depending on the type of bread recipe this can go on for 3-20 minutes. For my pizza dough, you will need to knead for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add flour in less liberal quantities as you continue to knead until the dough is no longer sticky, smooth and is noticeably firmer. It's fun to feel the consistency change as you knead.
  5. Test to see if the kneading is complete by poking a hole in the dough with your finger; if it springs back up your kneading is done. Or try pinching a piece – if it has the smooth consistency of an earlobe it’s done. Either method is fine. I prefer pinching; maybe that's because it seems more Italian and befitting of pizza dough.
  6. Make your favorite homemade pizza dough on any day that is convenient for you, shape into rounds, wrap in plastic, and freeze! When you decide it's pizza night all you have to do is take it out of the freezer in the morning and thaw in the fridge for a better than delivery dinner.

Why knead so much? Yeast dough needs the gases evenly distributed so the dough will rise correctly. Kneading also encourages the development of gluten – that’s the stuff that will make the dough springy and create a marvelous texture in your crust. 

This Traditional Pizza Crust is my go-to crust. Make it in a couple hours the way my Italian Aunt-in-law taught me!

Try Benny the Chef’s Pizza crust if you want to make a stunning pizza the Roman way! After reading about his crust, check out Benny The Chef's other recipes!

Eating low carb? You can still eat a terrific pizza crust with Your Lighter Side and Jamie's Cauliflower Pizza Dough!

Grilled Pizza is the most awesome thing in the world you can do with your marvelous home made dough. The process is described at The Mindful Palate.

You'll need some great sauce for your fantastic crust; this pizza sauce is easy to make, and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week for quick pizza making at any time.

Many thanks to Benny and Jamie for contributing their recipes for this newsletter! Count your calories, watch your sodium, and enjoy one or two delicious slices of pizza with a large crispy colorful salad or a big bowl of minestrone soup. It's deliciously easy with your friends here at Calorie Count.

your thoughts…

Have you ever made a pizza from scratch? Are you a dough pincher or poker? Do you avoid pizza because it is too high in calories, fat, or sodium or do you just change your pizza thinking? What are your favorite toppings? Have you tried using fresh mozzarella? Do you prefer to use a pizza stone or baking sheet or grilling? What flour do you prefer - white, whole wheat, other, or blend? I wonder how many calories are burned in a good 10 minute kneading session, does anyone know? This article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.



Comments


We buy the whole wheat pizza dough at the grocery store which comes in a sealed bag.  We leave the bag in the refrigerator for about 4 days until it ages and becomes very sticky and has lots of bubbles. Now gently take the dough with floured hands and gently shape it into a circle onto a greased pizza stone. This is a sour dough crust is so crisp and tasty.

Skip the cheese and try sprinkling nutritional yeast
Not only will you save calories and avoid cholesterol - you'll add important B vitamins and protein.

For a gourmet touch try this edamame pesto recipe in place of pizza sauce. We top it off with artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers!



I am a diabetic so I try to stay away from bread as much as possible. My daughter taught me to take thin slices of zucchini or yellow squash, either cut in rounds or lengthwise, top with your favorite toppings and bake. They are delicious and very satisfying...and I'm getting my veggies :)



Ooo, I love to buy some pre-made pizza dough and make BBQ pizzas! Great for a few friends and a few drinks. You can put whatever on them!

  1. Heat up the BBQ to medium heat.
  2. Roll out (or toss) pizza dough so its at a desired thickness. Mine never come out round, so don't worry. Just be sure to get the dough at a uniform thickness. I also find the smaller the pizza's the easier they are to handle on the BBQ. Plus you can make different kinds! Each friend gets one!
  3. Prep the ingredients, sauce, and dough, and bring outside. I put the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. Also bring out some oil and a BBQ Spatula.
  4. Oil up the grills so the dough doesn't stick. Flop the pizza dough on and wait. It'll start to bubble a bit and be a nice golden brown colour when its ready.
  5. Take the pizza off and put the cooked side UP on the baking sheet. Put the toppings on the cooked side.
  6. Lightly oil the grills again, drop the BBQ heat to Med-low. Put the Pizza back on the BBQ and close the lid. Pizza is done when the cheese is melted and the bottom is nice and crispy!

I love making this with friends. They come over, we have a few beers, and make our own pizza! Good times.



ninav, I read about nutritional yeast and its uses as an excellent cheese alternative so I bought a bit at the store but have not yet tried it. To be honest I never even thought about using it on pizza! What an excellent idea!

caris48, what a smart daughter! I will do that. Have you tried a cauliflower crust?

raz, there is absolutely nothing more enjoyable than grilling pizza with friends...although we add a glass of wine instead of beer! :D



We make our own pizza dough using a bread making machine.  You are in total control of how much salt you add (if any). 

Simply add the raw dough ingredients to the machine.  Turn on, and the machine will start mixing to form the dough.  It is then kneaded and finally baked.

Ninety minutes later you have a perfect ball of light dough ready to roll and add your toppings to.



I love pizza and i usually call Pizza hut when i get the craving but looking at the nutritional content i realize its not worth it. I will definitely try some of the ideas listed above



Always make own pizza! Let the kids top their own..  Often spread mine with slow roasted tomato sauce, dollops of cottage cheese, mushrooms, spinach, cherry tomatoes, loads of fresh herbs and a light dusting of fresh parmesan..

Light enough on the calories to have 3 slices....

 

 



I dunno... homemade pizza is nice and all, but there's nothing like a slice of take-out pizza. Seems to me if you make it an occasional treat, and are generally careful about what you eat, indulging in a few slices isn't a big deal. There is no replacement, in my book, for real pizza.  I just eat it with a huge green salad, enjoy it loads, and go back to my healthy diet when I'm done.  Whole wheat crust with edamame pesto and nutritional yeast is probably a lot tastier than it sounds... but I gotta say, it's not really pizza.  The thought of never eating pizza again? Too depressing for words!



karenlyn2, make it real and right then. It's still better for you, tastes a lot better, and if you premake and freeze the dough just as quick - quicker if you grill it. Make sure you use fresh mozzarella and put it on either the Roman or Traditional crust. Brown and slice some hot Italian sausage if you like meat and add lots of whole fresh basil leaves; it is superb - with or without the meat!



I think you all have just inspired my weekend menu!  Thanks!



I make pizza once a week, but I use large pitas as the crust. They turn out perfectly crispy and we love them at home more than the delivery.  And the pizza is actually *healthy* as we use very little cheese. And I experiment with different toppings that are not typical for pizza, its fun!



We make homemade pizza all the time! My daughter has fun making it with me and baking her VERY OWN pizza ;) I use whole grain tortillas for the crust (nice and crispy!), tomato/basil marinara sauce, grilled chicken, peppers, onions, black olives (or whatever veggies). I brush the tortilla lightly on both sides with olive oil to get it crunchy in the oven. I use Veggie Shreds for my cheese since I'm lactose intolerant, or else I don't use cheese at all.  My daughter just uses Mozzarella. It's a fun way to bake together and get my pizza fix!

I do agree, however, that nothing beats take-out pizza. ;)



If I'm going to eat pizza, it's going to be the real thing with real dough and gooey mozzarella.  Sometimes I'll make my own when the store's dough goes on sale but more often than not it's take out.  Or I'll hit up my BF's husband, whose recipe and technique is possibly the best in the world.  If he weren't my best friend's husband, I'd marry that man.  ;) 

Sometimes I'll make "pizza pasta" where I combine regular pasta and marinara with cheese, peppers, mushrooms, onion, olives, and ham -- satisfies flavor and texture cravings without needing to make a "full" splurge.

It's worth it to me to make it my splurge rather than try little tricks like nutritional yeast instead of cheese (which I didn't like) or make cauliflower "dough" (which in the recipe I tried used a cup of cheese and smelled and tasted odd.)



Don't worry about measuring when adding flour?  How do you get an accurate calorie count that way?



Original Post by: pompey

If I'm going to eat pizza, it's going to be the real thing with real dough and gooey mozzarella.  Sometimes I'll make my own when the store's dough goes on sale but more often than not it's take out.  Or I'll hit up my BF's husband, whose recipe and technique is possibly the best in the world.  If he weren't my best friend's husband, I'd marry that man.  ;) 

Sometimes I'll make "pizza pasta" where I combine regular pasta and marinara with cheese, peppers, mushrooms, onion, olives, and ham -- satisfies flavor and texture cravings without needing to make a "full" splurge.

It's worth it to me to make it my splurge rather than try little tricks like nutritional yeast instead of cheese (which I didn't like) or make cauliflower "dough" (which in the recipe I tried used a cup of cheese and smelled and tasted odd.)


I'm with you on this.  I'd rather have real pizza every once in a while than gimmicky, not real pizza.  I don't have a pizza stone or a pizza oven at my house so I can't make a legitimate pie at home, and I'm sorry, but I'm picky!  It isn't really pizza if it doesn't have that chewy, crispy, fired crust!  Luckily there's an authentic pizzeria here in town that will do a whole wheat crust.  Still got the pizza calories going on but at least that's a slight benefit.  



pushbuttonkitty, unless you weigh your flour, you can only get a reasonable estimate. Most recipes for doughy things that need kneading will give you a range - say 5 1/2 - 6 cups of flour. That usually included that which is used in kneading, but not always.

The goal of the kneading is to make the dough perfect and you cannot worry about exceeding the amount of flour. You can, however, track how much you add very easily if you like. The amount may be different each time so you would have to re-do your nutrition analysis each time for accuracy. Humidity, how perfectly you measured the liquid, how you measured the flour, all that enters in to the amount used.

Weighing is the best way to measure for accuracy - that's what Benny does in his Roman pizza. I don't have a great scale for large measurements so I do it by cup and just estimate. Which reminds me, I need to get a good scale.



I started buying $3 yummy pizza dough from Whole Foods and making my own sauce entirely from scratch back when I was unemployed and poor.  One of the things European people have told me across the board is that Americans focus too much on the toppings for pizzas and not enough on the sauce.  I think this is true.  After making sauces from scratch, I have found that greasy fatty toppings like pepperoni or sausage are entirely unnecessary.  I've also found that making a more flavorful sauce means I don't need to eat so darn much pizza to feel I've gotten the "pizza" experience.  Here is the site I got my sauce recipes from:

http://www.great-chicago-italian-recipes.com/italian_pizza.h tml

We love the plain old pizza sauce and the scamorza recipes the most.  I've noticed that while I might be tempted to eat an entire pepperoni pizza from a chain restaurant, when I make my own I only want one or two medium slices.  Sauces rich with wine and herbs and pureed vegetables are very satisfying.



We make our own scratch pizza fairly often. We find that we use less cheese and toppings than found on delivery or restaurant pizza, and we prefer our homemade pizza. 

A fun topping is cooked black beans.  They don't taste like beans (not that black beans taste bad).  Rather, they deepen the earthiness of the crust and add a creamy, nearly decadent texture to the pizza.  Yum!

Our crust recipe is simple enough: 5-6 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup of semolina flour (for extra "tug" to the crust), 2.5 cups of lukewarm water, 1 packet of yeast, 1 tbsp of kosher salt, and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Whisk the yeast into the water in a large bowl.  Whisk in 3 cups of the whole wheat flour, one cup at a time.  Cover and let stand for at least 20 minutes (and as long as you want-longer means more flavor).  Add the salt, oil, and semolina and stir until well incorporated.  Continue to stir in the remaining flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead (use any remaining flour, and feel free to add whatever else is needed).  Cover and let rise for 1.5 hours.  Roll out, top, and bake at 555F (the highest our oven will go) for 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough and the amount of toppings.  The pizza is done when the edge of the crust and bottom of the pizza are well browned (the bottom may be mottled).

We use a pizza peel and stone and have found both are well worth the money.  We sprinkle the peel lightly with corn meal, put the dough on the peel, top the dough, and then slide the pizza onto the stone.

The hands-on time is actually fairly little, and handling the dough becomes second nature with a bit of practice.  When you are done, you suddenly realize that you added all of one teaspoon, each, of salt and oil to a large pizza crust.  I guarantee that there is a lot more of both of those in any delivery pizza crust you get.

That's enough dough for 3 16" pizzas (size varying according to how thin you want your crust), so divide and save or cook as it pleases you.  We've found that it actually is easier to make a larger batch of dough once, rather than smaller batches more often.



Monday nights are pizza night at our house. We started with take-out, but now we grill our pies on the bbq pit. The kids bring friends and everyone gets their favorite, custom pizza. The honey whole wheat pizza dough is our favorite!!



Original Post by: jannid

pushbuttonkitty, unless you weigh your flour, you can only get a reasonable estimate. Most recipes for doughy things that need kneading will give you a range - say 5 1/2 - 6 cups of flour. That usually included that which is used in kneading, but not always.

The goal of the kneading is to make the dough perfect and you cannot worry about exceeding the amount of flour. You can, however, track how much you add very easily if you like. The amount may be different each time so you would have to re-do your nutrition analysis each time for accuracy. Humidity, how perfectly you measured the liquid, how you measured the flour, all that enters in to the amount used.

Weighing is the best way to measure for accuracy - that's what Benny does in his Roman pizza. I don't have a great scale for large measurements so I do it by cup and just estimate. Which reminds me, I need to get a good scale.


That's what I was saying.  The article said not to worry about how much flour you were adding and my comment was pointing out that you cannot accurately count the calories of a dish without measuring your ingredients.  



thanks pushbuttonkitty! You are right, the article was not clear about that. I just edited it. I appreciate your help!



Yepp. I make pizza for my family nearly every week. You can control how thick or thin you have the crust and exactly what goes on it. I even put bacon on and it isn't so bad if you just use a wee bit of lean back bacon. You can also make a good pizza with far less cheese than the delivered sort generally have. Garlic infused olive oil as an accompaniemnt is popular in this house, but I have been weaning myself off that by putting a meagre teaspoonful on my plate and dipping each pizza bit in very carefully to make it last. Oh yes, and a big bowl of rocket with it goes really well. Guess what, today is Friday and the dough is in the cupbaurd rising. When I get back from my aikido session it will be ready and I will have earned it.

 



You are a **** life savor! Thank you for the link to the cauliflower pizza trying that tonight.



I love to make my own pizza and do so every once in a blue moon, but, for a quick alternative, I found a local wood oven pizza place whose pizzas are totally satisfying and within my normal dinner calorie alotment.  My FAVE pizza is pepperoni and sausage, and this place makes that pizza better than I ever could and with fewer calories too.  Although they are technically single serving pizzas, my fiance and I get stuffed by eating a small salad and splitting 1 pizza (6 slices).  The whole pizza is only 520 calories with 25 g of protein, so eating half equates to just 260 calories (much better than 250-350 calories a slice like many pizzas you find at Dominos or Pizza Hut).  Even if you ate all six slices, which would be a challenge, you still would probably be better off than ordering from most take out places.  I suggest researching local real Italian pizza places that may have similar options to this that totally satisfy your pizza craving without wrecking your diet.  You might be surprised at the options you find :)



thanks a lot Kiss



Sometimes I make homemade pizza but I usually buy the pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joes. It's only about $1.20 and it's very good. They have an herb one, an original one, and a whole wheat one. I usually like it better homemade but buying the dough is very convenient and easy.

There are a few different pizzas that I usually make.

To make my favorite pizza, I saute onions in a bit of olive oil until they're completely clear and then I add lots of chopped garlic at the very end before removing the pan from the burner. Then I use the olive oil that's all infused with garlic and onion flavor as the "sauce" for the pizza. I also add the sauteed garlic and onions. Then I usually add goat cheese right on top of the garlic and onions because I like my toppings to go on top of the cheese. You barely have to use any goat cheese because it has so much flavor so that really helps cut back on the calories and fat of the pizza. Then I add chopped sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and finally prosciutto on the very top because I like it to get crispy.

Another pizza I make quite often is just a margarita style pizza. I use fresh mozzarella from Costco, olive oil, fresh basil from the garden, and thinly sliced tomatoes.

Another one I sometimes make is a Thai chicken pizza. I use spicy peanut sauce in replacement of the marina you usually put on pizza. I also add chicken breast, shredded carrots, ginger, garlic, and mozzarella cheese.



Good job, Jannid!  I enjoyed your post.

If I have time, I make my own pizza dough.  I let the food processor do most of the work.  The processor does a pretty good job of kneading.  Then, I take it out and put it in a Ziploc with about a tablespoon of olive oil. The Ziploc keeps it warm and allows it to expand. 

After rolling it out, I bake it on a pizza screen, which allows the dough to crisp underneath. 

If I don't have time to do my own crust, lately, I've been using Indian naan.  The grocery stores now have smaller naan but I've also discovered a shop in the City Market that sells 3 large pizza size naan for $3!  It makes a very good, thin pizza crust.

I've made everything from Caprese, Thai chicken, chicken sausage, to shrimp with pesto.  I'm a blogger and I once did a post on pizza.  I figured out I could probably do a 14 day run of eating pizza once a day without any repeats.



Pizza made on the  grill is so good, saves that hot oven heating up the kitchen in the summer.



If you like to use flat bread for anything, you can make a quick small pizza in the microwave or oven for lunch, and top it with whatever veggies you enjoy. It may not compare to taking the time to bake a whole one, but it's still pretty tasty in a pinch.



The rewarding feeling, to to mention the great taste and better health stats, of making your own pizza does not outweigh the tasty take out slices, in my opinion. I make our pizza dough and my husband makes a homemade pizza sauce and it's sooo much easier than people give it credit for. You can make the dough one day, in less than 20 minutes, and then bake it later in the week whenever you feel like having a "Treat". 

I highly suggest that those who havent tried it, do. 
(this is my Ikneadbread.com blog post regarding the pizza we make> http://www.terry-tech.com/ikneadbread/?p=416



wow, maybe i should proofread a little more before I post. I meant "does** outweigh the tasty take out slices". oops =/



dont know the calorie count yet but a quick & easy pizza 2 make is get a wholemeal pitta bread (or i like the food doctor 1's),. spread a little passata or tomoto puree on it. i like to add crushed chillies as i like it spicy but you could try garlic or herbs. i then use a little fry light spray in pan & fry up some musherooms, onion,peppers & a a tablespoon of sweetcorn, (i use fresh if making more than 1 but if kids in school & i want a quick lunch then i use frozen veg not to waste veg as you only need enough to cover a pitta bread. i am veggie but you could use ham or whatever your taste is). place on top of pitta & add some tesco half fat mozzarella ball chopped up & put in oven for 5-6 mins. whole thing takes about 10-12mins to cut up & cook & served with a salad is great & it tastes nice & got lower calories ect & is quicker than waiting for delivery to come. wish i had made 1 last night as i feel sick & bloated today & ashamed of myself for giving in to the take out i had  that i well over stuffed myself & my kidfs with!



I was a pizza-holic before going mostly ova-veg. I ate pizza at least once a week, some weeks twice. I really do miss pizza, but I've made cheeseless pizza and daiya cheese pizza a couple times (not nearly as good, though). It's kinda like if it isn't "real" then I'd rather just not eat it and eat something else that's tasty. (But I'm planning to cheat and eat pizza on my birthday so I'm getting my favorite carry-out pizza...I'm super excited lol).



in Italy, pizza does not always have cheese.

Benny the Chef has a favorite that is made with nothing but olive oil, green tomatoes, ground white pepper and salt. No sauce. No cheese!

Loading up the pizza with a bunch of stuff is what he refers to as "American pizza. He likes to grill it or rather fire it in his Roman Wood Burning Oven which gives a similar result.

If you want real, then make it that way! Do try making it. Far superior flavor and more "real" than delivery.

ps - trancendenz, I just posted your Vegan Gyros at CC Palate! Check it out and make sure I've got it right!



That's definitely a good point, Jannid. I guess I meant American-style pizza. Baked bread, sauce or olive oil, and toppings are great, but what I really liked was the cheese lol I'm not a fan of the sauceless varieties that, although may be authentic, are more like fire-baked bread than pizza (If I ever go to Italy, though, I'm sure I wouldn't be disappointed, though. I'm sure they are more skilled at dough-making than I am LOL).

I've made pizza at home (previous to my diet change) with fresh mozzerella and homemade crust/sauce. It's good, but it's not like the local (not chains) pizza places that make it and no comparison to the best pizza places I've been to. I don't wanna waste my only pizza for the next year on a homemade pie!

(P.S. - awesome that you posted that! The recipe looks correct. This reminds me that I haven't made them in a while and I have some garden dill that needs to be used!)  



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