Like many others this century, we are trying to eat better carbs. We had already discovered farro years earlier, whose close American relative is spelt, a highly nutritious grain. We then saw spelt flour and snatched it up thinking we could use it for something. Apparently we did this twice without realizing it, so two packages of spelt flour sat in the cupboard until at least one year had passed beyond their "use by" date. Somehow we never got around to being creative with it. Even in Italy the winds of change had arrived, and we had already tried farro pizza once in Sabaudia down the coast from Rome. Meanwhile we had acquired two whole grain baking cookbooks, one by another Bob, of Bob's Red Mill products, and the other by King Arthur Flour based in bob's brother dan's little town of Norwich, VT, whose company store we had enjoyed visiting several times over the years. Still nothing.
At least we were doing homemade pizza every now and then. So finally when the homemade pizza urge hit us again, we decided to move on the spelt question. Unfortunately we went off to the other Trader Joes so we couldn't pick up any arugula to brighten up the colors (our arugula suppliers are in the opposite direction), but so what. We found some little fingerling potatoes at Trader Joes that would work with our past experience, and mixed wild mushrooms (oyster, shiitake and baby bella). The salad would have to supply the color.
Learning from our past experience, we put the rolled out pizza crust on parchment paper and then slid our wooden pizza paddle under it to then slide it onto our preheated pizza stone in the oven. This made it easy to remove the crust (twice) back to our working surface. Twice because this time we decided to prebake the crust 5 minutes first, and then load the topping, and then 5 more minutes and that's it. Very quick at 500° F in our new convection oven.
Of course the real effort saver was using the KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. Since we were experimenting with the ingredient quantities, we added first a half cup of water with the yeast, and then a tablespoon at a time until we reached the 3/4 cup level appropriate for a 2 to 1 ratio of flour to water, but by sneaking up on the limit from below, we were able to get the dough exactly to the right point where the dough hook managed to pick up all the dry flour on the sides of the container and form a ball that it whipped around for a while, maybe 2 minutes, before we called it quits.
The recipes we were consulting (books and web) seemed to suggest a longer resting period for the dough, but we were hungry so 30 minutes was the most we could wait. It turned out to be perfectly okay. Ani rolled out the dough on our silicon sheet, about 1 foot in diameter but it was slightly out of round, not a problem either. Then she loosely rolled the pizza crust around the roller (we use a sleek black one) and laid it out on the parchment paper, then slid it onto the wooden paddle to transfer to the oven.
These weird grain flours are lower in gluten, which means less rising, but then we like thin crusty pizza like in Italy (some parts of Italy anyway), so we hoped for the best and it worked. Nice thin crusty crust rewarded us for our experimental risk taking. Amazing how you can do your own terrific pizza from scratch so easily. Yet most Americans buy crappy supermarket pizza to pop in the oven, or order out bad carb pizza. Oh well, what can we do? Take a risk. Give it a try if you want to live a little bit better.