Ever since I saw Swee San’s Christmas Giveaway post, I’ve been dying to enter because well, you stand a chance of winning Pantry Magic vouchers! How cool is that? Considering that Pantry Magic in Singapore has closed down and I was a sucker for all their stuff, and knowing the one in Bangsar is huge, I really really really wanted to enter so that I could win hope hehe. 
Anyway, I had many grand ideas as to what green/red thing to make, but suffice to say, time got the better of me. I had wanted to make strawberry macarons, and I did, but I was stubborn and didn’t use any red coloring and since the strawberry powder I used just wasn’t intense enough, so I got bubblegum-pink macarons instead =X I also wanted something to reflect the theme of Christmas, so I finally decided that pizza would be it. It might be a strange thing to bake to reflect Christmas, but I have fond memories of when my extended family gathered in KL and on the floor under the Christmas tree, were tons and tons of beautifully wrapped presents. I remember us kids would go around the tree and because we were not allowed to touch the gifts before 25th, all we did was to note which present had our names so that once the signal to ‘open your presents’ was given, we would rush to the tree, grab our presents, and proceed to rip the wrappers off each present in our own spaces. Sadly, as we became older, we didn’t like the presents we got and we don’t have such a tradition any longer :( Tis a pity really. 
Trying out the ‘soft’ look here

I have deviated, but anyway, on the dinner table, in addition to the yummy chinese dishes that our mothers and aunties would cook, would be pizza. We would order from the usual delivery company, and as young kids, pizza was the first thing we had (or wanted), well, maybe after the fried chicken or wantons and fries, followed by the meehoon and everything else. I vaguely remember having turkey and ham on some years, but pizza was always there. So using that fond memory of mine, I’ve decided to glamorize and upgrade the pizza. My favorite used to be plain ol’ pepperoni, and as we all know, pizza doughs are typically made of normal white flour. Here, I have ‘healthified’ the pizza by using a wholemeal crust (which is so much more flavorful) and using the freshest ingredients where possible. I have to admit that if you were to compare the cost of making this pizza (plus the effort and planning required) to picking up the phone and ordering, the latter would be the far easier choice. I spent a bomb getting gourmet Italian spicy pepperoni, a block of parmesan cheese, mozzarella (I stinged here so I didn’t get buffalo mozzarella). For the basil pesto, I bought a huge bunch of fresh basil and pine nuts. It is not counting the cost of the good quality Italian olive oil I used in the pizza and pesto. And not forgetting the cost of the organic whole meal flour I used. But hey, it was healthy and yummy, so well worth the splurge :]

For the wholemeal crust, I used a recipe from one of my favorite bread bakers – Peter Reinhart. He’s probably the only author whose books I all own. I love the way he writes and how detailed he goes into the science and the whys of bread making. So far, none of the recipes I’ve tried from his book have failed me. In fact, his pizza napoletana recipe is one of my favorites too, if you want a normal white bread flour pizza base. I also love his cinnamon rolls and bagel recipes! I have to caveat this and say that you really don’t need to get all his books because most of the recipes in the books are very very similar, and instructions are very similar as well. If you must, get the “Artisan Bread Every Day”, I find instructions in that book the clearest and easiest to understand. 
In order not to violate any copyright restrictions, the recipes below are completely rewritten in my own words (as much as possible anyway). I strongly advise you to get the book if you are interested in wholemeal bread baking, because it really is a very good primer into wholemeal baking. In fact, I’ve just started my own organic wholemeal sourdough starter, and I hope to post results of it soon. I hope to use the sourdough for the pizza that I’ll be making on Christmas this year :]

The cheese was patchy here because I ran out =X

To make the pizza, you will need: 
  • Wholemeal pizza dough (recipe below)
  • Basil pesto sauce (recipe below) or a tomato based sauce 
  • Any other toppings you like - I used the following: 
    • Pepperoni
    • Shredded Mozzarella cheese
    • Shaved Parmesan cheese
    • (not pictured, on another pizza) White onions and portobello mushrooms 

Wholemeal Pizza Dough

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads
Makes 5 individual sized (about 8-inch) pizzas
One day before you want to make the pizza, prepare the soaker and biga. 

Soaker:

230g whole wheat bread flour 
½ tsp sea salt
200g water
In a container, add water to the whole wheat flour and sea salt. Mix well to combine. Cover it loosely and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Biga:

230g whole wheat flour 
¼ tsp instant yeast
200g water
In a large bowl, combine the flour and yeast with water, mixing until you get a rough ball of dough. Wet your hands slightly with water and knead the dough for about 2 minutes. The dough should feel very tacky but not sticky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes before kneading it again for another 2 minutes. The dough need not pass the windowpane test but you are aiming for a slightly bouncy, tacky dough. Place the dough in a clean container (large enough for some expansion) and cover tightly. Refrigerate it overnight.
You may refrigerate both the soaker and the biga for a maximum of 3 days. On the day you want to make the pizza, remove the biga and soaker 2 hours before you wish to make the final dough to take off the chill.

Final Dough:


Use all the Biga and Soaker
57g whole wheat flour 
5g salt
1½ tsp rapid-rise yeast
15g sugar
28g olive oil
  1. Remove the biga and soaker 2 hours before. Once they are about room temperature, using a scraper or a knife, roughly chop both doughs together into 12 pieces each. 
  2. Place the dough pieces into a large bowl. Add in the flour, salt, yeast, honey and olive oil to the dough. Wet your hands with water and knead for 5 minutes until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. You may also use a bread machine or a stand mixer with a dough hook to do the mixing. The dough should be slightly sticky and a little soft. 
  3. Flour your work surface generously and roll out the pizza dough on it. Knead the dough for a further 5 minutes, using only as much flour as you need. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. This allows you to give your arms a rest, although it’s mainly to allow the gluten to relax. Knead the dough again for a few minutes until you get a tacky dough. At this point, the dough should pass the windowpane test. Divide the dough into 5 (or more) pieces and form each piece into a tight ball.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and oil it with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Place the balls on the parchment paper, making sure to roll the balls around to coat them in the olive oil. Cover the baking sheet loosely and allow the dough to rise for about an hour, or until it doubles in size (about 1.5 times is okay as well). 
  5. Preheat the oven to the maximum temperature (I used 220ºC fan forced) and adjust the rack to middle position. 
  6. Place one ball of dough on your floured work surface and using a rolling pin, roll the ball out into a 12-inch diameter disk or your desired size. I rolled the dough to about 8 inches, let it rest for a minute and shrink a little, before using my fingers to further expand the dough to about 10 inches. 
  7. Place the dough onto a lined baking sheet (or pizza stone if you have) and top it with your desired ingredients. I topped it with a generous amount of pesto, followed by pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. On the other pizzas, I added sliced mushrooms and onions as well. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden. Remove from the oven and quickly shave the parmesan cheese onto the pizza. 
  8. Let the pizza cool and rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. 
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 for the remaining balls of dough. 
Basil Pesto 
Adapted from Elise

Makes a cup of pesto, sufficient for all the pizza doughs above. 


2 cups (60g) fresh basil leaves, packed
½ cup (90g) freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
½ cup (100g) extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup (45g) pine nuts 
3 medium sized garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Special equipment needed: A food processor or chopper.

Method: 
  1. Peel the garlic and place it in the food processor. Pulse it a few times to mince it. 
  2. Wash the basil and combine it with the pine nuts in the food processor. Pulse them a few times.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is on. You may have to stop to scrape down the sides of the processor with a rubber spatula to ensure all ingredients are evenly blended.
  4. Add the grated cheese and pulse again, until all the ingredients are blended. You can blend longer if you want a smoother paste. I wanted a chunkier paste so I pulsed for less than 15 seconds in total. 
  5. Add a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste. 
Janine’s jots: 
  • Taste: As I mentioned earlier, taste was fantastic. On its own, the pizza dough was so flavorful and so chewy that I literally ate it on its own (as a flatbread) the next day. With the same dough, I also used the traditional tomato version (not pictured because it was all gobbled up), as well as a dessert version (also not pictured because there was none left to photograph – it was a combination of balsamic vinegar, arugula, goat’s cheese, figs and honey – a perfect sweet dessert pizza). And yes, I used the exact same ingredients on the dessert pizza as in my salad which I posted earlier. 
  • Texture: I absolutely loved the pizza. It was the right amount of chewy (not too chewy) and you could vary the chewiness through the thickness of the pizza. I made thin crust versions for a crispier base as well as thicker versions with thicker cornicones, which of course were more chewy. 
  • Serving size: The amount of pizzas I got from the recipe was more than enough to feed my family of five. In fact, I had 2 personal sized pizza doughs leftover, which I baked plain for the next day’s breakfast. I dipped them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar :]
  • Modifications: I wouldn’t change anything about the pizza dough recipe, but I would definitely decrease the amount of olive oil used in the basil pesto because I found it a little too oily for my liking, even though I had decreased the oil in mine to 70g already. You should err on the side of less oil because if you are going to use it on the pizza anyway, you could drizzle some olive oil on top of the pesto if you find it a little too dry. 
  • Storage: You can store the unbaked doughs for up to three days in the fridge, but I would strongly advise you to make all the doughs, and partially bake them, plain, for about 5 minutes in the oven before removing them to cool and storing them in the freezer. You then have readymade wholemeal crusts for whenever you wish to eat pizza!
  • Would I make this again?: Definitely! Although this is the first time I’ve tried making Peter Reinhart’s wholemeal version, this is definitely not my first time making homemade pizza dough. His recipes are my to-go-to for any artisan breads :]

I have to admit that these are not the best photos I’ve taken, but in my defense, I was very hungry and it was dinner (yes I have dinner at 6plus pm so it’s still bright), so there was barely enough time to photograph the pizza before we dug in (although this was the third one after the tomato based pizzas). In fact, I’m surprised the steam was not visible in the pictures because seriously, the pizza was piping hot! Nevertheless, I am submitting this to the Christmas Giveaway in The Sweet Spot. The giveaway closes on 11 December, so you might be a little short of time when you see this post, but do try to join in if you can! Anything green or red will qualify! :]

11 comments

  1. daphne says:

    oh yum!! hehee, you make an unhealthy dish healthy!! and christmasy at the same time- that’s 2 in one go ;)

  2. lena says:

    i guess the pizza bread is really wonderful with a soaker and biga, it’s my first time reading a pizza recipe requires a biga. This is an expensive pizza but all worth it! it looks great!!

  3. Lisa H. says:

    I love Peter’s book too…
    Feel like eating pizza … now that I see your delicious looking pizza… :)

  4. your pizza sound healthy and yummy!

  5. Ah Tze says:

    The ingredients for this pizza is special with biga. What a lovely baked!

  6. That looks simple and delicious! :) I’ve used his pizza dough recipe and it is fantastic!

  7. Wow, got to try this pizza dough recipe. I like all the ingredients you used for this pizza. I am sure it tastes great.

  8. Anh says:

    I would love to try this recipe! I’ve wanted to try a wholemeal pizza base!

  9. foodismylife says:

    I really love reading your blog, your recipes are so detailed and you always do a review under “Janine jots”, which is really informative! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful pizza recipe! Can’t wait to bake one soon (:

  10. shaz says:

    I’m looking for a good “bread book” will definitley check that one out, thanks for the recommendation. The pizza sounds fantastic. When I was growing up, we always had some sort of curry at Christmas :)

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