The whole wheat dough works well because it absorbs the moisture of the sauce and the fresh tomatoes. The crust crisps up quite easily even at home-oven temperatures, which are much lower than those of the coal- and wood-fired ovens used by authentic pizzerias.
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 cup very warm water (around 110°)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 16 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, roughly chopped with the oil
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 4 large plum tomatoes , cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a separate bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and warm water, and let stand until all the yeast has dissolved and the mixture starts foaming. Add the olive oil and pour the yeast mixture into the flour. Use a fork to combine the two until a loose dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a clean work surface (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment) and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Place the kneaded ball of dough into a large, well-oiled mixing bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Place a large baking sheet in the oven (or use two to cook two pizzas at a time) and heat the baking sheet for at least 10 more minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide the dough evenly into 4 parts. Roll each part into an even disk, about eight inches in diameter.
To make a pizza, spread about 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce onto a disk of dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch edge. Scatter a quarter of the sun-dried tomatoes over the sauce, then 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese, followed by some sliced tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon each of the hot red pepper flakes and dried basil, and finally a good drizzle of olive oil.
Use an oven mitt or kitchen towel to remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, place the assembled pizza on it and return it to the oven to cook for 15 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Garnish the pizza with some freshly grated Parmesan and cut into slices to serve. Repeat for the remaining 3 pizzas.
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