We love pizza. We probably make it once a week and would eat it more if we had the time to earn the calories through workouts. Evan has a particular fondness for stuffed crust pizza, a creation made popular by Pizza Hut and DiGiorno. I mean, who can argue with cheese-stuffed bread?! So as a treat this weekend, we thought we'd enhance our homemade pizza a bit. We've made stuffed-crust pizza before, using mozzarella string cheese. It was good, but seemed a little lacking. So when I saw Sargento's Provolone-Mozzarella Cheese Snacks at the store, I thought that might be just the boost our home version needed!
I used a slightly different dough recipe for the stuffed crust than we use for our regular pizza -- an adaptation of the pizza dough recipe in Guy Fieri's Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It. I used Splenda instead of sugar, although the sugar only adds 15 calories (I'll chop out calories wherever I can). The adaptation also has less oil, a different variety of flour (bread flour has more protein and should have a more vigorous rise), and includes vital wheat gluten, which lightens the texture and promotes a more active rise as well.
Pizza Dough for Stuffed-Crust Pizza
1 tsp. Splenda
1 cup warm (110 to 115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Kosher salt
4 tsp. Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Flour Unbleached Bread Flour, plus more for dusting
In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the Splenda in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy. Add the olive oil, Kosher salt, vital wheat gluten and flour. Using the dough hook attachment of your mixer or a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon if mixing by hand, combine the ingredients until a dough begins to come together. If using a mixer, mix for 2 to 3 minutes, otherwise, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth. Place the dough in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free location to allow the dough to rise. Let stand for about 1 hour. Again, turn the dough onto a floured surface and form into a smooth, round ball, using additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Return to the oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise an additional 30 minutes.
My dough didn't rise much at all, but it turned out that that wasn't a big deal. Mike (who is our pizza forming expert) said it was really stretchy and great to work with. He made the dough slightly larger than our wood paddle, then placed eight of the aforementioned cheese snacks around the edge of the dough, folding and sealing them into the crust.
We baked the pizza for about 15 minutes at 450 degrees. It was so wonderfully cheesy. Heavenly!