Molasses Wheat Pizza Crust

2 tablespoons molasses

1 cup warm water (110-120 degrees)

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs (optional, I usually use a combination of basil and oregano, but I can imagine an Italian blend or Herbes de Provence would be wonderful)

1 tablespoon olive oil (plus a little more)

cornmeal (for sprinkling the pan)

Stir together the molasses, water, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until bubbly.  

Add the flours, salt, herbs and olive oil, and mix with a dough hook for 6-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  

Grease a medium bowl with olive oil.  Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat the top with oil.  Cover with a clean dish towel and set in a slightly warm place for 30 minutes.  

While the dough rises, place a pizza stone in the cold oven.  Preheat the oven (and stone) to 425 degrees.  

Divide the risen dough into two portions.*  Place a piece of parchment over a pizza peel, and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Press one portion of dough into a 12 inch circle with well-floured hands.  Arrange toppings over pizza crust.  Transfer the parchment and crust to the hot oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is cooked through and the toppings are beginning to brown.  Remove the stone and pizza from the oven, cut and enjoy.**  

*If you plan on freezing the second portion of dough, wrap it well in Saran wrap and freeze.  To prepare, transfer dough to the refrigerator for eight hours to thaw, then let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before shaping into the crust.  

**If you plan on preparing two pizzas, you should leave the stone in the oven.  Prepare the second pizza while the first is baking, remove the first pizza from the stone with the pizza peel, and transfer the second pizza to the stone, leaving the stone in the oven the entire time.  

Belle of the Kitchen