Monday, April 02, 2007

Healthy Pizza?

I kinda figure there's only so much I can do raising my kids. Love 'em, educate 'em, and give them good nutrition. Okay, that's over simplifying, but it's a nice summary.

Nutrition is about more than vitamins and fiber. It's about developing healthy eating habits while your kids are small that will carry them through their lives. It's about finding ways to get good nutrition into their diets that they will actually like and eat, and about being aware of what is and isn't "good nutrition".

I go on about the goodness of whole grains from time to time. One of the problems with whole grains is the goodness you get from them isn't something you'll necessarily find on the nutrition labels. It's connected with healthy hearts, healthy digestive tracks, and includes iron, calcium, antioxidants, and about a jillion trace minerals. I try to use whole wheat a lot. The simplest way is to substitute half the flour in your baked goods with whole wheat flour. If you're buying your bread, make sure that "Whole Wheat Flour" is the very first ingredient listed. Not "enriched flour" or "wheat flour", if it doesn't say "whole wheat", it's not.

This comes up again because of an interesting article on that my husband found. The short version is that they discovered by using longer rise times and cooking the whole wheat dough longer and at higher temperatures, they can make healthy pizza dough. Apparently long rises and high heat causes more antioxidants to develop. And the part of the wheat that develops the antioxidants is not present in white flour.

This is nice, because it applies to all whole wheat doughs. While it's hard to cook at higher temperatures longer for most breads, it's really really easy to do long rise times by doing a refrigerator rise. When you're ready to do the second rise (usually after shaping the loaf), put the shaped dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. You may be able to go longer, I've never tried it. A refrigerator rise will also give your bread a smoother texture and fewer bubbles.

If you'd like to try making your own bread, may I recommend The New Homemaker. They have step-by-step instructions with pictures. If you're not fond of 100% whole wheat bread, use half wheat and half white flour instead.

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