Friday, July 12, 2013

Perfectly Simple Pizza Crust

This "leftover special" has leftover taco meat,
roasted green chiles, asparagus, mushrooms,
caramelized onions and bits of both Teese
and Trader Joe's vegan cheese. Bizarre
leftovers? It was fabulous!!
Pizza is one of my all-time favorite things to make!
It's all good, it's all yummy and I could eat it three meals a day.
It's an easy way to feed a crowd. Everyone likes it. It's cheap (especially if you skip the commercially made vegan cheeze) and you can top it with any sort of crazy leftover you have in the fridge.

If you've read my past posts, (OK, I know at least one or two of you have) you know I love my sourdough crust, and the premade Whole Foods and Trader Joe's crusts are very nice (and convenient, if you have a store less than two hours away) but more often than not, I fall back on this simple, basic recipe that seems just about perfect to me.

I am NOT a baker, I've said that many times, so I did not magically "invent" this recipe with my vast baking experience. It's a variation of a recipe my friend Shaun stumbled across some time back, and I've modified it multiple times over time to suit our personal preferences. I like it because, as a NON baker, it's easy and it always turns out! I've had a lot of people ask for the recipe lately, and this way I avoid re-writing the thing by hand from my tattered recipe card. I know, how archaic, writing by hand!

Now, with the wonder of modern technology, I can just refer folks to this post. (And contrary to what my not-so-Internet-savvy Mom thinks, if you print out this recipe page, it will NOT remove that page from the Interwebs, or my blog. It is not the same as "ripping a page out of a cookbook".)

There seems to be a lot of timed steps to this pizza, but once you've tried it a couple times it'll be super easy and all make sense - well worth the end result!

Perfectly Simple Pizza Crust
  • 3 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs cornmeal
  • 2 Tbs gluten flour (If you have it. Don't run out and buy it, if not)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup soy or other plant milk, barely heated to lukewarm (or room temp)
  • 1 1/2 packets dry yeast (I know, then you have this extra half packet opened, just seal tightly with tape and use it next time you make pizza!)
  • 3 Tbs good olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, corn syrup or honey (*gasp*)
  • 1/4 cup soy or other plant milk

In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl) mix first five dry ingredients.
In another bowl, mix water, milk, maple syrup and yeast... Allow to foam up ("proof") for about five minutes then mix in the olive oil.

Pour liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir together with with a spoon, your hands or dough hook of mixer. You will need additional flour to knead the dough, so either flour the surface you're using, or add a bit while in the mixer to get a good consistency: Knead about 8 - 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic, rubbery dough ball.
Cover with a few drops of olive oil to prevent sticking/drying out, and let rise in a warm spot for an hour.
At this point you can punch down and then use it, or let rise again if you aren't ready to bake, or refrigerate and use later.
When you are ready to bake pizzas:
Cut dough lump in half.
Pour a few drops of oil on a pizza stone or pan, then with oiled hands, stretch and flatten the dough -  it should fit two round pizza pans or slightly thinner on two cookie sheets.You can let the crust rise another 30 minutes here, while preparing toppings, if you want, for a slightly lighter, more fluffy crust. Or bake immediately following directions below:

Bake 4 - 5 minutes, just to partially bake the dough.
Top with sauce and toppings of your choice, but no cheese.

Bake 7 - 10 minutes longer until crust is just barely starting to color.
Remove from oven, brush edge with olive oil and sprinkle edge with kosher salt if desired. Then quickly top with "cheese" or cheezy sauce of your choice.

Bake 3 or more minutes, or until topping is bubbly (especially in the center) and edge crust is nicely browned.

Remove from oven, let sit on pan for 5 minutes so toppings and sauces can set up a bit, slide on to cutting board, slice and serve. 


(And while we're talking pizza, I just got done recipe testing for Julie Hasson's FABULOUS new book, "Vegan Pizza; 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes" that I think everyone should run to Amazon and pre-order. If you like pizza, you'll REALLY like it, I promise The above recipe is NOT from the book, but I'll definitely review it as soon as it's out!)


Karen's Vegan Kitchen said...

I love making my own pizza crust; it's so much tastier. I'm looking forward to your review of "Vegan Pizza." I just hope the recipes aren't all "cheesy." I have pretty much dropped cheese from my home made pizzas and that includes the vegan "cheeses."