When I first learned how easy it is to make, I used to bake focaccia all the time. I've been thinking a lot about my expenses lately and how much I would LOVE to make most of my bread at home. It would save tons of money (as I am a bread fiend). While I was pondering this, it occurred to me that focaccia might make a great crust for pizza! And on Tuesday night, that's exactly what I tried out.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, focaccia is a very simple but incredibly tasty bread that requires very little time to rise and can be made with only kneading once. It makes a great accompaniment to pasta dishes when cut into pieces and is even wonderful as breakfast with a bit of vegan butter spread on top of a warm slice. It is also extremely versatile and can be made with herbs and spices baked into it. You could even probably find some at your local grocery store bakery covered in asiago cheese and olives.
But let's not do that. Instead, try this recipe I adapted from Vegetarian Soups For All the Seasons
and use it to make a pizza crust. Top with your favorite vegan cheese(s) and vegetables. We used marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, hothouse tomato slices, and mozzarella Daiya cheese. It was heaven.
1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (around 110 degrees)
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 shakes red pepper flakes
Freshly ground salt
Olive oil, for brushing the top
Add the yeast to the warm water and let sit for five minutes. Add the oil and sugar to the yeast mixture and let sit while you mix your dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and red pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the wet ingredients and mix with your spoon until the dough starts to stick. Then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until combined. Knead for an additional five minutes. If the dough remains sticky, add more flour a little bit at a time.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten and smooth with a rolling pin into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough, still on the paper, to a cookie or baking sheet. Let the round rise in a warm place for 40 minutes. I boiled 4 cups of water and poured it into a glass baking dish, put the dish in the oven on the bottom rack, and put the cookie sheet with the dough on the middle rack. It seemed to work really well as in times past I have made focaccias that rose very little. This one got nice and puffy and fantastic.
When the rising time is up, remove the two dishes from the oven and switch it on to 400 degrees. Brush the round with a very small amount of olive oil and season with freshly ground salt. Add a thin layer of cheese, your toppings, and sprinkle with a little bit more cheese. If your toppings are on the wetter side, I recommend removing excess liquid by pressing them between paper towels. I did this with both the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. I did NOT want a soggy dough. And I didn't get one! Ha-ha!
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the edges of the crust are golden and your cheese is considerably melty!
Makes 8 slices, approximately 4 servings.
We've come a long way, baby! When I first went vegan, I couldn't get vegan cheese in the grocery store. And when I could finally get my hands on some, I thought it tasted gross on top of the fact that it didn't melt. Thankfully, this is no longer the case! Companies like Daiya
and Galaxy Foods
have several flavors of vegan cheese respectively, and they all taste pretty good! Talk about making being vegan easier. Now we can have our pizza
and be vegan
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Hodgson Mill
about entering their Build A Better Pizza competition
. The premise was pretty simple; create a recipe for pizza crust using at least 50% whole wheat flour, share your recipe with the world, and submit it to Hodgson Mill to maybe win some prizes. In exchange for my participation, I received a box of flours, cornmeal, and yeast that I could use to create my recipe as well as an offer for a gift pack
of Hodgson Mill goodies for a lucky reader. In fact, the portion I received for the competition was enough for me to make several pizzas. A part of me wanted very much to make several crusts and pick my favorite, but considering that my time is precious and my partner is trying to lose weight, I decided to stick with the fabulous crust I made on my first try. And, sticking to my Vegan Mofo theme, it's EASY! Woo hoo!
Whole wheat flour is better for you than "all-purpose" in a number of ways. It's slightly lower in calories, higher in fiber, and higher in calcium. When I saw the contest required the crust consist of 50% whole wheat flour, I was concerned my crust would end up being really dense or crunchy. It was actually very light and moist. I hope you like it.
Rustic Whole Wheat Garlic & Herb Pizza
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package Hodgson Mill active dry yeast
1 cup Hodgson Mill whole wheat flour
1 cup Hodgson Mill all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Hodgson Mill cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Red onion, diced
Sliced black olives
Daiya vegan mozzerella DIRECTIONS
Warm the water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Check the temperature with a thermometer to make sure it's between 105 and 120 degrees. Add the sugar to the water, stir, and then add the active dry yeast. Let bubble and brew for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining dough ingredients. Pour the yeast mixture into the center of the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until it begins to clump. Then finish mixing and knead your dough for about five minutes, making sure that all of the floury goodness gets absorbed into the giant ball of dough!
Split the dough into two equally sized portions and roll into smooth balls. Let each ball of dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a towel and set in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour. You may not see much of a difference in the size of the dough, but the texture changes considerably.
While your dough is rising, prepare your "sauce." Combine the olive oil and sliced garlic in a small bowl. This will allow the garlic oil and flavor to seep into the olive oil. Mmm!
When it's ready, roll one ball of dough flat using a rolling pin and on top of a large piece of parchment paper. Brush the pizza crust lightly with olive oil from your infusion, then add half of the cloves to the crust. Sprinkle lightly with cheese, add the listed toppings as you see fit, and then add a bit more cheese. If you haven't tried vegan cheese before, you don't need to use as much as you would with "real" cheese. This is my opinion, but I feel like the flavor is stronger and it melts in a more consistent way. Less cheese works better, in my experience.
Place your parchment paper with pizza on top directly on the middle rack of your preheated, 400 degree oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of your crust are brown. If desired, broil for a minute or two in order to give the top of your pizza that nice crisp bite. Let cool for a few moments before cutting and serving. Less cheese will stick to your pizza cutter (and therefore more cheese winds up in your stomach!). Then bake your second pizza.
This recipe makes 2 medium pizzas, enough for three to four people with modest appetites or suitable for two people who really like to eat!
I was really impressed with both the texture and flavor of my crust. And the toppings I chose are simply my favorites. If you'd like to try making the crust with different toppings and sauce, I'm sure the result will be just as delicious.
Keep an eye out for when the competition goes live! I'll be needing your votes to help me win. And don't forget to enter to win your own box of Hodgson Mill goodies. For a look at the prizes, check out the giveaway post here.
I hope you try out this recipe. You just might discover that making pizza from scratch isn't all that challenging. It's a great way to be healthier AND save money. Whose to complain about that?
Thanks for reading!
If you like this one you'll like these, too!
I don't have a garden, but if I did, I imagine I would do exactly this with the miscellaneous veggies I grew from it! This little pizza is inspired by the one I had at the Cosmic Cafe
in Dallas, though it tastes completely different. It's a great light meal and is super easy. It makes approximately four individual pizzas; if you're cooking for two reserve two servings of the veggie mix and save for the next night. If you're serving more than four people, double the recipe. I expect the veggie mix would work great on salads or in wraps, too.
1/4 cup chopped baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped zucchini squash
1/2 of a yellow squash, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise and then sliced
1/4 cup diced or sliced red onion
4 (or more, if you prefer) large basil leaves
A pinch of powdered cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Bragg's liquid aminos
Cremini mushrooms (optional)
1 cup cheddar Daiya
1 cup mozerella Daiya shreds
4 large Ezekiel
If using mushrooms, use on per pizza. Pop off the stems and slice the caps. Marinate in some freshly grated salt and balsamic vinegar while preparing the other veggies.
Mix the two types of cheese together and set aside.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss, ensuring that things get coated evenly. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the veggies absorb the tomato juices and liquid aminos.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Set two of your tortillas on a large cookie sheet. Top with 1/2 cup of the cheese mix. Then add some of the veggie mix, evenly distributing the various delicious ingredients. Try to avoid getting too much of the liquid at the bottom of the bowl on your pizza (it'll make it soggy). Add the mushrooms, if desired. Press down and into the cheese.
Bake the pizzas for 10 minutes, until the Daiya cheese has melted and the veggies have cooked. We actually had to cook the pizzas one at a time because our cookie sheet wasn't large enough for two. Alternatively, you can bake one pizza per cookie sheet with two sheets in the oven, swapping the sheets between your two racks halfway through.
Mmm, summer on a plate! I think I'm ready for autumn, now, hee hee!
Makes 4 pizzas.
Maybe now you'd like dessert?
I thought this pizza was pretty good! Usually, Chris and I like artichoke and zucchini pizza. But I wanted to try something different and came up with this. Vegan pizza can sometimes be a bit flavorless, which is why I try unconventional ingredients when I can. Vegan cheese is all right, and Daiya is currently my favorite brand. Let me know if you try it!INGREDIENTS
Pizza crust, enough for two medium or one large pizza
10 cloves (or one small bulb) garlic
Julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 package mozzarella Daiya vegan cheese
Kalamita olives, to taste, slicedDIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Peel the garlic and trim off its nasty ends. Slice the cloves lengthwise into several pieces each. Grab a small sheet of aluminum foil and place the cloves in the middle. Add some olive oil and close the foil up into a pouch containing the cloves. Place on a cookie sheet in the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the cloves are cooked through, all yellow and browning slightly.
If your sun-dried tomatoes are hard and stiff, rehydrate them in some olive oil until they seem more pliable. Prepare your crust(s) according to the package instructions or recipe. I generally prepare mine on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Lightly brush the crust(s) with olive oil. Sprinkle with your sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and roasted garlic. Add the cheese and top with the Roma tomatoes. Sprinkle generously (or, you know, to taste) with your favorite dried seasonings. I like powdered garlic, pizza seasoning, and oregano.
Bake according to your pizza's baking instructions. You may need to rotate your baking trays if making two pizzas. Even though Daiya cheese melts it can sometimes take longer than conventional cheese. Just use your better judgement! Enjoy!
Makes 1 large or 2 medium pizzas.