Pizza. How can a single food contain so many vices? Dairy, meat, gluten — and if you wash it down with a glass of beer — forget about any chances of recovering from this food coma.
While this blog is not about giving up gluten, and certainly not giving up a fine ale, I decided to give making a vegan pizza a try on Monday.
And surprisingly, it went well (I should interject and say that I am not a very good cook. The combination of impatience and not wanting to follow directions has led to some dinner disasters).
My boyfriend, on the other hand, loves to cook. He helped me with the pizza dough and tomato sauce (his own recipe), and I let my Vitamix make the “cheese,” which was inspired from this No Meat Athlete blog post. I slightly modified the portions so I didn’t create as much. Also, for this cheese recipe, I was too impatient to soak my cashews for 4 to 6 hours (surprised?), and I had dry roasted cashews in the house (instead of raw). I used those cashews. I just rinsed them first, omitted the salt in the recipe, and it still came out yummy.
Also, to avoid a soggy crust, use a pizza stone (don’t trust me? Maybe you’ll listen to Alton Brown). It really does make a difference when you cook a pizza, so I suggest making the $15 investment. Tip: Crank up the the oven to 500 degrees and let the stone sit in the oven for as long as possible (I aim for 30 minutes) before placing your pizza on it.
I didn’t put any toppings on my pizza because I was worried it would be too heavy for my thin crust, but next time I’ll add a few bell peppers and mushrooms.
Also, I’m no Tom Haverford, so I forgot to take a lot of photos of the process. I’ll have to make this my blog homework.
- Warm water (1 1/4 cup total)
- 3.5 cups of bread flour (I prefer King Arthur’s)
- 1 package of instant rapid rise dry yeast
- 1.5 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Equal parts tomato sauce and crushed tomatos
- Italian seasoning (garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper)
- 1 cup of raw cashews (let them soak for 4 hours)
- 1 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- Dash of salt teaspoon of kosher salt
- Warm water (1/2 cup)
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Combine 1/4 cup of warm water and dry yeast in a stand mixer bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes until it blooms. Then, add 1 cup of warm water, sugar and salt. After combining all ingredients, add 1 cup of flour at a time and mix in your stand mixer until the dough forms a ball (if it’s too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time. If it’s too dry, add a little bit of water).
- Remove dough from stand mixer. On a lightly floured cutting board, knead the dough until it forms a ball.
- Grease a bowl with a little bit of olive oil, and place your dough in the bowl. Cover it with a paper towel or plastic wrap.
- Let it rise in the fridge overnight. Or, if you used rapid rise yeast, let it sit for an hour on the countertop. It should double in size.
- Once your dough is ready, divide it into two equal parts.
- On a lightly floured cutting board, punch your dough so that there is no air pockets. Then, roll your dough out into a thin, circular crust.
- While your dough is rising, combine equal parts of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes in a bowl. Add italian seasoning, salt and pepper for taste.
- Then, in your super duper high-speed blender, add your “cheese” ingredients and blend. Add water to thin out the sauce. (I found that I actually needed more than a 1/2 cup of water).
- Top your pizza crust with tomato sauce (I like mine real saucy), and then add the “cheese.” You can either evenly spoon the cheese on top of your sauce, or pour it out in neat looking patterns (I did a spiral).
- Place the pizza on top of your stone and let it cook for about 8 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden.
Next up, I think I need to find a vegan alternative to the mighty bratwurst now that the MLB season is upon us. Any suggestions?