Cooking

Pizza Sans Cheese

Welcome! I just redirected my blog to this new site. I’m still working out some of the kinks so some of my links to old posts may not work right now. Bear with me and I’ll get them sorted out as soon as possible.

Last night I made one of my favorite meals – homemade pizza!  Ever since I started backing off the animal products, I’ve been a little perplexed on what to do about pizza.  The main event in pizza is CHEESE.  Sure there is non-dairy “cheese” such as soy cheese and rice cheese, but to tell you the truth I’m a little scared of it.  I’ve seen it at the store, picked it up, thought about it, and put it right back down.  I just can’t bring myself to buy this non-cheese cheese.  First and foremost, what does it taste like?  Second, what is it actually made of?  Third, it’s super expensive! 

One day I’ll have to come to terms with my issues with non-dairy cheese.  But for last night I decided to make pizza as I always do and just leave off the cheese.  I started with a homemade wheat crust:

Wheat Pizza Crust
Makes 2 thick crust round, 3 thin, 1 jelly roll pan pizza, or 6 calzones

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sweetener (I used maple syrup)
1 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (or 2 packets)
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (+ an extra 1/2 cup if needed)

Combine water, oil, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water mixture and stir until dissolved. Using paddle attachment or spoon, gradually add flour, mixing well after each addition until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface (or switch to dough hook if using a stand mixer) and knead until smooth and elastic. When using a stand mixer this will take approximately 12-15 minutes and the dough will come together into a ball in the center of the bowl. Add more flour if necessary. If kneading by hand it will take longer. Do not skimp on the kneading time! Kneading develops the gluten, which gives the pizza crust its great texture and chewiness. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.

Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for approximately one hour or until doubled in size. TIP: set the bowl on top of a smaller bowl filled with warm water. When the hour is almost up, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. When you remove the dough from the bowl after it has risen it will deflate a bit. This is okay.

Separate dough into the number of pizzas or calzones you plan to make. I usually make two round pizzas, so I’ll make one right then and then freeze the other dough ball to use another time. Pat the dough ball out into a circle and place on a pizza stone or pizza pan.

Dry bake the pizza in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. For some reason my pizza ballooned up like Jiffy Pop!

It was okay, I just poked some holes in it and smashed it back down with the rolling pin.

After the pizza has dry baked, spread on sauce and any toppings you want. I had an old can of Italian tomato sauce in the pantry so I just used that. But for an awesome homemade pizza sauce recipe, click here. For toppings I used an orange pepper, red onion and some dried tomatoes soaked in veggie broth (from the garden last year). Ben (my husband) put a little bit of cheese on his half, but I left my half cheese-free. Here is the pizza with toppings pre-bake:

Bake the pizza with sauce and toppings for an additional 12 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese (if using) is melted. My veggies ended up a little crispy-fried but that’s okay.

Serve with a green salad and you have dinner. In all honestly, I did not miss the cheese at all. While I was eating, I never once thought “man I wish I had some cheese”. Nope not once. The pizza was so yummy enough on it’s own with the crust and all the veggies.

Homemade pizza is so delicious. I cannot express how much I love it. I love this dough recipe because it makes enough for multiple pizzas. I usually make it on Saturday or Sunday and then freeze the other dough ball to use a couple weeks later on a weeknight. It’s a super easy meal to throw together after work. Just take the frozen dough ball out of the freezer and move it to the refrigerator the night before. Then when you get home, take the dough ball out of the fridge and let it rise on the counter for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven, chop veggies and get the sauce ready. Then make as directed above!

This was the first time I made a crust with part wheat flour. It turned out really delicious. I want to try using all wheat flour next time. If you try this pizza, let me know how it goes!

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