From TGBK we want to wish you a happy summer solstice! It is the longest day of the year today, meaning the sun rises the earliest and sets the latest than any other day this year, do don't waste the daylight sleeping in. Well what to do with all the extra time today then? How about experimenting with something else that rises...you got it, yeast bread! This pizza crust recipe was adapted from a favorite bun recipe of ours and we have to say it is quite the showstopper. If you haven't experimented with yeast baking yet today is the day, but let's explain the process a little more first.
Yeast is a live, single-celled fungus of which there are about 160 species. The yeast we are most familiar with and most commonly used in baking is saccharomyces cerevisiae, or bakers yeast. This yeast lies dormant until it comes into contact with warm water. Once activated, yeast begins feeding on sugars (either added to the recipe or from the starch in the flour) and releases carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide becomes trapped in the dough's elastic web of gluten (created through the kneading process) and makes the bread rise. Be careful though, since yeast are living they can be killed by overly hot water. Yeast prefer temperatures between 70-100 degrees Fahrenheit and liquids hotter than 139 degrees will kill yeast. So if your precious dough does not rise, this may be what happened. Though there are other reasons why you may not get the rise you were hoping for- we like this website for some more yeast bread tips and troubleshooting. So grab some yeast from the local store (active, dry yeast for this recipe) and lets get started!
The Perfect Crust
PREP TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins
Servings: 2 pizza crusts
3 1/2 cups flour of choice (we used 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups spelt flour)
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup milk of choice (we used unflavored hemp milk)
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + additional for greasing dough
1-2 Tbsp ground flax
In a large bowl thoroughly mix 1.5 cups flower, sugar, salt, and yeast.
Combine milk, water and oil in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are warm but not too hot. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat for two minutes with an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup flour and beat at high speed another two minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough (approximately 1-1.5 cups). Turn onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Place dough in a bowl sprinkled with olive oil, turning to grease the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with a wet dishcloth, place in a warm location and allow dough to rise for 15 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured table, divide in half, and roll each half into a 9x10 inch circle. Sprinkle ground flax seed onto two circular baking sheets to prevent dough from sticking. Lay dough onto baking sheets and create your preferred pizza. Once pizza is prepared bake at 425 for at least 10-12 minutes to allow dough to fully cook. Dough can also be saved in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Summer Spiral Pizza
PREP TIME: 15 mins
TOTAL TIME: 35 mins
Servings: 1 pizza
1/2 cup full fat ricotta cheese
2-3 cloves crushed garlic, depending on how much garlic you like
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium raw sweet potato
1 medium zucchini
3 oz sharp cheese, shaved (we chose Parmesan)
1/8 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Drizzle of reduced balsamic glaze, optional
Using a mandolin or a large chef knife, slice sweet potato and zucchini into 1/8" slices.
Mix together olive oil and crushed garlic with ricotta cheese. Evenly spread ricotta mixture on top of pizza crust. As pictured, layer sliced sweet potato and zucchini one after another starting from the outside of the crust working your way to the center. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top of vegetables and spread shaved cheese evenly over the top. Place pizza in preheated 425 degree oven and cook for 16-18 minutes until golden brown. Once out of the oven, sprinkle with desired toppings- crushed red peppers and reduced balsamic glaze are delicious!
Okay, so how great was the crust? We promise you won't find that in the freezer aisle! This crust will be just as good with any variety of toppings so feel free to mix it up and create your own favorite. We loved showcasing zucchini topping for the summer but can imagine hundreds of other amazing combinations. Please experiment and let us know what you come up with, we love hearing from you!
Rise and shine friends,
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.