Pizza seems to be an American family staple. I grew up with Friday pizza nights and we all loved it! And it’s such a great vehicle for getting kids to eat lots of veggies, sometimes without even knowing it! You can blend extra veggies in the sauce—mushrooms would work really well, so would carrots! I like to use a mix of shredded zucchini and shredded veggie cheese for a fun tromp l’oeil effect—plus too much “fake” cheese just doesn’t taste right! I use Follow Your Heart mozzarella cheese—David always clarifies that this is veggie cheese and not “meat cheese.”
I also like pizzas for families because you can customize each pizza however you like. If your kids are old enough, try setting up a pizza bar. Roll out the crusts for them, and allow them to add the toppings of their choice. I love using Field Roast Italian sausage, kalamata olives, zucchini, and veggie mozzarella on top of my cashew cheesy spread and my tomato basil sauce. So delicious!
This crust is also totally versatile for the non vegans in your life—in fact, I’ve been making this for years, long before I became vegan. Let people top them the way they like, but push those yummy veggie options!
I’ve posted this once before with the instructions for my Rustic Pizza. The crust is the same though, and it was about time to have a Basic Pizza Dough recipe where it is easy to find! David has already declared that he would like pizza this weekend, so we’ll be making this for dinner on Sunday when we’re back home from our roadtrip! Hope you can make it this weekend—your whole family will love it!
Basic Pizza Dough
1 packet of yeast (2 ¼ tsp), can be rapid rise or regular, I’ve used both and don’t see a difference in this recipe
2-4 c flour (I use a 1-2 ratio of whole wheat to white flour), depending on altitude, humidity, etc.
1 tsp salt
1 T olive oil
2 T sugar
1 ¼ c hot water
***this is really easy dough to make—looking at my directions now, it seems like a lot to do, but I think I’ve just been REALLY thorough on my how-to!
Place yeast in bowl of mixer. Pour hot water on top (hot from tap) and allow yeast to proof for 10 minutes. It will get a little bubbly, and the yeast will soften so that you no longer see many granules. Add olive oil, salt and sugar and give it a quick spin. Begin adding flour, ½ cup at a time while the mixer is running.
After about 2 cups of flour I switch to my bread hook. (If you don’t have one, let it go as long as you can in the mixer and then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead by hand.) Continue adding flour gradually until the dough begins to form into a ball. Let it continue kneading for about 5 minutes. Often times, after a few minutes of kneading, the dough that previously appeared sticky becomes nice and smooth, so take it easy with the flour. You can always add more, but you can’t remove it. I usually like to be able to push my finger into the dough and leave an impression (if the impression goes away immediately it’s probably still too soft).
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Drizzle olive oil on top of ball of dough and flip dough around to coat all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put your bowl in a warm place for 1+ hour (it’s great to give it several hours though). I like to put mine in a slightly warmed oven. I turn on the oven (set to about 150 degrees) while I’m making the dough and then turn it off when I put the dough in. Remember to turn it off!
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface and dust with flour and knead a few times until it is soft and not sticky, and easily workable. I divide my dough into several pieces at this point. We like to make individual pizzas so we can all have the toppings we like. I shoot for 6-10 ounces of dough per pizza to make thin crust pizzas. I can usually get 4-6 pizza crusts out of a batch, and we tend to make bigger pizzas than one person should really eat!
If you don’t need to use all of the dough, you can freeze it in portions, or save it in the refrigerator for a few days. I love to use the leftovers for flatbread or bread sticks!
As fun as it is to see professionals tossing pizza dough in to the air, the easiest way for me to make a crust is with my rolling pin. Add flour on surfaces to make sure you’re not sticking and begin to roll each ball into a round, picking it up and flipping it around so it’s not sticking to your counter. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Back when I had a real oven I would bake my pizzas on parchment paper on a pizza stone. But I now have an easy bake oven, which doesn’t fit my pizza stone, so I bake mine on a baking sheet with parchment and it works pretty well. We also like to grill ours on a baking stone in the grill in the summer! Preheat your oven to 450.
Once your dough is rolled out, layer with whatever sauces and toppings you want! It takes about 10 minutes to cook, maybe less. Watch your pizza and make sure the bottom crust isn’t getting too brown. When fully cooked, remove from oven and let cool a minute to set before slicing. Enjoy!
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