If there is only one problem with pizza dough recipes it's that they basically all require planning ahead. I mean, who plans for pizza? Planned pizza. Seems totally antithetical, am I right? Yet every pizza dough recipe I've ever come across calls for resting the dough "8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator" or for at least 3-4 hours at room temperature. And if your dough has rested in the fridge, you need wait for it to come back to room temperature. 😱
So I created this shortcut to homemade pizza in just one hour.
A long rest gives flour time to hydrate, and gives yeast time to develop flavor, as well as lift the dough. To make up for the shortened resting time, I:
- Hydrate my flour first;
- Feed my yeast a little sugar to make it happy;
- Do not mix in my salt until later because it inhibits the yeast.
The oregano is optional. Because of the short resting time, we want to enhance the flavour of the dough as much as possible.
If you don't have bread flour, you can just use 2 cups of all purpose.
I say shortcut, but no lies, our pizza night is quite the production because I make everything vegan for Nikolas from scratch: the crust, the sauce, the cheese, the sausage. And though it may seem like a lot, if you wanted to do all this, I promise it can be done in an hour. Or, skip and choose the bits you want to try.
I don't mind the flavor of vegan cheese, but texturally, it often doesn't do it for me (and it tends to be very expensive). I want the melt, the stretch, the goo...And then I found this recipe online for Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella. I was so surprised by how easy it is to make (15 minutes!)...and by how satisfyingly melty it really is! The secret ingredient is tapioca starch, which luckily we have around from one of Nikolas's baking experiments. My recipe is adapted from this (the included video is very good for understanding how easily this comes together).
Of course you could top this pizza with whatever you like, but I hope you'll give my smokey, spicy vegan sausage a try. It's impossibly sausage-y, and there's no doubt it's better health-wise compared to regular sausage. Adjust the spice level to your liking. Herbs and spices (garlic and fennel seed, for example) would be a great addition! It's important to use firm tofu (medium is passable, but don't use soft tofu).
Makes two 13 inch pizzas
ONE HOUR PIZZA CRUST
🍕 1 cup All purpose flour
🍕 1 cup Bread flour
🍕 1 cup water (separated into 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup of hot water)
🍕 1 tbsp Active dry yeast
🍕 1 tsp sugar
🍕 1 tsp salt
🍕 2 tbsp olive oil
🍕 Sprinkle of dried oregano (optional)
🍕 Additional 1/4 flour for rolling the dough later
GOOEY CASHEW CHEESE
🧀 1/2 cup Cashews
🧀 1 cup Water
🧀 3 tbsp + 2 tsp Tapioca starch/flour
🧀 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast
🧀 1 tsp White wine vinegar
🧀 1/2 tsp Salt
WORLD'S SIMPLEST TOMATO SAUCE
🍅 1/2 cup Plain crushed tomatoes
🍅 1-2 Cloves of minced garlic
🍅 1 tbsp Olive oil
🍅 1 tsp Salt
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S VEGAN! SAUSAGE
🔴 Half pack of firm tofu
🔴 1 tbsp Smokey sweet paprika
🔴 1 tsp Smokey hot paprika
🔴 2 tbsp Tamari
🔴 1 tbsp Olive oil
🔴 Additional herbs and spices (optional)
⬆️ This is how foamy yeast should look
00:00 — Gooey Cashew Cheese
Put cashews with water to cover into a little pot. Boil for 10 minutes.
00:01 — One Hour Pizza Crust
Put the two cups of flour and a sprinkle of dried oregano into a large bowl. Add the 3/4 cups of water. Stir to combine. It should look like a shaggy mess. Cover.
In a smaller bowl, stir together the sugar, 1/4 hot water, and yeast. By the time the flour is done hydrating, the yeast should be nice and foamy (see above photo).
00:09 — Gooey Cashew Cheese
Put tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, white wine vinegar, and salt into a blender.
Drain the cashews and add to the blender with one cup of water. Blend.
Pour the mixture back into the little pot on medium heat and stir continuously. Within about 5 minutes, the very watery mixture will magically become melty and gooey! Turn off the heat and let cool until ready to use.
00:15 — One Hour Pizza Crust
Stir the flour and water mixture. Add the now-foamy yeast, olive oil, and salt. Mix, mix, mix. It will incorporate. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, now is a great time to use it, but I always do this part with just my fingers and it turns out alright. As you mix it, the dough will clump into a ball and start to pull away from the bowl.
Your dough at this point will feel alarmingly sticky. Not to worry. That's the way it should be: It should seem too sticky to knead. Remember you're not kneading it, just mixing.
Cover the bowl up and give it time.
Preheat the oven to 450° with your baking pans or pizza stones inside. Cast iron skillets work great for pizza.
00:20 - I can't believe it's Vegan! Sausage
We need to squeeze as much liquid out of the tofu as possible because we're going to be adding liquid seasoning. So squeeeeeze...then season with tamari, paprika, and olive oil. Mix well and leave to marinate.
00:30 - One Hour Pizza Crust
Your dough will still be sticky, but should look a lot less wet and more like dough now.
Generously flour your work surface with the reserved 1/4 cup of flour. Scoop the dough onto the flour, and sprinkle flour all over the dough. Knead it gently. When the dough feels smooth and dry, divide it into two pieces. Using your cupped hands, shape each piece into a ball. Cover again.
00:35 - World's Simplest Tomato Sauce
In a little pot on low heat, heat the olive oil. When it starts to shimmer, add in the minced garlic and turn off the heat. Add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt. Done.
00:40 - One Hour Pizza Dough
Flour your rolling pin, if you're using one. I actually really love using my hands to shape my pizza, but whatever tool you use, be gentle. You'll want to turn the dough every so often to keep the shape round, but more importantly, make sure that the dough is not sticking to your work surface. A bench scraper is very helpful here.
We like our crust pretty thin, but the thickness is up to you. Once the dough has been stretched, carefully transfer it to a non-stick baking sheet (I like my Silpat, but a properly sized piece of parchment paper will work just as well). Finish shaping the dough on the sheet.
Now for the fun part: add your toppings! Drizzle with olive oil and carefully lift your baking sheet onto the preheated baking pan/pizza stone.
Put on a timer for 15 minutes. For extra crispy pizza, make it 20 minutes.
01:05 - Enjoy!
⬆️ How sausage-y does that look?! It's so good with thinly sliced potatoes.
Pretty important: Everyone's oven is a little different. 20 minutes at 450° works well for me. You could push it to 500° or more, but you'll need to adjust your cooking time as well.
You can make extra pizza dough and freeze it for later use. Just be sure you bring it to room temperature again before stretching and shaping it.
While most toppings are added before baking, some toppings are better added after baking: fresh basil, anchovies, proscuitto, for example.
A drizzle of excellent olive oil is a nice touch after baking.
If don't mind planning waaay ahead, I've used Roberta's Pizza Dough recipe (thank you, New York Times) in the past and it has always turned out for me. NYT included a nice video which I like for the stretching and shaping instructions.