What’s better than a boyfriend that cooks for you? Mike usually makes more ‘simple’ meals (read: toast and cereal), but when he decides to go all out- he makes a freakin’ mean pizza. Being one of the only meals that he does make, he’s had plenty of time to perfect it. Trust me when I say: this is how a homemade pizza should be. Crispy, chewy, and flavorful. It’s preeeetty much perfect- Just like Mike Okay, enough of the sap. I wouldn’t want you to lose your appetite!
So one of the big things about making a pizza at home taste like restaurant quality is getting the right stone. I recently bought Mike this pizza stone for father’s day (a gift from the dogs, obviously): Dough-Joe® Pizza and Baking Stone 14.5″ Round by 7/8″ Thick (USA). Seriously, it’s amazing. The reason it makes such a big difference is that you let the stone sit in the hot oven for about an hour, absorbing all the heat and becoming really hot. This will make the dough really crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Invest in a stone, and you will not be sorry! You can also use them to make homemade breads, cookies, and more.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that pizza dough is one of those awesome foods that just happens to be vegan? Not bad, eh? Also, if it’s too hot in the kitchen to run your oven for a few hours, then take your materials outside and have grilled pizza! Delish.
Okay, so the dough is vegan, what about the cheese? Personally, I’m fine with a cheese-less pizza, as long as you load it up with veggies! This is especially helpful if you’re stuck at a restaurant with no veg-friendly options (just be careful the sauce doesn’t have parmesan cheese in it). Of course, if you want to impress your omnivore friends with an awesome veg-option, or if you just a craving an old fashioned pizza, there are a lot of vegan shredded cheese products out there. I’m pretty sure we’ve tried them all…
Without a doubt, the best one is Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Cheese. It melts perfectly, has a great flavor (not too “imitation-y”) and no weird texture (which I find with Daiya). Don’t believe me? Just check out the final product:
A Couple Pizza-Making Tips:
- Make sure the stone is in the oven from the time it starts to preheat. If you put the stone in an already preheated oven, there’s a good chance it will crack.
- Stretch the pizza dough out a bit larger than how you want it. When you start to assemble your toppings (particularly ladeling the sauce), the dough will shrink a bit.
- Use a rolling pin if you want, but you’re better off stretching it out by hand so it doesn’t become too flat. Also, if you do it by hand you’ll have a better formed crust around the edges.
- If the pizza dough becomes too sticky to work with, just sprinkle some flour over it. Be careful not to overdo it, or the dough’s texture might change.
- Be sure that the dough is at room temperature when you’re ready to use it- if it’s too cold it won’t stretch properly.
- Prep your toppings ahead of time (or while the dough is rising) so that they’re ready when the dough is. Once the dough’s been stretched out, you want to get it in the oven as soon as you can.
- We’ve found that parchment paper works great for two things: 1) Keeping the dough from sticking to the pizza stone or pizza peel and 2) Keeping the oil and sauce from getting on the pizza stone or peel. Just assemble the pizza on top of the paper and put the whole thing in the oven with the paper still underneath- be careful it doesn’t hit the top of the oven and catch on fire- PLEASE.
Mike’s Famous Pizza Dough
- 4.5 Cups Flour (We used White for this, I will post a Wheat dough soon, though).
- 2 Cups of Warm Water, separated into 1 cup and 1 cup (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1 Packet of Active Yeast
- 1T of Agave (or sweetener of your choice)
- 2.5tsp Onion Powder
- 2.5tsp Garlic Powder
- 1.5tsp Salt
- Drizzle of Olive Oil (for the bowl). You could also use Pam or something if you prefer.
What You’ll Need
- Pizza stone (if you don’t have one, you can use a baking sheet, but the end product won’t be as good).
- Pizza peel (if you don’t have one, you can use the back of a baking sheet to build the pizza, and slide it onto your stone)
- Parchment paper (if you don’t have it, you can use a light layer of cornmeal on the peel (or baking sheet) so that the dough doesn’t stick to it.
- Pizza sauce (Mike’s Famous Recipe coming soon!)
- Toppings of your choice!
Directions (the directions look daunting, but once you get the hang of it you’ll have no trouble at all!)
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, with the baking stone inside. You want the stone to sit in the oven for at least an hour at the 500 degree temp.
- Add 1 cup of the warm water into a mixing bowl with the yeast and agave. Whisk it until mixed, and set it aside. Wait 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, the water should have foam on top. This is how you know the yeast is active (the agave is like food for the yeast).
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the oil into a mixing bowl (or a stand mixer if you prefer).
- If you’re using a stand mixer– be sure to use a dough hook attachment. Mix all ingredients on a low setting until the dough ball forms.
- Remove the dough ball and knead it a bit by hand to ‘neaten’ it up.
- If you’re working by hand- knead the dough until the dough ball forms.
- The dough ball should be smooth on the outside and not sticky (like the picture above). Add a little flour as you go if it is still sticky.
- Cut the dough into three- 13oz (approx.) balls.
- If you’re not using all three right away, wrap the additional balls tightly in saran wrap and freeze them.
- Add a little oil to the bottom of a bowl and wipe it up and around the sides with a napkin so that it’s evenly spread out.
- Put the dough ball in the bowl and let it sit at room temperature (or a little warmer) until it doubles in volume (approximately 1-1.5 hours). The warmer the air, the faster the dough will rise.
- Lay out parchment paper (on a pizza peel if you have one) on the counter.
- Release the dough from the bowl by flipping it upside down and waiting until it falls out onto the paper.
- With your palm, push the dough ball down and start pushing the sides out from the middle. The dough will try to shrink again, so just keep working until it’s the right shape.
- Assemble your toppings! (The fun part for the kids to do!)
- Using your pizza peel, “shimmy” the pizza onto the stone in the preheated oven with the parchment paper still underneath.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and all the cheese is melted.
Makes enough for approximately three 16-inch pizzas (or try it as a calzone!)
Note: This recipe I filed under soy-free and low-fat because the dough does not consist of soy products and only needs a drizzle of olive oil. However, many processed vegan cheese-products do contain soy and added fat.