Cheese-less Pizza Breads
Ever have a disappointment turn out to be a blessing in disguise? I hope so! It happens to me all the time and I love it. So the other day a friend and I were at a pizzeria with our kids and this place normally allows you to sub soy cheese instead of regular cheese. We happily ordered our vegan pizzas and just when we were starting to get REALLY hungry, our server came out and told us they were out of soy cheese. What?!? Our hearts fell and our tummies took up arms. If it weren’t for the lovely children’s play area that our kids were thoroughly engrossed it at the moment, allowing us to actually exchange a handful of complete sentences with each other, my friend and I so would’ve been outta there. But darn it, the children’s area won out and so we stayed, ordering cheese-less pizzas instead.
But the silver lining soon emerged. Those cheese-less pieces were ridiculously and fabulously awesome. I mean, sure, you could call them flatbreads or second-class pizzas but in the midst of my love affair with my garlic, broccoli and fresh corn cheese-less pizza, I sat wondering why I don’t order it this way all the time. I mean, soy cheese is good and Daiya shreds are even better but this way was so simple, so wannabe artisanal, so sitting out on the patio of my castle’s main turret in the hills of Tuscany with the fading light of dusk hitting my glass of vegan bubbly just so. Needless to say, I’d been transported.
Now to make it at home I wanted to do it right and not just buy the premade dough or crusts I normally get. So I went out and finally bought that pizza stone I’ve been wanting for years and got to work making some homemade cornmeal pizza dough, a recipe for which I found on Food.com. To make it, proof 3 tsp active dry yeast in 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp sugar. While you wait for it to foam, place into the bowl of a stand mixer 5 cups flour, 2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1 cup cornmeal.
When the yeast is proofed, add it to the dry mixture along with 1-1/2 cups warm water. Using the kneading attachment, knead the dough until it’s soft and smooth. After the kneading is finished, let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes. Then remove the dough and shape it into a ball. Place into a well greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough doubles in size.
In the meantime, heat the pizza stone in the oven according to directions for your stone (mine is at 500 for 30 minutes).Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and let it rest for another 10 minutes before shaping.
Using your hands or a roller over a cornmeal-dusted surface, stretch the dough out into small rectangles. I made five small rectangles with this recipe but you could also make two 16-inch circles.
Reduce the heat to 400 and pull out the pizza stone and dust with a light coating of cornmeal. Place the rectangles onto the stone and add sauce and other toppings. Return to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Here are the varieties I made:
Tomato and slivered garlic AND green and red bell pepper.
Fresh corn and red onion AND corn, red onion and broccoli.
Pineapple and green onion.