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For a few years now, Friday night has been pizza night at our house. My kids have very specific tastes. My son likes Yves pepperoni, mozza “cheese”, green olives, and pineapple chunks. My daughter just likes Yves pepperoni and mozza “cheese”. My husband and I like to pile on all manner of things our kids won’t touch with a ten foot pole – tons and tons of greens, fresh onions and garlic, pesto, artichoke hearts, capers, hot peppers, very thinly sliced potatoes, sauerkraut, you name it. We put it on there.

A Vast Sea of Vegan PIzza

Back in the days before Daiya vegan cheese, I would buy Vegan Gourmet by Earth Island (if I was feeling flush) or else I’d use my old standby nutritional yeast-based sauce, which frankly works really well on pizza and all other things that require a ‘melty’ topping. But Daiya has reigned supreme here at our house since August 2009, and unless something even better comes along, I can’t see that changing any time soon.

I boasted on Twitter earlier that I was going to give away the secret to making making really fast, delicious thin crust pizza. Here is it. When you mix up the dough, you don’t let it rise. Not even once. You let the yeast foam in the warm liquid with a bit of sugar, yes. But after you stir in the flour, salt and any other seasonings you’re going to use, just press that dough ball right into your pan (preferably greased and generously sprinkled with coarse cornmeal) and pile it with toppings and then pop it in the oven immediately. It will still rise a bit in there – it won’t be cracker thin or anything – but I find no matter what dough recipe you use, or the quantity you’re making, if you don’t bother with letting the dough rise you’ll end up with a very tender, delicious, sturdy-yet-thin crust. Try it! The really beautiful thing about it? For me? Is it saves time like whoa.

So here’s my dough recipe. Try it, or use your own. As I said, with this technique it doesn’t much matter what recipe you start with.

2 1/4 – 3 cups flour (unbleached, whole wheat, spelt or any combination thereof)

2 1/4 tsp dry, active yeast (1 envelope if that’s how you roll)

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup each non-dairy milk and water

2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp sugar

Bring the “milk”, water, oil and sugar to a boil, then remove from heat, pour into a bowl, and let cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast and gently stir. Let rest for about 10 minutes or until it foams. Stir in the flour and salt, a bit at a time, until a soft dough forms. Roll out to 1/2 an inch or less thick, in the shape of whatever baking sheet or stone you are using. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease the baking sheet or stone, sprinkle generously with cornmeal, and lay the dough out over it. Add desired toppings. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until the edges look golden. Turn the broiler on for the last couple of minutes of cooking to get the “cheeze” bubbling. This dough recipe will makeĀ  enough pizza for 2 – 3 hungry folks to munch – double it if you’ve got more mouths to feed.

Now here’s where I add my caveat for these photos – I didn’t actually get my pizza into the oven right away. There was a small, non-life-threatening family crisis almost immediately after I rolled the dough out tonight and I had to step away from the kitchen for about half an hour. In that time period the dough rose slightly more than it would have if I’d just continued to work quickly and efficiently; so these photos don’t really do the thin crust technique I described justice. I am proud to say, however, that this pizza still tasted super duper fabulous and so even if you don’t get the thin crust thing right, you won’t be disappointed.

Oh, in case you were wondering what’s on there tonight – we’ve got an organic tomato sauce, a bunch of crushed fresh garlic, a full pound of organic arugula (amazing how those greens cook down, ain’t it?), Yves veggie pepperoni, Daiya Italian-style “cheese”, black olives, sauteed button mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts and a healthy dose of my homemade vegan parmesan (ground almonds + nutritional yeast). My husband ate his with a few splashes of Sriacha sauce too.

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