Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Vegan Pizza for my Picky Kid

Lunch, on a weekday afternoon. This honestly took less than 20 minutes to make, and it's the real thing!

Wanna make pizza? First, you'll need some dough. I like to make pizza dough on a Sunday evening, so we have a family pizza night, and then I have leftover dough to freeze or refrigerate for another time. This recipe is so basic, it's more or less what you'll find in a million cookbooks. So, I didn't invent it, obviously, but I can't credit a source either - it's practically public domain.
500 grams of 'OO' pasta flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar, if you're feeling traditional. It's fine without it though.
1 teaspoon dried active yeast
325 ml warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Knead for ten minutes, leave it to rise for an hour, then knock it back and knead for another few minutes, and set aside until you're ready to use it. If you've never worked with a yeast dough before, this is a great recipe to start with. It takes time to rise, yes, but you're not required to do anything in that time (in fact, refrain!). 'Knocking back' just means knocking out the air that has accumulated in the dough. If you want a whole grain dough, I find spelt to be the best for this sort of thing - I'd start with half spelt, half  'OO'. It freezes beautifully, or keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I usually divide into thirds for large, sharable pizzas (that happen to fit on my baking trays more or less perfectly). Take your time stretching and rolling it - it's pretty springy, but it'll get there. Use lots of extra flour because it will  also be very sticky. I find I need to lightly oil my baking trays.
Vegan toppings. Less is more. If you're using greens, its a good idea to dress them in a little olive oil first so they don't burn (like mine did, above. I ran out!). The Violife cheese is not essential for me - more like a fun treat. And I always put fake cheese underneath other ingredients, because I don't personally think it's ever pretty! As the babe gets older, I imagine everyone will choose their own toppings.

Today I didn't, but I often sneak other ingredients into the sauce so my greens-phobic kid will eat them. My go-to sneaky sauce:

1 can of chopped tomatoes
About a teaspoon of mixed dried herbs
1 clove of garlic
No more than 1/4 cup of cooked red lentils (any more, and I'm rumbled)
A small handful of greens

Blended until relatively smooth! Makes enough for two pizzas, with a little extra for pasta the next day or something. If I'm not being sneaky, I'm being lazy and just use plain passata.

13 minutes in the oven at 200C, boom, pizza. 15 minutes would get me a crispier crust. She loves it, obviously. We're just going to ride out the bread craze - hell, I don't mind having pizza now and then either.

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