Monday, September 10, 2012

Dairy Free Pizza

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Pizza has become a staple meal in the American home, but that isn’t possibly when you are allergic to milk products. Even if you can get the restaurant to leave off the cheese, there is always the problem of cross contamination.  For the longest time, I did without. It was frustrating. No matter what recipe I tried, the crust would come out soggy and it just wasn’t right. I even tried using hummus in place of cheese…didn’t like it. So, for those of us who can't have cheese, we get to stare longingly at our friends and family as they this savory pie. Last year for my birthday, my brother, Alex, and his then girlfriend (now wife), Bridget, made me pizza for my birthday. To be honest, I was skeptical, but I was more than surprised. It was AWESOME!!! I didn’t even miss the cheese at all. I make it quite often and I like to make a double batch and put half of the dough and leftover sauce in the freezer for a rainy day. I usually keep mine simple with mushrooms and pepperoni, though this last time I used crushed fired roasted tomatoes and really like the added bits of tomato.


 Sauce:

14.5 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp dried parsley
½ tsp Mediterranean oregano (you can use regular)
½ tsp Mediterranean basil (you can use regular)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp minced garlic (approximately 2 cloves)
pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
·      Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan.
·      Over medium-high heat bring to a boil.
·      Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
·      Remove from stove and set aside.



Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp Mediterranean oregano
1 tsp Mediterranean basil
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
3-4 turns of freshly ground black pepper (I like it finely ground)
1 cup water (approximately 110°F)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dry yeast


·      In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour and the next 7 ingredients.
·      Whisk to evenly incorporate the herbs into the flour.
·      In a separate medium* sized bowl (or into the bowl of your stand mixer), combine the warm water, yeast, olive oil and herb studded flour.
·      Mix until the dough forms a ball.**
·      Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for a minute or two.
·      Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp towel.
·      Place it somewhere warm.
·      After about an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.
·      Preheat oven to 450°F
·      Sprinkle your baking sheet (or pizza stone) with cornmeal
·      Spread the dough over the pan to the edge
·      Take a fork and lightly stab all over the dough. This will help keep the crust from bubbling up too much.
·      Bake for 6-8 minutes
·      Remove from oven

Assembling the pizza
·      Turn the oven down to 400°F
·      Spread ¾ cup of the sauce on the pizza crust
·      Top the pizza with your desired toppings
·      Return the pizza to the oven
·      Bake for 16-18 minutes (or longer depending on the amount of toppings)
·      Remove the pizza from the oven and enjoy.
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*Use a large bowl if you plan to double the recipe

**If the dough is too sticky, add just a tablespoon or two of flour. Be careful not to add too much because your crust will end up too heavy and dry.



Note: If you want to double the recipe to save 1/2 for later, wrap 1/2 of the dough in the plastic wrap and seal in a zip lock bag (make sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag). Place in the freezer, as well as any left over sauce. When you're ready to make pizza again, thaw out the dough and then set it to rise as you normally would.


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