Last week I made a loaf of Jim Lahey’s basic no-knead bread. The idea that this method of bread baking is relatively new is crazy to me. Can you imagine all the hours of backbreaking kneading in the past 10,000+ year history of baking bread, essentially wasted. That bread was professional quality and took 5 minutes of active work. Anyway, I went in for his pizza recipe this week. In a home oven, without developing a sourdough, this is probably the best pizza you can make. As far as vegan pizza toppings go, textural variety is very important, as long as it doesn’t crowd the pie. So we’ve got pesto, good canned tomato, sautéed oyster mushrooms and cloves of roasted garlic. If it had been on hand I also probably would have drizzled some Saba or vin cotto or sappy balsamic.
Below is the recipe for my toppings followed by the recipe for the pizza taken straight from this source.
- 1 bunch Kale, stemmed and washed
- 3 sprigs Rosemary, picked
- 2 cups Hazelnuts, roasted
- 2 heads Garlic, roasted and peeled
- Sherry vinegar
- Olive oil
- 2 cups oyster mushrooms, separated
- 1 small shallot, brunoised
- 1 can high quality whole canned tomatoes
For the pesto combine the kale, nuts, rosemary, and half of the garlic in a food processor and chop until it’s all pretty consistently small. Place the kale mixture In a large bowl, and add olive oil,while stirring until the desired consistency. You want it to be saucy but without big pools of oil. Season with salt and sherry vinegar, and more mashed roasted garlic if need be.
For the mushrooms, heat a sheen of olive oil in a large sautéed pan and drop in the mushrooms. Season with salt. Cook over medium high for about 2 minutes before shaking the pan. Continue to cook until the mushrooms are browned and fragrant, then mix in the shallot. Cook for 20 seconds more, turn off the heat and remove the mushrooms to a paper-towel lined tray.
Open the can of tomatoes. Reserve the liquid and slice a couple tomatoes into quarters.
Making the Dough
- 500 grams (17 1/2 ounces or about 3 3/4 unsifted cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
- 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
- 16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
- 350 grams (11/2 cups) water
In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix thoroughly. We find it easiest to start with the spoon, then switch to your hands (see slideshow). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them. For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center, then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour. If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.
Put the pizza stone on a rack in a gas oven about 8 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven on bake at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Shaping the disk (Method 1): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 10-12 inches. Don’t worry if it’s not round. Don’t handle it more than necessary; you want some of the gas bubbles to remain in the dough. It should look slightly blistered. Flour the peel (or an unrimmed baking sheet) and lay the disk onto the center. It is now ready to be topped. Shaping the disk (Method 2): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 6-8 inches. Supporting the disk with your knuckles toward the outer edge and lifting it above the work surface, keep stretching the dough by rotating it with your knuckles, gently pulling it wider until the disk reaches 10-12 inches. Set the disk on a well-floured peel (or unrimmed baking sheet). It is now ready to be topped.
Spread a thin layer of pesto. Leaving 1/2 an inch at the edge. Arrange the quartered tomato, garlic cloves to your liking, and mushrooms on top. Splash some liquid from the can of tomatoes around.
With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes under gas (somewhat longer with an electric oven), until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt.