No Knead to Stress About Homemade Pizza

Who doesn’t love a recipe that you can make tipsy on 2.5 glasses of wine, forget about for 20 hours, and then fashion into a delicious homemade pizza?  All things in life should be so rewarding for so little effort.

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This week we entertained guests on two weeknights back to back!  Yeah, we’re pretty big-time.  As our Monday night guests walked out the door at 11 pm, I prepped for the next round by dumping together some flour, salt, water, and yeast in a bowl.  By 11:05, I was in bed.

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So easy, you can do it after a few glasses of cab sauv 

After Tuesday classes, I came home and prepped the stage for pizza domination.  Making pizza is really good practice in multi-tasking.  In one hour:

  • I sectioned the dough (which had doubled overnight in its perch on top of the stove) into 3 balls.  (If you are not planning to make 3 pizzas, you can put the other balls in the fridge for use in 3-5 days.)
  • While it was rising some more, I simmered a few ingredients together for a spicy rosemary pizza sauce.
  • The oven did double duty by roasting garlic and sweet potato slices while simultaneously getting nice and toasty for pizza-makin’.
  • As the sauce simmered I caramelized an onion.
  • When my sous-chef got home from work, he sliced up pears and crumbled goat cheese.

At T-Minus 30 minutes, I assembled oiled baking sheets.  I pressed the dough out into a rectangle on the sheet.  Warning: this dough is stickier than some other pizza doughs, so it’s more of a press than a stretch.  I was skeptical, but it didn’t stick to the pan at all. In fact it came out pretty delicious.  I did put some cornmeal down to further discourage stickage).

Out come the toppings for two tasty vegetarian pizza combos:

#1: Rosemary Sauce, sweet potato slices, roasted garlic, spinach, and goat cheese (inspired by Emma’s in Kendall Sq)

#2: Honey mustard, sliced pear, caramelized onion, and mozzarella (It may sound weird, but trust me, it’s delicious)

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I had cranked our oven as high as it would go.  Ideal pizza making conditions call for high heat below and above the pizza, but sometimes you have to compensate.  Our oven cooks hotter above, so the cheese and toppings melt after about 6 minutes, but before the bottom has a chance to get crispy.  A solution I learned from Slice (a blog for pizza nerds such as myself,) is to take the pizza out of the oven when the top is done, and place in an oiled cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Frying it in the cast iron will give the bottom a nice crunch without burning the top.  (You have to keep checking the underside so you know when to take it off.)

Below, the details for recreating the deliciousness in your kitchen on any old Tuesday night:

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No-Knead Dough (via Jim Lahey, referenced all around the internet)

  • 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ cup lukewarm water

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix the water in.  You may have to use your hands to mix the ingredients into a shaggy ball.  No need to knead (ha!), in fact don’t overhandle.   The dough’s awesomeness lies in the long rise, which allows for well-fermented flavors.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature for between 15-20 hours.  It should about double in size.  After the initial rise, divide into three balls.  Leave to rise for 1 hr for immediate use, or put in the fridge (if you want to use the fridge dough later, just let it come to room temperature by placing it on the counter for a few hours.)

 Spicy Rosemary Pizza Sauce

  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (San Marzanos preferable)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 sprigs rosemary (sprigs and chopped leaves separated, both used in recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

In a small saucepan, combine the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and stripped rosemary sprigs.  Bring to medium heat and simmer about 20 min, stirring frequently.  Add the remaining ingredients and season to taste.  You will have some leftover sauce to use on future pizza or pasta projects.

 Pizza #1

  • 1 no-knead dough crust
  • spicy rosemary sauce (recipe above)
  • 1 sweet potato (washed, slice, and roasted at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes)
  • 5-6 cloves of roasted garlic
  • half log goat cheese, crumbled
  • small handful shredded mozzarella
  • 10-12 spinach leaves, rinsed

Prep ingredients by making dough 1 day in advance and sauce about 30 minutes in advance.  Roasted garlic will take about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven, and sweet potato can be thrown in for 10 minutes of that time.

Oil a baking sheet.  Thrown down some cornmeal.  Press the dough into a pizza-sized rectangle or circle.  Spread rosemary sauce.  Press and spread garlic cloves into sauce.  Lay sweet potato slices across surface of pizza, and layer spinach leaves over. Finish the pizza with goat cheese and mozzarella.

Bake at your oven’s highest temperature until cheese is melted and bubbling.  See note about cooking the bottom of the pizza in a skillet if necessary.

Pizza #2

  • 1 no-knead dough crust
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T honey mustard (I believe Honeycup brand to be the tops, but up to your preference)
  • 1 onion, caramelized
  • small handful shredded mozzarella
  • sliced pear (apple is also a good substitute)

Prep ingredients by making dough one day in advance.  Caramelizing an onion will take 15- 30 minutes.

Oil a baking sheet. .  Thrown down some cornmeal.  Press the dough into a pizza-sized rectangle or circle.  Spread olive oil and then honey mustard on top.  Lay pear slices across the surface, and layer caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese.

Bake at your oven’s highest temperature until cheese is melted and bubbling.  See note about cooking the bottom of the pizza in a skillet if necessary.

2 thoughts on “No Knead to Stress About Homemade Pizza

  1. I made Greek salad pizza! I made the dough and spread it out on a cookie sheet, baked it, let it cool, put on some sauce, and stuck in the fridge. Then I threw on some well-chopped romaine tossed in olive oil and ground pepper, nicoise olives, red onion, feta, and cucumber. Yum! (How do I add a picture to this reply?! I dont think I can…)

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