December 14, 2014

Yeast Free Pizza Crust

So, long time no see, eh? I'm sorry I've been missing for so long, but I've had a lot on my plate recently. It's not the kitty butt. He's fine. We're off of pills and all the ickiest of his meds, just on his inhalers and oral gel.

It's me. I'm kind of... unemployed at the moment. I didn't get fired or anything. You see, I never actually worked for the company where I worked, if that makes any sense. I was a part of the facilities management company, and they ended our contract. It happens, of course, but they hired a new company that's so completely unprepared for this place that I'd feel sorry for them if I didn't think they were an awful company to begin with. The woman they hired as my replacement had zero experience with Excel, Outlook, or apparently any kind of office phone (she asked me if she had to hit transfer when calling an extension. There was no transferring involved).

The funny thing is, people started coming out of the woodwork, completely upset by this news. I always pretty much figured I was furniture to these people. I had a job, I did it, no big deal, and if there's a decor change, who really cares. But I had people coming up to me, telling me they'd miss me, telling me I could use them as a reference if I needed it, telling me that what was happening was unfair.

But the thing is, I'm not really that upset by it. Sure, I'll miss the paycheck, but I'm on unemployment and I've got some money saved up, so I'll be okay. And yeah, I thought the whole thing was handled poorly (the guy in charge of the whole thing wasn't even man enough to show up our last week), but I was so desperately unhappy there, that this is almost a relief. That place left me with no energy to go anywhere after work or on the weekends. I'd been neglecting my friends and my house. I hadn't even had the energy to cook. So for now, I'm looking at this whole situation as an opportunity. I can catch up on the blog, finally finish organizing my house, work on a project I started almost a year ago that could mean some extra cash flow. Meanwhile, I've been looking into some work from home opportunities that will allow me to continue to do all of this with an income that's not subsidized by the state

So now that I've got all those big life decisions out of the way, let's move on to the good stuff: pizza.
This is my newest favorite way to make pizza. As you all may know, I'm not a planner. So yeast doughs and I are not exactly the best of friends. If I ever wanted to make pizza, I'd either have to get the crust from the grocery store (and since that's not one of my grocery staples, and we've already been over how little I like doing that, that almost never happens), or start it in the morning, which is something I almost never remember to do.

But now that I have this yeast free recipe, I can whip up a pizza from scratch in less time than it takes to get it delivered. Plus, it only uses ingredients I always have in my kitchen, so even on the days when I have very little food around because I haven't been grocery shopping in 3 weeks, I can still make pizza.
The crust is just flour, water, and baking powder with some seasonings. That's it. Mix it up, knead it a couple times, press it into a pan (I used a rimmed baking sheet) and bake for a couple minutes before adding the toppings. I made a quick sauce out of a can of crushed tomatoes with basil (another pantry staple). I cooked it down with a little water, a couple bay leaves, some sugar because it was kind of bitter, and seasonings (oregano, garlic, onion powder, and a little crushed red pepper). Topped it with some shredded mozz and a little bit of shredded cheddar to keep things interesting. I had some Italian-style chicken sausages that I'd bought on sale a while back, so I sliced those and put them on top. Liberally sprinkle with more oregano (I love oregano on pizza. Yum) and bake 10-12 more minutes.

The crust rises beautifully in the oven, even without the yeast. After baking, it's soft and chewy (I prefer leaving the crust a little thicker, but it makes a great thin crust too), but still sturdy enough to have no problems holding it. Flavor wise, I do miss the yeast-y flavor of a regular pizza crust a bit, but it's not a hugely noticeable difference. Plus, this is ready in 20 minutes, which more than compensates for the lack of yeast-flavor. And it makes great leftovers, which we all know I love.
I forsee a lot more homemade pizza in my future.

Yeast Free Pizza Crust
Yield: 4-6 servings

2½ cups all-purpose flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (optional)
Italian seasonings, to taste (optional) (I used garlic, oregano, basil, and onion powder)
⅔ - ¾ cup water
Prepared tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, to top (use dairy free cheese for vegan)
Optional: meats or vegetables for toppings

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and seasonings (if using). Add ⅔ cup water and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, add the remaining water, a little bit at a time. Alternatively, if the dough is too wet, add up to 1/4 cup extra flour. The dough should be soft but not sticky. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes.

Grease a baking sheet (or pizza pan) with olive oil or butter. Press the dough evenly into the pan, into about 1/2 inch thickness (you can go thicker or thinner depending on your preference). Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on top. Top liberally with shredded mozzarella and your desired toppings. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Adventures in Coupons and Diethood