Saturday, March 9, 2013

St. Louis-Style Cheese Pizza (with no-yeast crust!)

Just when I start getting the hang of this yeast thing, I start coming up with all these yeast-less recipes.  I guess I am finding myself attracted to these type of recipes because I no longer have all day to sit around and watch yeast rise.  Most days.  I still like me some good yeast action on a weekend, snow day, or just random day off work.  

I already have a fantastic recipe for pizza crust that is easy and delicious.  But I was instantly intrigued when I saw this recipe in Cook's Country for a yeast-free pizza crust.  I loved the idea of being able to make my own delicious pizza at home on a whim.  Pizza whims happen to me quite frequently.  

Now, if you are looking for an indulgently thick pizza crust, keep looking.  This crust definitely falls into the "thin and crispy" category.  For me, if I've got bread, sauce, and cheese, I'm happy.  If I can have it whenever I want it, I'm even happier.  The crust takes just a few minutes to put together.  Then, instead of tossing and stretching, you roll it nice and then with a rolling pin.  It couldn't be much easier.  

But this recipe has more than an easy crust.  It has a great sweet, smoky, spicy flavor as well thanks to the addition of sugar, liquid smoke, and some crushed red pepper.  Bonus!  And while I made my pizza a cheese pizza, you can, of course, add whatever toppings to your pizza that your little heart desires.  Go nuts!
So next time you have your very own pizza whim, put down the phone.  You don't need dine-in, carry-out, or delivery.  Make your very own mouthwatering pizza right at home.  It's fast.  It's easy.  It's delicious.  Try it!
St. Louis-Style Cheese Pizza
For the sauce:
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp sugar
For the cheese mixture:
2 cups shredded American cheese
1/2 cup Italian blend cheeses
1 tsp crushed red peppers
3 drops liquid smoke
For the dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Whisk together sauce ingredients in a small bow and set aside.  Toss cheese mixture ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and place pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on rack and heat oven to 475 degrees.
Combine flours, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Combine water and olive oil in liquid measuring cup.  Stir water mixture into flour mixture until dough starts to come together (add 1-2 tsp water if needed to get dough to stay together).  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times, until cohesive.
Divide dough into 2 equal pieces.  Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, press into small circle and transfer to parchment paper dusted lightly with flour.  Using rolling pin, roll and stretch dough to form 12-inch circle, rotating parchment as needed.  Lift parchment and pizza off work surface and onto inverted baking sheet.
Top each piece of dough with half of sauce and half of cheese.  If using, transfer parchment paper and pizza onto baking stone, or just leave on inverted baking sheet.  Bake until underside is golden brown and cheese is completely melted, 9-12 minutes.
Remove pizza and parchment from oven.  Transfer pizza to cooling rack and let cool a few minutes.  Assemble and bake second pizza.  Cut and serve.

Makes 2 12-inch pizzas.
Recipe adapted from Cook's Country, February/March 2010.

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