Friday, August 5, 2011

Vegan Pizza with Herbed Whole Wheat Crust and Daiya "Cheese"

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Daiya is a game-changer for vegan pizza.

Back when I became a vegan, about 15 years ago, almost all "non-dairy" cheeses had casein (milk protein) in them, and the ones that didn't pretty much tasted like and had the consistency of cardboard. They didn't melt, and were strangely textured.

Daiya does everything we want cheese to do. It melts and stretches, and it's delicious. Best of all, it's the perfect pizza topper, because it comes in awesome packages of shreds. (Follow Daiya on Twitter for great cooking ideas, recipes, and specials.)

Now, I don't want to brag, but... Actually, I do want to brag. I'm known for making excellent pizza dough. Call it a gift, but my pizza dough is the bomb-diggity. Wanna know how I do it? I'm spilling the beans. Ready, set, go!

Herbed Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


2 1/4 t. active dry yeast
1 c. warm water ("baby bath water" warm - too hot, and you'll kill your yeast)

2 T. olive oil
1 t. cane juice crystals or raw sugar

2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. sea salt
1 t. dried sweet basil
1 t. crushed dried oregano
1 t. garlic powder (though I prefer, and you may use, 3 minced cloves fresh garlic)

corn meal for dusting baking sheets


Pour water into a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water and allow yeast to dissolve. Add oil and sugar to yeast mixture and stir well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, basil, oregano and garlic.

Slowly add flour mixture to yeast mixture, stirring well as you add, until the two mixtures are thoroughly combined.

With floured hands, form dough into a loose ball and allow to rest for five to ten minutes.

Divide dough in half and form each half into a smaller ball - again, with floured hands.

Spread a generous amount of corn meal onto oiled baking sheets and place dough balls in center of sheets. With floured fingers, press dough out into circles, approximately 11" each in diameter.

Use a brush to dust away excess corn meal.

That's it! Your pizza crusts are ready to dress and bake. Read on for more...

Pizza Assembly and Baking

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Spread a thick layer of your favorite pizza sauce on each crust (in a pinch, you can use canned pasta sauce!).

Layer your sliced toppings on top of sauce. I used onion, green bell peppers, tomatoes, banana peppers, olives, and browned vegan sausage.

Top with loads of yellow and white Daiya shreds.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until edges of crust begin to brown and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

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