Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bread, Soup & a Pizza Discovery

I spent most of yesterday alternating between baking bread (whole wheat, cinnamon raisin and pizza dough) and doing laundry. Thank God I like baking or the day might have been a total loss! Actually it was a good pairing. While the yeast was proofing, I had enough time to run downstairs, pull one laundry out and start another load. I even hung clothes on the line OUTSIDE while the bread was rising. If you're wondering why make so much bread at one time, the reason is quite simple. Its a pain in the butt to clean the bread bucket. Therefore, once I'm using it, I'm really using it!

For dinner, I used the leftover broth from cooking seitan to make soup in the slow cooker. I added some leftover beans and barley with green peas, as well as some greens from the freezer. It was a pretty tasty soup but the real hit of the meal was the pizza I made to go with it.

I started with the recipe for Green Olive Bruschetta but discovered I had very little basil in the freezer. I ended up using parley from the freezer and 1/2 tsp of dried basil. I scraped this out of the food processor and added some roughly chopped walnuts (this gives a nice crunch that my family seems to enjoy). I spread this in a thick layer on the pizza dough. Then, I drained some organic, canned, diced tomatoes and sprinkled these over the top. I baked the pizza at 500 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

The result was three pizzas that my family devoured. The kids even fought over who would take the measly leftovers for lunch.


Jennifer C. said...


How do you freeze your herbs? I'd like to try it. BTW, I picked up Vegan With a Vengeance recently and agree with you, it is fantastic! I've already made several of the recipes and they have all been great!

lizhillruder said...

Hi Katie,

Do you usually prebake your crust a little before adding topping? My pizzas have been doughly lately and I'm thinking about giving this tacatic a try.


Katie said...

Hey Jennifer,

I just put the fresh herbs in a plastic bag in the freezer, as is. On of the women in our CSA suggested it to me and it works like a charm.

So far I've done it with basil, thyme, parsley, cilantro, sage, scallions and garlic scapes. They get mushy when you take them from the freezer but as long as you're using them for taste rather than visual appeal they work well.

One caution, don't mix multiple herbs in one plastic bag. I did this and things have gotten a little crumbly and hard to decipher in there.

Hi Liz,

I don't usually prebake my crust but I recently discovered two things that helped me get a crispier crust.

First, try a higher heat on the oven. I had always used 425 degrees and had varying success with eliminating doughy crust. In Vegan With a Vengeance, Isa cooks her pizza at 500 degrees. I tried this the other night and it made a big difference.

The second thing is a pizza stone. I had been given one and I never used it until this week. It made a huge difference in the crust. (I had baked one pie on the pizza stone and the other two on regular pizza pans so I had a really good opportunity to compare results.)

If you do prebake your crust, let us know how it turns out.

lizhillruder said...

So tonight I made 4 pizzas, all using slightly different methods so it's hard to make a fair comparison, but the best crispy crust was one that came from dough that I made the night before and refrigerated overnight, and prebaked. I shaped the dough while it was still cold, baked for ~10 minutes at 425 added toppings and then baked another 12 minutes or so. I had read online that refrigerating dough and forming while still cold would produce a crispy crust, so I'd like to think the results are not coincidential.

My other doughs were immediately before baking. I pre-baked, but the dough was still not as crispy as I'd like. These pizzas had nore sauce and toppings, so that could have been the reason for the soggy state. Next time I'll do as you suggest, Katie, and turn the oven up to 500.

Katie said...

Interesting Liz, I'd never heard about refrigerating the dough first. I'll give that a try. Thanks for sharing your experiment.

lizhillruder said...

This was my inspiration for refrigerating:

Creating Perfect Pizza Crust

Now with that said, I also saw other articles saying to NEVER use cold dough-- but I though results were great. Plus, making dough the night before makes pizza an easier option for weekday meals.

lizhillruder said...

Let's try that again...

Creating Perfect Pizza Crust

Katie said...

Very interesting link Liz. Thanks!