Traditional pizza heats up when summer grilling takes over

Pizza yeast is a new product specifically designed for making homemade pizza dough.

A reader wanted to know if she could use pizza yeast in her bread maker recipes and if it is considered fast rising or traditional yeast.

I wondered why we need another type of yeast but my opinion has changed. It mixes up quickly, with a little kneading and is easy to handle.

With traditional or quick rise bread yeast the pizza dough is hard to press or roll out because it tends to spring back. With the pizza yeast, the dough is ready to use once kneaded because it doesn’t have to rise and is easy to roll out or press into shape.

Pizza yeast is not considered fast rising or traditional and is different from both because it contains dough relaxers. For this reason, it is not recommended for use in bread or bun recipes.

A dough relaxer is a combination of all-natural ingredients that slightly disables the gluten protein in wheat flour. Yeast dough with a relaxer rises slower and has less spring back when being rolled. The dough will still have good rise in the oven when it begins to bake.

Basic pizza dough

Makes one 12 inch (30.5 cm) regular crust pizza or two thin crust pizzas.

  • 1 3/4 – 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 425-560 mL
  • 2 1/4 tsp. Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast 11 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar 7 mL
  • 3/4 tsp. salt 4 mL
  • 2/3 c. warm water 120-130 F (49-55 C) (water should feel very warm to the touch) 150 mL
  • 3 tbsp. oil 45 mL

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).

Combine one cup (250 ml) flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add warm water and oil. Mix until well blended, about one minute. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about four minutes. Pat dough with floured hands to fill greased pizza pan or baking sheet.

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An option is to roll dough on a floured counter into a 12-inch (30.5 cm) circle, then place on a greased pan. Form a rim by pinching the edge of the dough.

BASIC PIZZA

  • 1 recipe of the basic pizza dough
  • 1/2-1 c. pizza sauce 125-250 mL
  • meat, cheese, vegetable and fruit toppings as desired
  • 1–2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese 250-500 mL

Prepare the dough and place in the pizza pan. Spread with pizza sauce. Top with desired toppings and sprinkle with cheese. Bake on lowest oven rack for 12 to 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.

CHEESE-FILLED CRUST

For a cheese filled crust use:

  • 4 sticks mozzarella 21 g each
  • string cheese
  • Press or roll the dough so it lays about one inch (2 cm) past the edge of the pan. Before topping the dough with sauce, add the cheese to the crust by pulling or cutting each stick of string cheese into two pieces, lengthwise.Lay each piece around the outer edge of the pizza dough. Bring edge of dough over cheese, pressing to encase the cheese in the dough. Add the pizza sauce and continue making the pizza.

VEGETABLE QUICHE PIZZA

  • 1 recipe basic pizza dough
  • 1 tbsp. oil 15 mL
  • 2 c. thinly sliced 500 mL
  • mushrooms
  • 2 c fresh spinach, coarsely chopped 500 mL
  • 1/4 c. diced roasted red bell pepper 60 mL
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream 30 mL
  • 1 tsp. crushed basil 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper 1 mL
  • 1 c. shredded Swiss cheese 250 mL
  • 3 green onions, sliced diagonally

Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute for about five minutes or until tender. Stir in spinach, saute an additional 30 seconds and remove from heat.

Prepare the basic pizza dough. Working from centre to edges, press dough into and one inch (2 cm) up sides of a 12 to 14 inch (30.5 – 35.5 cm) greased deep-dish pizza pan, then set aside.

Combine eggs, cream, basil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir in sautéed vegetables, roasted red bell pepper and Swiss cheese.

Pour into prepared crust, top with green onions.

Bake on lowest oven rack for 20 to 25 minutes, until eggs are set and crust is browned.

BLT GRILLED PIZZA

  • 1 recipe basic pizza dough
  • 1 c. mayonnaise 250 mL
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic 10 mL
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 c. shredded  mozzarella cheese
 500 mL
  • 16 strips bacon, cooked crisp
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced or seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 c. shredded  Parmesan cheese 125 mL
  • 2 c. chopped lettuce 500 mL

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Start charcoal fire or preheat gas grill to medium-high heat. Be sure the grill is clean. To prevent sticking, drizzle oil over paper towel and wipe over grates.

Prepare basic pizza dough and divide into eight portions. Pat or roll dough on a well-floured counter to about eight-inch (20 cm) circles.

Brush both sides of crust with oil. Using hands, lift each crust carefully and place on grill. Cook for about four minutes until bottom is lightly browned and top looks set.

Using long handled tongs, remove crust from grill, grilled side up, to a platter or baking sheet.

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, garlic and black pepper. Spread lightly over crust. Crumble two strips of bacon and sprinkle over crust. Top with about ¼ cup (60 mL) mozzarella cheese, a few tomato slices and one tablespoon (15 mL) Parmesan cheese. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

Carefully slide each pizza onto the grill. Cook an additional four minutes until bottom of crust is browned and cheese is melted. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lettuce. Serve immediately.

Dough may be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. Punch down and roll out just before grilling.

Another option is to grill one side of the pizza crust. Cool, tightly wrap and refrigerate until serving time. On grilled side, add desired toppings and finish grilling on preheated grill. Makes eight eight-inch (20 cm) pizzas.

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Adapted from www.pizzacrustyeast.com.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.