The really daunting thing about making pizza is creating the dough. It’s such a messy, time consuming process – unless of course you make pizza dough using your bread-machine! I’ll explain! One day my son Nathan said “dad can we make some pizza?”. My immediate response to anything that sounds like too much work is generally a firm NO! Sitting in my chair, a vague thought occurred to me. Hadn’t I seen something about pizza on my bread machine? So I wandered over, lifted the lid, and sure enough, at recipe #9 it said “Pizza Dough“. I thought, hmmmm interesting, and fished out the instruction book from under a large pile of other “instruction manuals”. Sure enough it had what looked like an easy pizza dough recipe! The great thing was it only took 45 minutes. That meant I could be sorting the toppings out while the bread machine was running.
The first run was so successful, that I decided to invest in several pizza pans. That was so I could cook in bulk and freeze them. I also changed the pizza dough recipe, substituting most of the white flour for wholemeal. I also constructed a special pizza shelf system to go in my proofing cabinet, so I could do 5 pizzas at the same time. That way we could eat one or two and freeze the rest for later! See the picture of my custom pizza shelf at the bottom of this post.
Making the tomato sauce couldn’t be easier. It’s just a can of chopped plum tomatoes, some tomato puree, tomato pesto, plus a few herbs and spices. A quick blitz with the Cuisinart stick blender and the sauce is ready. I like to add quite a few different toppings to my pizzas. Any of these: sliced peppers, portobello mushrooms, olives, Linda McCartney sausages, capers, artichokes, aubergines, onions, or baby plum tomatoes. I usually pre-slice them, and then give them 5 minutes or so in the actifry just to get them going.
For freezing it’s recommended to let them rise completely, then cook at 200°C fan for 5 minutes to firm the dough up. In fact it’s easiest to do it that way for all of them as you have a more solid base for the toppings. Either way, spreading the tomato sauce on the dough, and then sprinkling the cheese on top is the starting point. I find that a vegan cheddar style on first is good, then either Scheese mozzarella or Cheezely mozzarella on last. Arranging the sausages, and other veg radially is best as it makes cutting the slices up easier. Finally, sprinkling a few herbs like oregano or an Italian Seasoning mix, plus maybe some chilli flakes finishes them off perfectly. So don’t create more work for yourself, make pizza using your bread-machine!
I also find that when they’re frozen, you can easily slide them onto a “pizza crisper”. This gives a much better and crisper final pizza. See the picture of one below – but essentially, it’s got loads of holes in it to let the heat in and the moisture out.
Pizza dough recipe
- 1 bread machine with pizza setting
- 5 circular pizza ovenproof trays non-stick is best - the ones I use are 11 inch/28cm
- 1 Rolling Pin usefull but not essential
- 1 flour shaker usefull but not essential
- 2 pizza crispers usefull but not essential
- 1 proofing cabinet Brad & is good - not essential but very usefull.
- 1 stick blender or food processor - useful but not essential
- 1 saucepan or similar sized container
The dough for the pizza base
- 100 g wholemeal rye flour optional - increase wholemeal by 100g if not using.
- 575 g wholemeal flour
- 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 480 ml/g water
- 2 ½ teasps bread maker style yeast omit if natural rise
- 1.5 teasps low salt
- 2 tbsps brown sugar omit if using natural rise
- 40 g oil or vegan margarine
The tomato sauce to go on the base
- 400 g chopped Italian plum tomatoes one can
- 100 g tomato puree half a tube
- 50 g red pesto 2 ice cubes worth if you freeze it.
- 2 teasps veg stock
- 2 teasps chilli sauce optional
- 2 teasps soya sauce
- 1 teasp onion powder optional
- 1 teasp garlic powder optional
Ingredients for the topping
- 3 whole red, orange, yellow or green peppers - sliced into 2 cm slivers
- 5 whole veggie sausages sliced into 8 per sausage
- 40 whole black or green olives
- 40 whole cherry tomatoes
- 1 whole medium onion
- 15 g Italian pizza seasoning
- 10 g chilli flakes
- Weigh in/add all the ingredients to the bread machine pan in one go
- Set the machine running on whatever program it has for pizza dough. It will look like this when finished.
- While the dough is in preparation, in a saucepan place the following: one can of tomatoes, the tom puree, some red pesto, the soy sauce, the stock powder/cubes, the chilli sauce
- Make the tomato sauce up to 510g with a little water and blend with a stick blender.
- Allow the bread machine to run for the full 45 minutes so the dough is ready to use.
- have ready 5 greased circular pizza oven-proof trays. These are 11 inch/28cm
- Sprinkle some flour liberally on a flat clean surface and turn the dough out onto it.
- sprinkle a liberal amount of flour on top of the dough so you can work it without it sticking to your hands. Add more as needed.
- Divide the dough (1,250g approx) into five equal sized lumps of dough, and pat/roll out, into roughly circular shapes. Each piece of dough should be roughly 250g
- roll it out further so that it's almost the same size as your pizza tray - mine are
- place the tray next to the dough and quickly flip it onto the tray. This can be a little tricky but with a bit of practice it's easy.
- Stretch each piece of dough so that it fits the circular pizza tray - it will require some careful stretching to cover the tray.
- All the pizza bases ready to start rising
- Place the trays in a warm damp place & let it rise for about 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in size. I find my proofing cabinet to be the best place as you might expect. They should look like this.
- For freezing – bake for 5 mins on 200c Fan. This is what they look like if cooked for just 5 minutes for freezing. I find this the easiest way to make them as the dough is firmer and less fragile once part baked.
making the sauce
- Add the can of chopped tomatoes to a small saucepan
- Add 100g of tomato puree to the pan
- add in the stock powder, nutritional yeas, onion & garlic powder, soy sauce, pesto etc and make up to 560g with water if necessary.
- blend with a stick blender
finishing off the pizza with veggies, cheese and sausages
- Once the part cooked bases have cooled, add 110g of tomato sauce per pizza base. Spread it out with the back of large serving spoon.
- Add around 80g of cheddar or Scheeze mozzarella per pizza and add a further 25g of cheezely mozzarella on top of the tomato sauce. Cheezely mozzarella melts the best.
- Cook the veggie sausages in the Actifry, or oven as per instructions. Cut each sausage into 8 round pieces and place them evenly round the edge of the pizza.
- place a half tomato above the sausage on each pizza - an olive in the centre helps keep it symetrical.
- slice the onions and peppers into 1cm wide strips and actifry for around 12 minutes so that they are fairly floppy and part cooked.
- Place the pepper & onion strips and olives on last to achieve an easily sliced pizza.
- sprinkle some Italian seasoning and chilli flakes on top for a spicy finish.
- Bake at 200°C fan oven for around 20 minutes if frozen - around 15 if freshly made. A pizza crisper (shown in the picture) makes a lot of difference as it keeps the base nice and crisp.
- The full list of things I like to put on my pizzas: olives, capers, artichokes, sun-dried toms, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple, vegan black pudding, halved baby plum tomatoes, gherkins, pine nuts, sliced chillies, pizza herbs, sausages, actifried veggie chicken, vegan pepperoni, jack-fruit - there must be others.....
- a slice of pizza....
- There are many other combinations of veggies I've just given one possibility.
- You can use sliced mushrooms, capers, artichoke hearts, gerkins, sun dried tomatoes, palm hearts, asparagus, courgettes, aubergines, jack fruit, pine nuts, there are many options to choose from.
- I've just discovered, that pizzas will go in large clear plastic bags, which can then be re-used - so no need to use cling film if you don't wish to.