This 9th of February is UK National Pizza Day. So, to honor our fellow Life Lovers in the UK, but also to honor one of my biggest food pleasures, pizza, I’m sharing my personal vegan adaptation of an Italian classic: Pizza Margherita. On this edition of Foodgasms, Here’s how to master vegan pizza. Enjoy!
By Little Chilean
300 ml (just over a cup) of lukewarm water
500g flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp dried yeast (1 sachet)
1 tsp organic or cane sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp olive oil
Sliced tomatoes or all the toppings you want in the world
Oregano, basil and any spices you love
Stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let the yeast activate for 10 minutes. You’ll notice the mix becoming foamy.
Stir in 1½ tablespoons of oil and the pinch of salt.
Then, start mixing the flour, ½ cup at a time.
Knead using your hands (that’s how I prefer to do it) or a dough hook in a stand mixer until it forms a cohesive ball. It will still be a little sticky, but we should be able to pick it up as one piece.
Tip: If it's far too sticky when kneading it, keep adding flour to your hands until it all stays in the dough. If the resulting ball is cohesive but seems to be too sticky, simply add 1-2 more tablespoons of flour at a time until it comes together.
Continue to knead for 5 minutes.
Place the ball of dough into a large greased bowl (to avoid it sticking). Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm location for at least 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees C.
Tip: Use this time to prep toppings. I’m a margherita lover, so that means, cutting my tomatoes, basil and a big chunk of oregano (Yes, you can add your own spin to any classic or make up your own).
When our dough is bigger and ready, let’s unwrap it for some pizza making. Punch the dough down to release all our anger… Just kidding. But only about the motive. We do need to punch it, so what better excuse to let some hold anger out along the way?
Knead a couple of times until it becomes smooth and more firm. Then, flatten the piece out as thin as you can get it with a rolling pin (a bottle) or using your hands on a pizza tray or baking sheet, to get it ready for pre-baking! Make sure the dough is well-dusted with flour to stop it from sticking.
Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the crust before pre-bake. It’s going to help our dough get crispy on the outside.
Pre-bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until golden brown.
Now, we can take the dough out and brush 1-2 tablespoons of melted vegan butter on the crust after pre-bake.
Once we’re ready to bake your pizza, spread the tomato sauce around the dough, just until the edges –most tomato sauces are vegan, but make sure you check the label before buying or, even better, make your own at home. Personally, I love the chance to adapt any recipe when I’m home, so I go all out on spices, garlic and herbs because there can never be too much of those.
Top the sauce with vegan cheese and your toppings of choice. And back into the oven to bake for another 10–12 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius.
Check if your dough, cheese and toppings are looking cooked enough, then remove from the oven and serve!