This week has made it incredibly hard for me to concentrate on research and classes. The fact that Halloween is on Friday is only part of it! I mean I love Hocus Pocus and candy corn (duh), but come Saturday, the pumpkin candles go away and the Christmas tree goes up. The classic clay-mation classics are sure to follow. Who doesn’t adore watching Hermey the elf fulfill his dream of being a dentist?! And what’s more fun than finalizing the Thanksgiving menu?!
If you can’t tell, I’m a little bit holiday crazy. I am definitely that girl that marketing firms target in about 90% of their ads. Needless to say, right now all of the major holidays are gearing up, so it is impossible to think about high performance liquid chromatography.
In addition to the distraction of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (with a little bit of New Year’s sprinkled in), I have become obsessed with The Mindy Project thanks to my best friend Kaitlin. So of course I can’t help but binge watch with glasses of wine and handfuls of Kit Kats! Spatially organized in between all four of the Halloweentown movies of course.
In my attempt to procrastinate even further (as if I need to do that) I have been trying to shrink my safari reading list on my phone by finally getting to some great recipes! The most interesting and successful one was two-ingredient pizza dough. I had never heard of this genius recipe until I ran across it on Impatient Foodie.
First of all, I love her site because as a somewhat new cook, she does a great job of making complicated things approachable. Second of all, as a model, her site is incredibly stylish. And third of all, I have never heard of this pizza dough trick until she posted about it.
Searching the internet, two-ingredient pizza dough is a big thing. People have been enjoying its deliciousness for years! This is one of those shortcuts that does not promise the real thing while under-delivering. Two-ingredient pizza crust is genuinely amazing! I might not ever make those other pizza doughs again…
Here’s how it works:
Classic pizza dough has flour, yeast, a little sugar, liquid, salt, and an oil component. The flour is responsible for the structure of the pizza crust because of gluten development and starch gelatinization (see simple muffins). The yeast eats the sugar creating carbon dioxide—leavening for the air incorporation—and other products that give tell-tale flavors associated with fermented products (more on yeast here). The liquid helps along starch gelatinization and rehydrates the yeast. Finally, the oil provides some softness to the dough, and the salt creates a little flavor as well as reinforces the crust structure.
Two-ingredient pizza dough uses Greek yogurt and self-rising flour. Self-rising flour contains a leavening agent and some salt. This takes the place of regular flour, yeast, and salt in the original recipe. The Greek yogurt is where the magic (or is it science?) comes in. Greek yogurt has quite a bit of protein in it as well as water and a little fat (please don’t buy the fat free version). The water in the yogurt hydrates the flour and therefore the leavening agent which begins to produce carbon dioxide—especially in the presence of heat. This carbon dioxide incorporates air in the crust just as the yeast-produced carbon dioxide does. The extra protein is also important. The yogurt’s protein addition creates a stronger gluten structure without excessive kneading or proofing like most bread products require. Finally, getting a Greek yogurt with at least 2% fat is important in order to create some softness in the pizza crust. That means that after cooling, it will retain a great texture, so please cut your calories elsewhere!
The final important component is the flavor. Yeast has byproducts from fermentation that are responsible for what you recognize when you walk into a bakery. It would seem that that yeasty flavor isn’t possible with this two-ingredient dough. Think again! Because Greek yogurt is a fermented product, the flavors exist that you associate with yeasty breads (even though lactic acid bacteria is at work in the yogurt instead of yeast).
And voila! A super-easy two-ingredient pizza dough!
I like pizzas that incorporate sweet, sour, tangy, salty, and savory flavors all in one bite. I developed a pizza that certainly delivers on all of those fronts. If you like a crunchy component, however, walnuts would be an excellent addition.
Two-ingredient pizza dough + a pear, blue cheese, and prosciutto pizza recipe
Inspired by Impatient Foodie
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup self-rising flour + about ¾ cups more
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 sprigs rosemary
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
⅛ cup blue cheese, crumbled
A couple ounces (to your liking) fresh mozzarella cheese
2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
4 slices prosciutto
¼ cup frozen green peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Parmigiano Reggiano for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat oven to 450⁰F. Combine the Greek yogurt and self-rising flour with a spoon until all incorporated. It will be pretty moist. Flour a surface and knead the dough for about three minutes adding flour until it is not so sticky (I ended up adding an extra ½ cup self-rising flour). Spread the dough out onto a baking sheet to desired thickness, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt if desired, and bake for about 10 minutes—until the dough is firm to the touch but not quite browned. This time will change depending on how thin your crust is.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the pizza ingredients. In a blender, blend together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, and rosemary. Add the oil and blend until slightly thickened. Add the gorgonzola cheese and pulse briefly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the prepared crust is cooled, brush this sauce on the crust. Reduce the oven temperature to 425⁰F.
3. If you really like the tangy blue cheese flavor (like me) add the ⅛ cup blue cheese to the top of the sauce along with the mozzarella (sliced). I added a little extra salt and pepper at this point, because we’re not even close to being done with the toppings.
4. Assemble the prosciutto, peas, and pears on top of your pizza. End with the sliced pears on top so that they caramelize slightly and crisp up a little bit. If you want your crust a little more browned, brush the edges with more olive oil.
5. In your preheated oven, bake for about 8-10 minutes depending on whether you added as many toppings as I did. The sauce and cheeses should be bubbling. If you don’t think three cheeses are enough (we need four), grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top while warm to give some extra tang and a little nuttiness.
Let your pizza cool slightly before cutting so that the entire thing doesn’t fall apart! I know, this whole waiting thing is the hardest part.