Deep dish pizza

Oh man. Click away if you’d rather not invest in fat pants. I always thought deep dish pizza might be difficult to make. The good, or bad, news is that it’s really easy to make.

King Arthur Flour puts out awesome recipes. They are rarely vegan, but veganize very well. I used this one for the pizza, substituting Daiya for the cheese, Earth Balance for the butter, vegan parmesan and Gutenfleischer’s pepperoni for the meat. And I added red pepper flakes to the tomatoes because pizza sauce should have some kick, damn it!

Now, don’t be afraid of yeast. If you’re having trouble with it, remember that it is temperature sensitive. Sadly, recipes like this one tell you to use lukewarm water, but many people don’t know exactly what that means. And it can affect your results. Here’s a handy chart of important temperatures related to yeast. Instant yeast wants to be mixed with 120°F water. It’s a good idea to check this with a thermometer since the yeast won’t act right if the water is too hot or too cold. But once you take care of that, the rest should work beautifully. Also remember that instant and active dry yeast are not interchangeable without some fiddling.

Another frustration when dealing with yeast is how much should it rise? Sometimes recipes give you an amount of time for the dough to rise and sometimes they tell you how much it should rise (double.) It’s best if they tell you both because the conditions in your kitchen are not going to be the same as the recipe writer. Maybe it’ll take 90 minutes for your dough to double. Then wait 90 minutes. If you don’t have a graduated container, mark double on the container you do have with a piece of tape and then you’ll know when it’s done rather than guessing.

The crust came out really rich with all the fat in it. And it was nice and sturdy. You could even pick up a piece to eat it once you’d chopped off some of the point and gobbled it up.

Now, for some more pizza porn. I used a coarse corn meal and you can really see it in the crust:

It’s been a while since I’ve submitted something to YeastSpotting, so here goes it!

Burgers, salad and new Earth Balance products

Okay, this is going to be a busy post. There’s a lot goin’ on.

A while back I registered on Earth Balance’s community site for a chance to win Earth Balance for a year. I haven’t really participated at all, but they do occasionally post something I find interesting and then I’ll check it out. A couple of weeks ago they sent out an email to members asking if they’d like coupons to try their new coconut based spread. Oh, heck yeah! So this weekend, a nice package arrived:

Ooo, bonus, I get to try the mayo too! The booklet is full of recipes and then has more coupons for $1 and $2 off the coconut spread. So naturally I got my hind end to Whole Foods to pick up these goodies. At my store, the spread was not next to the regular Earth Balance, but it was in the case with tofu, lunch meats, Veganaise, etc.

We’ll get the coconut spread out of the way first. I picked up a half loaf of french bread to serve as delivery system for the spread.

Coconut haters, yes you can taste the coconut. So this is not for you. You know how regular Earth Balance tastes? It’s like that with a hint of coconut behind it. The coconut taste probably disappears in baking. And you know how anything coconut based is extra creamy? Yeah.

Okay, so now I need a way to use the mayo. It’s time to restock the freezer with burgers. Excellent! This is my favorite recipe and I just alter it depending on what I have on hand. This time I used black beans, added cumin, hot sauce and cilantro.

A double recipe makes 8-9 burgers. Plenty to save for quick meals later. They heat up nicely in a George Foreman or you can microwave them.

Now it’s time to try out that mayo. The texture wasn’t quite as firm as I’d like. But it tasted like…mayo. I failed to do a side by side test with Veganaise. But it seems like it will do the trick.

Nope not done yet. Kevin was out of town, so I made something I would like but he would hate, Shaved Fennel Salad.Instead of arugula I used spinach, almonds for the pine nuts and just skipped substituting the fennel. I’ve had this a couple of times as leftovers and the marinated fennel and zucchini is keeping well in the fridge.

Whew, see? A lot going on.

Adventures in laminated dough

Okay, I’m a little behind here. A while back, I made a big ol’ chunk of laminated dough. Because really, it’s a pain in the ass, so you might as well make a lot and then bake it off in batches as you feel like it. The big takeaway here is that when you’re dealing with Earth Balance, it’s not going to firm up after a couple of hours in the fridge. You probably want to give it at least overnight. Otherwise, this will happen:


failed croissants
failed croissants

 See all that goo on the pan? That’s most of the Earth Balance. The resulting croissants were tough, not at all flakey, deep fried in Earth Balance on the bottom, and just wrong.

I thought the dough itself was a complete failure. But I still had 2/3 of it left, so rather than throwing it away, I continued with my experiments. It got to rest in the fridge for a day or two and then I made cherry cheese danishes. Yes, vegan cherry cheese danishes. I posted a tease pic from my iPhone a while back, but here they are in all their glory.


cherry cheese croissants cooling
cherry cheese danish cooling

There’s still a little bit of leakage. But then, it’s summer in Georgia and I don’t keep my thermostat below 75. But starting with a well-chilled dough seems to have made a huge difference.


layers on cherry cheese danish
layers on cherry cheese danish

Seriously, look at those layers! And here it is all pretty on a plate moments before I shoved it in my face.


cherry cheese danish
cherry cheese danish

But I’m not done yet. There’s still a third of the dough left plus some more cream cheese mixture. Time to try another shape and another fruit! How about an apple cheese danish?


apple cheese danish cooling
apple cheese danish cooling

And again, about to go in my mouth.


apple cheese danish
apple cheese danish