How to Make Healthier, Better Pizzas in 15 Minutes
Saturday at The Pantry, February 1, 2014
Saturdays are always fun at The Pantry. This Saturday we made thin crust white pizzas from ten until three and served them in the store. For the earlier risers, those who got there before ten, we made a batch of chocolate cream-filled cupcakes topped with chocolate whipped cream frosting. (Watch for the mix on that whipped cream frosting.)
Then we made pizzas. On a table in the store, we mixed the pizza dough and rolled it out in pans with pizza rollers. Folks got to see how it was done and ask questions. Then we ran the pans to the kitchen where we loaded them with goodies and baked them. Erin Morris was the primary runner, taking the pans to the kitchen and coming back with the hot pizza. Since the pizzas only take eight minutes to bake and we had two ovens going, we turned out a ton of pizza.
I teased Erin—she is such a bright, happy person: “Erin, today you get a 30% commission on every slice of pizza that you ‘sell’.” Since the pizza was free, she didn’t make much but she sure is a delightful pizza peddler.
Since we were selling the pizza mixes for $2 each and making two 14-inch pizzas with each mix, we sold a ton of mixes. Some folks preferred the classic and some the rustic, which has a little whole-grain rye flour.
The Pizza Recipe: Bacon, Cheddar, and New Potato White Pizza
When you’re making that much pizza, it’s got to be quick and easy. The pizzas were a snap and we expedited the ingredient prep:
- We baked the bacon on cooling racks set on foiled-lined, large baking sheets in the oven. The racks were 12 x 18-inches and we baked nearly a pound at a time. The greese dripped onto the foil for easy cleanup. Then we snipped the bacon into bits with kitchen scissors.
- We used a mandoline to slice the onions and the potatoes. The potatoes were sliced almost as thinly as potato chips and they resembled potato chips on the pizzas.
- Since the bake time is so short, the veggies need to be par-cooked before the pizza is baked. We microwaved the onion pieces for five minutes and the potatoes slices for three. The onion slices were more thickly cut than the potatoes.
Potato Bacon Pizza
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing
- 3/4 cup grated cheese (we used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella)
- 7 or 8 strips of bacon cooked to a crisp and snipped into 1/2-inch pieces
- half of a medium-sized sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small potato thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons Zesty Pizza and Pasta Seasoning
- Place the sliced onion on a plate and microwave it for 5 minutes. Place the potatoes on another plate and microwave for 3 minutes.
- Make the pizza dough according to package instructions. Divide the dough in half and roll it out in a 14-inch pizza pan. The dough will be about 1/8-inch thick. Save the remaining dough for another pizza. It will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- Spread the ranch dressing on your dough. Top with the onions, then the potatoes, then the bacon, followed by the seasoning. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
- Cook for 7 or 8 minutes or until the crust is crispy. Immediately slide the pizza to a wire rack. Use kitchen shears to cut slices and serve immediately.
This is like eating veggies, bacon and melted cheese on a cracker-thin flat bread that is fresh and crisp. If you let the pizza sit on a cutting board while it is warm, it will sweat and lose that crispness. It’s the crispness that is the delight of a thin-crust pizza.
Variations on the Theme
- You don’t have to use white sauce. Marinara works just as great.
- Put whatever you choose on the pizza. We are partial to veggies and I love fresh tomato slices. I put the tomato slices on after the pizza comes from the oven. I like summer squash so I do that when they are in season.
- For other white sauces, consider alfredo, French onion dip, or sandwich spreads.
We did our prep on Friday by experimenting with the recipe and the seasoning. Of course, I wandered off trying this spice and that. My favorite was the Cajon spice from Vermont in addition to the Zesty Italian blend. (I never make pizza without my trusty Zesty Italian Spice.) The Cajon spice gave it a little kick but was much more pleasant than red pepper flakes.
Why it Works, Plus Tips
- It’s fast because you don’t need to let the crust rise and the thin crust bakes to a crisp in minutes.
- Use a dark pan. A dark pan absorbs heat and cooks the crust. It’s almost im0psoible to get a crispy crust with a silver pan.
- You can roll it thin and uniform because there is a dough relaxer in the mix. The relaxer makes the dough easy to work with and eliminates the spring-back.
- Avoid the temptation to overload your pizza. Too many goodies will make your pizza soggy and you’ll upset the balance of fillings to crust.
- Keep it healthy. As long as you go easy on the cheese, it’s a low fat, low calorie meal. Try turkey sausage or pepperoni in place of the bacon. Consider olive oil or marinara in place of the white sauce for a healthier pizza.
Loading up the arsenal: What You’ll Need
- Save 30% on the Zesty Italian Pizza and Pasta Spice.
- Save 50%! Pizza and Pastry Roller
- Choose a dark pizza pan.
- Save 20% on dough relaxer
- Get the double-size dough mixes for $2. (They are made with relaxer.)
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