Lifestyle

Kitchen Intuition: 2-ingredient pizza crust

Authored By aliceodea

After playing around with two-ingredient cookies last week, I went looking to see what similar revelations might be floating around out there. I found a few that I plan to try, but I also discovered that some people are playing it pretty fast and loose when it comes to what counts as a single ingredient. If one of them is something like “cake mix” or “a can of soup,” I don’t think it qualifies, because there’s a whole list of ingredients on the sides of those containers-and some of them are things no healthy human should consume. Other recipes sounded pretty good on paper, only to disappoint-I tried making two-ingredient pancakes (a banana and eggs), but wouldn’t recommend them, as the batter was very thin (more like crepes than pancakes) and the banana-egg flavor was a little weird and rather strong.

The winner of the week’s experiments was a two-ingredient pizza crust that not only came out well, but was ready for the oven much quicker than any yeasted version could be. It had a nice flavor and held together well (I was able to dunk the crusts in hummus and they didn’t fall apart). It wasn’t quite as springy as a yeasted crust, but it did have a light, tangy flavor. When I’m in a pinch and need a quick crust, this is definitely one I’ll repeat.

The two ingredients are yogurt and self-rising flour (and already, after complaining just two paragraphs ago about cheating when it comes to the definition of a single ingredient, I’m going to let self-rising flour slide, even though, technically, it’s flour, baking powder and salt). Since there are only the two ingredients, it’s a pretty simple matter to reduce or increase the amount that you make according to how much pizza you want to end up with. Make a small batch for a personal pan pizza lunch, or make a lot if you’re feeding a crowd or want there to be leftovers (I had some extra, and it was still good the next day).

I checked out a few recipes, and they all call for one cup of Greek yogurt and one and a half cups of self-rising flour for one pizza crust. I gave it a try and ended up with what I would call a medium-sized pizza (more than enough for two light eaters, but if I were feeding teenagers, I’d definitely make more than that). I didn’t have self-rising flour, so I put a bit of salt and baking powder into one cup of whole-wheat flour and mixed that with the yogurt. Then, I kneaded the dough for five minutes, adding more flour as I went along (this part could be done with a stand mixer, if you have one).

Once the dough was smooth and well-incorporated, I spread it out on a greased pizza pan (I ran my fingers under cold water so that I could push the dough flat without it sticking to my hands) and let it rest while I prepared my toppings (which were a simple tomato sauce; sautéed minced chard stems, shallots and garlic; and wilted chard, chopped shrimp and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese). Once I had the pizza assembled, I baked it at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. It was an easy and quick prep, and the result was delicious.

For the next few days, I played around with the dough recipe a bit and found it to be quite versatile. One day for lunch, I made a small batch and split it in two. I took one half and spread it out into a small pizza shape, which I brushed with olive oil and topped with minced garlic and chopped Kalamata olives. I left the other half plain and baked both at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes. The former went beautifully with a lunch salad, and the latter, with just a bit of butter, made a surprisingly lovely biscuit-not as flaky as the kind made with butter or lard, but still tasty (and I’d rather have my butter on my biscuit than in it).

It’s a fun little recipe, and since there are only the two ingredients, measuring isn’t crucial, so you can play around a bit. You know you’ve gotten the proportions right if the dough is neither too sticky to handle nor too dry and crumbly. It’s like a grown-up version of making mud pies, only the final result is a yummy thing that you actually get to eat!

Alice O’Dea has lived in Chattanooga for over 20 years, but was raised among the mucks and dairy farms in rural western New York. She didn’t really learn to cook until midlife. When she’s not puttering around in the kitchen, she enjoys running, cycling, traveling, photography and trying to get food to grow in the backyard of her Highland Park home. You can email her with questions, suggestions or comments at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.