2-Ingredient Pizza Crust Hack || Mushroom Pizza

by - 11:34 AM

To not acknowledge the crazy times that we're in seems weird. Life is not going on as normal and as a world we are adjusting, readjusting, and learning quite painfully what a post-pandemic world might feel like. While there are a myriad of horrible, crushing truths that are emerging - there's also many silver linings that can be found. And if you know me at all, I thrive in those silver linings.

I have no idea where or how it happened (and don't tell my parent's this because it'll go straight to their head) but I think that growing up with two very smart, successful, and most importantly HAPPY people, shaped me into someone who - no matter the odds - likes to look for small pleasures, the good in every situation, and finds joy in what can sometimes seem like dire situations.

So take this moment for what it is. I'm so thankful that for the moment most of my friends and family are healthy, that both myself and my husband have jobs that let us work remotely, that our cat is so smothered with love she hates us for being here all day every day, and that WE KNOW HOW TO COOK.

But there are loads of people who are coming into the kitchen, maybe for the first times in their lives, and the thought of cooking constantly seems overwhelmingly daunting. I learned how to cook from textbooks and college classes. I learned efficiency from working the line at the very first Shake Shack in Madison Sq. Park. I honed my craft in the most dysfunctional home kitchen one has ever seen (my parent's kitchen had an oven that was broken, a stovetop that got... lukewarm, and a dishwasher that only served as a drying rack). My cooking equation was to attempt to create culinary masterpieces in toaster ovens and using portable stovetops. I grew up on Cutthroat Kitchen before it was ever a show.

And to that end - I am the Queen of hacks. There are so many quick, easy, and delicious shortcuts you can take in the kitchen that would make any classically trained French chef faint - but to me, they were a godsend. Now I'm not saying that hacks could ever replace tried & true techniques, but the most valuable lesson I think I've ever learned is that, if you know all the building blocks, and why and how they fit together, then you can knock down the building and re-configure it in a hundred different ways. While some might be more structurally sound than others, each is made both beautiful and unique in its construction.

So where does that leave us? Oh right! With a quick and easy hack for pizza dough. Or really, just a simple and easy dough that can be used for a lot of applications. Now is this dough BETTER than a dough made with yeast and left to proof? No. But is it different and great in its own way? Absofuckinlutely YES.

What's it made of?

1 1/2 cups of SELF RISING flour
1 cup of Greek yogurt

That's it! So the question you should ask yourself is... why does this work? Well, it's not really just 2-ingredients. Think of all the components of each of those ingredients. For any dough you want a solid base of flour... but you also need leavening agents, or basically the thing that creates "gas" which causes a dough or batter to rise. That's where the "self rising" part comes into play. Self rising flour already has the addition of those quick leavening agents added. That said if you don't have self-rising flour, there's of course a quick hack for that. 1 cup of flour + 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder + 1/2 tsp. salt = DIY self-rising flour. 

OK so why Greek yogurt? Is it because of the yeast? Also what is Greek yogurt? So to the second question first... Greek yogurt is similar to regular yogurt, except it's been strained so it's thicker. Think of Little Miss Muffet with her curds and whey. If she were to simply sit there and eat a mix of the two, that'd be most like a cottage cheese. Mix them until they are a smoother consistency? Yogurt! Strain out some more of the whey and then blend it again? Now you have Greek yogurt. Strain out most of the whey? Cheese. 

So now that you have a basic idea of Greek yogurt - you can now ask why. While yogurt does have yeast, it's not going to do exactly what you might think it would do in a dough. You already have your leavening agent in the flour, but the yeast in the yogurt actually adds flavor to the dough. The more important use of the yogurt is the lactic acid which reacts with and activates the leavening agents in the self-rising flour. Similar to using a buttermilk or sour cream in cakes or biscuits... 

Or if you want to think about it in another way - those volcano science experiments that pretty much everyone does as a kid? Baking soda + vinegar = kabloom! That's what's happening here - the baking soda (your base) in the flour mixes with the Greek yogurt (acid) and that causes those airy bubbles to form in your dough. 

The yogurt also adds moisture and texture to the dough giving it the perfect elasticity to knead, stretch, and form into whatever shape you might want to use it for. 

While we're using it for pizza today you can also easily make bagels, flatbreads, breadsticks, pretzels, or rolls. There's so many applications for it, that just by knowing this simple equation, you've extended the possibilities of what you can cook in the kitchen! 

by Nicole Iizuka, It's Borderline Genius

1 1/2 cups Self-Rising flour
1 cup Greek yogurt
4 tbsp. butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. Cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbles
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped

Oh also fun fact - Cremini mushrooms are often called "baby bellas" because that's just what they are! Baby portobello mushrooms! 

Preheat oven to 400ºF and dust a sheet tray with flour. 

On a clean surface mix together your flour and yogurt until a dough has formed. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too dry, add a little more yogurt. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour. Form into a ball and set aside to rest. 

Into a pan on medium heat, add butter and garlic. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the garlic is slightly toasted. Add red chili flakes, salt, pepper, and mushrooms. Mix well to coat the mushrooms in butter and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Be sure to toss the mushrooms every minute so they are evenly cooked. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 

Dust your workspace with flour and either roll the dough out or use your hands to form a 12-inch round. Place on flour-dusted sheet tray. Evenly cover the top with 3 different kinds of cheese. Strain mushrooms from any remaining liquid in the pan and sprinkle on top of the cheese. Brush the edges of the dough with egg wash. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle the top with fresh herbs, slice, and enjoy immediately! 

Preferably with a crisp white wine or ice cold beer. 

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You've found me! But let's be real - there isn't much need to look at my blogger "about me" page - so for more info please head to either my portfolio & resume site at (www.nicolemiizuka.com) or read my delicious musings on my blog at (www.itsborderlinegenius.com). Thanks and have a lovely day!