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Atlanta Vegetarians and Vegans

January 2010
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_9000 [userpic]
Vegan Pizza

It was hard enough to try to find decent cheese pizza in Atlanta, so I don’t even bother trying to find vegan pizza in this fair city. As pizza was always my favorite food, I’ve got no choice but to try to learn to make a decent vegan pizza at home. Tonight’s attempt was my best effort so far.

For the dough, I used Peter Reinhart's Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough which was really good and quite simple. I’m sure better pizza dough can be made at home with enough effort , but I’ve come to accept that some trade-offs are required in the name of practicality and will keep with the basic Reinhart recipe for the future. Somewhat by accident, I let the dough rise for a bit over two hours after removing from the refrigerator, which seemed to be a good accident.

Now, for the sauce: vegan pizza has almost always tasted to me like it was missing something…namely cheese. I’ve heard that good soy cheeses exist, but I haven’t had any I liked on pizza and prefer a different approach. I was first introduced to a cashew/pepper/tomato sauce at Bella Facia pizza in Portland. Quite honestly, it is an ingenious concept. The cashews impart a richness and fullness to the sauce and the roasted pepper imparts a satisfying sweetness. The sauce is so complete that nothing seems to be missing from the pizza. I didn’t quite measure everything in this sauce, but I could probably recipe-ize it if anyone was interested.

I tried a couple different pizzas tonight, but this was the best one (topped with basil and sliced mushrooms). Tonight, I cheated and didn’t let the pizza stone heat up long enough before baking. This led to the top of the pizza cooking faster than the dough underneath. It was still pretty good overall, but could have been a bit better if the stone were hotter. I’ve been experimenting with baking temperatures and think that 450 degrees is probably sufficient, but I might try preheating the pizza stone at 550 degrees and then reducing to 450 before the pizzas go in. 

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