When you can’t go out to your favorite pizza joint but you need pizza now…(I know how it is) you just have to work with what you got! And when I know all I have are the ingredients in front of me, I realize I can actually get pretty creative.
The good news is pizza is super versatile. Making pizza is a good way to use up vegetables and other ingredients. And who says pizza can’t be healthy? It’s all about the ingredients you choose to top your pizza with.
The not so good news is that pizza from scratch requires a bit of work. Traditional pizza dough is leavened wheat-based. A leavening agent, or raising agent, is a substance used in batters and doughs, that causes a foaming action leading to a lighter and softer mixture. Examples of leavening agents are baker’s yeast, beer, and kefir.
How do leavening agents really work in pizza dough? What is the function of yeast in baking? Yeast is the most common leavening agent that is used in baking. Yeast is made up of tiny granules. When these granules are mixed with warm liquid, they become rehydrated and active.
Yeast is actually a type of fungus! It is a small, single- celled microorganism, and a biological raising agent. When yeast converts sugar into carbon dioxide, the carbon dioxide is trapped as air pockets in dough. This results in the rising and fluffing of pizza, bread, pastries, and other baked goods.
There are a few variations of yeast available for purchase: active dry yeast, instant yeast, and fresh yeast.
Most recipes indicate active dry yeast must be used. active dry yeast is granular and dry, sold in either packets or jars. This yeast requires activation, or “proofing”. A perfect temperature for liquids in activating the yeast is 105 degrees F. If the liquid used in proofing the yeast is too hot it will kill the yeast and your baked goodies will not rise. And if the liquid is too cold, the yeast will not fully activate either.
Instant yeast is also dry and granulated, sold in similar packets and jars to active dry yeast. The difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast is that instant dry yeast does not require proofing, or activating. You may mix instant yeast right into your flour.
Last but not least, there is fresh yeast. This type of yeast is typically found in bakery shops. Fresh yeast may be dissolved in water, or put directly in dough. Fresh yeast doesn’t require activation, or proofing.
But what if you don’t have a leavening agent on hand? Can you still make edible pizza or is pizza an unattainable dream?
I’m here to tell you that during an active dry yeast shortage, there is hope! You can still bake a delicious, albeit thin crust, pizza at home without yeast. Read on for the full recipe!
Since this pizza dough is made without yeast, we don’t need to wait for the yeast to activate and for the dough to rise. So this recipe is not only simple, but super quick. Pizza is typically ready within about half an hour!
What You Need:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp olive oil (you may substitute canola oil)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Begin by mixing the all purpose flour, baking powder, oregano, and salt in a bowl. Pour in the milk and olive oil and stir to combine. A soft dough should form.
Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for about 1 minute. Shape the dough into a ball. There is no need to wait on the dough to rise (I’ll explain why below).
Roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Bake the dough on a baking sheet or pizza stone for 9 minutes in the preheated oven. After 9 minutes of baking, now it’s time to pack on the sauce and your favorite toppings. Bake for another 15 minutes until pizza is light golden brown.
So the big advantage of using baking powder instead of yeast when baking is that the baking powder works instantly. If you’ve wondered what the difference is between baking powder and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), it’s that baking powder already contains sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
Baking powder contains the sodium bicarbonate and a dry acid, usually sodium aluminum sulfate or cream or tartar. When liquid is added to these two ingredients, the result is similar to what happens when yeast is activated: bubbles of carbon dioxide gas are formed that help the dough rise.
That being said, it is critical to cook the dough immediately, and avoid over mixing the dough. If you wait too long to cook the recipe, the chemical reaction that was produced will disappear, and so will those lovely bubbles you need for dough to rise properly.
Baking powder is an incredible kitchen pantry essential. The usage of baking powder in a dough recipe lightens the texture of baked goodies and increases its volume. If you’ve ever made dough only to find it super tough and unworkable, you probably didn’t use baking powder or yeast.
So remember, substitutions are usually available if you find yourself without an important ingredient. While there is nothing quite like a pizza dough containing yeast, I hope you enjoy this “emergency” pizza dough recipe, as it is still light in texture and absolutely delicious!