Pizza delivery is wasteful (the driving, the packaging) and expensive. Keep pizza easy and fun with this six crust recipe. It’s much healthier than restaurant pizza and just as good (my daughters think it’s better). Freeze five crusts and you’ll have easy dinners right at your fingertips.
Why is this pizza low waste? We buy all our ingredients for recipes we make a lot in bulk. That means the flour, yeast, sugar, beans (yes, beans), and olive oil are all either package free refills or bought in 25 or 50 pound paper bags. The beans are cooked in the pressure cooker in bulk instead of bought in cans. Add canned tomato sauce and bulk shredded cheese and you’re basically working at restaurant capacity anyway! The crusts are frozen on cookie sheets and stored in reusable ziplock bags. There is no box and no extra driving.
This recipe uses white beans to add nutrition to the recipe. You can do the same process with any recipe.
Brief Note about the recipe: You can do this same process with any pizza crust recipe. Just multiply the recipe by however many crusts you want to make and proceed accordingly. The recipe I use (which I adapted from Spilling the Beans, one of my all time favorite cookbooks) requires more effort because it involves beans, but the beans also make this recipe healthier and more filling. No one, in the ten years I’ve been using this recipe, has ever noticed there are beans in the crust. Ever.
Equipment you’ll need:
A BIG bowl (I use a bread bowl passed down to me from my mom)
A food processor, immersion blender, or high powered blender (to blend the beans)
A pot or Instant Pot (to cook the beans)
We refill our sugar and olive oil (not pictured because I forgot) at the Concord Coop. We also buy our flour, yeast, and beans there through their buying club. I am still working through our COVID salt, but will be buying that in bulk again soon. We also buy cornmeal in bulk.
3 cups cooked white beans (2 15 ounce cans)
3 cups warm water
6 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 tsp sugar
7 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose or half whole wheat)
3 tsp salt
6 Tbsp olive oil
You can tell yeast is working when it gets foamy.
Cook the beans. I use an Instant Pot and cook the beans from dry in less than an hour. I always do a bunch and use them in other recipes throughout the week. You can use canned beans, of course, and skip this step.
Puree the beans with 3/4 cup of the warm water until completely smooth. I use my food processor, but you could also use a high powered blender or an immersion blender.
In the large bowl, stir together the rest of the water (2 1/4 cups), plus the yeast and sugar. The yeast will get foamy.
Add the pureed beans to the yeast mixture along with 3 cups of the flour. Stir well.
Add the olive oil and the salt and stir. Then add another 3 cups of the flour.
Add the last cup and a half of flour and begin to knead the dough. Knead for ten minutes on a floured surface (kneading video below).
Wash the big bowl, dry it, and coat the bottom and sides with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Then put the dough back in the bowl in a warm place to rise for an hour.
At this point, you should divide the dough into six pieces. You should keep out however many crusts you’d like to bake now and freeze the rest (see directions for freezing and baking below).
Kneading takes a bit of practice, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Just fold over a section and push it down. Fold. Push. Fold. Push. If it gets sticky, dust with flour. Yes, this part is harder than calling for delivery, but you’ll be working your arm muscles and enjoying the smell of fresh bread at the same time. Plus, it’s a good chance to watch a show or chat with a friend.
The dough will be smooth and elastic when you’re done kneading it. Keep your dough in a warm place to rise (which is everywhere in my house today since it’s 95 degrees out and I don’t use AC).
To Bake Pizza: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil and dust it with cornmeal (so the pizza won’t stick). Stretch out a crust onto the pan and spread it with tomato sauce. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the crust and sprinkle with cheese and other toppings. Bake for 5 minutes more or until cheese is golden brown.
To Freeze Crusts: Form extra crusts into balls and lay them on a cookie sheet. Freeze for a couple hours or overnight. Remove from cookie sheet and store in reusable ziplock bags in the freezer. When you want to have pizza, take the dough out in the morning and place in a glass tupperware with a lid. We always have pizza on Friday, so taking out the crust on Friday morning is a standard chore.
I hope this post gives you the confidence to become your own pizza delivery person! With a some upfront effort and time, you’ll save money and lower the carbon footprint of everyone’s favorite dinner.
Enjoy your pizza!