One of the ingredients that was sold out in supermarkets here when COVID-19 hit, was yeast. And unfortunately for me, it was also something I (strangely enough), did not have in my pantry either. So when my fiancé and I decided to make our own pizza’s from scratch, we were in a bit of a pickle: buy a ready made base, or make one without yeast. We ended up going for a yeast-free homemade pizza base in the end and it did not disappoint!
Yeast causes the pizza base to rise which gives it a bubbly airy crust but it also contributes to the taste of the pizza base. To make up for what we’re losing by not using yeast, I added some Italian herbs to flavour the dough and I used baking powder to give it that rise. I didn’t have too high hopes when I made my first dough but the taste was spot on. It hadn’t risen as much as I had hoped though so the second time I made it, I added more baking powder.
While I was taking care of the yeast-free pizza base, my fiancé made his own pizza sauce. He used a tin of cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, and garlic: yum! The sauce had a perfect consistency which wasn’t too runny so It would make the dough too wet or droop everywhere. The added garlic gave it that nice little bit of extra flavour that really lifted our homemade pizza up to the next level.
Once you have the base and sauce ready, all that’s left is to put your favourite toppings on top of your pizza. For our pizza we used: salami, pepperoni, ham, green & red peppers, mushrooms, black olives, semi-dried tomatoes, fresh rocket leaves, and barbecue sauce. And cheese of course, dairy-free cheese on my side, real cheese on his side.
Yeast-free pizza base and homemade pizza sauce
- 250g of plain flour
- 6 teaspoons of baking powder
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs (alternatively: herbes de Provençe or a mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano, and basil)
- 170ml water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 400g tinned cherry tomatoes
- 1 heaped teaspoon of tomato paste
- 5 mushrooms
- 3 cloves of garlic (small-medium sized)
- pepper & salt*
Preheat the oven to 200°C Fan.
Slice up the mushrooms
Crush the garlic
Put a small pot on medium heat, add just a little bit of olive oil along with the crushed garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tinned cherry tomatoes, leave to simmer for 5 minutes, then add a heaped teaspoon of tomato paste.
Meanwhile slice up the mushrooms and fry them at high heat in a little bit of butter. We want to avoid as much liquid as possible when frying these mushrooms, as mushrooms can make the tomato sauce runny due to the water they release when being cooked.
Mash the tomato sauce
Add the mushrooms to the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Leave it to cool down while making the pizza base.
Season the sauce with pepper (salt optional) and 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs.
For the pizza base: Add baking powder to the flour, along with the herbs and a pinch of pepper & salt.
Make a well in the centre of the dough and add the water along with the olive oil. Mix everything together by hand and shape into a ball. Make sure it's mixed really well. If your dough feels sticky and wet, add a bit more flour.
Roll the dough out using a rolling pin, onto a lightly floured surface. Keep in mind that the dough will shrink and rise in the oven so try and roll it out as largely as you can without breaking it.
Pre-bake the pizza base in the oven for 5-6 minutes.
Take the pizza base back out of the oven, it should no longer feel or look like a dough but it should be slightly baked and you should be able to see and feel a crust starting to form. Now spread the tomato sauce on top - leave a bit of room around the edges. Add the rest of your toppings. I would recommend adding a little bit of cheese on the sauce, then your meat, then your veggies and the more cheese on top. If you love barbecue sauce as much as I do: we added it after the pizza was fully cooked.
Put your topped-up pizza in the oven at 200°C fan for 10-15 minutes, until the base is fully cooked, the edges are golden-brown and crispy and your cheese has melted.
Add some fresh basil or rocket leaves on top and enjoy!
*if the Italian herb mix you are using already has salt in it, avoid adding more salt to the dough.