I eat a lot of pizza, that much is true. I try not to feel bad about it, because it’s plant based, but it’s hard not to feel a little guilty! Our culture has definitely demonized gluten, and for good reason, but it doesn’t take the pleasure our of fragrant, freshly baked bread. Darn it.
So I’m always on the look out for alternative crust options. I’ve used spelt in the past and have seen it made into pizza crust, but I’ve always been curious about it myself. I decided to give it a try and was very pleasantly surprised with the results.
Spelt is an ancient grain that is related to wheat, but with it’s own unique nutritional profile and flavor characteristics. It’s actually thought to be one of the oldest cultivated crops, dating back almost 8000 years. It is packed with many vitamins, minerals, phyto nutrients and organic compounds that are missing in modern wheat. It’s particularly great for pizza as it gets a nice crispy texture outside, while remaining soft and supple inside. The gluten contained in spelt has a different molecular makeup than wheat and is more fragile and water soluble, making it easier to digest.
The vegetables on this pizza are all the highlights of summer-fresh tomato, zucchini, grilled corn, basil and garlic. Feel free to mix it up, but this combination of farmer’s market produce at it’s best is spectacular!
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- ¼ cup white spelt flour
- 3¼ cup white spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup cold water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 spelt crusts
- 1 28 oz can organic crushed tomato
- 1 cup cashew ricotta
- 1 large zucchini
- 2 cups grape tomatoes
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 2 ears corn, grilled and shucked
- 2-3 marigold with petals removed
- For the crust, mix the 2 teaspoons active dry yeast with ½ cup lukewarm water. Whisk until the yeast is dissolved into the water. Add the ¼ cup of spelt flour and mix well. Allow to sit for 30 minutes covered until the mixture becomes very bubbly.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix 3¼ cup of spelt flour with the sea salt. Add the yeast/water/flour mixture to the bowl and mix well. Add the ¾ cup of cold water and ¼ cup of olive oil to the mixing bowl and mix until a shaggy dough is formed. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 5-10 minutes.
- Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for 2 hours. The dough should double in size. After 2 hours, remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 4 equal sized pieces and roll into balls. Place on an oiled sheet pan and cover with plastic for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 500F.
- When you are ready to make the pizzas, take a dough ball and place it on a floured surface. Pat it out into a circle and use your fingers to press the pizza out to about 10" round. Try to keep the crust as even as possible. Place the crust on an oiled sheet pan.
- Spread some of the crushed tomato onto the pizza crust. Top it with some sliced zucchini, grilled corn and grape tomatoes. Put the sheet pan in the 500 F oven and cook for 12-15 minutes. Spelt dough will brown nicely, but keep checking it to make sure it doesn't over cook.
- Remove from the oven when it's properly browned and top with some basil, macadamia ricotta, and marigold petals. Drizzle with good olive oil and sea salt before serving,