Pizza made with daiya shreds.
Note: this recipe has been updated since daiya vegan shreds were introduced onto the market and made an actual melty topping both possible and delicious.

Pizza is my kiddo's absolute favorite food in the whole world, and he would eat it every night if I could be persuaded to make it for him. This recipe will give you the classic doughy crust of a pie from a top notch pizza parlor.

I strongly suggest investing in a pizza stone, or two to prevent cross-contamination if you're also baking pizzas with actual dairy mozzarella for the non-allergic. They only cost about $10 apiece when I purchased mine quite a few years ago, so it's a good investment if you have pizza lovers in your house!

If you'd like to make it a little more nutritious, you can sub out a cup of white whole wheat for the bread flour, but more than that and you'll start to lose some of the texture.

Pizza Dough:
1 C warm water
1 Tbs sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
3 1/4 C bread flour, whisked, plus additional as needed
1 tsp salt
1/4 C olive oil, plus additional to grease bowl
corn meal to coat bottom of crust

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast, then set aside. If kneading by hand, reduce flour by 1/4C. Sift flour and mix in salt. Stir water mixture and olive oil into flour until dough ball forms.

To knead by hand, lightly flour hands and surface. Turn out dough, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary. Although it is virtually impossible to over-knead by hand, the dough shouldn't require more than 15 or 20 minutes of kneading.

Kneading by hand is great excercise, but pizza wouldn't get made nearly as often if I didn't have a Kitchen Aid!

To knead in a stand mixer, attach dough hook, and knead on the mixer's lowest setting for about 10 minutes. If dough sticks to bottom of bowl, carefully add a few tablespoons of flour at a time until it balls up. (Although my mixer's manual calls for a higher speed when making pizza, this is a really stiff dough, and my mixer just seems happier to knead at the lower speed.)

After dough is kneaded, lightly oil bowl, and turn dough to cover with olive oil. Cover bowl with damp kitchen towel. If you are allowing dough to rise in a cool environment, place a heating pad on the lowest setting under the bowl. Allow to rise until dough has doubled, at least one hour. Gently punch down and turn dough for second rise, about half an hour.

When the dough begins its second rise, turn on oven to 450F. Begin heating pizza stone(s), if you have one. Begin to assemble:

Pizza made in the days before daiya. This is also a very good example of dough that hasn't had enough time to rise, as you can tell by the still visible holes from when it was docked!

Possible Toppings:
Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, either Plain or Garlic and Herb
daiya vegan mozzarella style shreds
tomato sauce
bell peppers
crushed garlic or garlic powder
dried oregano

Divide dough into balls if making individual pizzas. (It makes 3 or 4 individual pizzas or calzones or a single large pizza.) Cover work surface with a thin layer of corn meal, and roll out pizza with a rolling pin to desired thickness, allowing for further dough rise in oven. Dock pizza with a fork, poking holes in the top of the dough, but not through the bottom, to allow steam to escape and prevent the pizza from becoming a pita when baked.

If using, spread a thin layer of the Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese. Cover with a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce. (If you make your own sauce, spray an ice cube tray with olive oil to prevent staining, and freeze sauce into cubes for use on pizza. One melted cube is usually sufficient per individual pizza.) Arrange thinly sliced veggies. Top with daiya shreds and sprinkle with oregano.

Gently slide pizza onto heated pizza stone or onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. If making multiple pizzas, replenish corn meal, and roll out, dock, and assemble next pizza while the previous one bakes. Enjoy!

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