Tomato and Potato Pizzas with a Spelty Crust

We baked these pizzas in celebration of snow that finally came to Helsinki on Tuesday – it had been raining water since before Christmas. Watching the snow flakes fall from the sky while devouring a homemade pizza and a bottle of German beer, all in the warmth of our home, is just about as good as it gets!

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The process of making pizza is considerably easier with store bought pizza crusts and tomato sauce, but I highly recommend making your own – it is more than worth it. I have never had a store bought crust that wasn’t dry and too thick, and I like my tomato sauce filled with flavor – just a thin layer of the home-made sauce will be enough to season the whole pizza. However, for almost instant gratification, our potato pizza had no tomatoes whatsoever, and was just as delicious.

Double-Rised Spelty Pizza Crust (for 4):

This is the end of my spelt madness for a while, since I used the last of my spelt flour in this pizza crust. But it was the best pizza crust I’ve ever made – thin and crispy, just like I like it, and as a bonus it was very easy to roll out. Double-rising process requires some planning ahead, but improves the texture of the crust.

  • 2 and ½ dl water, in 42 degrees Celsius
  • 3 and ½ dl spelt flour
  • 3 and ½ dl wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon dark syrup
  • 1 sachet (11 g) dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt

First, I placed the water, that was a little warmer than my hand, in a mixing bowl. Now, I mixed in the syrup and salt, and stirred until combined. Then I mixed all the other ingredients in a separate bowl, and then poured about half of them in the liquid bowl. I stirred vigorously with a wooden fork until the dough seemed glutinous, and then poured in the rest of the flour. Now, I kneaded the dough until it formed a firm and springy ball, which took about 4 minutes.

I filled our kitchen sink halfway full with hot water, covered the dough bowl tightly with plastic wrap and a cutting board, and placed the bowl in the water. I let the dough rise for about an hour and a half while we were doing some grocery shopping. When we came back, it had almost tripled in size. I took the dough out of the bowl and flattened it on a floured surface, kneading it lightly to get the air out, and repeated the rising process; placed the dough in the bowl, covered, filled sink with warm water, and placed the bowl in sink.

Now, I started making the tomato sauce and preparing the fillings. When that was done, after about 45 minutes, I took the dough out of the bowl, cut it in four pieces, formed a ball of each piece, and rolled them with a rolling pin on a well-floured working surface. This batch makes four round pizzas that each fit on a regular baking sheet.

Tomato Sauce:

  • 500 g tomato sauce (the passata style, or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely cubed
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

First, I fried the onions in the olive oil for about 4 minutes, until they started to brown a little. Then, I added the sliced garlic, and fried it for another 2 minutes. I added the basil, and sautéed it for about 30 seconds, and then added the rest of the ingredients. Now, I let the sauce simmer until we were ready to fill our pizzas, for about 45 minutes. Had I started earlier, I could have let it simmer up to 2 hours for maximum taste.

Before filling the pizzas, I like to purée the sauce with our immersion blender, and let it cool down a bit. This batch makes enough for about four pizzas, and since we only topped two with tomato sauce, we’ll probably use the leftovers as a pasta sauce.

Our Fillings:

  • fresh spinach, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • red bell pepper, sliced
  • sun dried tomatoes in oil, rinsed and sliced
  • red onion, thinly sliced
  • green beans (haricots verts)
  • sliced button mushrooms (for Heikki)
  • grated vegan cheese that melts (we had Cheezly brand)
  • freshly ground black pepper

The tomato sauce is filled with flavor, so we just spread a thin layer of it over two pizza crusts. If there’s too much sauce, it can easily overwhelm all the other flavors. Then we filled our pizzas with all the yummy fillings, and topped them with grated vegan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. We baked our pizzas on the upper rack of our oven, in 225 degrees Celsius, for about 7 minutes.

A Note on Vegan Cheese: The only commercial vegan cheese we’ve tried that really melts is the Cheezly brand, but there might be others. We’ve tried their mozzarella, edam, and cheddar, and they all have the kind of artificial flavor that vegan cheeses generally do – I think they are best for cooking and baking, as opposed to sandwich fillings and such. Heikki prefers his pizza with drizzles of olive oil instead of vegan cheese, but I kind of like its salty soft meltiness.

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Unbaked pizzas – these little photos can be clicked to make them larger.

Potato Pizza:

When we are making pizza, Heikki always insists on at least one potato pizza, the concept of which an old flatmate introduced to me. The spelt crust recipe makes 4 round pizzas, so we baked two tomato pizzas and two potato pizzas, which left us with next day’s lunch as well. This potato pizza really is amazingly good in all its simplicity.

  • 5 potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 dl olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • thinly sliced red onions

First, I mixed the olive oil, dried dill, garlic, and salt in a cup. Now, I placed the sliced potatoes in a mixing bowl, and poured in half of the olive oil mixture, stirring to coat each slice. When the pizza crusts were ready, I brushed the rest of the olive oil over the crusts, and then arranged the potatoes evenly so that they covered the pizza crusts. Then we ground some black pepper over the potatoes, and sprinkled the pizzas with sliced red onions. The potato pizzas were also baked in 225 degrees Celsius, in the upper section of our electric oven, for 7-8 minutes.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted January 25, 2008 at 22:28 | Permalink

    I absolutely love making my own dough. I too have never tried store bought stuff, it’s too expensive, and there’s so much more satisfaction in making something yourself.

    Thanks for the spelt dough recipe. My mom really likes spelt flour, so I’ll suggest this to her.

    Also, I love potato pizza! I have it in Italy all the time, but no one understands here that potatoes CAN go on pizza. Hehe.

  2. Posted January 26, 2008 at 12:44 | Permalink

    Potato pizza! Despite the Finns love of potatoes, I’ve never heard of that before. What type of potatoes do you find work the best? Where have you found Cheezly?

  3. Anni
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 16:40 | Permalink

    Romina: I wish I’ll get to eat a potato pizza in Italy some day! I don’t think most people in Finland have ever thought of combining pizza with potatoes either, even if separately, they’re everyone’s favorite foods.

    Shirley: We get our potatoes in the organic delivery, and I can’t remember the exact variety, but they are all purpose, or medium on the waxy/floury scale. I have used waxy potatoes as well, and there’s not that much of a difference, since they’re so thinly sliced. We buy Cheezly at the big K-market in Helsinki, or at the eco groceries.

  4. Posted January 27, 2008 at 03:24 | Permalink

    Very nice! This is the first time I ever saw a pizza that looks nice and healthy together :9

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