It looks and tastes just like a plain cheese pizza–you know– the kind kids just love. But you and I don’t have to tell ’em there is nothing plain about this pizza! First of all, it sneaks soft wheat flour (it’s called whole wheat pastry flour at your regular supermarket) in its perfectly chewy on the inside yet crisp on the outside crust. I intentionally don’t make it 100% soft wheat, but still enough to add fiber (I have a little plain bread flour in there too), just so that the kids are not on to me! Of course it has a nice yet simple store-bought marinara sauce–the kind that doesn’t have added sugar. Of course it has cheese that melts and sizzles on top as it should. In fact I use full-fat cheese but a lot less of it than you otherwise would because some of it is replaced by……drum roll please……AVOCADO! You heard it-avocado! You just do NOT know it’s there! Really–look at the photo–not a speck of green, just plain-old-looking pizza! You don’t see it because it is mashed up and mixed in with the marinara sauce and you just don’t taste it either because it’s so mild. But what you get out of it, besides its impeccable nutrition and health benefits, is its richness-WOW!!!
Now, I know what you are thinking: Are you kidding me?? Make my own pizza dough? Trust me, I hear from people who tell me just that, all the time. All the time, that is…until they make this one and realize it is THAT easy! Try this one EXACTLY as I describe it — step by step — it is foolproof AND it takes 10 minutes to put together if you have one of those stand-up electric mixer. I make it so often, I just make it without thinking, and so will you! The key is the starter “sponge” which activates the yeast before it is mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. After that, it’s just a cinch to make! Really, Really! Let that sink in and get started!
Don’t be intimidated by the length of the instructions below, it’s just that I want to be very thorough in my typical scientist way so you will master this– it really is simple to make, I promise!
Sneaky Cheese Pizza
- FOR THE DOUGH: This makes TWO 12" pizza crusts
- 1/2 cup warm water not hot!
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Remaining ingredients:
- 1 cup water
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- TOPPING: This is for ONE pizza double the topping ingredients if you are making 2!
- 1 cup marinara sauce with no added sugar
- 1/2 avocado peeled, cored and completely mashed up with a fork
- 1 cup gruyere cheese or full-fat cheese of your choice
Preheat oven to 400
MAKING THE DOUGH: Place 1/2 cup of lukewarm water (not hot) in a small cup and add the sugar and active yeast, stir and let sit for 5-8 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy. It will double in size.
While the yeast is rising, pour the remaining cup of lukewarm water in the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and add olive oil, both flours and salt.
Add the foamy yeast mixture to the remaining ingredients and turn on the mixer on low speed until the dough forms a ball.
Turn up the speed to medium for an additional minute. The dough will appear sticky at first, but be patient, within 2 minutes it will form a perfect ball!
Take out the dough and sprinkle with a little dusting of flour (less than 1 Tbsp) so your hands won’t stick to it.
Gently shape the dough into a large ball and place it in a bowl loosely covered with a clean hand-towel.
Let rise for 15-20 minutes.
ASSEMBLING THE PIZZA: When ready, uncover the dough, cut in half and roll each ball into a 12 inch circle. Place each on a baking sheet sprinkled lightly with flour (or you can freeze extra ball of dough for another time).
Mix the mashed up avocado with 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce thoroughly (so that there is no evidence of any green!)
Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of the plain marinara sauce uniformly on top of the pizza, up to the edge, and then spread the avocado/marinara mixture on top of it, but not all the way to the edge.
Sprinkle all over with cheese.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until sizzling.
Don’t forget the rule about measuring flour!