Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso

Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes Sauce

Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoI’m always looking for the ultimate pizza dough – one that will produce crispy pizza without having to use pizza stone or other professional gadgets. I’ve tried a few good and tasty recipes, but still thought they lacked in crispiness and texture. So I’ve decided to experiment a bit with other types of flour and came up with this tasty and crisp version for thin crust pizza. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* The basis for the dough is white flour, as we need its gluten to help the dough rise. I prepared the dough once with all-purpose unbleached flour and once with bread flour (which contains more gluten), and actually liked the all-purpose one better. However, if you prefer thicker crust, use bread flour.
* The semolina adds a crunchy texture, and the spelt flour adds extra crispiness, nutty flavor and a nice golden color.
*The dough keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days, and is even easier to roll after a day in the fridge. So it makes sense to prepare a larger batch. Just remember to bring the dough to room temperature before rolling.
* While many prefer to stretch the dough, using a rolling pin is quicker and easier, especially if you like thin crust, and if the dough was refrigerated. So here too, take your pick.
* One thing I recommend not to change is using semolina when rolling the dough and on the baking pan, rather than flour. The semolina makes the rolling easier and adds even more crunchiness to the dough.
* As tasty as the sauce is, try not to spread too much of it on the dough, so that your pizza will not end up soggy. The same goes for the toppings.
* One last thing: make sure that the oven is really hot before you place the pizza in it. This is a crucial step if you want crispy crust.

Spelt and Semolina Pizza Dough:
Makes: 4 x 11” (28cm) pizza
Prep time: 20 minutes
Proofing time: 2-3 hours
Baking time: 10-12 minutes

Ingredients:
For the starter:
1 cup flour
1 package (1/4 oz, 7 grams) dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs sugar
For the dough:
1 ½ cups warm water
2 cups flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup fine semolina
1 Tbs salt
¼ cup olive oil + 2 Tbs for the bowl
Suggested toppings: Cherry tomatoes sauce (recipe below), sautéed onions and peppers, sautéed oyster king mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, sliced Andouille sausage

1. Mix the ingredients for the starter in a mixer bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture foams.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
2. Add the rest of the dough ingredients. Fit the dough hook and mix on low speed, scraping the sides occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Turn the speed to medium-high and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and playable. The dough should be fairly sticky, so add flour only if you think it’s really necessary.
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3. Oil a large bowl with olive oil and place the ball of dough in it. Turn it so it will be covered with oil all over. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about an hour. (Inside the oven always works for me.)
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
4. Take out, punch the dough and knead by hand for 1-2 minutes. Cover again and place in a warm place for about 2 hours.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
5. Punch the dough again and knead by hand for 1-2 minutes. Cut into 4 equal portions and let rest for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
6. At this point you can roll the dough and bake your pizza, but if you have time, wrap each portion with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a day and up to 5 days. The dough will be easier to roll after refrigeration – just remember to bring it to room temperature before rolling.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
7. To bake the pizza: have on hand the tomato sauce and toppings. Preheat the oven to 500F (260C). Sprinkle semolina on the work surface and roll one portion of the dough on it, to a round, thin disc of about 11” (28cm). Sprinkle some semolina on the baking pan and place the disc on it.  Spread a few tablespoons of sauce (not too much, or your pizza will get soggy) all over and scatter the toppings on it. Try not to overload with toppings either.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the bottom is golden-brown and crisp and the cheese bubbly and golden. Cut with a large knife to six triangles and serve immediately.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso

Cherry tomatoes sauce:
Cherry tomatoes are great for a quick and tasty tomato sauce. I like to use a variety of colors and shapes, both for their flavor and for nutritious reasons. Since they have finer skins than regular tomatoes, it’s easy to process them whole, which will add an interesting texture and fiber to the sauce.
* As tasty as the sauce is, try not to spread too much of it on the dough, so that your pizza will not end up soggy.

Makes: 2 cups. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes
In a medium size wide pot, mix 2 Tbs olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped and 1 sprig rosemary. Cook on medium-low heat until the garlic turns white. Add 1 lbs (450 grams) assorted cherry tomatoes, quartered, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper and pinch of sugar. Mix and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are very soft. Take the rosemary sprig out, but leave a few needles in. Blend in a food processor to a thick sauce. Adjust seasoning if needed.
The sauce can keep, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Cherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit PensoCherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit Penso Cherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit PensoCherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit Penso Cherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit PensoCherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit Penso

34 thoughts on “Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes Sauce

  1. judilyn says:

    We like a thin, crispy crust, and I have recently discovered, and you have confirmed above, that a light hand with the tomato sauce helps to keep the crispness in the crust. Also, a thin film of olive oil directly on top of the crust, before the sauce, seems to help with this, too.

    Can you tell I did this just last night? ;-> The other half awaits us for lunch today – counting the hours!

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

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  2. judilyn says:

    I’ve found that where the olive oil pools in more than just a film, the dough tends to react by mimicking a French pastry! The 500-degree oven is vital, too. I’ve only just started to use the “quick bake” feature on my oven. I think it is only that a fan comes on, but it works miracles on pizza. Not only does it cut down on the time until pouncing on it, it seems to do a better job of crisping things, and browning the cheese just the right amount.

    I frequently find that I need to delay the pizza part of a baking session, so have been refrigerating the rolled-out dough for a couple of hours so that I can bake it right at dinnertime. I hadn’t thought of that as a benefit of any kind, but your instructions showing same encourage me to think that perhaps that is a factor in the extra deliciousness of this particular pizza.

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    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      The gluten “relaxes” after refrigeration, which makes the dough easier to roll and results a crispier crust. It’s not the best method for people who like deep dish doughy pizza, but for us thin-crispy crust fans it sure is.

      And high temperature for pizza really makes all the difference.

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      • judilyn says:

        Looks like I need to reverse my procedure for the pizza dough. I’ve been rolling it out onto the pizza pan, and THEN refrigerating it. I use a dough relaxer add-in ingredient, but will try your method next time. I always let it relax while I do the other shapes from that batch, but just chunking it directly into the refrigerator would be even easier.

        Now to start the Sunday Brunch du jour (poached and pancakes today).

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  3. Rami Gabay says:

    Yes yes Yes!!!!
    I’m excited, honored and proud to write that 3 weeks ago we were visiting Ronit and we ate this Pizza straight from Ronit’s talented magical hands!!!
    It’s the perfect recipe from dough through sauce to toppings.
    For sure that’s the winning recipe for us!
    Kisses,
    Ganit and Rami.

    Like

  4. Nancy says:

    Looks like perfection, Ronit! It sounds as if you’ve done some thorough research in finding the right balance of flours. I will definitely give your blend a try as I’ve had a difficult time getting, what I consider, the perfect thin crust. Your timing is perfect, as I love grilling my pizzas outside on hot summer nights!

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    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      Thank you Nancy! I’m glad you liked the idea.
      Love the idea of grilling the pizza!
      The semolina and spelt really made the difference for me, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I’ll be happy to hear your feedback. :)

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  5. 13 Spices says:

    What a very cool pizza dough! I have never seen pizza dough made with either Spelt (which I am unfamiliar with) and Semolina which I always have on hand, used in many South Asian desserts. I would love to try this. I love the cherry sauce too. Looks incredible.

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    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      Spelt is a type of ancient wheat that is rediscovered – if you can’t find it near you it is available on line. You can substitute it with whole wheat, but the dough will be heavier.
      I hope you’ll enjoy it either way! . :)

      Like

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