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Mush's Quest for Vegan Pizza Perfection...

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Joined: 19 Jun 2006
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Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:13 am    Post subject: Mush's Quest for Vegan Pizza Perfection... Reply with quote

Mush shared the following with me:

I've only been making pizza for a few months. Here's the way it went...

1. My frustration with local pizzerias became intolerable. I branched out looking for less local ones. And looking on internet for a solution.

2. I found Amici's pizzeria which is a very good 4 minute 750F N.Y. pizza to keep me from starving. But they wouldn't make it with Vegan cheese, so I became determined to learn to do it right, myself.

3. I found and after wiping drool off the monitor I realized I was rather intimidated by all the details and the requirement for high heat, which I didn't have.

4. My wife cooks and bakes, a lot, so I really didn't want to make any permanent changes to my oven. Jeff Varasano mentioned that he had heard good reports about the 2stone oven at

5. OK. That sorta gave me some confidence to at least try, because, I figured, if it turned out I liked to make pizza and really needed that oven, it was there as a good solution.

6. I was still too intimidated to try Jeff's recipe cause I had no hi heat, and no starter. What to do?

7. I stumbled on a great video series at that made everything seem so easy. I decided to try that method, just to get my feet wet. That worked and gave me more confidence. So I ordered the Italian starter from

8. I was slowly getting in up to my nose. The sourdough starter worked great, but I had a couple disasters with middle of pizza sticking to my cutting board (peel substitute) and making a total disaster on the hot pizza stone. The thin pizza stone cracked, so OK, I got in a bit deeper and ordered a better pizza stone from, and an idiot proof peel from

9. I printed out a complete copy of Jeff's site ( with all the instructions and pictures and took it to Kinko's. They put a nice plastic binding on it for me for a very few bucks.

10. I didn't have a baking scale, but I carefully read Jeff's instructions, and distilled it down to what I thought I could follow. I'll include a copy of what I'm using now, for you, since you ask.

11. After trying different baking methods, and after developing a little skill at stretching pizza dough, I am so happy with my results, that I'm not sure if I want to continue with my next level of experimenting. (Which was going to be coaxing a lot more heat out of my oven by insulating the bottom element from the thermostat sensor at the top of the oven by using a big piece of aluminum for a heat reflector and a fairly tight fitting insulation layer all the way across my oven. This would let the bottom of my self cleaning oven reach 900F with no fixed mods to my oven. To reverse this simple change I would just remove the aluminum and the insulation layers.)

12. My distillation of Jeff Varasano's recipe for those with no scale available and using Kitchen Aid mixer:
I now make the 7 cup version and divide into 4 for 4ea 14 inch pizzas

cup flour 3 3/4

oz water 10.2

oz poolish 1.3

tsp salt 1.5

dump all into Kitchen Aid mixer bowl but save 1/4 of the flour
mix on low for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl to be sure all the flour gets wet.
cover and let rest for 20 minutes (Autolyse)

mix on low for 5 min
add remaining flour slowly for next 3 min (total of 8 min)

dough hook is going through dough not just pushing a ball around.

maybe don't add all the four?? (I find this recipe works with All Purpose flour. For Bread flour I have to add more water or use less flour.)
after 8 min increase speed

ball forms
mix one more minute

Cover and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes

thinly coat the 4 containers with olive oil

hand kneed on counter for 30 seconds to shape into ball

cut into 4 separate pieces

form pieces into balls and put one in each a covered container

let rest 10 min

refrigerate for 1 to 6 days

take out of refrigerator and let warm and rise

If I'm in a hurry I'll float the dough container in some warm water. I also use an insulated beverage box by Thermos which I heat with a heating pad covered with styrofoam. My oven can also regulate down to about 120F so sometimes I use that to speed up the rise.

Either way it seems to take hours. The dough should expand 1.5 times in bulk. (I let it rise a little more, but not to the point where it would start getting visible bubbles.)

At least an hour ahead of bake time, place pizza stone in oven and then start oven at the highest possible setting. (By setting to very highest position, way past the 550F point on the dial I can set to about 625F on my Thermatronic oven. 850 or 900F would be optimum)

Prepare all items ahead of assembly time so they can be added quickly.

don't use rolling pin or man handle
make rim with fingers
stretch out on well floured counter

add sauce and other items, quickly to avoid dissolving the dough or having dough stick to counter.

pick up the assembled pizza off counter with super peel
place on hot stone in oven
switch oven from bake to broil
optionally rotate the pizza on the stone to keep charing even.
Using very large knife or metal peel, remove from pizza from oven when there are a few black char points on rim, and the bottom shoes a little mottled char, as well. (note: for my 625F oven, cook time is about 6 minutes. If your oven is not hot enough, you may not be able to achieve any char on the rim, without turning the whole pizza into a cracker. The goal is to have some char, in spots, but at the same time have fluffy, springy interior of the crust.)
place on rack to let steam escape
optionally drizzle lemon juice for extra pizzazz.
cut into 6 or 8 pieces

some ingredients for Vegan Pizza lovers
Tomato sauce
sauted mushrooms
diced tomatoes
Sun dried tomatoes (cover in tomato sauce before adding, to prevent charing)
kalamata olives cut into thirds, or quarters lengthwise
fresh basil
Follow Your Heart Soy Mozzarella Cheese Alternitive (1 X 2 X 1/8 inch. One piece per pizza slice.)
Vegan Grated Topping Parmesan Flavor Soy Topping
peperoncini cut into small slivers
artichoke hearts cut into slivers
Field Roast brand Italian Vegetarian Grain Meat Sausages (1/2 link sliced into wafers about 1/8th inch thick)
Drizzle lemon juice on hot pizza when it comes out of oven for extra pizzazz (Lemon idea from Jeff's blog at the )


My response:

Thanks Mush. Great pizza insight.

pizza all over the place,

"Pizza on Earth...Good Will to All!"
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Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The journey from clueless newbie to pizza master can be very rough! I shared the same experiences while learning how to make pizza. Now I'm a bit more confident, though a lot more cautious, when whipping up a batch. Thanks for sharing those awesome vegan ingredients!
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