quick spelt pizza

Like many others this century, we are trying to eat better carbs. We had already discovered farro years earlier, whose close American relative is spelt, a highly nutritious grain. We then saw spelt flour and snatched it up thinking we could use it for something. Apparently we did this twice without realizing it, so two packages of spelt flour sat in the cupboard until at least one year had passed beyond their "use by" date. Somehow we never got around to being creative with it. Even in Italy the winds of change had arrived, and we had already tried farro pizza once in Sabaudia down the coast from Rome. Meanwhile we had acquired two whole grain baking cookbooks, one by another Bob, of Bob's Red Mill products, and the other by King Arthur Flour based in bob's brother dan's little town of Norwich, VT, whose company store we had enjoyed visiting several times over the years. Still nothing.

At least we were doing homemade pizza every now and then. So finally when the homemade pizza urge hit us again, we decided to move on the spelt question. Unfortunately we went off to the other Trader Joes so we couldn't pick up any arugula to brighten up the colors (our arugula suppliers are in the opposite direction), but so what. We found some little fingerling potatoes at Trader Joes that would work with our past experience, and mixed wild mushrooms (oyster, shiitake and baby bella). The salad would have to supply the color.

Learning from our past experience, we put the rolled out pizza crust on parchment paper and then slid our wooden pizza paddle under it to then slide it onto our preheated pizza stone in the oven. This made it easy to remove the crust (twice) back to our working surface. Twice because this time we decided to prebake the crust 5 minutes first, and then load the topping, and then 5 more minutes and that's it. Very quick at 500° F in our new convection oven.

Of course the real effort saver was using the KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. Since we were experimenting with the ingredient quantities, we added first a half cup of water with the yeast, and then a tablespoon at a time until we reached the 3/4 cup level appropriate for a 2 to 1 ratio of flour to water, but by sneaking up on the limit from below, we were able to get the dough exactly to the right point where the dough hook managed to pick up all the dry flour on the sides of the container and form a ball that it whipped around for a while, maybe 2 minutes, before we called it quits.

The recipes we were consulting (books and web) seemed to suggest a longer resting period for the dough, but we were hungry so 30 minutes was the most we could wait. It turned out to be perfectly okay. Ani rolled out the dough on our silicon sheet, about 1 foot in diameter but it was slightly out of round, not a problem either. Then she loosely rolled the pizza crust around the roller (we use a sleek black one) and laid it out on the parchment paper, then slid it onto the wooden paddle to transfer to the oven.

These weird grain flours are lower in gluten, which means less rising, but then we like thin crusty pizza like in Italy (some parts of Italy anyway), so we hoped for the best and it worked. Nice thin crusty crust rewarded us for our experimental risk taking. Amazing how you can do your own terrific pizza from scratch so easily. Yet most Americans buy crappy supermarket pizza to pop in the oven, or order out bad carb pizza. Oh well, what can we do? Take a risk. Give it a try if you want to live a little bit better.


3/4 c warm water
1 1/2 t active dry yeast
1/8 t sugar

1 c spelt flour
1/2 c Italian 00 flour or all purpose flour
1/2 t salt

possible topping:
2 fingerling potatoes, sliced cross-wise about 3/32 in thickness
8 oz mixed mushrooms, cleaned and chopped, then sautéed in 2 T butter, 1 T olive oil
a touch of salt sprinkled around the topping
1 c shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese
extra virgin olive oil to brush over the crust


  1. Combine 1/2 c water, sugar and yeast, stir up and let sit 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the two flours and salt together and put into the bowl of the kitchen mixer.
  3. Add the liquid mixture and start mixing. Then add 1 T at a time of warm water until the hook grabs all the flour into a ball. Then let it wack it around for a few minutes.
  4. Spray a bowl with olive oil and  flatten the ball down a bit and place in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Let sit 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile clean the potatoes and thinly slice them crosswise. Spread out to cover a standard diameter plate (10.25 in) without overlapping. Microwave 3 minutes on high.
  7. Prepare and sauté the mushrooms.
  8. Preheat the oven to 500° F with your pizza stone.
  9. Roll out the pasta dough on an appropriate surface, we use a flexible silicon sheet, until it is roughly a foot in diameter.
  10. Loosely roll the pizza round around your roller, then unwrap onto a large enough piece of parchment paper and brush with extra virgin olive oil.
  11. Slide your parchment paper pizza transporter onto the preheated pizza stone. A wooden paddle helps here.
  12. Bake 5 minutes, then remove back to your working surface.
  13. For the above topping, brush the surface with olive oil again. then place your potato disks evenly around the top. Do the same with the mushrooms. Then evenly sprinkle the shredded cheese around the top.
  14. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  15. Remove and slide onto a wooden cutting board.
  16. Cut in half, then cut your desired size slices.
  17. Serve with a good salad.


  1. While browsing various recipes, we encountered the instant rise versus active yeast question. Active yeast has to be activated in warm water a few minutes first we learned. We had bulk active yeast in our freezer, so that was how we approached the yeast ingredient in this recipe.
  2. If we had managed to get our hands on some real arugula, we would have sprinkled some over the top after removing it from the oven.
  3. Bob's Red Mill Baking Book, by John Ettinger and the Bob's Red Mill Family. Featuring whole and healthy grains. Their spelt pizza recipe called for a mix with white bean flour. We happened to have some Italian type 00 flour we had ordered from King Arthur Flour for mixing with semolina for fresh pasta. We used that instead.
  4. King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. Another great resource for whole grain baking.
  5. Illustrations available.
spltpza.htm: 31-jan-2009 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]