Homemade Tortilla Pizza

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I topped one of my pizzas with cheese and sauce, added spinach to the other, and sprinkled ground black and red pepper on both.

This recipe, by food science guru Kenji Lopez-Alt, calls for topping a store-bought tortilla with tomato sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella, and basil, cooking it in a cast iron skillet, and then broiling it in the oven until the cheese is bubbly. It’s the kind of pizza meant for a quick weeknight dinner.

I decided to complicate things just a little and make my own tortillas, using a recipe I adapted from the blog Cooking Mexican Recipes. The result was a delightfully fluffy flatbread somewhere in between a traditional tortilla and South Asian naan bread, thanks to the addition of baking powder and olive oil. (If you want flatter tortillas, reduce or omit the baking powder; I’ve tried this before and the bread is just as delicious.)

Homemade tortillas are well worth the extra effort. I suggest making a batch in advance and storing them in the fridge or freezer, so you’re prepared if (when?) a homemade pizza craving hits after a long day at work. Any leftover bread can be used in dishes spanning several different cultures; look out for upcoming posts on naan “quesadillas” and flatbread with hummus.

Homemade Tortillas 

Adapted from Cooking Mexican Recipes 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (omit or reduce to 1/2 teaspoon for flatter tortillas)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup warm water

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder (if using) and salt.
In a small bowl, mix water and olive oil. Add to flour mixture one tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork until a dough comes together. Knead on a floured surface (or directly in the bowl) until smooth and elastic; the dough should bounce back when you touch it. Cover with a damp paper towel or cloth and let sit for 20 minutes. This helps make the dough more pliable by relaxing the gluten molecules.

Divide into equal-sized pieces, and form each piece into a disc. Roll out each piece on a floured surface until around 1/8 of an inch thick. Preheat a cast iron skillet and cook each tortilla for a few minutes on each side, until brown spots begin to form (this may take more or less time, depending on how hot your pan is, so monitor the tortillas carefully.) Set aside to cool. Store in the fridge for several days, or the freezer for longer.

Tortilla Pizza, from The Food Lab

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