Have you ever worked in a consumer goods company? Then you know what a line extension is.
For Honda, a line extension is taking their ever-popular Civic, and coming out with a Civic hybrid.
For Ben & Jerry's, it's adding Mud Pie (“Chocolate & Coffee Liqueur Ice Creams Swirled Together with a Chocolate Cookie Swirl”) to their lineup of outrageous flavors.
For me, it's creating a new pizza.
I'm an inveterate recipe tinkerer when it comes to pizza. My favorite crust can range from thin and cracker-crisp, to thick, soft, and comfortingly doughy. It might include golden semolina flour (for color); or Italian-style flour (for crispness).
Or it might be a high-gluten crust fortified with extra fiber – my current favorite.
Sometimes I like to bake the crust on a stone, for an ultra-crunchy bottom. Sometimes, I place it in a thin film of olive oil in a pan, and the bottom is crackly-crispy, almost as though it's been fried. (Think Pizza Hut.)
And then there are the wealth of topping choices... boggles the mind, doesn't it, the good things you can put atop your favorite crust?
Pepperoni or sausage, of course. Mushrooms, olives, and green peppers. Cheese, always. Slow-roasted vegetables, a great choice for winter.
And in summer – salad.
That's right – fresh greens. I've made Caesar salad pizza. The Slawdog-za: warm crust with coleslaw and grilled, sliced hotdogs. Even pizza with the full range of Salade Niçoise ingredients, including tuna, hard-boiled eggs, olives...
And now, The Wedge - a.k.a. the BLT Pizza.
You know The Wedge salad, right? A wedge of iceberg lettuce, blue cheese dressing, and crumbled bacon; maybe some chopped red onion. It's simple as can be, yet ultimately satisfying.
So why not layer those same ingredients on a fresh-baked pizza crust?
And why not add tomatoes for color, and call it a BLT Pizza?
Which is just what I did. Read on...
You can certainly make your own favorite pizza crust recipe, and simply follow the instructions below for topping and baking. But I really want to share this crust recipe with you – and get you hooked on it. It starts with our highest-gluten flour, Sir Lancelot. This super-strong flour yields a crust that's both light, and crunchy/chewy.
While you can make the crust with all Lancelot, I like to add Hi-maize, a dietary fiber derived from corn.
Assuming you cut your 12" pizza into 8 slices to serve, each slice will include 3g of non-soluble fiber – and trust me, NO ONE will know they're eating high-fiber pizza!
Put the following in a mixing bowl:
3 cups (13 ounces) Sir Lancelot High-Gluten Flour*
3/4 cup Hi-maize Fiber*
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Pizza Dough Flavor, optional but tasty
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
*Hi-maize gives the crust an extra-crisp bottom, as well as adding fiber; if you don't have it, use a total of 3 3/4 cups Lancelot.
Ready... set... mix!
Mix the dough with a flat beater till it comes together...
...then knead with a dough hook for about 7 minutes, till it's soft, elastic, and fairly smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and let it rise at cool room temperature for 1 hour.
Use the dough immediately or, for best flavor, refrigerate overnight, or for up to 24 hours.
The dough will continue to rise in the fridge. Make sure you start out with a large enough container!
Lightly grease two 12” to 14” round pizza pans; or a couple of baking sheets. Divide the dough in half, and place each half on one of the pans.
Stretch each piece of dough into a 10” to 14” disk (thick crust vs. thin crust). When the crust fights back, as it inevitably will, simply walk away for 10 to 15 minutes. When you return, it'll be much more cooperative.
Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, till the crust is as puffy as you like. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Divide 1 pound of uncooked diced bacon evenly atop the risen crusts.
Notice how oily the pan is? Mistake; I drizzled some olive oil on it when I didn't mean to, then didn't want to remove the crust and redo the photo. All the pan really needs is a spritz of non-stick vegetable oil spray. Though you can certainly use the olive oil, too, for an extra-crispy bottom crust!
Bake the crusts for 22 to 24 minutes...
...till they're golden brown, and the bacon is cooked through.
While the crusts are baking, prepare the toppings and dressing.
Chop enough iceberg, romaine, or other crisp lettuce to cover the top of both pizzas. I'm chopping it into the same size pan here as my pizza was rising in; that made it easy to see how much I'd need. As it turned out, 8 ounces of romaine was enough for two pizzas.
Chop 4 medium tomatoes, and let them drain while the crusts bake.
To make blue cheese dressing, mix 1 cup each sour cream and mayonnaise with 6 ounces crumbled blue cheese (or as much as you like).
Stir till well combined.
OK, time to assemble. One hot crust, ready for toppings.
Spread with dressing.
You can skip the dressing and just use mayo. For a lower-fat pizza, skip any dressing, and simply top with vegetables.
Add the romaine...
...then the tomatoes.
I had some leftover bacon from a different baking project that I sprinkled on top. You can skip this step, too; or cook up some extra bacon, as a garnish.
Cut in wedges to serve.
The crust, though thick, is actually very light and crunchy – close your eyes and you'll imagine you're biting into a toasted BLT!
Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for BLT Pizza.