What I wanted to find out was what make's this recipe work. After a bit of research and investigating this is what I came up with:
Classic pizza dough has flour, yeast, a little sugar, liquid, salt, and an oil component. The flour is responsible for the structure of the pizza crust because of gluten development and starch gelatinization. The yeast eats the sugar creating carbon dioxide - leavening for the air incorporation - and other products that give tell-tale flavors associated with fermented products. The liquid helps along starch gelatinization and rehydrates the yeast. Finally, the oil provides some softness to the dough, and the salt creates a little flavor as well as reinforces the crust structure.
Two-ingredient pizza dough uses Greek yogurt and self-rising flour. Self-rising flour contains a leavening agent and some salt. This takes the place of regular flour, yeast, and salt in the original recipe. The Greek yogurt is where the science comes in. Greek yogurt has quite a bit of protein in it as well as water and a little fat (please don’t buy the fat free version). The water in the yogurt hydrates the flour and therefore the leavening agent which begins to produce carbon dioxide - especially in the presence of heat. This carbon dioxide incorporates air in the crust just as the yeast-produced carbon dioxide does. The extra protein is also important. The yogurt’s protein addition creates a stronger gluten structure without excessive kneading or proofing like most bread products require. Finally, getting a Greek yogurt with at least 2% fat is important in order to create some softness in the pizza crust. That means that after cooling, it will retain a great texture, so please cut your calories elsewhere!
The final important component is the flavor. Yeast has byproducts from fermentation that are responsible for the smell you recognize when you walk into a bakery. It would seem that that yeasty flavor isn’t possible with this two-ingredient dough. Think again! Because Greek yogurt is a fermented product, the flavors exist that you associate with yeasty breads (even though lactic acid bacteria is at work in the yogurt instead of yeast). And voila! A super-easy two-ingredient pizza dough!
Searching the net, I found there were several versions of the recipe. What I noticed were the ingredient ratio's and how this affected the dough-making process. Some recipes would start by mixing together a 1:1 cup flour to yogurt ratio then adding an extra cup of flour while kneading to bring the sticky dough together. Some recipes started with a 2:1 cup flour to yogurt ratio, gradually mixing the dough to a crumbly form then continue mixing by hand, bringing the dough together. I have provided instructions for both as I tried each method, both providing the same results. I guess it depends on which you feel most comfortable with.
The other thing I noticed was that the ingredients are measured by volume (cups) and not weight. From practice, for successful results in baking, measuring ingredients by weight is the best. Well I fear to say that this would be the only time I felt that wasn't necessary. The ratio however is what's important and the dough-making process (kneading) in producing a soft and pliable dough.
Now if you do not have self-rising flour, you can add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup plain flour or wholemeal flour or a combination of both. Mix together and use as directed in the recipe. You can also use pre-mixes of gluten-free self-rising flour and plain gluten-free flour, adding baking powder and salt as above. If your using your own blend of gluten free flour remember to add some sort of binder, 1/2 teaspoon of either xanthan gum, guar gum, ground chia seeds or psyllium husk powder per 1 cup of homemade gluten-free flour mix.
Now for the recipe!
The Two-Ingredient Pizza Dough
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt*
1 cup of self-rising flour, plus extra to dust kneading area and rolling pin
*Note: I have tried using several types of yogurt and the most successful one for the recipe is just plain Greek yogurt. Forget low fat Greek yogurt and regular yogurt. And watch out for Greek yogurt that contains thickeners! The cultures, taste and thickness of plain Greek yogurt has a huge influence in the result of the pizza base.
Preheat oven to 200C with a pizza stone inside. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a baking tray instead but I highly recommend a pizza stone. The key to getting your pizza crust to have good texture is using a really hot oven and preheating the tray or pizza stone, first before placing the pizza on.
2:1 Ratio Method: In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and self-rising flour and mix with a spoon. At the start it will be quite crumbly but as you mix the dough it will gradually come together. At this point (see photo below) I found it easier to use my hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.
When your dough looks ready for kneading (think play dough), turn out onto a floured bench top and knead until it forms a soft and pliable dough. Note: to knead just fold the dough over itself and push/press, fold and press, fold and press etc. As you knead, the dough becomes tacky just add a sprinkle of flour but err on the side of less flour. Too much flour will make a tough dough.
1:1 Ratio Method: In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and half of the self-rising flour and mix with a spoon until a very sticky dough has formed.
Spoon out onto a well floured bench top and knead, gradually adding the remaining half of the flour to work into a soft and pliable dough.
On a sheet of baking paper, roll out dough using a floured rolling pin to form a pizza base of your preferred shape and thickness . Top with your favourite toppings.
Then slide pizza with the baking paper onto the preheated pizza stone or tray and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling and base is golden (10-12 minutes).
I've had alot of fun with this recipe making numerous pizza's as well experimenting with making calzones, stromboli, flat breads and scrolls, all of which worked out brilliantly! Please I employ you to put your aprons on and and start perfecting your technique with this recipe. It is so surprisingly pleasing!