Ham and Swiss with Caramelized Onion on Rye Pizza

Ham and Swiss with Caramelized Onion on Rye Pizza

Ingredients for Onion Rye Pizza Shells:

Yield: 4 individual sized crusts, 2 small crusts or 1 medium-large (note: Yield has been modified to to reflect the quantities specified in the recipe.  I always double recipes -yes, even my own- and based my original yield on the fact that I doubled my recipe.  I’m sorry for any confusion!)

  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2-1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour (Use light, medium or coarse, depending on how strong you like your rye flavor.  I use coarse.  Rye?  Because I love it.)
  • 1 Tablespoon malt powder or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • Optional: 1 egg white whisked with 1 teaspoon water until frothy, caraway seeds and coarse salt for sprinkling over the edge of the crust.

Bread Machine Instructions:

Combine water, oil, egg yolk, bread flour, white whole wheat flour, rye flour, malt powder, salt, pepper, onion flakes, and instant yeast in the pan of your bread machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Program for a simple dough cycle and press start.

Stand Mixer Instructions:

Combine water, oil, egg yolk, bread flour, white whole wheat flour, rye flour, malt powder, salt, pepper, onion flakes and instant yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Turn the mixer on the lowest setting.  Continue mixing until a smooth and elastic dough is formed.  Place in a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Hand-prepared Dough Instructions:

Use a whisk to combine bread flour, white whole wheat flour, rye flour, malt powder, salt, pepper, onion flakes and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Add the water, oil and egg yolk and mix with a sturdy spoon until a cohesive dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

To Prepare the Pizza Crusts:

Preheat the oven (with a baking stone, if you have one) to 425°F.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, punch down to deflate, and divide into 8 equal pieces. I find a bench knife is the easiest tool for this job.  Form each piece of dough into a ball, gently flatten and cover with a tea towel.  Remove one dough ball from beneath the towel and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch it into an approximately 10-inch circle. A rolling pin gives you the super thin, cracker-crisp crust which I prefer in this recipe.

Dust a peel (or parchment lined pan) generously with cornmeal or semolina flour, lift the dough circle and place on the cornmeal.  If desired, brush the outer 1/2-inch of the dough with the egg wash then sprinkle with caraway seeds and coarse salt.  Use the peel to slide the dough directly onto the stone (or place pan in the oven.)  Bake for 4 minutes, or until air bubbles start to puff up on the dough.  Remove the now partially-cooked crust from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Gently pierce any air bubbles in the center of the crust (the part you will top) while the dough is still hot. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

When all are completely cool, place each on a square of parchment that is the same size as the crust.  Stack the crusts and parchment and wrap tightly with a double-layer of plastic wrap or put in a large, resealable freezer bag before freezing.  These are best when used within 3 months of being made.

To Make a Ham and Swiss with Caramelized Onion Pizza

Ingredients for Two Personal Pizzas :

  • 2 frozen Onion Rye pizza crusts
  • 4 large cooking onions, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • a pinch each of salt and sugar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 thin slices of good quality deli ham (I used honey baked ham.)
  • 2-1/2 thin slices of Swiss cheese
  • Optional, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard mixed with mayonnaise for dipping

Begin by making the caramelized onions: Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-bottomed mid-sized saucepan.  Put onions in the pot, sprinkle the pinch each of salt and sugar over the onions and toss to coat with the butter.  Stir occasionally until onions begin to become soft and start giving up their juices.  Continue cooking over low for about 35 minutes, adding a splash of balsamic vinegar any time the onions begin to look as if they’re drying out.  The onions are done when they are so tender it seems they’re melting.  They should be moist, but not sitting in pools of liquid.  Remove from the heat.

Preheat oven (and baking stone, if available) to 500°F.

Take two Onion Rye Crusts (and their parchment squares) from the freezer. Divide the caramelized onions evenly between the two crusts, spreading near the edges.  Fold the ham slices gently onto the crust, covering most of the onions.  Arrange the Swiss cheese slices evenly over the top and use a peel or your hands to slide the parchment and crust onto the pizza stone or directly onto the oven rack.  Bake for 6-9 minutes, depending on how crispy you prefer your crust.  Six minutes will give you a softer, lighter colored crust, while nine minutes will yield a pizza like the one in the photographs here.

Let cool 5 minutes before slicing.  If desired, serve with the dijon mayonnaise for dipping.