Have you tried activated charcoal in your juice? Of course you have, poor thing; it's inescapable. Why not take control and try your hands at an activated charcoal pizza crust instead? One never knows when one might need something other than the latest dystopian news to dominate the conversation around the table. Enter black dough as a buoyant alternative. Since activated charcoal doesn’t taste like anything, you can easily add it to foods. Including pizza!
But wait, you may be asking: Why are we ingesting this powdery black substance in the first place? Is it safe? Does it have any health benefits? And isn't it really more gray, anyway?
The short answers to those questions: Because it's fun, yes and no, resoundingly no, and yes.
Activated charcoal is made from carbon steamed at a high temperature and is often sourced from coconut shell, bamboo, or oak. Activated charcoal naturally attracts and absorbs toxins; its highly-porous surface area makes it efficient and effective at detoxifying the body. For these reasons, medical professionals have long used charcoal in the emergency room to treat overdoses. But they don't always, and the lavage protocol to treat a person in such an event is a very different experience from simply stirring some powder into a recipe or smearing on a mildly frightening facial mask and calling it a day.
Hence our "yes and no." In acute situations, activated charcoal can save a life. But there's a catch. Activated charcoal cannot differentiate from the good stuff and the bad stuff, so it can leach valuable minerals from the body if consumed frequently. Further, as with most buzzy wellness fads, activated charcoal has...how to put this politely...questionable applications (you can do a quick Google search if you dare). The enema of your enema is not, in fact, your friend.
The New York Times addressed the activated charcoal craze a few years ago and dismissed the majority of the more wild health claims; we include this context because we think it's important to remember that hucksters gonna huck. In other words, we're here to separate the chaff from the charcoal.
If you've made it this far, because this is a recipe article, after all, this pizza is really fun to make, even more fun to serve, and the amount of charcoal is so scant, you don't have to worry. Just know that you also won't reap any special health benefits, either. If you feel like you really need a detox, go see your integrative functional medicine doctor and follow their advice.
We've found this pizza dough recipe to be one to keep for its flavor factor alone, so you can skip the charcoal entirely if you want. Having said that, the black pizza crust is a great conversation starter that will have your friends talking for weeks!
We make ours with a 12.6" pizza steel from Made In, one of our favorite clean cookware brands, made right here in the U.S.A. The perforations in the carbon steel really do make a different in the texture of your pizza crust, delivering that satisfying combination of chewy and crispy that makes pizza so delicious. This particular pizza steel can withstand extreme heat, so don't hesitate to bake your pizza in the hottest of hot brick ovens. No word on the seventh level of hell, however.
Note that the crust will not give off any “charred” or “burnt” taste. Your crust will cook to a tender and lightly crisped finish. Top the pizza with whatever organic toppings you have on hand – the more vibrant and contrasting in color they are to the activated charcoal crust, the better. (Consider yourself set for Halloween!)
Enjoy. And seriously: this pizza dough recipe is delicious. Try it. Charcoal or no.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as an appetizer.Servings
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- Dash of white sugar
- 1 cup wholemeal flour
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 2 grams bamboo or coconut shell activated charcoal powder 4 capsules
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Toppings: whatever organic ingredients you'd like!
- In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, sugar, and the warm water. Cover and let bubble for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and has roughly doubled in size.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, activated charcoal powder, and salt. Stir in the yeast.
- Use clean hands to knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a dough ball.
- Place the dough ball into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let it rest in a warm place. After one hour, punch down on the dough's surface and cover the bowl again with the damp towel. Let the dough rise again for another 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the dough in the middle of the sheet.
- Use clean hands to flatten the dough, forming a pizza crust shape.
- Drizzle the crust with olive oil and top with your favorite pizza toppings.
- Cook for 15 minutes, or until your toppings have cooked through or melted and the pizza crust is just cooked and lightly crispy.
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