Sunflower Pizza Crust: Start your New Year with a ray of sunshine

It’s hard to believe 2013 is already here.

New years always come with question after question, if you ask me. Little questions, like “Where did the time go? ” and “Where exactly did I put that gift card?”

The new year brings much bigger questions, too. I know I’ll be asking…

Questions about the future: “What do you mean I have an 18-year-old now?!” “Have you done that college application yet?”

Questions about everyday life: “Gas costs HOW much?!”

Questions to my husband: “Hey there, what’s for dinner?”

Questions for my boss: “Sooo, about that extra day off…? ”

Questions for my best friend: “Does this make me look unique?”

Even questions for strangers in the parking lot: ” Would you like me to return that cart for you?”

My days are gearing up to be filled with questions.

I’m also not being facetious, I’ll be asking much deeper questions, too. Questions about our health, our well being, and our peace of mind will be high on the list.

Working for a company that revolves around food, we answer questions every day that relate to the how, where, when, and what of food production. Does it contain this? Why is that added? When was it made? How long will it last?

Here at King Arthur Flour we pride ourselves on being the largest educator of home bakers in the world, and every recipe, every blog, every email and catalogue strives to be packed full of information that’s helpful to you, and gives you information to make educated decisions on your choices for purchasing ingredients and goods from us.

Of course we all know there’s only so much room in any one space, so what happens when you don’t see an answer to your question?

First, we hope you’ll give us a call, or send us an email. Your question is important to us, and it’s treated with the care it deserves. Our customer care staff has incredible knowledge of our products, access to samples, and practical knowledge galore.

Many of you are familiar with our Baker’s Hotline too. We have a collective 260+ years of baking experience, and we’re always happy to talk baking. Our resume reads like a famous Christmas carol…4 sourdough bakers, 3 class instructors, 2 pastry chefs…. believe me, we know baking!

If we don’t have the answer at our fingertips, we have an excellent relationship with our merchandising and purchasing teams, who in turn have excellent relationships with our vendors. Questions about where it’s made and what it’s made from get quick and reliable responses every day. Bigger questions about allergens, processes, and certifications can be researched and recorded as well.

Have you ever wondered if we have secret formulas?  Just like the Colonel and the guys at Coke, everyone has to have professional secrets. Even I don’t know the recipe for the chocolate fudge frosting mix. BUT any time we can share, we will. That’s our mission; that’s how King Arthur Flour works.

So, in this new year, please know that we’re here for you. We want you to ask, we want you to know and, above all, we want you to bake.

I’ve already answered my question about what’s for dinner. How about a curry pizza made with Sunflower Pizza Crust?

Place 1/3 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds in your food processor.

Grind until you have a coarse meal. Take care not to grind as far as nut butter, though; you still want some crunchy bits left.

In the pan of your bread machine or mixing bowl combine:

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All -Purpose Flour
1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur Self-Rising Flour
2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, measured then ground
3 tablespoons olive oil

Yes, you read that right. Self-rising flour will have a lower protein level and a touch of baking powder to give this crust a light, fluffy texture with a very open crumb.

If you don’t have self-rising flour, use all-purpose in its place, and add 1 teaspoon baking powder to the recipe.

Set the machine on basic dough, or knead in your mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes.

Holy rubber band, Batman, check out that stretch! NICE gluten development.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil into a half sheet pan with a lip, or two smaller round pans, about 12“.

Because this dough has such great stretch, you’ll need to spread it out to the corners of the pan in stages. Stretch the dough out. When it begins to shrink back, walk away and leave it for about 5 to 8 minutes. Repeat the stretching and resting until the dough nearly fills the pan.

As you can see, you don’t need to worry about the corners. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 20 to 30 minutes.

Check out the great bubble action under the top of the crust. Can you see the sunflower seed flecks, too? They’re just waiting to give off bursts of whole-grainy goodness in every bite.

For this particular pizza, we used bottled yellow curry sauce instead of tomato sauce, tiny cooked shrimp, sautéed red pepper strips, feta cheese, and fresh basil. The nuttiness of the seeds was excellent with the more exotic toppings. It would also be excellent with a white garlic pizza, or as a focaccia topped with olives and more seeds.

Can you spot the food mistake in the photo above?

That’s right. If you put fresh basil on a pizza BEFORE baking, it will darken and blacken in the heat of the oven. Luckily, I realized this and pulled the basil off before baking.

Bake the pizza for about 20 to 30 minutes in a preheated 400°F oven. The feta cheese won’t melt and spread like mozzarella, so check the chunks of cheese for browning.

Toss the fresh torn basil on top. This is one of the more fragrant pizzas you’ll ever bake, heady with curry and basil. Serve and dig in while it’s still hot. This curry version paired beautifully with ice-cold light beer, like an IPA.

I doubt anyone will question your mad kitchen skills when you serve this pizza. Before we part, though, I’d like to share some of the common questions from 2012 – and where you can find their answers.

Do you carry gluten-free products? You bet we do! Check out our gluten free pages!

How old is your company, anyway? King Arthur Flour has a long, long history. Read all about our past.

Are your flours GMO? Wow, this was a huge topic this past year. See our GMO statement online.

Hire me, hire me, hire me! While technically not a question, check out the latest job postings.

Aaaarrrgggh! I can’t find the answer to my question! Dang, sorry we missed that one. Call us at 1-800-827-6836 and ask. We’ll do all we can to help you find the answer.

Prefer email? Contact with your product questions, or email me and our team of bakers your baking question at

Thanks for spending part of your day, week, month, and new year with us. Happy baking in 2013!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Sunflower Pizza Crust.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. gwenholmgren

    This was the first recipe to come to my inbox after signing up for the updates. It looked so different than anything I’ve ever made (which isn’t much) that I had to try it. Plus I couldn’t resist the opportunity to use both my new food processor and my bread machine! Okay… I weighed out the flour with a scale but the dough was more like batter as it mixed. It seemed I would have to add a whole lot of flour to make a dough ball, and since I’d never made pizza dough before I thought maybe it was just supposed to be like that so I let it do it’s thing. After the rise I poured it out on the pan and it was a sticky mess. There was some stretch, but it was easily broken through. I patted it all into place and let it rise and made the rest of the recipe anyway. (I used the reader tip about putting the basil down first, then covering with sauce). The dough was so soft that the sauce soaked right into it. It did smell heavenly as it baked and was very good but I would like to make the dough correctly next time. What should that dough have looked like as it kneaded?

    It sounds like your dough had a bit too much moisture in it. I would suggest calling our baker’s hotline so we can troubleshoot what may have caused this!-Jon 802-649-3717

  2. ktdorsch

    Happy New Year to my favorite company in the whole world 🙂 I have used your customer service and bakers hotline on several occasions and I have to say KAF employees are the best! Keep up the good work and I’ll keep snatching up the last bag of AP flour in the store (just like I did 2 days before Christmas). Thanks!

    Thank you! We owe it all to our wonderful (and enthusiastic) customer/bakers. Happy Baking – Irene @ KAF

  3. lorrainesfav

    MJ: I put the basil UNDER the cheese when making pizza so it doesn’t turn black. It kind of steams under the cheese. Same thing with spinach on pizza. I love basil so I top the pizza with MORE basil before serving. Great recipe!

    Great recipe? Great tip! Thanks for sharing – Irene @ KAF

  4. empressqueenb

    Happy New Year and many, many thanks for what you do.

    Can your Easy Roll Dough Improver be added to this to help with the stretching out?

    Great idea! Yes, you could add Easy Roll to the dough to help with the shrinkies. 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  5. sallybr

    First of all, Happy New Year!

    I have tried many many recipes from your blog, the book (s) and they always, always turn out great! So a big group thank you is in order. Just the other day I had the most delcious sourdough popovers (and left a comment to make sure you guys knew about it) –

    this pizza crust is the most creative I’ve seen, the idea of the seeds and the self rising flour is quite intriguing. I have to give it a try on my next pizza adventure

    Can’t wait to read your blog post on the pizza crust!! Betsy@KAF

    thank you for another year of fun blog posts, I am always thrilled to read the articles, although I don’t comment very often.


  6. Tonia

    Happy New Year King Arthur!
    May all your yeast be active,
    May your cakes never sink,
    May your flour be weavil free,
    And may all your baked goods make you happy! 🙂
    Thanks for the lovely kitchen blessing Tonia! Happy baking in 2013 to you and yours as well. ~ MaryJane and the gang

  7. Lyna

    Happy New Year! to one of the best companies on the planet! As great as your products are, your customer service is even more outstanding. May 2013 be the best yet!
    Thanks so much Lyna! Best to you too. ~ MaryJane and the gang

  8. vibeguy

    And the happiest of New Years to you, MaryJane!

    May your yeast always work, may your cakes always come out in one piece, may your cookies always have the intended balance of crisp and chewy and, most importantly, may you continue to share your obvious love of baking with all of us!

    (I’m in such a cheery mood I’ll forgive you for the first recipe of the new year being the first recipe in the *entire blog series* that contains an ingredient that will kill me – I’m feeling extra-charitable thanks to the Widow Cliquot)
    Whew! Glad I didn’t end up on the chopping block. Think of it this way… at least I got it out of the way early in the year! Thanks for all of the great baking blessings, looking forward to a great 2013 with my baking friends far and wide. ~ MaryJane


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