Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Perfecting the Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

It's been four years (and 400 posts!) of living gluten-free and Dan has finally perfected his pizza crust. He's the head baker in the house (I just dabble at it) and loves to tinker around with recipes for gf rolls and breads. After many, many tweaks and taste testings, the recipe below gives the latest, greatest version of a chewy, thin pizza crust, just like Dan used to chomp on in his carefree, pre-celiac days.

Many of the other pizza crust recipes we've tried either come out crumbly and dry, like that Chef Boyardee pizza from the box mix we thought was the ultimate in deliciousness in our Seventies-era youth OR you get a big, spongy "Sicilian" type pizza crust, which is not to our family's taste. We like our pizza thin and CRISPY, of course. The better to slap toppings on, we say! Here's a picture of a delicious rosemary-dusted potato pizza:

Since we love pizza so much and since we are eating gourmet GF meals at home rather than dining out 99% of the time, we invested in a wooden pizza paddle, a pizza stone and special pizza pans. The pizza stone really seems to get the pizza crust to crisp up over our pizza experiments just using the pizza pans alone or trying pizza on a cookie sheet.

Dan starts out with 2 cups of the flour mixture called for by the late GF legend, Bette Hagman, in her wonderful bread bible, "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread" (NY: Henry Holt, 2000). He makes this up in 12 cup batches and we keep this is a separate canister in the pantry so we can make up rolls, bread and pizza crusts more quickly at dinnertime. Dan adds potato flour for a springier texture in his pizza crusts.

Here's proportions in the French Bread/Pizza Flour Mix:

7 cups white rice flour (we buy rice flour and tapioca starch in bulk at an Asian supermarket)
5 cups tapioca starch
1/4 cup xanthan gum
4 (7 gram) pkts. unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup Egg Replacer (bought at health food store)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup potato flour (not potato starch, we buy Bob's Red Mill at supermarket)

Dan's GF Pizza Crust

This recipe makes one pizza crust (about 12 inch diameter), though Dan usually makes two at a time and then pops one in the freezer for later. They thaw beautifully.

2 cups French Bread/Pizza flour mix
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dry milk powder

3/4 cup gluten-free beer
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients separately. Slowly add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined into a soft dough.

Generously grease 16 inch pizza pan with shortening. Slap on dough and pat it into shape with a fork. Finish spreading dough to the edges of the pan with your greased hands.

Bake pizza crust at 375 degrees F. for about 15 minutes, or until it is no longer wet on the bottom. Dust pizza paddle with cornmeal and slide pizza crust off the pizza pan onto the paddle.

Place pizza stone in oven on a lower rack. Turn up oven heat to 475 degrees F. Add your pizza toppings (a marinara sauce well-seasoned with oregano and garlic and topped with shredded mozzarella is our usual go-to topping, but the aforementioned potato pizza with very thin slices of potato, chunks of garlic and rosemary is a close second. And when the zucchinis are flying out of the garden faster than we can harvest them, zucchini pizza (see below) rules!).

Place pizza onto pizza stone. Cook until cheese melts and crust reaches desired crispiness, about 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on your oven, though, as this high temperature can easily scorch all your hard work if you overcook it.

Makes one 12 inch pizza.


Arlene Delloro said...

Your pizzas look delicious. I've never had potato pizza, but I am guessing I'd really like it. I love my pizza stone, but never did buy a paddle. I'm sure it's a great investment.

Unknown said...

That looks like it really is perfection!

Alicia Foodycat said...

I love potato & rosemary pizza - boy it has been a labour of love for Dan to get that pizza crust right!

Gluten Free Anna said...

WOW! I was on board when I saw you had perfected your pizza crust, but when I caught that pic of the potato pizza, you had me for sure! This looks great, and I too love the Bette Hagman mixes. I'm excited to try this recipe. When I'm in a rush, I've been using the Namaste Pizza Mix, but I've been pining for a wonderful GF scratch recipe, so thank you!!

Sam said...

Hi Rachel, thanks for inviting me to take part in cook the books, I'm so sorry I didn't get back to you. I've been studying for my degree plus working part time and just plain forgot, things have been a bit hectic recently!

How are you finding the book? is it worth buying?

The pizza looks fabulous by the way. I really like the addition of beer to the crust I'm sure that gives it a wonderful flavour.

Amanda said...

Thanks for the customized garlic Rachel! Sean and I opened them yesterday :) (lost your email when i reformatted)
Merry Christmas!
Love, Mandy

Amy said...

Looks delish! I really miss pizza and look forward to trying this one. Thanks to Dan for the continued experiments!