Let’s talk about pizza! This is an important post, and even more so for those who eat gluten free!! I just realized this is going to be a blog post where I actively have to control my exclamation points, because I am that excited!! I was just talking to a friend about this the other day…rereading work emails and realizing you need to tone down the excitement.
Anyways, finding a good, airy gluten free crust can be quite the challenge. Generally speaking, I will take anything I can get because having pizza at all is such a treat. There is one local pizza place that blows everyone else out of the water, but other than that, until these homemade crusts, I really haven’t experienced anything to write home about. BUT, here we go - These have amazing texture, hold their shape and the flavor is just like a regular crust!
For the past eight months or so, I have been learning to expand my gluten free baking skills through the guidance of Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I was at first intimidated by the process they propose as the recipes guide you to make roughly four servings of one-pound loaves, etc depending on the recipe. Then, you have dough ready made and you can store it in the refrigerator for about a week. When you’re ready for fresh bread, you pull off the desired size dough ball, shape and bake it! It is a little more work on the front preparing the ‘Master Mix’ as I call it, but it is definitely worth it.
The ‘Master Mix’ contains white rice flour (I sub brown), sorghum flour, tapioca flour/starch, potato starch and psyllium husk. The mixture makes about four and a half pounds of flour mixture, which can be used for many different variations of bread, pizza dough, bagels and SO much more. Here is the recipe:
Brown/White Rice Flour: 2 pounds, 4 ounces (6 cups)
Sorghum Flour: 1 pound (3 ¼ cups)
Tapioca Flour/Starch: 8 ounces (1 ¾ cups)
Potato Starch: 8 ounces: (1 ¾ cups)
Psyllium Husk/Xanthan Gum: 1.4 ounces (1/4 cups)
I measure my ingredients by weight after a super failure on a sugar cookie recipe right around Christmas time. Measuring ingredients by volume leaves a ton of room for error and differences between recipes depending on how compact the flour is, how much you compress it, etc. We use a shabby kitchen scale and it works well. We may invest in a new one soon that isn’t 15 years old. Spencer has had this one for ages since he was selling on eBay when he was just a little runt, so I suppose it’s probably time! I put all the dry ingredients in an airtight food storage container. I became obsessed with these containers a few months back. They are actually airtight and I have all my dry ingredients, protein powder, etc stored in these. The brand I have is Vtopmart. They’re affordable and of course, on Amazon!
Back to the pizza! Now from this ‘Master Mix’ you can get into a bunch of different recipes. The beautiful thing about preparing the mixture is the versatility past that point. Recipe for pizza/flatbread dough:
Master Mix: 1 pound, 11 ounces (5 cups)
Cornmeal: 9 ounces (1 ½ cups)
Potato Starch: 6 ounces (1 cup)
Psyllium husk: 2 t
Yeast: .35 ounces (1 T)
Salt .6 ounces (1 T-1 ½ T)
Lukewarm water (110 degrees): 1 pound, 14 ounces (3 ¾ cups)
Olive oil: 3 ¾ ounces (1/2 cup)
Egg whites: 4 ounces (3-4 eggs)
Mix together all the dry ingredients, then whisk all the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. In either a stand mixer or large bowl, slowly pour in the wet into dry until fully mixed. This is the time when the yeast will really start to evolve into the flour, so if you’re using a stand mixer, give it a solid five minutes of beating. Cover the dough, but not airtight for at least two hours. The longer the better to let the dough develop.
Cue the fast forward through the rise process, and grab a hunk of dough. For a large size pizza about 24 ounces, or for a small personal pan pizza (I had this for lunch today) about 8 ounces! Add any ingredients you would like to top the pizza. We don’t have a pizza stone so I rolled out the dough on parchment paper and then transferred to the Silpat on a baking sheet. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy with the flour while you’re flattening the dough. Dust an ample amount so the dough doesn’t stick either to the rolling pin or parchment.
For our first rendition, we whipped up a homemade pesto sauce and it was awesome! Rough estimates here because we eyeballed it as a test kitchen moment. I am allergic to specific tree nuts, so we never purchase store brand pesto, as they normally have pine nuts or cashews. We used almonds to get that nutty flavor in addition to parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic cloves, Aleppo pepper, fresh dill, basil and parsley. After the pesto came black olives, diced onions and pepperoni. I also may have snuck a little mozzarella on my side!
1/3 c each of fresh parsley, basil & dill
2 garlic cloves
1/3 c almonds
½ c parmesan cheese
Dash of Aleppo pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ c olive oil
Put all ingredients in the food processor, or blender until the herbs are shredded and well-blended.
At 475 degrees, I cooked the pizza (24 ounce) for 20 minutes on the middle rack and then for an additional 3 minutes, put it on the bottom shelf just to further crisp up the crust. YUM! See how airy the crust is?! Fluffy just like a regular crust.
I am telling you this is worth the effort, whether you eat gluten free or not, it is delicious. Spencer doesn’t have to eat gluten free, but we eat gf at home. He had rave reviews and for someone who can eat both, that’s huge! I can’t wait for you to try it. Let me know what you think!! Until next time, eat well!
Becca Wagner-Sharing our love for food, nature, gardening and all the career coaching resources! Explore the blog to get a closer look at recipe development and process with our lifelong commitment to sustaining our land.