I know I’ve only been gluten-free for 2 1/2 weeks (barely), but since the moment I went gluten-free, I’ve been craving pizza.  Since I decided that to really give gluten-free a chance, I’ll need to stick with it for at least 3 weeks (4 if I notice any hint of a difference), I realized that I might as well start exploring my options.   Plus, as a baker, I’m intrigued by the idea of gluten-free bread (and baking in general).  When I hit the one week mark (and had just turned in a draft of my 3rd dissertation chapter) I rewarded myself with an impulse purchase.  It started with a recommendation from Gluten-Free Girl for the book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.   I was innocently looking for recipes for dinner (love her site), and came across this review (she helped develop one of the gluten-free recipes in the book).  After reading her review and watching their video on amazon, I managed to justify the purchase.  I’m a champion at rationalization.  My reasoning went this way: if I end up going gluten-free forever, Shauna says it’s worth the purchase just for the chapter on gluten-free.  If I don’t stay gluten-free, I can play with the recipes in the rest of the book!  Win-win.  (my husband later asked what was wrong with the other gazillion baking books I have, including one brand new gluten-free baking book…he soo doesn’t get it)

So, I broke my previous rule of not buying specialty baking supplies.  The boy actually enabled me in this- I think he wanted to play with the xanthan gum.  Loaded down with new flours and starches from Whole Foods, all I had to do was choose which bread to make.  It was a no-brainer for me, there were 3 choices (the book uses a variety of master recipes, then additional methods to build on those basic masters): gluten-free crusty boule, gluten-free olive oil bread, and gluten-free brioche (I know!).  It was close there for a minute…but the decision was made for me when I read that the olive oil bread made a great crusty loaf…or a fabulous pizza dough!

I made the olive oil bread dough, and baked a loaf immediately after the 2 hour rest (you’re supposed to put it in the fridge for at least 24 hours…have I mentioned I’m not terribly patient?).  It was wonderful.  Slightly underbaked inside (I’ve since learned that you have to allow gluten-free bread to cool completely, otherwise it’s gummy in the middle), but still delicious.  My non-GF husband (elsewhere known as the boy) immediately devoured 2 pieces, and only stopped when I brought to his attention the fact the he was eating MY bread!  I have another batch on the counter as we speak, resting and waiting to be made into pizza again.  Oh, did I not tell you about the pizza?

This one batch of dough made, I believe, 3 loaves and one large pizza crust…and there’s enough for one more pizza crust left in the bowl.  This stuff is amazing.  And yet, I can’t bring myself to give you the recipe…the book is so good, you have to buy it!  To explain, usually I’m ok with posting a recipe from a book, because I figure if you really like it, then you’ll go buy the book.  But in this case, because the book relies on “master recipes,” if I gave you one recipe, I’d really be giving you around 12 recipes, and that seems shady to me.  But, I will give you a link to the recipe for their gluten-free boule (which can also be made into pizza crust…I haven’t tried it because I don’t have sorghum flour yet), and then tell you how I made my pizza.  I’m seriously in love with this book, and it is more than worth the price (which is quite reasonable on Amazon), gluten-free or not.  Also, while you’re there, pick up some plastic covers for the bowl of your mixer…my kitchenaid mixer just happens to have a 5 quart bowl, exactly what the authors of Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recommend, so with a plastic cover, you only have to dirty one bowl, and you can then store it easily in the fridge.  I was inordinately excited to discover these lids. 

Oh ya, so the pizza.  I made mine extremely simple, a good jarred sauce, pepperoni from Whole Foods, and mozzarella and provolone cheese.  It was fantastic.  I wanted it simple so I could taste the crust, and the crust was tasty, thin and crisp, with slightly chewy edges.  Completely satisfied my craving for pizza (that irrational craving that started this whole thing). 

Gluten-Free Pizza

1 grapefruit sized portion of Gluten-free Crusty Boule dough, or Gluten-free Olive oil dough (I used olive oil)
rice flour, for rolling
olive oil, for brushing the crust
Your choice of toppings: high quality jarred or homemade sauce, pepperoni, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese (I used shredded because it tends to be drier than fresh, but slices of fresh would be tasty too), olives, mushrooms…use your imagination!

Preheat oven, with pizza stone on center rack, to 420 degrees (or as hot as your parchment paper is rated to, mine is 420).

Lay out a piece of parchment paper that is roughly the size of your pizza stone (slightly bigger).  Sprinkle the paper lightly with rice flour.  Coat your hands with rice flour, and sprinkle some on top of the dough.  Scoop or cut out a grapefruit sized portion (1/2 – 1 lb depending on the size of your pizza stone).  Form the dough into a ball quickly and place on the parchment.  Sprinkle more rice flour over the dough and on the rolling pin (the dough is very moist, so you’ll have to keep sprinkling flour throughout, just avoid working clumps of flour into the dough).  Roll the dough out to 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness.  The dough will be stuck to the parchment (I kept mine moving in the beginning as I normally would, but eventually just gave up and let it stick, it doesn’t matter as long as you keep moving the parchment so you get a nice circle).  With your fingers, form a rim around the edge to hold in the sauce and toppings.  Top as desired.  Brush the edges of the crust with olive oil.

Slide a pizza peel (or use a baking sheet without sides) under the parchment, and slide the pizza, on the parchment, onto the preheated pizza stone.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Using your pizza peel (or the baking sheet, or a large spatula), slide the pizza off of the parchment and directly onto the stone.  Raise the oven temperature to 450-475 and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.   Keep an eye on the pizza during the last few minutes of cooking.  Oven temps vary, and depending on the moisture content of your cheese and toppings, your pizza might take more or less time than mine.  Remove from the oven when the crust is browned and crispy and the cheese is starting to turn golden. 

Enjoy!  This pizza is a treat!

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