Pizza. All I have to do is close my eyes and I can imagine all my favorite slices. My Grandma’s homemade crust with sweet marinara and bubbly mozzarella is a treasured childhood memory. As a teenager, I would head into Berkeley for a carefree afternoon with friends and a slice of Blondie’s pizza. Each and every pizza experience is compared, contrasted and stored in my mind, influencing the type of pizza I ultimately crave. Flexible and chewy with a crispy golden bottom. It shouldn’t be too thick or too thin and it should have a mild yeasty flavor. In my world, you should be able to walk around eating a slice without it drooping or falling down the front of your shirt. Not that I ever indulge in eating on the run, but just in case someone out there does.
Gluten-free pizza can be every bit as delicious as a wheat based crust. In fact, you could serve this at your next party and no one would be the wiser. I do it all the time. Although the results can be a dead ringer for traditional wheat crusts, the preparation is fundamentally different. The gluten-free dough must be vigorously beat with a paddle to properly develop the xanthan gum, but it is too sticky to be kneaded. When working with wheat flours, a long, slow first rise with a brief second rise is a necessary step to properly develop flavor. With gluten-free yeast doughs, only one rise is necessary. While this is a wonderful time-saver, I like to enhance the dough’s flavor with a bit of garlic powder, agave syrup and a handful of fresh oregano. Traditional pizza crusts don’t typically call for eggs or baking powder, but I have found that the egg adds structure while the baking powder provides a foolproof oven-rise that a yeast only dough wouldn’t have. This recipe will work without the baking powder, but the results are superior with it included. Another crucial difference in preparation is that gluten-free pizza crust needs to be pre-baked for 10 minutes. At this point you can remove the dough from the oven, add your desired toppings and then return the pizza to the oven to finish baking. Taking the time to adapt your techniques to gluten-free pizza baking is worth the effort and before long you will think nothing of preparing homemade pizza for weeknight meals.
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust (one 14-16 inch crust)
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (see below*)
- ¼ cup millet flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (Hain brand for corn-free baking)
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum for corn-free baking)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon fresh, minced oregano (optional)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + a bit more for oiling the pan
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup warm water (use 1-3 additional tablespoons if necessary)
—> Add ALL ingredients to a mixing bowl of a heavy duty mixer, fitted with paddle attachment.
—> Start mixer on slowest speed, and pulse off and on to incorporate ingredients. Be careful to not splash contents of bowl: go slow. After about 30 seconds, increase mixing speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes.
—> Increase mixer speed to medium-high and mix for one additional minute. The mixture should look like a thick cake batter, and it should stick to the sides of the mixing bowl. It will NOT look like traditional wheat dough, and it should NOT form a ball (if it does, add lots more water!). Use the picture below as a guide for what the dough should look like (add a bit more water if needed to achieve this consistency) :
—> With a flexible spatula, scrape dough onto a pizza pan that has been generously oiled with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.
—> Working by your kitchen sink, let the tap trickle a bit (warm water). Wet your hands and gently press and spread the dough towards the outer edges of the pan. Continually wet your hands as needed so that you can easily move the dough without it sticking to you. Patch and press any spots that break through. It should look like this:
—> When the dough is pressed into the pizza pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and set aside, UNCOVERED in a warm, 80 degree place. (The dough will be moist enough from being spread with wet hands to rise without being covered)
—> Let the dough rise for 35-45 minutes. It will be a bit puffy, but not quite doubled.
—> Bake pizza in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.
—> Remove from oven and add sauce, and desired toppings.
—> Return the topped pizza to oven and bake for approximately 12-16 more minutes depending on desired brownness.
—> Slide onto a wire rack to cool (this helps keep the crust crisp) and serve.
* All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix
- 2 cups brown rice flour (I use Authentic Foods Superfine)
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
- 2/3 cup potato starch (NOT flour)
Mix well in large plastic container or Ziploc bag. Store in cool place or fridge.