Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

A couple of weeks ago, Kevin and I were craving pizza, so I went in search of a good gluten-free pizza dough recipe. I’ve made gluten-free pizza dough once before, and it actually tasted pretty decent, but it didn’t even slightly resemble regular pizza dough. This time, I wanted to find something that would fool me into thinking it just might have gluten in it. I know gluten-free baking is just so vastly different from regular gluten baking that I should accept the differences and move on, but I’ve come to find that I really enjoy the challenge of making something gluten-free, that doesn’t look like it.

I found this recipe on Epicurious, and after reading some rave reviews and realizing I had all of the ingredients on hand, I decided to go for it. I only made one substitution – quinoa flour in place of chickpea flour – and only because I’m not eating beans right now either! Some of the comments also noted that the chickpea flour lends a rather strong bean flavor to the dough, so I knew quinoa flour would eliminate that problem. The epicurious recipe is for a whole pizza, sauce and toppings and all, but I just made the dough.

This dough is very easy to make, but unfortunately, it’s a total mess to handle. I opted to make one large rectangular pizza instead of individual pizzas (for simplicity sake), and was glad I did. It’s very difficult to spread out on your pan! Well-oiled hands are definitely a necessity to get this dough to behave, but with a bit of patience and gentle finesse, this dough turns into an outstanding crust. When it bakes up – as you can see from the photos – it looks almost like it has gluten in it! It also tastes really delicious, a bit crispy around the edges but soft and chewy on the inside. Sitting next to a regular, gluten-y pizza, you’d be able to tell the difference – but I can’t say for sure whether I’d choose a pizza of gluten pizza over this. It’s really so good! If you have leftovers, it does get a bit brittle, but that’s easily remedied by reheating.

We topped our pizza with roasted zucchini and eggplant, crushed San Marzano tomatoes (for the sauce), grilled chicken breast and mozzarella. I also picked some basil leaves from our deck (love growing on the deck!!) and we topped the cooked pizza with that. It added a wonderful burst of fresh, earthy flavor. Simple and delicious! While this dough is really a pain to make, it’s totally worth it for the end result. The added quinoa flour is also a nice touch I think – it adds some protein to the dough, and maybe just a hint of nutty flavor.

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough
adapted from Epicurious

3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, from 1 (1/4-ounce) package
2 teaspoons sugar
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1) In bowl of electric mixer, whisk together the tapioca flour, white rice flour, quinoa flour, sorghum flour, xanthum gum, and salt.

2) In a small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together milk and 1/4 cup water and heat until warm but not hot to the touch, about 1 minute (the mixture should be about 105°F – 115° F). Stir in yeast and sugar, and let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast activate.

3) Add the milk–yeast mixture, egg whites, and 2 tablespoons oil to dry ingredients and, using the paddle attachment, beat at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until dough is very smooth and very thick. This should take about 5 minutes, and at the end the dough will still resemble a very loose, wet dough (or a very thick pudding!).

4) Have a rectangular baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or a silicon baking mat) ready, and sprinkle generously with cornmeal. Turn dough out onto prepared pan, and coat dough with 2 teaspoons oil. Use well-oiled fingertips to pat and stretch the dough evenly to  1/4 inch thick, with a 1/2-inch-thick border. (This is the tricky part, so just move slowly and use lots of oil so the dough doesn’t stick to you!) Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free place  for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F.

5) Bake until top is puffed and firm and underside is crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes. Once baked, you can use immediately – simply top with your desired toppings and broil for about 5 minutes. If you’d like to freeze the crust for later use, let cool completely, then wrap well in plastic wrap. Crust should keep for up to 1 month in the freezer. To use, thaw in 350°F oven until hot, 4 to 5 minutes, before topping and broiling.

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