Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mama Me-a Pizza, Pizza!

Please note: I have adapted this recipe several times, as you can see each time below. I have finally settled on the whole grain blend, with or without the quinoa depending on if I have it on hand. I don't use xanthan gum in this anymore.)
I love pizza. I think so many pizzas taste good, but I also think that everyone's cravings for the "perfect" pizza are different based on what they are used to and grew up with. The recipe I share with you here is the taste I love. When I was growing up, my mom made homemade pizza every Saturday night for our family night. She used the classic, all-purpose, can't-live-without-it Joy of Cooking recipe for pizza crust, making her own alterations along the way based on what she felt like making that night or what she had on hand. (Note that this is the classic 1975 printing of Joy of Cooking, which is the one I also use.)

This taste from that recipe is what I think of when I think of the perfect pizza. Crunchy on the bottom and edges, chewy elsewhere. Since we've been gluten-free, I've tried the recipe with various flour blends from different cookbooks and my own experimental flour blends. I thought I finally may have come to a close-enough blend with my own flour blend of sorghum flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch (oh and I think garfava flour was in it, too), but it wasn't quite there. For our family pizza night (which usually ends up being Friday night in our house) I often settled on a pizza crust mix (Chebe is the best, in my opinion). Until last night.

I was skimming through my latest issue of Delight Gluten Free magazine (that magazine and Living Without magazine are great resources) and found an article by Vanessa Maltin where she lists her special flour blend recipe. She stated that it worked well for nearly every recipe, including pizza, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was a little skeptical because I've tried other flour blends that promised to be great for everything, even pizza, and they weren't what I was wanting. I haven't tried this blend for anything but the pizza last night, but I'll say this is it for the pizza. It's as close to the taste and texture I remember as I think I'm going to get with gluten-free flours. My husband and daughters thought it was delicious, as did I.

Here's the flour blend, as printed in Delight Gluten Free, Fall 2010 issue. You'll want to double this, as you'll need four cups for the pizza: (*See edited note right below for corn-free and new preference.)
2 c. brown rice flour
3/4 c. cornstarch
2 tbsp. tapioca flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
Combine ingredients & store in airtight container.

**Note (Edit on 1/30/2011) In order to try and make this recipe accommodate friends who can't have corn, I substituted tapioca flour (starch) for the cornstarch and potato starch for the tapioca in the above blend. I still did use the xanthan gum, but you could use guar gum. I may experiment with another flour blend at some point that may eliminate using the gum, but I really like the taste this blend provides because as I state above, it's very much like what I'm used to. I actually think I like the tapioca/potato blend better than the cornstarch/tapioca, though, so that's what I'll be sticking with unless at some point I find something better. If you are needing to eliminate corn from your diet, you can also do away with sprinkling cornmeal on the pans.

(And one more edit, 2/6/11) In an attempt to use more whole grains, I completely changed the above blend recipe and used 1 c. brown rice flour, 1 c. sorghum flour, 1/2 c. teff flour, 1/2 c. amaranth flour, 1/2 c. quinoa flour, 1/2 c. white rice flour, 1 1/2 c. tapioca starch, 4 tbsp. potato starch (to double for enough to use for pizza), and just 1 tsp. xanthan gum. The verdict: The family loved it. I personally preferred the taste of the brown rice/tapioca/potato blend over this more whole grain blend, but liked the texture of this one better. My husband and daughters, however, liked both taste and texture of this one more than any other. It looks like this may be the one I use. I may play around more and try to omit the gum completely at some point. (Edit: I did. You don't need the gum. It works great without it, and the yeast rises more!)

Here's the adapted pizza recipe, which makes two crusts (I like to make one pan, one deep dish):
Projected prep time: 10 min.; Rise time: 1 hour; Bake time: ~30 minutes
4 c. flour blend
1 pkg. yeast in 1 1/3 c. water with a little sugar ~100 degrees
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
Gluten-free cornmeal (I like Lamb's)
Sauce (I either make my own or use Ragu homemade style if I'm short on time)

Dissolve about 1/4 tsp. sugar in water around 100 degrees, add yeast, stir and let sit for about 7 or 8 minutes.  Mix flour and salt together in large mixing bowl, then make well in center of flour. Add olive oil and water, mix well with dough hook or knead with hands until all is mixed and can form a ball. If it seems too dry, add just a little more oil and then warm water a little at a time until it's able to form a ball. You don't want it too dry or it will be really hard on the edges. If you get the right amount of moisture, it will be perfect. If you want a more bread-type crust, add more water. The dough won't be as pliable - you'll have to spoon it and wet your hands or roller to smooth it on the pan, but it's good that way, too. The ideal is a point between the two.

Cover with damp cloth and place in warm spot to rise for about one hour. It won't increase a lot in size like it would with wheat flour. Grease pans with a little oil and then sprinkle with a little cornmeal. I like to use my cast iron skillet for one to make a deep dish and then my pizza stone or metal pizza pan for the other. Break dough into two parts, patting down into pans, pinching up edge. Keep in mind that this crust, when made gluten-free, will actually shrink a little so make sure you give plenty of room for the edges. Prick with fork in a few places.

In preheated 400 degree oven, place pans to bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush olive oil over entire crust, including edges. Add sauce over crust, then toppings. I like to put diced bell peppers on top of the sauce before I add the rest of the toppings.

Add cheese (I use mozzarella -- use Daiya if you are doing dairy-free) and top with the rest of your preferred ingredients. I like to use Hormel turkey pepperoni, crushed pineapple (squeeze the juice out as much as possible), fresh mushrooms and sometimes slices of red onion and/or black olives. I also love artichoke, fresh tomato, zucchini ... the list could go on.

Return to oven to bake for 20-25 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and toppings are cooked.

Let cool for a few minutes before slicing.

1 comment:

  1. Delish! My mouth is watering...always a good indicator of a successful food blog post.


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