Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pizza By Ratio

Pizza with bell peppers (under cheese), artichoke hearts and caramelized onions
I guess I'm in a pizza kind of mood lately. I just realized my last post was a pizza post, making two pizza posts in September. You can't ever get enough pizza, right?

When I found out we were doing pizza crust for our Gluten-Free Ratio Rally this month, I was tempted to try and figure out the ratio for my go-to pizza crust. It's tried and true (and edited many times over!!), and I love it because it reminds me of family nights growing up. I decided against it, however, and pushed myself again. (But I did use some of the same flours.) If you're looking for a great-tasting, whole-grain gluten-free pizza crust to top however you wish, this pizza will deliver.

I love these rally challenges. They make me a better gluten-free cook/baker and prove nearly anything is possible in a gluten-free kitchen.

Logo designed by Anile Prakash

A big thank-you goes to Karen over at Cooking Gluten-Free!, our host for this month's rally challenge, for hosting us this month. Be sure to check out Karen's crust ratio recipe for garlic, artichoke, sun-dried tomato, pesto pizza (Oh. Yum.) and all the other delicious ratio pizza recipes from the participants this month. She has the links on her post, and there is something for every taste there.

If you're unfamiliar with the ratio rally, check out my rally page, where I have all my other rally posts which link to each monthly host, as well as Shauna's post on Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef, which was the very first rally post.

I decided to keep it simple this time around and let you choose your own toppings. I'll list some of my favorites to get you started, but this post is about the crust. It's filled with healthy whole-grain goodness and taste, and both daughters and my husband loved it. This crust has the right amount of crunch on the edges and bottom, and the right amount of soft, chewy bread for the rest. It doesn't fall apart when you pick it up, so you can eat the entire thing with your hands. It also still tastes great reheated in the oven or microwave.

I used Ruhlman's ratio for basic bread dough for this pizza crust: 5 parts flour: 3 parts water (plus yeast and salt), or 5 oz. flour: 3 oz. water. His basic recipe makes two crusts (20 oz. flour, 12 oz. water), but this particular recipe will make one pizza at least 12 inches across. I halved the recipe while I was experimenting with the ratio, so I wouldn't waste too many ingredients if things didn't turn out right, and thought it might be a good idea to keep it that way for those of you who aren't feeding a crowd. If you want more pizza crust, simply double, triple etc. to your heart's desire.

Projected prep time: 15 minutes; Rise time: 1 hour; Projected bake time: Total of 25-30 minutes
(Printable Recipe)

3 oz. (83 grams) tapioca starch (flour)
1 oz. (28 grams) potato starch (not potato flour)
*2 oz. (56 grams) sorghum flour (*see note below)
2 oz. (56 grams) amaranth flour
2 oz. (56 grams) teff flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
5 oz. very warm water (a tad less than 2/3 cup)
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 oz. water (2 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. milled flax seed
1 tbsp. (1/2 oz.) extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Cornmeal (optional)
*OR replace the 2 oz. sorghum with 2 oz. (56 grams) millet flour (I preferred the crust with sorghum, husband liked the millet better. Both tasted great and not much difference.)

Combine flours with salt.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. of water with the milled flax seed to create a slurry, then let it sit.

Mix sugar into warm water, then sprinkle yeast into water. (This isn't necessary, but I like to see that the yeast is doing its job before adding it to the flour.) Let sit for 10 minutes.

Pour olive oil into flour. Stir flax slurry (it should be much thicker at this point), pour into flour. Pour yeast and water into flour.

Mix with dough hook at low-medium speed until flours begin to combine, then scrape the bowl to make sure all the flours are incorporated (you may have to do this a few times - or you can start with the paddle, then scrape and switch to the dough hook.) If you don't have a stand mixer, you do all of this with a wooden spoon. Continue to mix ingredients until dough forms a ball. If you mix past this, it's okay - and may even be a little better, but the dough won't be a ball anymore. That window is very small, and I miss it many times when I'm not paying attention. It just makes it a little easier to get out of the bowl when it's still in a ball.

Transfer dough to a ceramic or glass bowl (not necessary, but I do this because I let it rise in my oven and my mixer bowl doesn't fit very well in there on the racks) and cover bowl with a damp clean cloth or dish towel. Move to a warm, draft-free spot and let it rise for an hour. (As I said above, I use my oven. I warm my oven to about 100 degrees about 10 minutes before I start the dough, then turn it off. By the time it's ready to rise, the oven is warm but not too warm. And as long as I don't need it for something else, it makes a great place to let the dough rise.)

After an hour, your dough should be about doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Remove your dough first if you're using this spot to let it rise!)

Unless you're using a pizza stone (I don't use mine in any of these photos), rub a little olive oil onto the pan surface. If desired, sprinkle a tiny amount of cornmeal on top. (I usually do this.)

Roll or pat your dough out evenly onto the pan.

Brush with a light coating of olive oil, prick with a fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes.

Top with desired sauce(s) and toppings (see some of my favorites below if you need ideas), then return to oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese (if you're using it) is melted and beginning to bubble.

Artichoke & caramelized onion
Turkey pepperoni & fresh onion
 Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

You can see that the crust holds up, even hot out of the oven, to bending and being held by hand:

*Just a sampling of some of my favorite toppings, in no particular order:
Pizza sauce, ricotta cheese, garlic, mozzarella, feta, spinach, artichoke, white onions, red onions, caramelized Vidalia onions (in butter & Tony Chachere's), green bell pepper, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, turkey pepperoni, pineapple, chicken and apple sausage, turkey sweet Italian sausage, mushrooms, olives, fresh tomatoes

Some of my favorite topping combinations:
-Tomato pizza sauce, diced green bell peppers directly on top of sauce, mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni, pineapple, fresh red onion
-Ricotta mixed with fresh garlic, topped with mozzarella, then topped with sauteed zucchini sticks, salt and pepper OR fresh spinach instead of zucchini, directly on top of ricotta and then mozzarella on top of spinach
-Tomato pizza sauce, jalapeno slices, caramelized onions and sweet turkey Italian sausage with mozzarella
-Tomato pizza sauce, feta cheese crumbles, mozzarella cheese, chicken and apple sausage and caramelized onions (my brother got me onto that one)
-Tomato pizza sauce, red or green bell pepper, artichoke hearts and (or not) caramelized onions

Enjoy with the toppings of your choice!

Don't forget to head on over to Karen's host post to see her amazing pizza and all the other fantastic recipes brought to you by rally participants this month! Thanks again, Karen!


  1. Yum! This looks amazing, Caneel. Awesome work. I am so inspired...I think I'll make an artichoke and caramelized onion pizza for dinner tonight!

  2. Looks great, and so do all of your toppings - especially the artichoke & caramelized onion, yum!!!

  3. Ginny, thank you! And go for it! :)

    Jenn, thank you!

  4. I love that you photographed the process, especially with how the dough transforms and what the crust looks like after cooking.

    Great use of flours, by the way. Teff and amaranth should be used more often. :)

  5. No, you can't have too much pizza. :) Looking forward to checking out your other post too!

    Pizza is kinda like a choose your own adventure book and I liked seeing some of your fav toppings! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Charissa, thank you! And I agree, it's definitely choose your own adventure, with so many good endings! :)

  7. Those last photos of the bottom of the crust make me want to reach in and grab a slice.


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