Thursday, June 7, 2012

Glorious Gluten Free Pizza

We love pizza.  
My husband, especially, considers himself a serious pizza connoisseur.  
So when we discovered that gluten makes him sick, the thing he hated giving up the most was pizza.  We have tried many g-free pizzas at restaurants, but haven't found one that tops my hubby's homemade. The only restaurant that makes a really good g-free pizza is Cootie Browns in Johnson City, TN. They make a wood fired g-free crust that is great and they make many other wonderful things to eat as well.  You should go if you are ever there....but that's a loooong way from Japan ;)
We've been on a once-a-week, two year quest to make the perfect gluten free pizza - and (with his helper Charlotte) he's finally done it! The great thing is that it's not very hard, you just need to know some tricks about working with gluten free dough, and today the pizza-master himself is here to share them with you.
 Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix (makes 2 crusts)
Contadina Pizza Sauce
Toppings of choice
(Ours often include any of the following: bacon, sausage, black olives, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, fresh basil, grilled pineapples (our new favorite))

Preheat the oven to 425.
Cook with pizza stones (ours are from Pampered Chef)
Put the pizza stones in the oven to preheat.
We love our pizza stones, but they have taken time to learn how to use them best.
Some things to remember are: season them, never wash them with soap, and the uglier they look, the better they work.

Tips for working with g-free crust
We have tried multiple g-free pizza crusts and Bob's is definitely the best.
  • The first thing you need to know is that working with this crust is nothing like working with regular pizza dough. Gluten-filled pizza dough is very stretchy and rises a lot.  Gluten-free dough spreads out with a consistency closer to thick mashed potatoes and rises very little. I know that does not sound great, but trust me, this makes a great crust (You can't tell it is g-free, it tastes like a normal crust). 
  • Second - you must follow the all the directions on the package when mixing and always combine the ingredients in a mixer using the dough hook. I have tried it by hand and it never turns out the same. We usually add extra Italian seasonings or cheese to the crusts to enhance the flavor. 
  • Third - After letting it rise, work the dough into crusts.  You must put olive oil on your hands (the package says water, but it does not work as well as EVOO, with regular dough you would use flour) or it will stick to you when you spread it. When you are ready to spread the crust, take out the preheated stones (or pans) and sprinkle them with cornmeal. This keep the crusts from sticking to the stones. I usually use my hands and then a rolling pin to spread it nice and thin, it will bake firm even if it is nearly paper thin. 
  • Now you have two options for cooking the crust, oven or grill. If using the oven, heat the crusts for 10 min or until slightly golden brown on top. I always make the crusts on the preheated stones no matter if I use the oven or grill - it will lightly start to bake the bottom of the crust. For the grill, I make sure it is hot, then I can slide the crust right off of the stones with a little shake. It takes about one minute or less per side to grill the crusts. 

  • Then top the crusts on the stones with pizza sauce, you can make your own or try other brands, but we love Contadina brand. Add your cheeses: we use a mix of shredded mozzarella, romano, and usually cheddar (or whatever other cheese we have on hand). We then add cubes of asiago. Then add whatever toppings you use. You can put it back on the grill on top of the stones or back in the oven on the stones. I would put it on the stones or other baking sheet on the grill so you don't have to worry about burning your crust. Cook pizza until cheese bubbles and starts to brown in some places. Cut into slices and enjoy. 
We always eat our pizza on a blanket on the floor, picnic-style, in our living room while watching a nature show or one of Charlotte's shows. It is our Sunday night ritual.
Charlotte has been helping me make the pizzas for a long time. She helps me add all the ingredients in the crust (she especially loves cracking the eggs), she spreads the crusts (and knows not to touch the hot stones), she spreads the sauce over the crusts, and then adds the cheese and toppings. She always manages to test out the cheese and toppings to make sure they are safe for human consumption ;) We love our Sunday nights. 

Here's a review of the tips:
1) Mix dough using electric mixer and dough hook
2) Put EVOO on hands to work with dough
3) Preheat pizza stones or pans
4) Sprinkle stones or pans with cornmeal
5) Cook dough before adding toppings or sauce

 Hope this will inspire you to try and make a great pizza at home!
Happy pizza-making!

1 comment:

Thanks so much for commenting! If you have a question, make sure your email is in your profile or leave it in a comment so I can answer you. Otherwise email me at jessica(at)sewhomegrown(dot)com - Have a lovely day!

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