Pizza nights happen very often at our house. Truth be told, pizza has and will forever be one of my utmost weaknesses. I grew up buying pizza in school every Friday for lunch and looked forward to it all week. My dad would take us out for pizza every single Sunday for as long as I can remember. That was our thing, something we always did together. My pizza obsession was everywhere. As a little girl, I loved going to friend birthday parties- not so much for cake and singing (like most kids would), but for pizza! Yes, I like it that much. I’ll still take pizza over a slice of cake any given day.
Giving up gluten nearly 2 years ago implied an impending “pizza apocalypse”. It was unthinkable to everyone who knew me that I would be able to give up this particular “vice”. But low and behold, I started reading up on gluten free crusts. Not interested in making one, I started looking up pizzerias that had gluten free options. The first one I tried had a basic rice crust (the most popular substitute) and I was excited and open to the possibility of rice crust actually doing pizza some justice. It only took one bite to convince me of the contrary. The pizza was chewy, reminiscent of overcooked flatbread that has been left outside for too long. It was porous and just falling apart with every bite, and not exactly in your mouth, but in your hand. I quickly made a resolution not to order gluten free ever again. I would in fact opt to simply try and forget pizza. I wanted to remember it they way it was, they way I’d come to know & love it. With that crispy crust on the ends and the soft center dough. Sometimes light and fluffy, sometimes thick with that deep dish denseness.
I then tried a gluten free crust from Magic Oven, a smaller pizza chain across Toronto. As the name would imply it, there was definitely some magic going on in that oven! It tasted like pizza again. As this was a costly newfound-obsession (gluten free pizza is priced higher than its regular dough counterparts), I got motivated to come up with a good gluten free crust recipe that I could make at home. I figured if they could do it, so could I. That was the general idea, at least. After trying out several recipes I’ve found online and experimenting with measurements, I realized that a blend of rice flour and tapioca is what works best. I hope you enjoy this gluten free crust as much as I do. Happy Eating!!!
Gluten Free Pizza Crust
- 2 cups of your choice (either brown or white rice flour)
- 1 cup of tapioca flour
- 1 tsp of Xantham Gum
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder (I use GF)
- 2 tbsp of raw cane sugar
- 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil ( I leave a little extra for the edges)
- 1 & 1/3 cup of lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
1. In a small cereal bowl, combine the yeast and only 1 cup of water. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure the water is not too hot so that it doesn’t kill the bacterial culture. Proceed to add *only 1 tbsp of sugar.
2. Whisk the remaining high ingredients (gluten free flours, baking powder, remaining sugar, salt & xantham gum) in a separate bowl until you’ve achieved a uniform blend.
3. Dig a little hole, as if to create a bird nest (terminology I employ with my kids) in the middle of the dry ingredients bowl and add the yeast mixture slowly, stirring it as you go. Then add the remaining 1/3 cup of water and the tablespoon of olive oil.
4. I then start stirring it together with a spoon and finish the job off with clean hands. You know the mixture has a good moisture balance when the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. It should resemble play-doh. If it’s sticking to your hands, it likely needs a little dusting of flour and it’s literally touch and go. You put a little flour, you mix it up again, it may need a little more water, etc Once you’ve achieved that non-sticky dough- you’re golden and good to go! It’s like making pie crust. You know when the dough is ready and well balanced.
5. Coat a baking sheet with a little butter or olive oil or non-stick spray. Whatever it is that you do and trust should work. Gently start pressing the dough down, trying to mold it to the shape of the pan. I also like to add a little olive oil, a very light dusting with a barbecue brush to top of the pizza dough after I’ve pressed it down on the baking sheet. This is to prevent those ugly cracks from forming and allow for a moist and fluffy crust.
7. Bake the pizza crust by itself (without any toppings) for 20 minutes and then take it out from the oven to add the toppings. I don’t like put it in with the toppings from the get go because I find the cheese burns slightly, and dries easily if in the oven for more than 20 minutes. Therefore, I like to add toppings when the pizza only has it’s final 20 minutes of cooking time to go.
6.This is my kids favorite step: toppings galore! Go to town. Put whatever it is that you and your family enjoy most. Do a pizza half and half. My favorite combos are asparagus and tomatoes & spinach & feta. There’s nothing better than roasted asparagus on pizza. It’s all about customizing according to your palate. Once done, throw back into the oven with the desired toppings for another 20 mins.
7. You’ll know the pizza is done when the edges have that nice, golden color to them. Happy Eating!!!
Tips for perfectly round,no-crack edges: don’t forget to moisten! Add a little extra moisture to the edges of your pizza and press with clean hands. Drizzle a little olive oil if you like a “crispy on the edges” crust. Cup the edges with your hands and go around the entire pizza full circle repeating the motion.
Adapted from “The Minimalist Baker”.