At least once a month, Friday nights are declared pizza nights in our home. By the end of the week, there’s really nothing more satisfying than indulging in some yummy pizza. Even though it’s easier to pick up the phone and order a pie, we have so much fun making our pizzas from scratch. The extra time is definitely worth it since we get to control the ingredients, fat, and calories of our pizzas and not feel guilty by indulging in a few slices.
Since our first pizza post a few years ago, Nate suspects he is sensitive to gluten – so we’re cutting out wheat products from our diet. I don’t eat a lot of wheat products, to begin with, so it hasn’t been too much of a hassle coming up with alternatives to breads, cereals, and pastas. We’ve substituted in more greens and vegetables (which makes me happy!) and a variety of rices, quinoa, and corn products.
Since our gluten elimination experiment began a few weeks ago, Nate has noticed improved digestion (less bloating!) and a boost of energy. With that in mind, it’s probably time for him to undergo a medical evaluation to confirm our suspicions. In the meantime though, sometimes nothing hits the spot more than some cheesy, saucy, crusty pizza. Nate was pretty bummed when he realized that pizza may be gone from his diet for good. It just so happens, one of our favorite talk radio hosts and fellow gluten-free compadre, Buck Sexton, was talking about his favorite gluten-free foods on radio this past week and his fondness for gluten-free pizza. (All of Buck’s shows are great and we highly recommend downloading and subscribing to his daily podcasts) Buck’s gluten-free gossip got us thinking (and drooling!) – since we’ve mastered the art of baking pizzas at home, let’s try creating a gluten-free crust to satisfy our cravings.
After a little online research, we found a recipe that looked reputable, tasty, and easy to replicate. We followed the ingredients and instructions from The Minimalist Baker, with just a few tweaks of our own and were really happy with our initial results.
1. Prepare the yeast for the dough: In a small bowl, combine 1 packet pizza dough yeast, 3/4 cup warm water. Let stand for several minutes minutes. Sprinkle in 1 tbsp. sugar, letting mixture combine a few more minutes (about 5 minutes total)
Preheat the oven to 375F. If using a pizza stone (which we highly recommend and talked about in our previous pizza post), place the stone in the oven as this point to preheat too.
2. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup white rice flour, 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup tapioca flour, 3/4 tsp. xantham powder (A binding agent that will give the dough the characteristic “stickiness” that would otherwise have been achieved with gluten), 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 2 tbsp. sugar.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add yeast mixture. Add olive oil and 1/2 cup warm water. Mix with a hand mixer just until ingredients are well combined. Use a wooden spoon to fold dough into a ball. Let dough ball rest for at least 15 minutes.
4. For variety, we decided to make two pizzas with different toppings – Hawaiian style pizza with ham and pineapple, and a more classic pepperoni and black olive pie. To prevent the dough from sticking, sprinkle your work surface with some brown rice flour and lightly coat the rolling pin with olive oil.
5. We divided the dough ball in half and rolled out two pizzas to desired thickness. (Ours were on the thin side, about 1/4″ thick)
6. Remove the pizza stone from the oven. Sprinkle stone with brown rice flour.
7. Place pizzas on the stone. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from oven, add your favorite sauce and toppings. Put the pizzas back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes until crust looks golden and cheese and toppings are warm and bubbling.
9. Try to be patient while everything bakes, bubbles, and becomes extra yummy!
10. Remove from oven. Cut immediately. Top with your favorite herbs (we love basil and parsley) and freshly grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmigian -Reggiano cheese.