Free Pizza Crust, Free Goddess Style

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By Meet Karina 

Free Pizza Crust, Free Goddess Style
Free Pizza Crust
For years I've missed pizza. Not because there isn't gluten-free pizza available. It's out there. You can find it if you look hard enough. Take a gander in the frozen food aisle of your favorite natural market. Snoop around in the dairy case, next to the gluten-free bagels. You might even hit pay dirt at your local pizza joint (if they understand the ins and outs of cross contamination). So yeah. There are some choices out there.








Problem is, most gluten-free pizza sucks.

It's usually heavy on the chewy aspect. Or dry as dirt. With zero flavor. Yawningly bland. Certainly nothing to brag about. I mean, you wouldn't eat it if you didn't have to. You know what I'm sayin'? It's okay in a pinch. If you're famished on a Friday night. But it's not exactly inspiring.

And it's not from lack of trying, this pizza deprivation.

I've been rustling up g-free versions our nation's most cherished Italian import since week one of going gluten-free twelve years ago. I've made pizza crust from cookbooks (bready and yeasty). I've tried gluten-free mixes (and tortured my loyal little body with bean flour bloat). I've rolled out yeast-free biscuit dough (not bad, actually, but not real pizza). I've topped Italian style flatbread with roasted vegetables. I tried the whole Chebe thing (gum city). While some attempts proved passable, they never hit that elusive sweet spot. They failed to quell the longing. I used to make my own pizza dough, you see, before I discovered I harbored a faulty gene predisposing me to celiac disease. I was never a frozen pizza kind of gal.

I used to knead pillows of dough on my antique bread board, humming along to Crowded House. Ignorance was bliss. For awhile. And Friday night was always homemade Pizza Night.

So I've been a tad bereft on pizza-deprived Fridays.

But last week I started experimenting with a gluten-free dinner roll recipe. And as I tore a warm roll in half, golden and crusty and tender in the middle, it hit me.

This would make a fabulous pizza crust! I murmured to my husband through a mouthful of fresh baked loveliness. I tore him off a piece. He munched. And nodded.

So I tweaked and baked.

And lo and behold. A new gluten-free pizza crust was born.

And this one doesn't suck.



Free Pizza Crust, Free Goddess Style

I'm finally happy with a gluten-free pizza crust. It's the best gluten-free dairy-free pizza crust I've eaten. These particular flours bring superior flavor and a perfect pizza crust texture. Slightly golden crisp at the edge, with a tender, flexible middle. Not too thick and not too thin. You can hold a slice in your hand and bite. 
Ingredients:

1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup sorghum flour 
1 cup potato starch 
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup GF millet flour 
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum 
1 teaspoon fine sea salt 
3 tablespoons organic light brown sugar 
1 and 1/4 cups warm water (between 110 - 115ºF) 
1 teaspoon organic light brown sugar - for proofing the yeast
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast 
1/4 cup good olive oil 
1/4 cup beaten organic free-range egg whites (or egg replacer for two eggs) 
1/4 teaspoon light tasting rice vinegar

Instructions:

Grease two 12-inch pizza pans (or baking sheets) and dust lightly with gluten-free cornmeal or rice flour. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the GF flours and dry ingredients. 

Proof the yeast in 1 cup warm water with a pinch of sugar.

Add the proofed yeast and water to the dry ingredients. Add the oil, eggs and vinegar. 

Beat the dough until smooth and sticky. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water if you need to. The pizza dough should be creamy smooth and not too thick- it's not sturdy like typical bread dough. It almost borders on batter. 

Using a silicone spatula divide the dough in half. Scoop each half onto the center of a prepared pizza pan. Using clean, wet hands press down lightly and flatten the dough to create a thin, even pizza shell, with slightly raised edges. You'll have to rinse your hands more than once to do this. Take your time to smooth out the dough with wet palms. Have patience, Bubela. You will be rewarded with a lovely crust. Promise.

Set the pizza shells in a warm cozy spot to rest and rise a bit- about 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

When the oven is hot, place the two pizza pans side by side on the center rack (if your oven is too small to accommodate both pans on one rack, you'll need to use two racks; rotate the pans half way through baking time to avoid overcooking on the lower rack).

Bake for ten minutes till golden.

Remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

Brush the pizza shell with extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and fresh garlic. 

Sprinkle with Italian herbs. 

Top with your choice of fresh vegetables and herbs (and sauce, cheese, cooked meat etc). Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the top.

Broil briefly to melt the cheese, 4-5 minutes. Don't over cook

Makes two medium thick 12-inch pizzas or baking sheet style rectangles (a thinner crust makes a larger size).




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