Making excellent pizza has always been a source of pride for me. Years ago, I tried several dough recipes before I settled on one from the Tassajara Recipe book, which used white, wheat, and rye flours. After working at Pizza Hut, I learned to use an uncooked sauce made from paste. And I was always creative with my toppings. I won a pizza bake-off at college once, and my mom called my pizza ‘gourmet’ – which was a huge compliment from her.
When I went gluten and dairy free, after a few utter failures in bread making, and not finding the cheeses very satisfying, I did not expect to be making pizza again. But then, the boys went gluten and dairy free, too. They LOVED pizza! So I had to try. At first, I tried the pizza crust recipe from my trusty Gluten Free Baking Classics. I was not really impressed. It’s supposed to be a crisp crust, which you bake before topping – but I’ve never liked crisp crust, or pre-baking (they don’t do that at real pizzerias . . . ). I was feeling pretty hopeless about pizza again.
Then Pizza Fusion opened in our town – a restaurant that offers gluten-free, dairy-free pizza! Of course, I still couldn’t eat it, as I’m allergic to some of the staple ingredients in commercial gf breads. But the boys RAVED about how good the pizza was. But, er . . . it was so expensive! The boys shared a gfcf pizza and my husband and daughter shared a regular pizza, the only leftovers were 2 pieces of my youngest’s pizza . . and it was $50! The boys were asking if we could go back every week . . . $50? There HAD to be a way to make pizza as good as that. Maybe even that _I_ could eat?!
So i went back to the drawing board. I remember that, as much as I hated the pizza dough recipe in the cookbook, I loved the foccacia recipe – so why not use that as the pizza dough? I actually called up Pizza Fusion and asked what cheese they used – they used the same cheese I did, Vegan Gourmet! They said maybe their melted better because their oven was so hot . . . so, my oven can go pretty hot!! The first time I made my ‘new’ gfcf pizza, one boy liked it better (because of the toppings) and the other said it was as good as Pizza Fusion – success!! Then I altered the dough so I can eat it – and the whole family is still happy to eat it!
So, this is how I make my gfcf pizza:
First off, you make the sauce, so the flavors have time to merge. Very simple – take one 6 oz can of tomato paste mixed with enough water to make the texture you like – spreadable but not runny – 1 to 2 cans, depending on the brand. Add generous amounts of italian seasonings – i use about 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp thyme, 1.5 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp of onion powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and a dash of cayenne. use garlic powder, too, if you can. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, then taste and add additional herbs, and some salt, to taste. It should taste pretty strong, as it will be spread thin, but remember, the cheese is salty.
Next, prepare your toppings. Mine are numerous:
cooked, crumbled italian sausage
fresh spinach lightly wilted in olive oil (with garlic if you can)
sliced black olives
thinly sliced red onion
sliced sweet pepper
halved, sliced zucchini
whatever else you and your family like!
When everything else is ready, its time to start the dough. This recipe should make two 8-10 inch pizzas. This recipe is changed only slightly from the original, mostly just by subbing in flours I’m not allergic to. I highly recommend you get buy the book – its only $12 on amazon.
Rustic Flat Bread, which I use as pizza crust:
* 1.5 cups bread mix
* 1 tsp gum (xanthan or guar)
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 TB sugar
* 2 1/4 tsp yeast
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 3/4 c water, 110 degrees
Mix dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Pour in liquids. Mix briefly, scrape bowl, and beat at high for 2 minutes. You may allow the dough to rise and beat it down again – this seems to make the crust rise better, but is not necessary
Dump dough on to greased pans. Using non stick spray and the back of a spoon dipped (repeatedly) in water, spread the dough very thin. Note, if you are using a pizza pan with holes, you should line it with foil.
Spread a thin layer of sauce on the crusts, top, and bake at 500. PIzza is done when cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned on the bottom – or when the crust is threatening to get too dark around the edges.
Note, I have been using 4 times this recipe to feed my family of 5 for 2 meals, and its almost enough . . . we’re big eaters.
My standard flour mix is 1 cup each:
More recently, instead of the bean flour, I do a combination of buckwheat cereal, hemp protein powder, quinoa flakes and rice bran. My family prefers this flavor.
Feel free to use whatever flour mix you use for bread – we can’t do rice, tapioca or sorghum, so I get creative!