When planning a recent extended family birthday dinner, my sister-in-law joked that we are a pathetic bunch with the combined list of food restrictions. Gluten-free, dairy-free, seafood allergy, vegetarian, and allergies to soy and a few other common foods thrown in for good measure. Picky eaters are the least of our worries! But in all seriousness, it’s unusual these days to get a big group together and not have a host of restrictions to consider.
After years of trial and error in making worthy replacements to tried-and-true favorites (so I might be able to feed everyone the same thing–and, more importantly, so people don’t feel as though they’re missing out), I have learned a lot. Where gluten-free replacements are concerned, I truly believe that there are very few recipes for which there isn’t an option that is completely worthy of the glutinous counterpart. The right gluten-free flour blend (I really like this homemade mix) makes for easy and delicious adaptations to cookies, muffins, and cakes containing wheat flour. Worthy adjustments can be made for flour used as a thickener, panko, and pasta. I’ve even perfected a gluten-free mac and cheese. (My kids only know the difference when one of the gluten-freers is eating it, too!) And then there is the long list of delicious and often healthier recipes using alternative flours such as almond, coconut, and oat flour.
Gluten-free breads are the most challenging food to make at home. To date, this is my favorite loaf bread (although I’m working on another one with an entirely different set of ingredients). It’s delicious but not the exact same thing as a loaf of store-bought wheat bread or squishy white bread. In the past, I’ve used my gluten-free flour blend to make an option to my grilled pizza dough. Being able to use one flour blend in multiple ways keeps things simple. While this pizza crust is good, I recently incorporated one ingredient that made it great.
One simple egg added to a basic, quick pizza dough provides the protein normally supplied by the gluten. While the dough for the following recipe is sticky and not suitable for grilling, it has been as well loved by the gluten eaters as by the gluten-free crowd. In the text of the recipe and photo captions below, I share my tips for hassle-free prep. As an added bonus, and unlike the typical wheat flour dough, this recipe requires one rise, making it even quicker to get from the mixing bowl to the dinner table.
Yields Two (12-inch round) pizza crusts; about 26 ounces dough.
- 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- 1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more to use when spreading dough)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1-1/4 cup warm water (add a tablespoon or two more, only if necessary to bring dough together)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all of the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
- With the mixer running, pour in the olive oil, egg and water. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. The dough will become very smooth, almost like a thick cake batter.
- Using an oiled rubber spatula or offset spatula, spread the pizza dough evenly on two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (SEE TIP IN COMMENT SECTION ABOVE.) I like to make two pizzas that are 12 inches in diameter or two pizzas that are 10x14-inch rectangles. (I have made round pizzas with 10-inch diameters. This works well heartier or saucier toppings, but in general we prefer the slight crispiness of the thinner crust.)
- Allow dough to rise for 45-60 minutes in a warm, draft free place. It will puff up slightly. There is no need to cover.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Bake the pizza crusts in the preheated oven (I like to bake one at a time) until lightly browned around the outside (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from oven and top with your favorite toppings. Return to the oven and bake until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted (another 5-10 minutes, depending on your toppings; watch so cheese doesn't brown too much).
- Remove from the oven and cut into slices immediately. TIP: Carefully slide a wire cooling rack underneath the parchment paper. This will allow steam to escape and keep the crust crisp. If you leave the pizza (and parchment) directly on the baking sheet, steam will build up and your crust will become damp and lose its crispness.
- I make this with my all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. If substituting your own tried-and-true mix and it does not have xanthan gum as an ingredient, add 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum to the dry ingredients.
- As an option, you could add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and/or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder to the dry ingredients.
- I have also baked the pizzas at 425 degrees F, adding about 2 minutes to the initial baking time.
Click here for the recipe for Smoked Mozzarella, Pancetta and Kale Pizza, shown above.