Thick and Chewy Pizza

 

Thick and Chewy Gluten Free Pizza

 

I have longed to eat great pizza since I have had to be gluten free.  I have ordered it in restaurants, purchased several brands from stores, but never have been truly satisfied.  Some of it has been “pretty good”…and some truly awful.  I have made some at home that was  “pretty good”…and some that was truly awful.  Crispy flatbread style pizza seems to be most successful gluten free.  But a crust that is thick, chewy, and tastes good has been elusive.  Until now, that is.  This pizza crust is so good!  It is simply the best I have had since going gluten free.

I created this after taking another look at several recipes, and figuring out what I liked and didn’t like about each of those.  First, from Carol Fenster’s recipe I knew I wanted to add some flavor into the crust itself.  I didn’t want herbs, but some grated Parmesan really adds a nice touch.

Second, from Cook’s Illustrated “How Can It Be Gluten Free?” cookbook, I learned that almond meal adds crispness to the crust.  They also added baking powder to their dough, something I am also learning to do regularly to all yeast breads to help improve rise.

Perhaps the greatest trick I discovered was the method of baking.  I don’t know about you, but I decide to have pizza at the end of a long day.  Usually Friday, the end of a long week.  I don’t want to wait an hour or more for the dough to rise, then parbake, then top, the bake some more.  Yes, if I were more organized I would bake crusts ahead of time and freeze them.  I’ve done this once or twice.  But the norm around here is flying by the seat of our pants.

When Cook’s said they parbake their crust starting in a cold oven, after raising on the counter for an hour, I thought “Why raise on the counter at all?”  Carol Fenster has a wonderful French Bread recipe that is mixed and immediately started in a cold oven.  Well, I tried it and it worked!  Beautifully!  This is the best chewy gluten free pizza I have eaten!   So with thanks to all the recipe authors who have taught me so much, I present my pizza recipe.  Enjoy!  (And yes, the crust can be baked through the ‘parbake’ stage and frozen to finish quickly later.  I just might do that sometime!)

Some helpful tips:

gf pizza olive oil

 

This is how I form my crust.  I line the pizza pan with parchment paper that I have sprayed with cooking spray.  Then I put the dough on the parchment, and use a sandwich bag to cover my hands.  I pour some olive oil onto my hand and the dough, and pat the crust out.  I leave a lip along the edge like a usual pizza crust has.  If you don’t care about getting messy, the sandwich bag is optional.  It just helps get the crust a bit smoother.

 

gf pizza dough

I just take a little time to smooth and shape the dough.  Between the sandwich bag and the olive oil, this is really easy to do.  Plus, for the final baking on the pizza stone, the pizza moves really easily using the parchment paper underneath.

Parbaked Pizza shell

The pizza crust is partially baked before topped and finished.  It is best if you can let it cool, and then top and bake it.  It ensures the middle is never soggy.  If you are in a hurry, go ahead and finish it.  I sprinkled this crust with some flakes of sea salt and parmesan cheese before prebaking.  It almost didn’t get finished.  I wanted to dive right in at this point!  Yum!

Gluten Free PIzza

This however, was worth waiting for!  Truly the best gluten free pizza I have ever eaten!  It takes so little work.  Just some time to cook, but it is so easy to make.  I hope you enjoy some soon!

Thick and Chewy Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 12 inch pizza
Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 1¼ c gluten free flour - De's mix
  • ¼ c sweet rice flour
  • ¼ c almond meal
  • 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ⅓ c nonfat dry milk powder
  • ¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (under 110 degrees - warm to the touch)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • gluten free pizza sauce
  • Toppings to your taste
  • Mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Line a 12 inch round pizza pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray or grease with olive oil. You can also use a cookie sheet and just shape the pizza to your own liking.
  2. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand until bubbly.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with a regular beater (not the dough hook) place the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the bowl and mix on low until blended, then beat on medium until dough comes together. You can also just mix this up by hand in a large mixing bowl. Its a very loose and easy dough to mix.
  5. Place the dough onto the pizza pan. It will be very soft. Cover your hand with plastic wrap or sandwich baggie, and pour a little olive oil onto the pizza dough. Use your covered hand to press and shape the pizza dough to fit the pan. I leave a very small lip on the edge like a traditional pizza.
  6. Place a pizza stone (if you have one) on the bottom rack of the oven. Place the pizza on the middle rack (for now) into the cold oven. Turn the oven to 350 and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is firm and beginning to brown. This slow start is crucial to drive off the water from the dough and slowly raise the dough. This helps prevent a soggy middle.
  7. When the crust is just starting to brown, remove from the oven. If you have time, it is best to let the crust cool before finishing. If not, I guarantee it will still get eaten! It just helps prevent the middle of the pizza from being soggy if it cools completely. Increase the temperature to 500. Brush the edge of the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with a little grated parmesan.
  8. Spread sauce on the rest of the crust, top with cheese and other ingredients as you wish. If you have a pizza stone, slide the pizza using the parchment paper onto the stone. If you don't have a stone, just leave it on the pan and place it on the bottom rack. Bake 10 minutes until golden brown.

 

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