Last week was a cooking milestone—a bad one. The family wanted pizza and I was too rushed to make the pizza crust recipe in Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen. The recipe is time consuming, first of all because that recipe depends on the complex gluten-free flour created for the cookbook, and second of all making any pizza from scratch (gluten-free or regular using wheat flour), means first making the crust, letting it rise, then shaping, stretching, and for gluten-free versions, pre-baking, then topping and baking.
So I took the “easy” way out: I picked up a new gluten-free pizza crust mix and carefully mixed and pre-baked it according to package directions. I had never tried this mix before and was very hopeful because, although I have not exhausted all the mixes, the ones I have tried were not very good. This one was awful. It had the texture of a limp cracker and absolutely no flavor.
This week I found creative ways to make homemade pizza easy and delicious.
First I created a new crust recipe using the Simple Gluten-Free Flour, or Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 baking flour ™. So you don’t even have to mix your own flour if you have run out, as I sometimes do. Second, I made the crust one day ahead. I just dumped all the dry ingredients in the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, gave them a quick mix, and then added the water and olive oil. But here comes the best part: I sprayed a gallon size self-sealing plastic bag well (not missing the corners), set it inside a quart bowl with the edges draped over the bowl, scraped the dough in,
Squeezed out the air, sealed it and refrigerated it overnight.
The next day, when ready to make the pizza, I sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and lined a half-sheet pan with parchment paper, dumped the refrigerated dough onto the parchment. Then I oiled my fingers and simply patted it out into an informal rectangle, prebaked it for about 10 minutes. The pizza was topped half with homemade pizza tomato sauce (or your could use gluten-free pizza sauce), and half with thinly sliced, patted-dry ripe farmer’s market tomatoes. All that was left was to add shredded mozzarella from the bag and bake it.
Trust me when I tell you it’s the closest thing to regular pizza yet.
- First make the crust:
- 2 cups Simple Gluten-Free Flour , or Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 Baking Flour™
- 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried egg whites
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant or bread machine active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Make the pizza:
- Gluten free pizza sauce, as needed OR Thinly sliced ripe tomatoes, patted dry, as needed
- Nonstick cooking spray, as needed
- 1 ½ to 2 cups shredded mozzarella or nondairy alternative such as Daiya
- Place all dry crust ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix to blend. Add water and olive oil. Mix until a thick dough forms, about 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
- Spray a gallon self-sealing plastic bag inside well (don’t forget corners) with nonstick cooking spray. Place bag over a one-quart bowl with the bag folded over the edges. Scrape the dough into the bag. Squeeze out the air, seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
- Spray a half-sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper. Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator, open the bag (or cut open if necessary) and dump the dough onto the parchment. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Using oiled fingers, pat out the dough into a rectangle about 10 by 14 inches and 1/4 inch thick. Prebake until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. (Don’t worry if cracks appear; they don’t go through the dough to the bottom).
- Remove from the oven. Spread the prebaked pizza generously with pizza sauce, or else top with sliced tomatoes and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively, spread pizza sauce on one half and sprayed tomatoes on the other.
- Top generously with shredded cheese.
- Bake until cheese is bubbling and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Cut 4 by 4 using a pizza cutter.
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