Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thick Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

    Since my mom was diagnosed with Celiac Disease almost two years ago, a lot has changed in how we eat in our house. I still eat lots of cakes and breads (God, I love bread...) when I go out or am at a friend's house, but at home, we don't have a whole lot of "glutenous," as we've come to call them, foods around.
   My mom and I used to love making our own pizza at home - we could make it just the way we wanted it, and it ended up being a lot healthier (and cheaper) than ordering one. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to try to make one gluten-free.
I was terrified when I was faced with this giant blob, but alas, we must persevere...
   The biggest problem we've found with the gluten-free pizzas that can be found in the frozen aisle of the supermarket is that the crusts are either tasteless (think cardboard) or soggy (think wet bread type thing...). I was assuming that our first try at a homemade crust would be pretty bad and we would have to tweak the recipe in the future, but it ended up being great! It is fluffy with a crisp bottom, just like a thick, classic pizza crust.
  I wish I could say I was responsible for the lovely asparagus circle, but my mom took care of everything after the crust-making. Whatever she did, this was one delicious dinner! This crust is actually surprisingly filling, too - one 12" pizza (with a side salad) served three people easily. This crust will definitely be made again in the future - dare I say it's even better than a regular wheat flour crust?!
Thick Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder or nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil (for dough)
2 tablespoons olive oil (for pan)

Place the dry ingredients (except the yeast) into a large mixing bowl; the bowl of your stand mixer is perfect. Mix until thoroughly blended.
Place the warm water, olive oil, yeast, and about 1/2 cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. Stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.
Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. The mixture will be thick and sticky - don't worry, just keep going! Note: you must use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer to make this dough; mixing by hand doesn't do a thorough enough job.
Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil onto the center of a baking sheet or 12" round pizza pan. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the puddle of oil.
Using your wet fingers, start at the center of the dough and work outwards, pressing it into a 12" to 14" circle.
Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, just until it's set; the surface will look opaque, rather than shiny.
Remove from the oven and top with whatever you like (we used tomato sauce, cheese, and asparagus). Return to the oven to finish baking, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the toppings you've chosen.
Remove from the oven, and serve warm.
   -one 12" to 14" pizza

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