Gluten-Free Adventures: Pizza Crust

>> Thursday, February 11, 2010

Emma asked us: "I'm a pizza lover myself, but recently found out that I might be wheat intolerant. Know of any good gluten-free pizza dough recipes?" Well, I certainly tried my best this weekend to create a gluten-free, wheat-free crust with items we already had in our kitchen (part of the whole budget-friendly part of this blog). I don't think I achieved the best results ever (tastes amazing, doesn't totally stick together) . . . but for improvisation, I think I earn an A-.

Let's take a closer look at what's inside . . .

All homemade and clockwise from left to right: Rice flour, cornmeal flour, flax meal (OK, that one wasn't ground by me), oat flour, and cashew flour. What I found when I started looking up gluten-free pizza crust recipes is that they all seem to have 1,000,000 types of flours in them. All of which I didn't own. So, I tried making my own with the base ingredients -- grinding them in our food processor. Some worked better than others.

For example, oat flour (above) is super simple to create and I use it in many items. I'm new to the whole gluten-free arena, but I've heard oats are an iffy subject. Can anyone fill me in on that? I did also read that some believe they're totally gluten-free, which is why I ultimately decided to include them in the recipe.

The rice "flour" on the other hand was much more difficult to create, and it never totally took a complete flour texture. It was more like cornmeal. And it also took a good 10 minutes to reduce to this grainy texture. I may have also lost some hearing in my left ear. Ouch.

The cornmeal (above, difference between flour and regular meal) did grind nicely into a powdery stuff with enough pulses (and I happened to have a gluten-free variety on hand from Bob's Red Mill).

As did the raw cashews. There are much easier ways to make these things, but instead of going to the grocery store and buying a whole new stock of flour . . . I'm pretty proud of the results.

Basically, to create the flours, I just took the raw ingredients and pulsed them in our food processor until they took on as many flour characteristics (powdery-ness, no lumps/bumps, etc.) as possible. This isn't the best way to perform this process, and I know there are mills for this sort of endeavor.

My friend Meg wrote an article about using a flour mill. Though her writeup features wheat flour and L'Equip VitaMill, I think it would also work on all the ingredients I include in this recipe.

What you'll need . . .
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 2 tablespoons raw cashew "flour"
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon agave or honey
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (wrist temperature)
  • Extra flour of any kind for dusting (I used the rice)

Method . . .
  1. Grind all your flours ahead of time so they're ready. Then sift them all together with the salt and yeast granules.
  2. Make an impression in the dry ingredients with your fist -- a hole where you'll put the wet ingredients.
  3. Then pour the warm water into the hole, followed by the agave or honey, olive oil, and cider vinegar.
  4. Mix for 4 minutes -- until fully combined.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Transfer to a clean work surface dusted with flour of your choice. Form into a ball, cut in half, and then transfer each to a piece of parchment.
  7. Using a piece of plastic wrap on top, roll out the dough into a circular shape -- until thin. Repeat with next dough round.
  8. Then bake -- without toppings -- for 5 minutes, until the dough has hardened. This is called parbaking. Repeat with other crust. Then continue on to your toppings. We put salsa as our tomato base, fresh mozzarella, some of our leftover cheese from the Vegetarian Juicy Lucy, black beans, and avocado (after baking).
  9. Bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned.

Stephen and I both thought the crust was really good. But it was extremely easy to break apart. You can't pick up a piece of this pizza. You have to scoop it. It tastes quite good, but -- again -- the texture isn't quite "normal" . . . so I think I'll set out on another gluten-free pizza adventure sometime soon. I found a variety of recipes since this project that look more like "real" pizza crust.

So, here's my question to you all: What you're favorite gluten-free, wheat-free pizza crust recipe? The one that's most authentic?

Thanks to Emma for asking us this great question! If you have anything you want to know related to the content in this blog, just email us at -- and we'll be happy to take a stab at answering for you! You also still have until this evening to enter our Martha Stewart's Cooking School cookbook giveaway. Just our little way of celebrating reaching 500 (and now 630) subscribers.

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