Yummy Gluten Free Pizza
I kind of can't believe I got such a delicious result on my first attempt at making a gluten free pizza crust from scratch, and that I got the slightly gummy, chewy texture I was hoping for (I know, regular pizza crust is a bit less gummy, but I've gotten addicted to Sweet Freedom's gluten-free pizza crust and now consider that the gold standard)—especially since I made a couple mistakes when following the recipe.
I'm less surprised that I got the toppings right, since I've had some practice at my friend Shelly's regular pizza nights (she and her roommates provide the dough, both regular and gluten free, guests bring toppings to share, and people take turns assembling pies and running them through the oven). The gf crust mixes that Shelly has tried are fine, but they have struck me as a bit too thick and too sweet—more biscuit-like than pizza-like. (I think at the most recent pizza party she used Bob's Red Mill's mix.) These more biscuit-like crusts actually make a great base for a blue cheese and fig jam-topped pie, but I wanted something thinner, chewier, and more savory.
My son got me a book called 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes for Christmas last year, so this is where I turned for an alternative to the prepared mixes. The author, Carol Fenster, has a recipe for what she calls "Carol's Sorghum Blend" that is the basis for most of her baked-good recipes. I apparently bought the ingredients for it a while back thinking I would make some but never got around to it; luckily everything was still in date (or close enough). It's simple:
It makes 4 cups, and you will only need 1/2 cup for this recipe, so store the rest. (I spooned most of mine into a container, but what didn't fit—probably a scant 1/4 cup—I just left in the bowl and later mixed with glutinous rice flour for dusting.)
Now, the recipe for the crust as written, with notes about what I did wrong/differently.
1 T. active dry yeast (I used 1 packet of Hodgson Mill Active Dry Yeast)
2 1/2 t. sugar (I used only 1 unleveled teaspoon)
2/3 c. warm (110°F) milk of choice (I used 1/2 c. half and half and made up the remainder with Fat Free Lactaid milk)
2/3 c. potato starch
1/2 c. Carol's Sorghum Blend
2 t. xanthan gum (it looked like the pantry moths I've been battling for months got into my supply of xantham gum, but I have been leaning toward guar gum instead recently anyway and had a fresh batch of that, so I substituted 2 unleveled teaspoons of guar gum)
1 t. Italian seasoning (I threw out my supply when I cleaned out the spice cupboard last week and haven't replaced it yet, so I left this out)
1 t. onion powder (I don't have any of this, so I substituted a few shakes of granulated garlic)
3/4 t. salt (I used a scant teaspoon of kosher salt)
2 T. olive oil
2 t. apple cider vinegar (I thought to double-check the measure only after adding the first *tablespoon*, so I technically used 3 t.)
Shortening for greasing pizza pan (there's an admonishment to not use cooking spray; I didn't have spray or shortening, so I used unsalted butter and a nonstick cookie sheet)
White rice flour, for dusting (I used the sorghum blend-mixed-with-Mochiko mentioned above)
Place a rack in the bottom position and another in the middle position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°.
In a small bowl (I used a measuring glass), dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk. Set aside to foam, about 5 minutes. In a food processor, blend the yeast mixture, potato starch, sorghum blend, xanthan gum, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, 1 T. of oil, and vinegar, until a ball forms. (I measured all my ingredients into a bowl first, and only noticed that I was supposed to reserve 1 T. of the oil after I'd added both tablespoons. I mixed it all up, dumped it into my mini food processor, and blended until the motor started to chug and give off a burning electrical smell, which was before the dough formed a ball. I scraped it out of the food processor and back into the bowl, then set the bowl on the stove while I greased my cookie sheet.)
Generously grease a 12-inch nonstick (gray, not black) pizza pan with shortening. Do not use cooking spray—it makes it harder to shape the dough. (As noted, I used unsalted butter and a cookie sheet.)
Place the dough on the prepared pan. Liberally dust the dough with the rice flour, then press the dough into the pan with your hands, continuing to dust with the flour to prevent sticking as needed. (I pressed my crust out as thinly as I could without leaving holes.) Make the edges thicker to contain the toppings. Bake the pizza crust on the bottom rack until the crust begins to brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes. (I guessed it would take 10, and was about right. I probably could have left it for 12.) Remove the crust from the oven.
This is where I said, "OK, I have a crust; I don't need instructions on how to top it," so what follows is not from any recipe. I used (amounts approximate; I didn't measure):
2-3 T. Trader Joe's pizza sauce (I should have mixed in a bit of barbecue sauce, which goes REALLY well with goat cheese, but I went a bit overboard in trying to avoid the sweetness of the prepared crust mixes)
1/4 - 1/3 c. Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio
1/2 c. chopped broccoli crown, stir fried with olive oil and granulated garlic in a very hot cast iron skillet
1 T. crumbled goat cheese
1/4 - 1/3 c. mozzarella cheese
I layered these onto the crust in the order noted, then greased my fingers with olive oil and rubbed the raised crust a bit. The pizza went back into the oven on the middle rack until the cheese started to bubble, and then I slid it onto the counter and cut it into slices. Very, very, yum.