Before I went gluten-free or BC (Before Celiac) as I call it, my husband and I would make homemade pizza. Not just Boboli with toppings thrown on, I’m talking the whole deal with homemade crust and all. I still remember the first time I tasted this homemade crust at a friend’s house about 7 years ago. It was incredible. I had to have the recipe. I tried it and I was astonished when I took my first bite; it tasted just as good as when my friend had made it. I didn’t even care that I had burnt the roof of my mouth because I was so eager to try it (some things never change). The whole “yeast thing” was a little unnerving, but my husband and I had carefully followed the handwritten recipe. Homemade pizza crust success! Then it kinda became our thing. I mean when we made pizza on Friday nights I always liked to mention to our friends, “yep, it’s pizza night tonight”. And then I’d nonchalantly throw in “with homemade crust of course”. I’d love that look I’d get as they would ask “Wait, homemade crust?” Then maybe my friend would sigh and say something about wishing they had time for stuff like homemade crust. In our house we made time for stuff like homemade crust.
After the celiac diagnosis my mourning for pizza was fortunately short-lived as I quickly found pre-made store-bought gluten-free pizza crusts (that’s for another post). But, I was missing Pizza Night which included the whole marital ritual of making the homemade crust (including the never-ending debate about whether we actually needed a thermometer to test the water temp for the yeast or not). Then someone told me there were actually gluten-free pizza crust mixes out there, and so that was the next step. We tried a few bad mixes, and then found a good one. But, you guessed it; I wasn’t satisfied. It wasn’t from scratch. Growing up my mother never used mixes. She was mortified when I came home from college once and found a Ghirardelli brownie mix in the cupboard. She told me a story about how my sister had brought into the house and she didn’t want to have to throw it away.
I understood that now. I am a baker. And I do not want to use mixes. I have been gluten-free long enough. It’s time.
Enter the days and weeks and months of experimental pizzas. My poor husband sure endured a lot of pizza testing. It would always start out good. We would both take a bite, then look at each other and shrug and say, “Yeah, it’s ok.” or “Not too bad.” I tried various gluten-free recipes after my own creations failed to hit the spot. This was pretty frustrating for me since I was having success with other baked goods. I had made amazing gluten-free red velvet cupcakes, and the brownies I made were better than any gluten-containing ones I’d ever had. I’d had good luck with cookies and muffins. And yes I had to make them a few times to get it just right, but this pizza dough was kicking my butt. Gluten-free pizza crust and breads are a bit more tricky. And I was at high elevation to boot.
Meanwhile Gluten Free Girl and The Chef had mentioned their pizza recipe on their blog. Of course I should have tried it earlier, but I had been using their recipes as a fall back when mine would fail, and I didn’t want to resort to that this time. Gluten Free Girl is
like my cyber gluten-free mentor and I wanted to do this one all by myself. But they kept mentioning this darn recipe on their blog. And then I bought their book (AND met them at a book signing at the Tattered Cover!). I kept flipping to the recipe and it taunted me on its brand new glossy page. So I threw in the kitchen towel and made it.
It was the best tasting pizza crust recipe I have found to date. I made some adjustments for my mile high elevation (less yeast), and then tweaked it a bit to cut down on the rise time, and now I am happy. But then the Gluten Free Girl wrote this post about needing to change her pizza crust recipe since she discovered she could no longer tolerate xanthan or guar gum. She replaced the gums with chia seeds or flax meal and it STILL turned out ok. Cool, I’ve got to try that. I read on in the same post to discover Shauna also makes a variation with a higher ratio of whole grains to starches and it STILL turned out well. Ok, so I’ve made all the variations Gluten Free Girl has mentioned, right? Not quite. First, I do not have an issue with gums, so I do not have a need to change that. And I haven’t tried a higher ratio of whole grain yet (it tastes so good as is, I don’t wanna mess with it). But of course I will, soon. I just didn’t want to wait any longer to share the recipe I have now because I want others to try it or some variation of Gluten Free Girl’s pizza crust recipe! I don’t want anyone to go another day of trying yucky gluten-free pizza! So, ladies and gentleman, here it is. My favorite gluten-free pizza crust recipe.
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe
adapted from Gluten-Free Girl
Note: It is important in my version of this recipe to not pre-heat the oven.
125g (1 cup) cornstarch
125g (3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) corn flour
125g (3/4 cup) potato starch
125g (3/4 cup) sweet rice flour
2 tsp Italian seasonings
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1 tsp guar gum
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1 & 3/4 cup warm water (110°-115°F)
1/4 cup EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and a little extra for brushing
3 tsp rapid rise yeast (at sea level use 4 tsp)
Cornmeal for sprinkling on pan
Using only a 1/2 cup of the warm water, add the sugar and yeast and wait 5-10 mins for the yeast to activate. While you wait add the four gluten-free flours, xanthan gum, guar gum and salt in a large bowl and mix with a whisk. Sift dry mix into a stand mixer. Add the Italian seasonings and oil to the dry ingredients. When the yeast has had enough time to activate, pour the yeasty water in the stand mixer along with the remaining water (1 & 1/4 cup).
Using a dough hook if you have one, turn the mixer on medium for a few minutes until all the dough comes together or clings to the hook.
Sprinkle cornmeal (or corn flour) onto a pizza stone or cookie sheet. The first time we made this recipe we used all the dough for our regular-sized pizza stone and it made very thick crust. Then I realized the recipe was for TWO pizzas. Currently our favorite method is to take about 1/3 of the dough aside and put it in 1 or two aluminum mini pie pans to bake foccacia rolls which makes a yummy treat for lunch the next day. Then we take the rest of the dough and press it out to fit our pizza stone. An important detail here is to wet your hands with water as you press the dough out. This helps tremendously with all my gluten free doughs. I keep a little bowl of water next to me to dip my fingers into while I press the dough out. Experiment to see what crust thickness you like. Brush a little olive oil onto the outer edges of the crust if you want.
Place crust into the middle rack of a cold oven and turn oven on to 500°F. Putting rapid rise yeast dough into a warming oven to rise and bake in one step is a great time-saving trick! This trick come from fellow Celiac and gluten-free baker Jessica Visinsky from the CSU Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center. In my electric oven I found once the oven’s preheat chime went off, the crust was ready to come out, roughly 25 mins. If the crust starts to brown, take it out. Keep the oven on while you top the pizza with your favorite gluten-free sauce or oil and toppings. When you put the pizza back in, it only needs to be in long enough to heat the toppings and melt and slightly brown the cheese. Mine took about 10 minutes.
Check out the nifty video the Gluten Free Girl and the Chef made on this post if you want to see how they make it.
Above is the first crust we made with all the dough.
This is our favorite crust thickness with 1/3 of the dough removed.
Here’s what I call my focaccia roll that I made with the remaining dough.
It was so yummy with my homemade chicken noodle soup the next day.
I’d love to hear about what you end up creating! Never settle for mediocre gluten-free food!