This time last summer our friend Laura found out she had food allergies. Not the kind that can be cured with an enzyme pill or avoidance of cheese. The kind that require eliminating half your diet. She was heartbroken for it and we were, too. We ate together all the time and the allergies imparted all kinds of complications. But after rallying our spirits we ventured to explore new and better recipes together, namely ones free of gluten since it seemed to be the main culprit in her diet.
Laura’s family has always had homemade pizza on Sunday nights – a tradition she loved then resented after she couldn’t participate. She and I both searched for gluten-free crust alternatives but always ended up with doughy, bean-flavored, less-than-memorable results. Then Laura had the brilliant idea to try her mom’s traditional crust recipe, only subbing in a gluten free flour blend in place of all purpose to keep it allergen-free.
The result – oh man – no joke, the best gluten free pizza crust I’ve ever had. She even prefers it over restaurant versions now and I nearly prefer it over GLUTEN versions at regular pizzerias! It’s that good. If you have gluten free eaters in your life you simply must try this recipe. As Nacho Libre says, “It’s the baaayyyyysst.”
I convinced Laura to let me share her recipe and photograph her making it. So John and I joined her and her husband Ben at their place on a recent weeknight evening. We split a couple bottles of wine, made pizza and I took photos. Oh yes, and we laughed and joked. We always do. These guys are the best. Husbands watched on as the women worked. Typical ; )
We went with pepperoni for our main topping, boys’ request. The girls pizza had Daiya mozzarella shreds to keep it dairy-free, since Laura and I try to avoid dairy whenever possible. It was insanely delicious. This pizza is super, seriously. Insanely good. It’s so good, in fact, that just looking at it I want it again, RIGHT NOW.
The best part? Just 7 ingredients (with the gluten free flour blend) and about an hour from start to finish! The result? A crust that actually gets crisp on the outsides and stays a little tender on the inside. It is a bit delicate as most gluten free breads are, but certainly nothing one can’t master. I’ve watched Laura make it dozens of times now and she’s getting quite good at it. She doesn’t even need the recipe and eyeballs when something looks off.
As Shauna Niequist shares in her new book “Bread and Wine,” try a recipe once and follow it to a “t.” Try it a second time and make your own tweaks. Try it a third time by memory and it’s yours. Enjoy.
What are you waiting for? Make. This. Pizza!
- 3 cups gluten free flour blend* (1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup white rice flour, 1 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 Tbsp yeast
- 1 1/4 cup warm water, divided
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and 3/4 cup warm water - about 110 degrees. Too hot and it will kill the yeast! Let set for 5 minutes to activate. Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of the sugar a few minutes in.
- In a separate bowl, combine gluten free flour blend, salt, baking powder and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Whisk until well combined.
- Make a well in the dry mixture and add the yeast mixture. Add the olive oil and additional 1/2 cup warm water before stirring. Then stir it all together until well combined, using a wooden spoon (see photo).
- Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza stone with non-stick spray and plop your dough down. Using your hands and a little brown rice flour if it gets too sticky, work from the middle and push to spread/flatten the dough out to the edge (see pictures). You want it to be pretty thin - less than 1/4 inch.
- Put the pizza in the oven to pre-bake for roughly 25-30 minutes, or until it begins to look dry. Cracks may appear, but that's normal and totally OK.
- Remove from oven and spread generously with your favorite pizza sauce, cheese and desired toppings. We went with Daiya to keep ours dairy-free. Pop back in oven for another 20-25 minutes, or until the crust edge looks golden brown and the toppings are warm and bubbly.
- Cut immediately and serve. Reheats well the next day in the oven or microwave.
* Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 slice without toppings.
* Recipe yields 1.5 crusts, enough for 2 small-medium pizzas, or 1 large and 1 personal pan.
* The gluten free flour blend is a suggestion, but a strong one. However, try your own blend if you prefer, or sub all purpose if not gluten free.
* You can make this recipe ahead of time, up to 1-2 days in advance stored covered in the refrigerator until time of use. However, it is best when made fresh.
* If the dough is finicky or sticky when spreading out, simply sprinkle on a little more brown rice flour to keep it from sticking.
* Recipe by my dear friend, Laura (and Laura’s mom).
* Laura’s favorite sauce is 1 small can of tomato paste, 1/2 cup water and equal pinches salt, pepper, dried basil, oregano, thyme and garlic powder.