Crunchy and Soft Gluten-Free Pizza

Introduction: Crunchy and Soft Gluten-Free Pizza

About: I'm a husband, father, programmer/analyst, FIRST Lego League coach, gluten-sensitive narcoleptic, art-school drop-out, and food source advocate. I live in Central Ohio with my wife and two daughters where w...

Crunchy, and fold-able without crumbling, this recipe usually has people double checking to make sure I gave them a Gluten-Free pizza.

It follows the same base recipe as my Surprising Soft Gluten Free Bread Instructable.  Which makes it pretty handy to use the same mix for both applications.

I usually get two large pizzas out of it.  Sorry that I can't give you an accurate diameter measurement as each of my baking sheets is a different size. :-)

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Step 1: Batter-Up!

The first thing to realize is that we have to give up on our pre-conceived ideas of raw pizza dough. Without the gluten protein, we couldn't hope to be able to use a rolling pin here, let alone hand toss something.  If we want that light and fluffy texture, we'll have to find another way.

We are going to make a batter, and pour it onto a baking sheet to rise.  Yeah it's kinda weird, but it works.

Probably the most actively time consuming step is measuring out the ingredients.  Once you get used to making it,  save yourself the trouble of getting all those dry ingredients out and washing your measuring spoons/cups all the time .  Get several quart sized Ziploc baggies out and measure a batch into each one.
To ease your social conscience, don't pitch the baggie once you use it.  It can be re-used next time around until you deem it to have served it's useful lifespan.

In a decent sized mixing bowl start with these


1 1/4 Cup Brown Rice Flour* - (I use Bob's Red Mill (BRM) bought in bulk from Amazon)
1 1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch/Flour - (best deal is on the bags from the Asian food stores - under $1 per pound, but BRM is good too)
   1/3 Cup potato starch
   1/3 Cup sugar (due to the refining process, it's probably the most chemically pure ingredient in the world)
   1/4 Cup corn starch
2 Tbsp sorghum flour (for flavor)
1 Tbsp Quinoa flour (for protein)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Xanthan gum (go easy on this stuff)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp powdered pectin (from the canning aisle)

1 tsp ground flax seed  - optional

*You can substitute some white rice flour if you're running low.  Play around have fun. Let me know what works best for you

In a separate (smaller) bowl, thoroughly mix your wet ingredients.  Maybe I should say emulsify them to be more precise.  I'm known to use a stick blender.

1 Cup Water (warmer means a faster rise, but don't go over 130F)
1/2 + Cup Oil ( go a little more than half a cup, but closer to a half than two thirds)
1/2 + Cup Egg Whites (in equal parts to your oil)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
2 1/2 tsp (one packet) active dry yeast

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until the lumps are gone.
YOUR MIX SHOULD BE RUNNY!  Notice in the picture that I stirred it with a whisk. Wet is good.

Step 2: Shaping the Crust

Just after mixing, pour your batter onto any of the following approved baking surfaces:
  • Well greased pan
  • Parchment Paper (on a pan)
  • Silicone baking sheet (also on a pan)
Try to spread it out with a spatula or the whisk, or the bottom of a measuring cup.  Whatever is easiest.

If you are having trouble evening out the "dough", try this trick.  Be warned it's a bit messy.  Using really wet hands (literally dripping wet) try to smooth out the surface.  It feels squishy and weird, and you'll have to keep rinsing your hands out, but it helps give a extra bit of starchy crunch to the crust.  It almost makes up for not getting to knead it by hand like real dough.

Step 3: Rise and Par-bake

The longest part of any yeast-based baking is the rise.  I usually find that it has sufficiently risen about 10 minutes after I've given up hope that it's going to have any rise at all.
We won't be punching this down again once it's risen.  We're just gonna go with the first rise and par bake it at 350 degrees (F) for about 7 minutes.  

For the record, I think the one in the pictures is just a little over-baked for a par-bake.  Funny enough, what you want to look for is something that almost resembles traditional pizza dough.  It should be able to be moved around and not wet in the middle.

Step 4: Top and Bake

The pizzas in the pictures we baked in an oven at 365 for a little too long. (12 minutes)  I had dared to step away and rely on a timer.  
You should bake them for about 10 minutes or until the cheese looks the way you want it to.
The result was a crunchy crust that was soft in the middle and could be folded.  If fact, my youngest daughter had used on of her pieces as a puppet at the table, and then audibly crunched into the crust..  I probably shouldn't encourage that type of behavior, but it was pretty adorable.

My preferred method of baking is on a pizza stone on a gas grill.  It really gives a superior crunch on the bottom and doesn't burn the toppings if monitored carefully.

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