I knew it wasn’t going to be big and fluffy like normal pizza crust and I was okay with that. Thin-crust pizzas are “in” these days anyway. This crust was nice and crispy on the outside but soft and a little sweet on the inside, and worked just fine. I scoured a million gluten-free pizza crust recipes online and this one got the best reviews. I would add my positive review to that mix.
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup almond, soy, or regular milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for spreading the crust
Whisk together the tapioca flour, white rice flour, chickpea flour, sorghum flour, xanthum gum, and salt. You need to whisk because these flours are so dense already that they need all the air in them they can get.
In small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together milk and 1/4 cup water and heat until warm but not hot to the touch, about 1 minute (the mixture should register between 105°F and 115° F on candy thermometer).
Then remove the pot from the heat and stir in the yeast and sugar. Add the egg whites, 2 tablespoons oil, and the milk/yeast mixture to whisked flours and whisk for about 5 minutes or so. You’re supposed to use the paddle attachment on an electric mixer and beat at medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until dough is very smooth and very thick, (about 5 minutes). But I don’t have one of those – a mixer I mean. I do, however, have a friend with capable arms. Thanks, friend, for your whisking ability and patience.
Remove the racks from oven, set pizza stone or heavy upturned baking sheet directly on the bottom of oven, and preheat to 400°F. (Preheat at least 45 minutes if using pizza stone or 20 minutes if using baking sheet.)
Now it gets a bit more complicated, but worth it. Cut out two 12-inch squares of parchment paper. Scrape half of the dough onto each square and form each half into a ball. (This is hard. You can oil or flour your hands so the dough sticks less, so have a little bowl of one or more gluten-free flours nearby, or a little dish of oil.)
Coat each ball with 2 teaspoons oil, then use your oiled fingertips to pat and stretch each ball into 9-inch-diameter round, 1/4 inch thick, with a 1/2-inch-thick border (so make it thicker around the edges like a regular crust. The dough won’t really want to stretch, but coax it, encourage it, swear if necessary, and it will eventually be crust-like. Remember you’re going to top it, so it doesn’t have to be pretty except around the edges. ALSO remember that if you’re using a rectangular baking sheet you need to stretch your pizza into the shape of a rectangle).
Now the stupid part: You’re suppose to “loosely cover the rounds with plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free place until each pizza is about 10 inches in diameter, about 20 minutes”. If you put plastic wrap on this stuff it’s going to stick like nobody’s business. So I say just put the dough in a relatively draft-free, warm area and cross your fingers. Maybe if you top it with flour first the plastic wrap wouldn’t stick? Or you could use parchment paper or wax paper? I’m still skeptical, though. Remove this top part before completing the next step.
Using baking peel (what the heck s a baking peel?), transfer 1 crust with parchment to a preheated pizza stone (or baking sheet. Be careful, they’re hot!) and bake until the top is puffed and firm and the underside is crisp (5 to 10 minutes). Now remove the parchment paper and transfer the baked crust to a rack to cool. Bake the second crust the same way (transfer it to the baking sheet with the bottom parchment paper still attached.
This is great advice from the original recipe: Baked crusts can be made ahead and frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 1 month. Thaw in 350°F oven until hot, 4 to 5 minutes, before topping and broiling. Just 1 month, though! Why, I’m not sure. Egg whites, maybe??
Top the pizzas however you want. With tomato sauce. With vegetables or meat (my personal favourite is sautéed mushrooms and green peppers, pictured above, and I’ll be honest that the oil-based dairy-free mozzarella from Daiya was pretty tasty. Gross, but tasty). However you want to top it, do it. When you’re ready to bake the pizzas, preheat the broiler (low or high, depending on how attentive you’re planning to be. High is dangerous). Transfer the baked crusts to 2 large baking sheets (or do them one at a time. I know two large baking sheets won’t fit under my broiler).
Broil the pizzas about 4 inches from heat, rotating as needed for even browning, until cheese (the fake kind or the real kind if you can handle dairy but not gluten) is bubbling and browned in places and the crust is golden brown, 4 to 8 minutes (the Daiya cheese doesn’t brown very well, though…so don’t burn the crust waiting for it to melt and brown).
Slice and serve the pizza immediately.