Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

One of the things prevalent in both the Down syndrome community and the Autism community is the presence of people on gluten-free diets.  In the Ds community, a lot of our kids are gluten intolerant.  The bear cub is not one of these fortunately since she seems to be drawn to every wheat product in sight.  In the Autism community there are a few that are gluten intolerant, but the greater reason a lot of kids are on the diet is because it often affects behavior.  In this case I'm not sure that I'm fortunate that the nerdlet's symptoms aren't affected by diet because I would love some control of her issues.  I have, however, been trying to eliminate a large amount of the gluten in all our diets simply for the health benefits, so I have been checking out a number of books on the subject from the library, and just recently I have started checking out cookbooks (and possibly I might have bought a few).

I finally broke down and started buying some of the ingredients because it seems that all the recipes require a ton.  I started with the cookbook "the diary-free & gluten-free kitchen", and yes, the title is in all lower case which has sort of been driving me nuts since I've had it.  For a couple of years while we lived in Panama, we lived next door to a family that had pizza every Friday and I always thought that was very cool and lately I've been thinking that I'd like to implement that tradition in our family so I figured that was a really good way to try out gluten-free recipes.  If anyone has their own gluten-free suggestions for cookbooks, recipes, flour mixtures, or binders, I'd love to hear/read them.

First, the gluten-free flour mix from the cookbook:
     1 1/4 cups brown or white rice flour
     3/4 cup potato starch
     1/2 cup tapioca flour
     1/2 cup sorghum flour
Combine and mix with whisk until thoroughly combined.  Keep in airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 months.

Making this was interesting.  First potato starch and potato flour are two different things and not only do Whole foods employees all the way up the chain not know this, apparently even some manufacturers of the products do not know this and you will find one company label their box with both names.

Next, I decided to be cheap and ground both the brown rice flour and the tapioca flour in my Vitamix.  Grinding the flours isn't difficult.  The tapioca flour requires no instruction really.  I simply put the tapioca in the dry container and started at low variable speed and slowly went up until it was on high and left it there until a flour.  It didn't even take that long, maybe a minute.  The brown rice flour took a little more work.  I did a cup at a time (this wasn't the only flour mix that I was making with brown rice) and maybe if I did a 1/2 cup like the tapioca, it would have worked slightly better.  I started a variable low and slowly raised it to 5 and left it there for about a minute.  Then I raised it slightly again and left it there for a few minutes.  When it got to the top variable speed, I left it until I started seeing that there was flour flying around and the bigger pieces were being left behind.  Then I shut off the machine, banged the container around, and started over as needed, until I had a nice consistent flour.  The vitamix was pretty warm when I was all done.

Since this made 3 cups of flour and the crispy and traditional pizza crusts in the cookbook required close to that, I decided to try both recipes out.  I only took pictures of the crispy crust, but here they are.

They were pretty well received. Darth Baby ate two pieces herself, half of the bear cub's and most of the bear cub's toppings, and bites of Q's. The nerdlet ate a whole piece herself and a bit of the crust from mine. Teh bear cub only ate half of her piece (the half with the crust). Q liked the thin crust better, but I liked the traditional crust better.  I will say that I normally love cold pizza for breakfast and I found the traditional crust leftovers tolerable but I couldn't eat the crispy crust version cold.

Crispy Pizza Crust:
     1 1/2 gluten-free flour mix
     2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
     1/4 tsp xanthan gum
     1/4 tsp thyme
     1/4 tsp oregano
     1/4 tsp garlic powder
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 cup water
Preheat oven to 425.  Line a metal pizza pan with parchment paper (I used silicon sheets).

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk thoroughly.  Add water and stir to combine with rubber spatula.  Work quickly to spread batter less than 1/2 inch thick on parchment paper.  Pre-bake crust 15 minutes.  After adding toppings, bake another 8 minutes.  (My suggestion is to not underbake at either point).

Traditional Pizza Crust:
     1/2 cup dairy milk alternative, warmed to 110 or 115 (I used pre-made almond milk but the book has a recipe)
     1/2 teaspoon date syrup (1 1/4 dates, 1 cup water, 1 tsp lemon juice blended in vitamix)
     1 package quick-rise yeast (I used 2 1/4 tsp of my bread machine yeast)
     1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix
     1 tsp xanthan gum
     1/2 tsp dried oregano
     1/4 tsp dried thyme
     1/4 tsp garlic powder
     1 Tbsp olive oil
     1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 425.  Line a metal pizza pan with parchment paper (I used silicon sheets).

In small bowl, combine milk and date syrup and stir.  Add yeast and stir until dissolved.  Set aside until mixture doubled in volume, about 10 minutes. 

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk thoroughly.

Add oil and vinegar to milk mixture and stir.  Add this to flour mixture and stir to combine with rubber spatula.  Spoon dough onto prepared pan, smoothing out center and building edge slightly.  Cover with damp ktich towel and place in warm area to rise for ~20 minutes.  Pre-bake for 15 minutes.  After adding toppings, bake another 8 minutes.  (Again I would suggest not underbaking at either point).


  1. It looks good! Ellie was gluten-free and casein-free for the first 2 years of her life due to a life-threatening oat allergy (couldn't have wheat because processed with oats!) and a dairy intolerance. I would love to tell you it helped with her ADHD but she got diagnosed while she was still gluten-free! Anyway, I don't have too many good recipes as I just ended up using a lot of Almond Milk, rice products, fresh fruit and baby veggies.

    1. I don't plan on posting everything on my blog, but I'll definitely let you know when I hit a good one. I plan on trying a number of pizza dough recipes.