This month when I heard that the Daring Bakers challenge was PIZZA, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was thrilled because it was another savory challenge! I also thought it was fantastic that they included a gluten-free alternative with the announcement itself. Cool, right? But on the other hand, it was suggested that we try to have a photo taken of ourselves throwing the dough. Unfortunately, even the most pliable gluten-free dough isn’t likely to survive a toss… and I usually do my Daring Bakers projects all by my lonesome… And no, the kitties aren’t very good at managing with f-stops and all that. They are pretty much masters of the nap in the afternoon, and that is about it. If you haven’t tried the food photography equivalent of yoga’s one legged tree pose with one hand on dough and the other hand smooshing a camera eyepiece to your face… while trying to keep shadows, camera straps and untoward crumbs in mind… well, let me just say, I don’t recommend it. On the up-side, I did manage to document my pretty pink manicure done special for Halloween. And, like all Daring Baker challenges, once I recovered from shock over how much time it would take, I had a great time playing with dough and coming up with some brand new, fun vegan toppings. To my pleasure, the determinedly NOT vegan DH gobbled down all the slices I would give him, and had some the next day for lunch without a single query of “where’s the cheese?”
The suggested GF Flour blend for the pizza recipe was undoubtedly quite nice, but it relied on oat flour, which I personally haven’t had the nerve to try yet. There were also comments that the corn flour had a strong flavor when the dough sat overnight, and corn flour isn’t one of my favorites anyway, so I decided to branch out. I didn’t go very far for inspiration, though, as I turned to my old standby, Carol Fenster’s amazing pizza crust. Proportions were a little awkward though, and I wanted to add something with a little extra nutritional (and protein-centered) punch, so I added some garfava flour to the recipe and adjusted it for convenience. Perhaps due to the large amount of xanthan gum in the recipe, it did require more liquid than called for in the gluten original. Next time I might reduce the amount of xanthan gum and see what happens. However, once I added sufficient water and let the mixers release the lovely protein in the dough, I found the dough to be beautifully workable. I shaped it on my cutting board on nonstick cooking oil sprayed wax paper and sliced it into pieces, then wrapping each one in saran wrap before storing them in a gallon ziploc bag for later.
Just how much later would it be used? Well… we didn’t have any other plans for dinner, so I decided to use one generous portion for pizza that night. I know, I know, bad. But I had it from very good authority that the overnight chill didn’t make much of a difference in gluten-free crusts, and I thought I would give it a try in the interest of scientific curiosity. The next question was what kind of topping to make. I knew I wanted to make a vegan topping, and for some reason it occured to me to make a pizza with a white sauce. I’d never seen such a thing, but surely they existed, right?
An internet search revealed a variety of recipes for a white sauce garlic sauce that one could use on pizza. I had proof others had tried this. At first I was enticed by the idea of making it a white sauce with wine and garlic. Unfortunately when I tried it, something about the soy milk and the wine… um… clashed. Horribly. I ended up throwing the whole thing out and starting again. This time I avoided the wine but kept the classic white sauce, although it was more of a tan than white shade. Hey, what with the cajun style browning of the roux, the brown in the garlic, and the creamy tones of the soy milk, I think it was inevitable. Regardless, it tasted great. It tasted even better when I topped it with caramelized onions, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and (some) spinach. Mmmm. Did I mention that the DH loved it? It might not be a traditional Roman style Bianca pizza topped with olive oil, salt and, occasionally, rosemary leaves… but I can always try that next time.
That night I baked the pizza with minimal refrigeration and without prebaking the crust. I felt a little uneasy about putting a white sauce on raw dough, but the dough was flexible and lovely when it came out the oven. I did wonder if it tasted “cooked” enough with a flour sauce topping it, so I decided to bake two more small crusts and try a prebaked crust with the same topping the next day. (Yes, I let them sit out for two hours before baking.) I baked one for 4 or 5 minutes, and another for eight minutes or so. I let them cool and put them in a ziploc bag to store.
The next day I made hot pizza for lunch. However, instead of JUST serving the garlic white sauce topping, I decided to top one of the pizas with pine nut “ricotta” in a vegan take on the lovely Marguerita pizza. I’ve had a huge crush on this pizza style since I tried a non-vegan version with grilled Chebe. I found this pine nut ricotta from a raw recipe long ago, and found wonderful use for it in a baked pine-nut lasagna. It’s an especially nice recipe for those who must avoid soy as well as dairy (and gluten). Anyway, I thought this decadent, creamy sauce might be just the thing for complimenting tomato, fresh basil, and luxurious olive oil.
The sauce was perfect, and it really gave me the feeling of enjoying a lovely Marguerita (vegan) pizza. The DH also gave a thumbs up to the combination, and in typical Libra Boy fashion, couldn’t pick a favorite between the two toppings. However, I could tell a huge difference in the CRUST that was prebaked versus the unbaked crust. Unfortunately after sitting out overnight, the baked crust became tough and my poor little pizza stone didn’t do much but make it harder and crunchier.
To test it, I made a fresh pizza with the same two toppings and found again that it was pliable and lovely without toughness or excessive crunchiness. (Crunch is good, breaking teeth, not so good. Good thing my teeth are nice and strong.) And yes, we’ve been dining on nothing but pizza for the past two days straight, with a little allowed deviance for breakfast. Fabulously, despite all these experiments, we’ve still got two balls of dough in the refrigerator just waiting to be used in happy pizza-making-activity. Note to self: pizza dough made in advance is a very handy thing to have around.
I’ve had so much fun with this latest Daring Baker adventure, and hope that you enjoyed reading about my experiments. I think this adaption of Daring Baker dough does work very nicely for a thin crust pizza, but if you prefer a thicker and lighter crust, Carol Fenster’s recipe specifically for gluten-free bakers is still my favorite. You may not be able to shape the dough in the same way, but it works really well. I also hear very good things about her latest pizza recipe using her new Sorghum blend. Her new pizza recipe is found in 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes and was recently shared by the Celiac Chicks (with Carol’s permission). However, if you would enjoy the satisfaction of shaping dough and having pizza dough on hand for use whenever you want it, you should definitely try this recipe, and come up with your own version of it ’cause it is yummy, and daring too. Who would have thought that a regular recipe based on gluten and yeast could be adapted so easily to be gluten-free?
Gluten Free Daring Baker Pizza Recipe
2 cups brown rice flour (superfine preferred)
2 cups tapioca starch
1/2 cup garfava bean flour
2 tbsp. + 2 tsp xanthan gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
4 tbsp. yeast
1 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Pasta Seasoning
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil
2 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar
4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
cornmeal for dusting
Nonstick cooking oil spray
Combine dry ingredients in a heavy duty Kitchenaid Mixer with the paddle or whisk, NOT bread hook, and add your wet ingredients slowly with mixer stirring slowly. You may wish to add more water to lighten dough, but don’t let it get too wet or you won’t be able to make balls of dough. Turn the beater in your kitchenaid up to high and let it beat the dough for five to seven minutes. it should get more elastic with time. If not, add more water and/or let it mix for longer.
Put a large cutting board on a counter, and cover it with wax paper. Spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray. Throw your dough onto the paper and work it into a nice, beautiful ball of dough.
Spray a metal or plastic dough scraper with nonstick cooking spray and then use it to cut the dough into FOUR equal pieces for large pizzas, OR six equal pieces for small to medium pieces.
You can sprinkle a little flour over each individual piece of dough and either spray your hand with nonstick cooking spray or cover it with a piece of cling wrap and pick up the dough, gently rounding each piece into a ball. Then wrap each one in a piece of cling wrap and place them in a large ziploc bag or tupperware to store in the refrigerator.
*Event NOTE: “You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.” You can leave them in overnight or longer. Or, many of us found that for the GF pizza it was fine to use the dough that very day.
Two hours before you want to bake the dough, put your large cutting board on the counter and cover it with a piece of aluminum foil (or wax paper). Spray it with nonstick cooking spray and dust with cornmeal. Toss the ball of dough onto the foil and cover it with the cling wrap that it was stored in. Gently press or roll out into the desired pizza shape using a mini rolling pin. If you like (and especially if you’ve made a small pizza) you can then move the foil and pizza to a safe location (using the cutting board to transport). Carefully slide the pizza covered foil onto the counter off of the cutting board. Cover the pizza crust lightly with wax or parchment paper. Then you can return the cutting board and repeat the process with another ball of dough.
Allow your pizza crust to rest for 2 hours.
At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (550° F. etc.)
Event NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.
After the dough has rested for two hours, lightly top it with toppings of your choice. Put back in the oven and bake until toppings are done, rotating as needed. It will probably take 5-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the crust.
*Tips for moving the pizza once topped. Simply slide a pizza peel under the aluminum foil and pizza and carefully move it to the hot pizza stone. If the pizza peel isn’t big enough or you are worried about the dough breaking, you can use a larger flat thing like a cookie sheet to transport the dough and then slide the aluminum foil-pizza off onto the pizza stone.
Event note: If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.
When the pizza is done, put it on a cutting board, let it rest a few minutes, and then slice and serve.
I like this recipe but wonder if this large volume manufacture works well with gluten-free flours. I may also adjust xanthan gum if i try it again, using less. Also I want to experiment with the baking process.
I’d give the topping a 9/10 but the crust is more like a 6/10 at this point, although it does handle very well.
Prebaking the dough results in a very tough dough the next day, so it is not recommended.
Gluten Free Vegan Marguerita Pizza Topping Recipe
1 gluten-free pizza crust (small, medium, or large)
1 roma tomato, thinly sliced and salted (for small pizza, for med-large you will need more), seeds removed
Combine soaked pine nuts, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and seasonings in blender with a small amount of water (1/8 to 1/4 cup, depending on desired texture. You can always add more water later, so be careful not to add too much early on!) Blend until you have a smooth and creamy sauce and then carefully use spatula to scrape into a small bowl.
Layer your gf pizza crust with Pine nut ricotta, tomato slices, and julienned basil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Bake according to pizza crust directions.
Gluten Free Vegan White Bianca Pizza Recipe
One gluten-free pizza crust (medium or large)
Vegan White Sauce Topping:
Caramelized red onions:
Marinated artichokes, rinsed in hot water and dried (to remove most of the oil)
For my vegan topping, I made a white garlic sauce and caramelized red onions.
How to make caramelized onions:
How to make vegan white garlic sauce:
When ready to assemble pizza, start by spreading the white garlic sauce evenly on the surface of your pizza. Top with spinach (optional), caramelized red onions, chopped pieces of artichoke heart, and pine nuts. Bake for recommended time above, remove from oven, let cool slightly and then serve. Yummy!