Pizza that Wows! And the English Muffins will Amaze You…

Pizza is a tough food to replicate gluten free. For a year I didn’t really try. I finally attempted one by Annalise Roberts. It has that thin crust which is  almost cracker like. Not bad in flavor and definitely better than ones I get in restaurants or buy premade. I have made that crust many times. Then, a revolution – this winter I found this awesome pizza dough that makes the best focaccia bread that I have every made crust ever; crispy bottom and soft top. Perfectly delicious bread to go with an italian meal. And then I discovered that it makes a wonderful pizza too. Have made both several times.

This week I used some of the dough to make English Muffins; the first half became a pizza of epic beauty and lovely flavor.  The muffin recipe is actually the base recipe for the other two foods. Oh, my goodness; they are definitely the best English muffins I have made since going gluten free. Thank goodness I bought English muffin rings years ago; that recipe back then didn’t work but this one does. It’s a keeper; the texture, flavor, looks, taste; all is much better than any others I have made. I love that it is “baked” under a lid on your griddle or electric fry pan. I used my cast iron griddle on a low setting.

Best process is if you let the dough rise 2 hours in your kitchen warmth and then refrigerate it for 4-10 hours or overnight. It can be used as soon as you take the bowl out of your fridge.

Here is a link to the base recipe: https://www.letthemeatgfcake.com/gluten-free-english-muffins/

These are the ingredients. I do weigh my flour these days; much more accurate so there are both ways in the list for flour and sugar:

  • 3¼ cups (455 g) Kim’s gluten free bread flour blend
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (16 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp rapid rise/instant yeast
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • about 1/3-½ cup gf cornmeal for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp butter
  •  

Here is a link to her bread flour mix. I am thinking of making it in bigger quantities as I have had such success with her recipes. 

https://www.letthemeatgfcake.com/resources/gluten-free-flour-blends/

It contains white rice flour, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. Super easy to do with a good scale. And these are fairly standard ingredients; nothing too weird. Far cheaper too than buying those 1 to 1 mixtures or any gf blended flour. Totally worth it! You make enough flour blend for like 4 pizzas. The recipe makes enough for two 12-14 inch pizzas or 2 focaccias. I like to do a pizza and on a second day something different from the remaining dough. It will keep for several days in the fridge. That’s timesaving; one dough; two recipes.

I did the focaccia first, then tried pizza…was blown away by it and this week the English muffins flipped my lid with their texture, looks and flavor. They all are just fabulous in texture and flavor. Really head turning for me for how close they came to all purpose flour baking of my past…may not be as healthy as a multigrain dough but it sure brings back good memories and is so enjoyable. If you bake gf; this dough is super easy to make in a stand mixer and let rise, chill it and make a great pizza. Just plan for it as the dough is better if it has that refrigeration period. Ditto for the English muffins although the round tin molds make them look just perfect. I used a thick pizza pan to make my new favorite pizza and a cast iron frying pan for the focaccia; no kneading, no super liquid messy stuff; it is sticky but it doesn’t need much forming. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!!

Darn Good GF Pizza You can Bake at Home

Sometimes you just need a pizza! And there is time to make a crust or grate cheese or any of that. Just a decent gluten free pizza, that’s all I’m asking…but, not that easy unless you are willing to pay about $13-16 for the same or even a smaller size that is half the price for regular wheat flour-based pizza!  Major bummer. But, fret not, Aldi’s to the rescue; they had some by Mama Cozzie in the refrigerator case. I got a pepperoni and mott pizza to test it; $6…not a bad price!  Baked it two days later; put the cold pie directly on hot oven shelf as requested.  In 11-13 minutes it is done; let it cool 2-3 minutes! Otherwise, it is a wicked way to burn your mouth.

aldi pizza box

I should admit I doctored it up with some dried basil and oregano, garlic powder and store grated parmesan cheese. It was so good; thin crust. Great flavor from the pepperoni and the add-ons I sprinkled over it deepen ed the flavor significantly. So I am definitely getting it next time I see – the package says you can freeze it; so maybe buy a few and freeze all but one.

aldi pizza slice

So that’s a big yes to this Mama Cozzie pizza; about 15 inches in diameter unbaked. It says 4 servings but unless they are small kids it is really more like 3. Great quick lunch or worry-free Friday night meal. Add a salad and you are eating healthyish!

Pizza….GF and Homemade…AND Yummy!

ImageSince my last pizza post; that the local pizza place has stopped carrying gf pizza…sad face.

The best tasting GF pizza for me is one I make myself.  It is out of my favorite GF cookbook, G-F Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts. It has some millet flour in it which keeps it from shrinking as much and adds some flavor/texture.  I love that I can actually make it the night before, store it well wrapped overnight and then just top it and bake to melt the cheese and blend the toppings.  The recipe says you can make several and freeze them half baked.  Great idea!!

So give this easy recipe a whirl and see what you think.  It is relatively easy, just be sure to take the time to flatten the top of the dough when you spread it in the pizza pan.  If you get a hill in the center your sauce will slide down it! Not so good.

This is better than the stuff pizza parlors sell.  They tend to buy it completely made, sealed up and just pop it in their oven.  Not a fresh pizza.  Take the time to whip this up.  A stand mixer makes it happen fast and painlessly. Your family who eats GF with you will like its crunchy crust and fresh taste.  And you can personalize it with the toppings of your preference to replicate pizzas you always enjoyed before going wheat free.

GF Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice flour mix

½ cup millet flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp dry yeast granules

1 tsp olive oil

¾ cup warm water, maybe up to a tbsp more (110 degrees F)

Directions:

Spray pizza pan with cooking spray, lightly sprinkle cornmeal over entire pan.  (You could skip this if you are not a cornmeal fan.)

Mix all dry ingredients in your stand mixer bowl.  Pour wet ingredients in there, mix until just blended, scrape down bowl.  Beat at high speed for two minutes.

Spoon dough onto prepared pizza pan.  Use a metal cake spatula to move it around and make it smooth. Try not to get the center any thicker than the edges.  Push dough so it gets all the way to the  very edge of the pan.  Cover with a light cotton cloth and let rise in a warm place 30-40 minutes until doubled in height.  I warm my smaller oven to about 105 degrees and put it in there.

Sauce

I use an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and add olive oil, some minced garlic, dried basil and oregano and cook 5-8 minutes, covered. Let cool a bit before using.

Baking

Move oven rack to lower third of oven.  I have a pizza oven so I use that (great bottom heat for a super crisp crust!) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   Bake it for 15-16 minutes.  Remove from oven.  [This is the moment when you can let it cool and freeze it or chill in fridge if using the very next day. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.] If using now, flip over and put tomato sauce, then toppings and cheese of choice.  I like both mott and Parmesan cheese on mine! Bake 8-10 more minutes more or less until it is bubbly and browning.  Be sure the bottom is browned.

Cool a minute and cut with your pizza cutter. Enjoy!

FYI: Don’t freeze the shell for more than three weeks.

PS: I have been told that Matey’s Pizza in Fountain Hill makes a gf pizza; will have to try it.

Originally posted on my blog in 2014.

 

Pizza Pizza…Take One

So, I have been craving pizza for almost two months. Just didn’t fit into my meal schedule. But I had to chow down on a slice or two and soon. This past Saturday we went for a walk on the rail train and then ordered some take out GF pizza. It was from a pizza parlor here in Hellertown that has a sign in their window. That would be how I knew GF pizza was available there. I had called earlier to see how long it would take; they told me 15 to 20 minutes which seemed short to me for a fresh GF crust… So I was a tad skeptical…still we ordered – just one size; half plain and half with mushrooms. We both love shrooms but a plain pizza is the acid test, as it were.

I need to digress and say that I am very particular about my pizza. I have found one place in the Lehigh Valley that makes exceptional pizza; Martellucci’s in Bethlehem on Easton Avenue. My mouth waters when I think of their pizza!! Yet, up in the Poconos; in East Stroudsburg on Crystal Avenue is Tony’s Pizza, the best thin crust pizza outside of NYC to my mind… Pizza crust so good I never save any for the dog. He is kinda ticked about that as he loves pizza crust. So that was what I was hoping for but I think I knew there was no way this GF pizza could measure up to either of those stellar pizzas…..

So anyhew, I went in to pick it up and happened to speak briefly with the owner. He told me he had tried to make his own GF pizza dough; made many failed efforts and finally gave up. The solution is that he buys the shells frozen and ready to top and bake. He gives you a free plastic pizza cutter to keep from contaminating the pizza with his cutters for which I was very thankful and impressed by.

Not so impressed with the pie we got. First of all it was quite underdone. The cheese was barely melted, pale white and flaccid. The sauce underneath was thick and unflavored with basil or oregano much less any garlic or the like. The mushrooms were fine if undistinguished. And the crust seemed to have a middle layor of somewhat raw dough, ick!

It came on its own heavy duty aluminum foil baking pan which reassured me that it was not coated with wheat flour on the bottom. We ate a slice, made disappointed faces, and then I had the brilliant idea to fix it up and bake it a bit more. So I sprinkled it with basil and oregano, and some red pepper flakes. I put on a few pepperoni slices to punch it up and put the plate and pie in the oven for a few minutes. The resulting pie was much improved. I should note that the crust is a bit like a bar pizza; thin and cracker-like.

So, Mr. Pizza shop owner; punch up that sauce with herbs and some good olive oil, spread it thin and bake the pie until the cheese starts to brown a tad; golden at least. If those minor changes can be made it isn’t half bad – I would get it again for sure!

Now, to learn how to make my own GF crust and top with cheese and shrooms. It would not be made like I used to make my crust; no stretching and rolling…but, still… a fresh crust pizza that I can safely enjoy! A lovely dream to bring to life in my GF lifestyle.

Originally posted April 8, 2013.

Stay tuned for part two which is my update on ImageGF pizza for me…….