… Gluten-free Hand-tossed Pizza Crust Without the Tossing!
My idea of the perfect pizza crust is the one that I can sink my teeth into, tear off a bite, and chew on it like a cavewoman. No, not really that uncivilized. You know what I mean though, right? I like it to have some body. A bit of the doughy texture that holds up to any amount of sauce and toppings. A dough to bake up with a crusty exterior and a soft, yielding center. The kind of dough that is slightly workable in your hands. A dough that is too tender to hand-toss but, when pressed out onto the pan with well floured fingers, will spread in an irregular form – some lumps here, some depressions there – then bake into a ripple of noshing delight. That’s what this pizza dough recipe will do for you!
While I like to add numerous toppings and a generous slathering of sauce, usually barbecue, to my homemade pizzas, I simply gave this dough a five minute pre-bake (I suggest always doing a partial pre-bake), then brushed it with some herbed extra virgin olive oil and continued baking it another seven minutes. That way you can see how the crust looks without too many distractions resting on top. (By the way, it’s really tasty this way too!) To add your own toppings, follow all the steps through the pre-bake stage, then add sauce and toppings (all meats should already be cooked), drizzle with a bit of olive oil and return to oven to continue baking another 10 minutes or so. This dough doesn’t even have yeast, so you can have homemade gluten-free, dairy-free chewy pizza at your command. Yay!
Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chewy Pizza Crust
Baking time: about 15-18 minutes
Oven temp: 450ºF
Makes: 2 12-inch crusts (recipe can easily be halved)
4 1/2 cups (540g) gluten-free, all-purpose flour – I use Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Four Flour Blend
1 cup (120g) tapioca flour/starch – plus a little extra in a bowl for dusting fingers
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 1/2 teaspoons guar gum or xanthan gum (omit if your flour already includes it)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
14 Tablespoons (7/8 cup) grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups warm water*
2 large egg whites
Place baking or pizza stone on lowest rack in oven (if using a stone). Preheat oven to 450ºF. Add a little tapioca starch to a bowl large enough to dip your fingers into. Set aside.
Combine flour, tapioca flour, and arrowroot powder to a medium-sized bowl. Sift guar gum and baking powder into the flours. Add salt. Whisk to combine well.
Add egg whites to warm water and whisk. Add this mixture and oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon until dough comes together. Dip fingers into tapioca starch and remove the dough from the bowl. Dip fingers as needed to prevent dough from sticking to them. Gently work dough into a ball. The dough should be soft and want to gently ooze through your fingers, without being sticky. Add only enough extra tapioca starch to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. Too much and the crust will become more stiff and crusty when baked. Return dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Line a flat baking pan with parchment paper, or place parchment on a pizza peel. Dough will be too sticky to place it directly onto pan or peel. Place dough ball onto parchment and spread out the dough to desired thickness and shape with your fingertips. The dough does rise a bit so keep it to about 1/4-inch thick at its maximum thickness. Prick dough randomly with fork about 15 times.
Transfer parchment with dough onto peel, then slide parchment and dough directly onto stone (if using one), or place baking sheet with parchment and dough onto lowest rack of oven. Don’t try to remove the dough from the parchment before the pre-bake.
Bake 5 minutes, then remove from oven and slide the crust onto a cooling rack without the parchment. (Keeping the hot crust on the parchment paper will make the bottom of the crust sweat at this point.) Add sauce and toppings to crust, if desired. Return the crust to the pizza stone by sliding it onto the peel or baking sheet, then sliding it directly onto the stone this time. Bake another 9-11 minutes. If using a baking sheet, add a new piece of parchment paper to the pan and place the crust on it to continue baking another 9-11 minutes.
Transfer pizza to cutting board, slice, then transfer to a cooling rack. Chewy pizza crust ready for noshing.
*In very dry climates or seasons, you may need to increase the amount of water by a couple of teaspoonfuls. Do so by adding only 1 teaspoonful at a time. The consistency of the dough changes quickly.
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