The first time your doctor said you could no longer eat gluten without putting your body and your digestive system through the wringer, you were probably devastated. Your first thought might have been of all the gluten-filled treats you love to indulge in. You might have initially thought these were things you could never eat again.
However, the upside to the growing numbers of people diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten intolerance is the gluten-free options are becoming better and better. Almost all restaurants now have gluten-free sections of the menu. Most grocery stores stock plenty of gluten-free alternatives. And unlike the early years of gluten-free food, these options don’t taste like cardboard, either. These days, they’re seriously good. This has prompted some people to go gluten free for health reasons unrelated to a wheat intolerance or allergy.
What about pizza, though? Pizza is one of those foods everybody loves, yet it is probably impossible to make without gluten, right? Guess again. Gluten-free pizza is on the rise. There are hundreds of recipes out there, and they’re all worth trying out. To help you get started on your gluten-free pizza discovery journey, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks on making this dish.
By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be ready to hit the kitchen and whip up one of these tasty treats for you and all your friends and family, because you don’t have to settle for something that tastes like “the gluten-free option.” Today, you can find recipes so delicious you might not even notice you’re getting the healthy version.
Tips for Making Gluten-Free Pizza
Before we begin talking about recipes and ingredients, let’s go over some general tips related to preparation and techniques. This will help you stay conscious of concerns to be aware of when it comes to gluten-free pizza.
Plan Ahead to Avoid Gluten Cross-Contamination
If your kitchen is 100 percent gluten free, then this isn’t something you have to worry about and you can skip this step. For most of us, though, this is important. If you bake with regular flour or other ingredients containing gluten, there’s a very real possibility these things could find their way into your gluten-free pizza.
If you avoid gluten by choice, cross-contamination will not cause you any harm. If you or the person you cook the pizza for have celiac disease, however, the results could be extremely harmful. Either way, it’s best to take these precautions, so no one gets sick.
Make sure any dishes and utensils you use to make the pizza have been thoroughly cleaned. In addition to this, give all your counter surfaces a cleaning with soap and hot water to rid them of any remaining contaminants. Be careful any ingredients you use in the pizza are stored safely away from your regular non-gluten-free ingredients. And do not use a pizza cutter you have employed on gluten-containing pizza.
Be Meticulous About Your Gluten-Free Ingredients
When reading gluten-free recipes, the ingredients list can look confusing. Unless you have a lot of experience in gluten-free cooking, you might not even recognize a good portion of the ingredients. That’s all right. This is a learning experience.
You might stumble across an ingredient you don’t recognize and have no idea where to buy. As such, you might be tempted to skip this ingredient and substitute it for a more familiar one. Resist this temptation. The recipe is written exactly as it should be, and each ingredient serves a specific purpose. By switching up the ingredients, you might ruin the texture or the consistency of the recipe. Far more seriously, you might inadvertently introduce gluten back into the equation.
Instead of changing the ingredients when they get confusing, take the time to do some research. What is rice flour, anyway? What about garbanzo flour? Research what these ingredients are, how they’re alternatives to regular wheat flour, and what purpose they serve in a recipe. You’ll feel more confident and prepared to take on gluten-free recipes with this extra knowledge.
Let the Crust Rest
Most recipes for gluten-free pizza crust will include instructions to let the dough rest or ferment. As with the strange ingredients, you might be tempted to ignore these instructions and simply jump ahead to the next step. Don’t. Follow the instructions and let the dough sit for as long as the recipe says to.
This resting time is because of the unique combination of ingredients in the gluten-free crust. The starchy ingredients need time to absorb moisture from the wet ingredients. If you try to proceed before this has happened, the ingredients won’t mix together well, and the dry ones will want to separate from the wet ones. By letting the dough rest, it will have a much better chance of sticking together.
Be Generous With the Oil
No matter how you prepare it, gluten-free pizza dough is always going to be slightly stickier than gluten-containing pizza dough. This means you’re at a greater risk for your crust sticking to the pan and either burning or becoming much crispier than you’d like.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Take the precaution of greasing your baking pan and any other surfaces with extra oil. Don’t be shy about using a lot of oil — the more you use, the greater your chance of preventing burning and sticking. When you do get ready to remove the crust from the pan after baking, be sure to use a spatula to help as well.
Keep the Crust Thin
If you’ve ever eaten gluten-free pizza before, you may have noticed the crust tends to be much slimmer than your average pizza crust. There are a lot of reasons this is the case, most of them having to do with the different combination of ingredients. However, this is actually a good thing.
Because of the nature of a gluten-free crust, its consistency is much more like a batter than a traditional dough. This means it needs to stay relatively thin to bake thoroughly. If it’s too thick, the middle will remain doughy. If you prefer a bigger crust, try adding an extra teaspoon of xanthan gum for that little extra bit of rising power.
Don’t Be Afraid to Bake It Twice
Because gluten-free crust tends to be on the dry side, you might find you need to do a little experimenting to get the texture and moisture levels just right. One solution you can try is baking it twice.
To do this, work the ingredients until you’ve got your pancake-like batter all ready. Then, bake your crust on a pizza pan or stone. Take the pre-baked crust out of the oven, add your toppings and then stick the whole pie back in to bake fully for the rest of the time.
Measure Your Flour Carefully
In most gluten-free baking, the ratio of flour required is extremely precise. Being off by even a little bit can create havoc throughout the entire recipe. We recommend taking extra care to always use a scale when you measure out your flour. If you don’t have access to a scale, the next-best solution is to use a measuring cup and level off the top to ensure you have exactly the right amount.
Common Ingredients Used to Bake a Gluten-Free Pizza
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, let’s look at a list of common ingredients found in a gluten-free pizza. Some of the ingredients are the same as the ones you would use in an ordinary pizza, while some will look a bit unfamiliar. As every recipe is a little bit different, this list is by no means exhaustive. However, it can give you a general idea of what to expect when you begin hunting down recipes.
The Crust for Your Gluten-Free Pizza
Here are just a few of the ingredients you might encounter in a gluten-free pizza crust recipe.
A Gluten-Free Flour Blend
When it comes to creating the right flour mixture for a pizza crust, it isn’t enough to use just one type of flour. Most recipes call for a blend of several different types. Your recipe might call for ingredients such as:
- Tapioca flour
- Rice flour
- Sorghum flour
- Chickpea flour
These all work together to make your pizza crust bake correctly and taste delicious.
This is a common ingredient in many gluten-free recipes, especially ones like pizza crust. Xanthan gum is a thickening agent, and its job is to pull different ingredients together and prevent them from separating. While it might seem like a small ingredient, it’s often the only thing holding a recipe together. Without it, the end results would be very different.
A familiar ingredient, yeast is still necessary even in gluten-free baking. Its inclusion is what causes the dough to rise and form a slightly puffy crust. However, due to the different blend of ingredients, be aware gluten-free crust will not rise as high as an ordinary pizza crust.
Other Common Baking Ingredients
The other ingredients that show up in many pizza crust recipes are not unique to gluten-free recipes. Some of these common ingredients are:
- Baking powder
- Olive oil
- Egg whites
The Sauce for Your Gluten-Free Pizza
The sauce doesn’t need many alterations to be made gluten-free, as most of the gluten in a pizza is found in the crust or the toppings instead of the sauce. Common ingredients found in recipes for gluten-free pizza sauce include:
- Olive oil
The only real difference between making gluten-free tomato sauce and regular tomato sauce is the tomatoes themselves. You won’t be able to simply use any can of tomatoes you find at the grocery store. Read labels carefully to find ones that have no extra additives that might contain gluten. Or, better yet, use fresh tomatoes.
The Cheese and Other Toppings for Your Gluten-Free Pizza
It’s more difficult to prescribe an exact recipe for toppings, since everyone has their own preference in both choice and volume of toppings. Anything can be used as a pizza topping, and your only limitations are to avoid things with gluten. This means veggies, most meat, most cheese and herbs are all still fine.
Simply employ extra caution when selecting your toppings. Pepperoni, for example, may contain gluten in some cases, but you can also find varieties that are gluten-free. Read packages and ingredients lists before adding anything to your pizza.
How to Make a Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
It would be a shame to spend so much time talking about gluten-free pizza without actually providing a recipe to try. Here’s one to get started with that will teach you how to make gluten-free pizza dough.
Keep in mind, however, that there are hundreds of recipes out there to try. There is no single best way to make a gluten-free pizza. Keep experimenting until you find a recipe you love.
Directions for Preparing a Gluten-Free Pizza
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine one tablespoon of yeast and ¾ cup of warm water in a bowl. Let this sit for about five minutes to give the yeast time to activate. Midway through this five-minute period, sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar into the bowl.
In another bowl, prepare your gluten-free flour blend consisting of one cup of white rice flour, one cup of brown rice flour, one cup of tapioca flour and ¾ of a teaspoon of xanthan gum. Combine this mixture with one teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of baking powder and two teaspoons of sugar. Whisk the entire thing together.
Form a well in your flour mixture and pour the yeast blend into the well. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and another ½ cup of warm water before you stir the entire mixture together.
Grease a baking tray or pizza pan and spread the dough out onto it. Work from the middle of the dough and flatten it out with your hands until it’s less than ¼-inch thick. Stick it in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. You might notice some cracks appearing, but that’s entirely normal.
At this point, take it out of the oven and add on the sauce, cheese and whatever gluten-free toppings you like. Put it back in the oven to continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until the edges of the crust start looking golden-brown. Remove it from the oven and enjoy your gluten-free treat.
Visit Giordano’s and Order a Gluten-Free Pizza Today
No matter how satisfying and fun it is to make your own gluten-free pizza, we all have days when we don’t have the time to prepare one at home or days when we want to treat ourselves. When those days come around, we hope you’ll stop by Giordano’s to order our delicious gluten-free pizza.
Don’t have time to come in and get the full sit-down restaurant experience? We get that. That’s why we offer delivery and pickup options so you’ll always be able to get your pizza fix — no matter how pressed for time you are. We also cater, meaning we’d love to help you plan your next big event. Check out our full menu on our website and plan your next visit with us.