Daring Bakers Pizza Challenge
Last night I joined the ranks of the Daring Bakers who are challenged each month with a new baking project. This month the challenge was homemade pizza which included tossing the dough. The original recipe for the pizza dough was taken from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. Rosa, the moderater of the challenge, explained that gluten free pizza makers could use an alternative gluten free dough recipe. Sheltie Girl (Natalia), came up with a gluten free dough recipe, with allowances made for your own gluten free flour blend. While the gluten free bakers didn’t get to toss our gluten free pizza dough, what the heck, it was still a blast to take part in this challenge! Plus, I have three extra pizza dough balls in the freezer, all ready for rolling and baking. How cool is that! I created my own gluten free blend of flours which I added to the brown rice flour blend from Annalise Roberts’ gluten free baking book (one of my bibles). I was very happy with this mix and would definitely use it again. I’m always on the lookout for how to get as much good nutrition out of what I eat – this flour mix has a leg up from your usual rice flour-potato starch-tapioca starch mix in terms of its’ nutritional value. Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter). Pizza Dough Ingredients 1 ½ cups Annalise Roberts brown rice flour mix (combo of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch) ½ cup sorghum flour ½ cup cornstarch 1 ½ cups millet flour ½ cup amaranth flour 1 teaspoon xanthan gum 1 teaspoon guar gum 1 ¾ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons quick acting yeast ¼ cup olive oil & canola oil (I chose to mix these two oils together) 1 ¾ cups water, ice cold (40 degrees) 1 tablespoon agave syrup (or sugar) Cornmeal for dusting 1. Mix together the flours, xanthan and guar gums, salt and yeast in a large bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer.) 2. Add the oil, cold water, and agave syrup or sugar, then mix well in order to form a sticky ball of dough. If too wet, add a little flour, not too much, and if it is too dry, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of extra cold water. 3. Flour a work surface or counter. Transfer the dough to your surface and form into a log. 4. With the help of a metal of plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas). 5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball. 6. Transfer the dough balls to a sheet of parchment paper and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the parchment paper into a ziplock bag or enclose in plastic food wrap. 7. Put the dough balls into the frig and let the dough rest overnight or for up to three days. Note: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for future pizza baking. In that case, pour some oil (a few tablespoons 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 three months. The day before you plan to make the pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the frig. 8. On the day you plan to eat the pizza, exactly two hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the frig. Place on a sheet of parchment paper that you’ve sprinkled with gluten free flour. Flour your hands as well. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. At this point in the recipe, I chose to place a piece of plastic wrap over the disks and then roll with a rolling pin to desired size, removing the plastic wrap after I was done rolling it. This is what the rolled, flattened dough looked like: 9. Sprinkle the dough with gluten free flour, mist it again with spray oil. 10. Lightly cover the dough rounds with a second piece of parchment paper and allow to rest on the counter for two hours. 11. 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 (500 degrees F/260 degrees C) NOTE: If you don’t have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan in this case. 12. When you’re ready to top the pizzas with their toppings, remove the heated pizza stone from the oven. Gently peel the top layer of parchment paper from the pizza dough. 13. Then (and this is tricky, for sure), flip the dough into the palm of your other hand. Gently peel the second layer of parchment paper from the dough. The next time I come to this point in the process, I will ask my husband for some sous chef help, as it was tricky to take the heated stone from the oven and then deal with peeling the dough from both pieces of parchment paper. Perhaps the next time I will only peel the top layer of parchment paper and leave the pizza ON the other layer of parchment paper and then place it right onto the stone. 14. Carefully, place the dough onto the stone. Top with your chosen toppings. Put in the oven and bake for about 5 – 8 minutes. NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are not topped with too many toppings. 15. After two minutes of baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate the pizzas 180 degrees. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pan to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese carmelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly pan. 16. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. (At this point in the recipe, I decided to cut and serve the pizza right from the stone.) In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3 – 5 minutes before slicing or serving. One of the finished pizzas, pictured at the top of this post, had toppings that included roasted garlic (roasted in oven, squeezed garlic out of entire head, spread over dough), baby spinach, mozzarella on one half of pizza, soy cheese on other half, Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, pine nuts, sauteed mushrooms and onions (with minced garlic and white wine). I also made one with baby spinach, Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes and pine nuts, and another with just tomatoes and cheese. Our fave was the one pictured above. I loved the roasted garlic – it really gave it a great flavor. This was great fun. I loved the pizza dough, though wouldn’t roll it out as thin the next time I make it, as it was a little too crackery and crisp. Gluten free flours can be difficult to combine though this turned out to be a good combination of flours. I would definitely recommend the combo, if you don’t mind mixing and matching! And what fun to be a daring baker!!!