Long time, huh?
Okay, okay: REALLY long time since my last post. I’m sorry. Life, you know…
One of the things that falls neatly under the Life category is the relatively popular condition of gluten intolerance (I do not speak of coeliac disease, which is a bigger, badder ballgame altogether). I’ve been testing a theory that wheat and other gluten-bearing ingredients don’t get on so well with me and that theory has involved cutting a few things out of my regular noshing repertoire – and after a few weeks, out of sheer desperation, replacing a few.
I will not – nay, can not live my fuzzy little life without pizza. This is not up for debate. Fortunately, a dear and similarly dietarily challenged friend introduced me to her signature gluten-free vegan pizza which, after temporarily making me the happiest pizza-starved critter alive, inspired me to try my hand at making a GF (gluten-free, dig) pizza base myself with the addition of an animal by-product or two, both within and on top. This was mainly because I understand that ringing up a pal in the middle of the night, demanding she make me freshly-baked healthy junk food is a little bit Not On, but also because I haven’t baked in eons, and watching her work with that dough bit me with my other dear friend, the baking bug, good and hard. I was going to make myself a GF pizza.
I definitely made myself a GF pizza.
Wanna see? Wanna play too?
The recipe (<- my version here) for the base is ever-so-slightly adapted from the Doves Farm site (them being the makers of the white bread flour I used for this production) and the topping selection is courtesy of my inner pizza monster.
Might as well start this thing by waking up the yeast: it takes about 15 minutes to do its thing so the other ingredients can come together while the yeast is having its coffee or whatever. (NB: do not put coffee in your yeast.)
As with most baking, this pizza dough involves making a dry mixture and a wet mixture then introducing them. The dry stuff here is minimal – and if you’re new to GF baking, say hello to xanthan gum.
The wet mix is also pretty basic – leaving out a glug of oil, which is added later, and of course the party-ready yeast.
Once everything is in the bowl, prepare to embrace the messy. It’s worth mentioning you won’t be able to do much with your hands between now and the rolled out dough sitting happily on its baking sheet, so you may wish to employ an assistant for phone answering, nose scratching and curious cat wrangling etc.
This dough does not stop being sticky. No: it really doesn’t stop being sticky. Okay, it stops being sticky one it’s baked but that doesn’t count. Kneading this stuff is a major commitment, hand-wise.
You’ll need extra GF flour for your kneading surface. And your hands. And even then this thing will still. be. sticky. (I don’t want to talk about how I took a few of these photos…)
Cornmeal is amazing. I have a vat of it for Thanksgiving-related cornbread purposes and it became my best friend for squishing and shaping this beautiful beast into something along the lines of a circular pizza base. ‘More GF Flour’ is your mantra, should you not be in possession of this particular ingredient.
In a bid to cut down on things to wash up I decided not to make a sauce separately and instead mixed some saucy components directly on the base (it’s meant to sit and rise for 20 minutes, and I get bored, so why not decorate it while it’s rising).
My inner pizza monster and I LOVE an excuse to buy a tub of marinated mozzarella pearls and semi-dried tomatoes. We’re also big into sweet orange peppers. And as we’re crap at being carnivores, ‘nothing but nothing wrong with a vegetarian pizza,’ says us.
You can’t argue with that. Don’t even try. (You’d look very silly.) This pizza took a bit of work but tasted SO good –and the texture was neither dry nor chewy: this recipe delivered a springy, tasty, are-you-sure-this-is-GF-level pizza base that I will happily cover myself in yeasty goo all over again for.
Once I’m done eating this beautiful thing, obviously.
It’s good to be baking again – and great to be back on the blog!