Bread, Week 8: I ordered pizza (for others) at work recently, and it smelled fantastic. It was the first time I really wished that I wasn’t trying this gluten-free diet. I could have baked gluten-free pasta with pizza toppings, which would be tasty, but not quite the same. Sometime last year, I had come across a gluten-free cornmeal pizza recipe that stuck in my mind, and I decided to finally give it a shot this weekend.
I like experimenting sometimes, but when it comes to pizza, I generally stick to the same toppings: pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni (although I sometimes go for bacon or ham). For some reason, though, I don’t mind cornmeal in my pizza. One of my favorite pizza places in town, Pi, has cornmeal in its crust, and it’s fantastic, so I was hopeful that I would enjoy this recipe. The recipe makes 2 pizza crusts. Make both and freeze one, or cut the recipe in half. Or, just eat lots of pizza.
Gluten-Free Cornmeal Pizza Crust (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
2 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 packet)
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Combine water, oil, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle and stir on medium to combine and begin to dissolve the yeast. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir on low briefly to combine, then beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Batter will be thick and resemble cake batter. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes, until slightly puffy. (I did this in an oven heated for 1 minute; my dough didn’t really expand much.)
Preheat oven to 400F. Divide dough between 2 well-greased 14-inch pizza pans. Use a butter knife or spatula to spread the dough out evenly. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes while the oven continues to heat. Bake crusts for 15 minutes, until set. Top with sauce, cheese, and toppings (be sure to leave an edge crust), and bake another 15 minutes, until toppings are done. Cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
This is one of the better crusts I’ve made from scratch, period. It was very easy to make, and I was completely satisfied with the results.
This was not chewy, tear-apart pizza crust, but the crust had a satisfying bready texture. The crust was not floppy; it was neither hard nor too dense. The edge crust was crunchy. The cornmeal gave the crust a little heft, and the flavor was noticeable but not too pronounced. Alex thought leftovers were a little more crumbly than the pizza was when it was fresh, but I didn’t really notice at all. For the second crust, I pre-baked it to set the crust, let it stay out on the counter overnight (I felt lazy), and topped and finished baking it the next day. The crust shrank up a little as compared to first crust, and the flavor of the cornmeal was more pronounced, but it was still delicious overall. I recommend you use strongly flavored toppings like pepperoni, rather than bacon.
Overall, this was a satisfying and easy recipe to make, and this recipe holds up against other recipes with wheat. I would make it again.