Pizza night occurs every fortnight in our home. Typically, I roll out four large homemade gluten pizzas for the family. As for me, I usually resort to a tiny frozen store-bought frisbee pizza that tastes like cardboard, although I do jazz it up with my favourite additional toppings and this compensates for the tasteless crust.
There are all types of pizza crusts – thin, thick, deep-pan, Californian…depending on your taste, finding a good gluten-free pizza crust is tricky, let alone making one. Usually, a store-bought pizza crust has a dense, super thin, cracker-like appearance.
Recently, I watched a CNN special on pizza making in Italy. I was so jealous seeing the host sampling beautifully puffed and slightly charred pizzas topped with fresh, local ingredients. Of course, it helps to have a pizza oven that can reach temperatures of 500 C/ 930 F. I reckon even the worst pizza dough recipe would end up being rescued by that searing heat!!
So… this got me thinking and I started experimenting with many pizza crust recipes. I also played around with different pizza pans and ceramic pizza stones, baking them at high temperatures which eventually got too much for my 15-year-old pizza stone as it cracked in half!
Surprisingly, I ended up finding out that my gluten-free naan bread recipe is super pizza friendly! As I like my pizza to puff up at the sides and have a satisfying chew, it made sense to use this recipe. The only change I made was increasing the salt slightly. To make things easier, I have put together a cooking chart below to give you a visual guide on baking and grilling times for the pizza.
Hopefully with this recipe, you can enjoy pizza night again with a decent pizza without needing a pizza oven and any fancy pizza tray or stone!
For the pizza crust:
- 700g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 60g tapioca flour
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoon ground psyllium husk
- 350ml warm milk
- 280ml Greek or thick yoghurt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Tapioca flour, for dusting the dough
- Olive oil, for brushing the dough and tray
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling on the tray
For the pizza toppings:
- 4 tablespoons Passata or good quality tinned tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For a Neapolitan Margherita Topping:
- 1 Buffalo mozzarella cheese, drained and torn into small pieces
- A sprig of fresh basil leaves
- A handful of fresh rocket/arugula leaves
- Olive oil, for drizzling
Other suggested toppings
- Sliced pepperoni
- Black olives
- Sliced onions
- Sliced garlic
- Fresh chilli
- Artichoke pieces
- Baby spinach leaves
- Goats cheese
- Homemade Pesto
Step by Step Instructions
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
4. Combine well with a wooden spoon.
5. Once all the ingredients have come together as a slightly sticky dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for one hour in a warm place.
6. Preheat the oven to 250 C/480 F.
7. Place a strong roasting tray that has no raised sides or an upside-down tray (if it has raised sides) on the second-highest shelf. This helps the pizza to easily slide on to the tray and easy removal when cooked.
8. Leave to heat up for 30 minutes.
9. Return to the pizza dough which should have risen nicely by now.
10. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Press the dough against the bowl to catch all the excess dough and flour.
11. Add more tapioca flour if the dough feels too sticky. The dough should feel smooth and easy to handle.
12. Dust the countertop with tapioca flour and divide the pizza dough into 2 equal size balls. Cover with a tea towel.
13. Prepare all the toppings while the oven is heating up.
14. Using your fingers, gently press the dough ball outwards into a flat disc leaving a 3cm border around the edges. Flip over and repeat, continuously pressing out until the dough can no longer stretch without tearing. 22cm is the usual diameter of the pizza. Sprinkle plenty of tapioca flour on the counter, dough and your hands. Work relatively quickly.
15. Carefully bring the hot tray out and rest it on a heat proof countertop or wooden board.
16. Brush the tray with olive oil and sprinkle it with some cornmeal. The cornmeal helps give a crispy base.
17. Place the pressed-out pizza dough onto the tray and brush the top with more olive oil. You will need to use a well-floured spatula or two to help transfer the dough to the tray. If you have a pizza peel, this is a great help to slide it from the counter to the tray.
18. Return the tray back to the oven on the second highest shelf for 5 minutes.
19. Switch the oven setting to the grill/broil setting and continue to cook the pizza for 3 minutes.
20. Carefully remove the tray and check that the pizza has a nice golden appearance, and the sides are puffed up.
21. As every oven behaves differently, your pizza may need a bit more time to get this appearance, simply return the pizza to continue grilling for another minute, keeping an eye on it.
22. Start spreading two tablespoons of the pizza sauce, followed by the torn mozzarella and a sprinkling of pizza seasoning.
23. Return the pizza to the grill and cook for a final 4 to 5 minutes.
24. Garnish the pizza with some fresh basil leaves, fresh rocket leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
25. Rest the pizza on a wooden board for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
This pizza has a pepperoni, mozzarella and pesto topping. In this photo, you can see how light and well-risen the pizza crust is.
PIZZA COOKING TIMES
250 C/480 F
|PREHEAT OVEN with tray upside down on 2nd highest shelf||30 MINUTES||OVEN SETTING|
|PIZZA DOUGH (only brushed with olive oil)||5 MINUTES||OVEN SETTING|
|PIZZA DOUGH (no toppings)||3 MINUTES||GRILL/BROIL SETTING|
|PIZZA DOUGH with toppings||4-5 MINUTES||GRILL/BROIL SETTING|