I mentioned this in the chickpea flour thread, but couldn't find a link until today. Two USDA scientists, Tilman Schober and Scott Bean, have done some relatively recent research in gluten-free bread baking which could have great impact on gluten-free pizza baking, too. Apparently if one takes zein, a corn protein, and removes the fat (I assume that means from whatever the medium that it comes in) it lends gluten-like characteristics to the dough. The blurb follows below. I don't think the full text of the most recent paper is available.
Great overview of GF baking, with discussion on gums, HPMC and other factors, by the same authors http://www.csaceliacs.org/documents/Gluten-freebaking_000.pdf
An older paper on baking with zein: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/21402/1/IND44123320.pdf
Improved results with sorghum bread using sourdough fermentation: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/12154/1/IND43927154.pdf
A good, crusty roll with dinner is a pleasure most people take for
granted. But for millions of Americans, this simple, basic pleasure
is off limits because they cannot tolerate proteins found naturally in
grains like wheat, barley, and rye that are used in flours.
Agricultural Research Service chemists Scott Bean and Tilman
Schober, in the Grain Quality and Structure Research Unit in
Manhattan, Kansas, had some success developing gluten-free pan
bread from other grains, but they couldn’t make free-standing rolls
because they spread out too much. “The bread was considered lower
in quality than comparable wheat bread,” says Bean. Gluten-free
grains include corn, sorghum, and rice.
Now Bean and Schober have found a way to make rolls from
corn that are more than just gluten-free: they also rise more and
resemble wheat rolls.
In previous studies, Bean and Schober found that a corn protein
called “zein”—a readily available byproduct from corn wet milling
and fuel-ethanol production—could be used to make a more wheatlike
dough. The dough still didn’t meet their standards, though, because
it lacked strength, and the rolls produced from it were too flat. They
used a commercially available zein in that study.
But more recently, Bean and Schober found that by removing
additional fat from zein, they were able to produce a dough more
similar to wheat dough and free-standing hearth-type rolls that
Defatted Corn Protein Produces
Palatable Gluten-Free Bread
resemble wheat rolls. “We found that removing more of the fat
from the protein’s surface allows the proteins to stick to each other
much like wheat proteins do—leading to the elastic nature of wheat
dough,” says Bean.
Even better than corn for baked products, according to Bean,
is sorghum—a gluten-free grain of choice as a wheat substitute.
But since corn and sorghum are similar, they used the former as a
“Corn protein, in our view, is an intermediate step to achieving
the Holy Grail of gluten-free breads—forming a wheatlike dough
using nonwheat proteins, resulting in products with a fluffy, light
texture,” says Bean.
This research may prove useful for the 2-3 million Americans
affected by celiac disease, a condition in which the human immune
system erroneously attacks the intestine when gluten is ingested,
causing severe diarrhea and inability to absorb nutrients. Gluten-free
palatable rolls from corn, rice, and sorghum would be a welcome
addition to their diet.
A paper on this work was accepted by the Journal of Cereal Sciences.—
By Sharon Durham, ARS.
Scott Bean is in the USDA-ARS Grain Quality and Structure
Research Unit, 1515 College Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502; (785)