Author Topic: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza  (Read 3968 times)

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Offline Mad_Ernie

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Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« on: May 27, 2011, 11:12:16 PM »
A family we know has recently decided to go gluten-free for reasons other than celiac disease.  Wanting to keep them included in certain gatherings, I took it upon myself to try and see if I could make a gluten-free pizza. 

My wife had been reading about gluten-free doughs and I noticed from her findings that it would be quite a challenge compared to what I am used to.  So I thought, YES! :-D

To start out, I decided to make it easy on myself by getting an established gluten-free pizza crust mix and working with it instead of buying the individual ingredients like xanthum gum, tapioca, etc.   My wife noticed one store in our area (Hy-Vee) had quite an array of gluten-free products, and they had the King Arthur Gluten-free Pizza crust mix.  I had her pick up 1 box and I did some thinking.  In seeing her attempts at breads that were gluten-free, and based on what I had seen & read, I knew the dough would be quite different.  At the least, it would be very wet compared to what I am used to using.  I decided to divide the box of King Arthur crust mix into 2 portions (weighed out) and make 2 separate attempts of making a gluten-free pizza dough.  That way, I could learn from 1 attempt and make some quick changes for a 2nd attempt.  The recipe for the entire box mix calls for 3 eggs, 4 tablespoons of oil (vegetable or olive),  1-1/4 cups of warm water, and 1 packet of yeast (enclosed).   

In my first attempt, I decided to use 1/2 the mix and add 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of my own yeast (SAF), and 1/2 cup of water.  These ingredients were combined in my KitchenAid mixer.  I thought having a little less than half the egg and water would help make the dough less wet and easier to handle.  I followed the instructions on the box with respect to mixing and resting the "dough".  I let the "dough" sit for 1 hour (instructions say 30 minutes).  If it did rise, it was not very much.  The King Arthur box mix calls for literally pouring the "dough" into a pizza pan, par-baking it, then dressing it and finishing it in the oven.  I can tell you that you will need a non-perforated pizza pan, because even with my somewhat lesser hydrated gluten-free dough, it still oozed too much to be considered a full solid mass.  I also based the product in the oven on top of a pizza stone in a 500-degree preheated oven (the box calls for 400-425 degrees).  The final product was less than stellar.  I didn't even bother to take pictures.

Taking what I learned from my first attempt, a week later I made a second attempt with the remaining half of the dough mix.  This time, I decided to make some alterations.  I used 2 eggs (instead of 1), 1 tablespoon of olive oil (instead of 2 of vegetable oil), I used the entire packet of yeast (2.25 teaspoons, instead of 2 teaspoons), and I only prepared 1/3 cup of warm water to add to the mixture.  I added the water slowly, stopping every so often to see how things were coming together and at what consistency.  I used almost the 1/3 cup of water but not quite all - somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 cup.  I let the dough rest for 1 hour again.

The results of the dough and my attempt at turning it into a margherita pizza (our basil had not come in yet so we used ground basil from a bottle) are shown below.  The dough ended being dryer and easier to handle this time.  I laid it out in a pizza pan and spread it with my hands  (the box instructions say to make sure to coat the pan liberally with oil, but this pan was non-stick and the dough was much dryer than what the instructions called for, so I didn't pre-coat the pan).  The consistency and appearance reminded me of a dessert pizza crust.  I did not parbake the crust this time since it was dryer.  Instead, I loaded it up with sauce, cheese, tomatoes and sprinkled some basil on it.  I found with what gluten-free products I've samples so far that taste is an issue, as in, there is none.  Therefore, with a gluten-free pizza, additional sauce, herbs, etc. are key to boosting the overall flavor profile.

This time, I also baked it on my 2-stone pizza grill instead of the home oven.  The stone had lost some heat due to having just previously cooked a traditional pizza directly on it, therefore I was not worried it would adversely affect the pan.

The results of the experiment are shown below.  Overall, this came out much better than my first attempt.  The flavor was only slightly improved, but the texture and consistency was much better.  The crust was crunchy, somewhat like a dense biscuit. It reminded me a little of a Tombstone pizza crust.  I know that doesn't sound exciting, but when dealing with gluten-free dough, I consider it to be a win. :chef:

Let them eat pizza.


Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2011, 11:14:35 PM »
 And here are some more pictures of the final product.  

I think I would keep the same steps next time as I did this time.  I might try par-baking the crust next time just to see if it helps.  I might also give Bob's Red Mill brand a try.

Let them eat pizza.

Offline norma427

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2011, 12:51:47 AM »
And here are some more pictures of the final product.  

I think I would keep the same steps next time as I did this time.  I might try par-baking the crust next time just to see if it helps.  I might also give Bob's Red Mill brand a try.



Mad_Ernie,

I consider you Gluten-Free pizza a win, too!  :) Looks great to me.  I have been a tester for Peter Reinhartís new book that is on Gluten-Free baked goods next year.  It has been eye opening to try so many different ingredients that I never tried before.  Things I never thought would work well, did turn out good. I haven't tested all the recipes, because it is expensive to buy all the ingredients. It will be interesting to see how Peter Reinhartís recipes will be presented in his new book next year.  I donít know the results of the other testers, only my test results.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 09:31:37 AM »
M_E,

In my reading, I have been following the gluten-free trend for some time and have noticed some interesting developments that I did not expect. One is that people who are not celiacs are also eating gluten-free products. They apparently believe that the ingredients used to make gluten-free products are healthier for you than those used in regular foods, including pizza. The gluten-free market has also attracted people who think it is cool to be eating gluten-free products, just as they are attracted to other fads and trends. Even the marketers were surprised by these developments and, as a result, now consider such users in their product development and marketing. To them, any sale is a good sale.

But there are a couple of things that are not normally highlighted, such as the fact that gluten-free products are considerably more expensive, and often have much higher calorie content (often the products have considerable fat). I recall reading about a study where a group of celiacs using gluten-free products were tracked for two years. At the end of the study, they found that about 80% of them put on weight. This morning I did a Google search and found a report on that study, at http://www.celiacdisease.net/assets/documents/SP08CeliacCtr.News.v5final.pdf. I don't know if non-celiacs would suffer the same indignity from their consumption of gluten-free products (there may be biological factors unique to celiacs only), but I wonder whether they would be as interested in gluten-free foods if they read the results of the study. Paying more and getting fatter does not sound like a compelling proposition to me.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 09:37:26 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline plainslicer

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2011, 10:19:51 AM »
M_E, your pizza looks good. I bet that hot 2Stone really helps things versus a home oven.

Peter, you're dead on about the weight gain. My celiac friends lost a lot of weight around the time they started showing symptoms and then gained it back (or more) after they began the diet and began to feel healthy again. I really try to reserve judgment on people's voluntary diet choices, but it becomes obnoxious when a trend like this starts (for non-celiacs) based on pseudoscience "detox diets." It's easier to find decent GF products now, but yes, they are often worse than their normal counterparts and there's nothing more natural about them, with all the stuff you have to add to get decent results. There's a lot of debate on celiac listservs about whether or not the fad is in the end a good thing for celiacs, with a lot of people getting irritated that they're getting lumped in with a diet fad and others just happy they can find commercial baking mixes and the like that they'd missed, and that they can now get gluten-free menus at a lot of restaurants.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 10:21:47 AM by plainslicer »

Offline plainslicer

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2011, 12:26:53 PM »
I found with what gluten-free products I've samples so far that taste is an issue, as in, there is none.  Therefore, with a gluten-free pizza, additional sauce, herbs, etc. are key to boosting the overall flavor profile.

If you have the time you could try making a sourdough starter with a gluten-free flour, and using that for flavor. I made a few breads lately with Schar White Bread mix with 1% or so brown rice flour starter, and it made the flavor and aroma wonderful. That mix is corn starch with some rice flour and some psyllium seed husk for fiber and a more moist crumb. It has the closest taste to wheat flour that I've found so far. I really want to try making pizza from it but haven't had the time yet.

I also did some experiments a few months ago with long cold fermentation (baker's yeast) and it really helped the flavor, though it was of course much more subtle than with the sourdough. That experiment was with the King Arthur all-purpose mix, which I now think tastes a little too strongly of rice flour for pizza crust.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2011, 03:00:12 PM »
M_E,

In my reading, I have been following the gluten-free trend for some time and have noticed some interesting developments that I did not expect. One is that people who are not celiacs are also eating gluten-free products. They apparently believe that the ingredients used to make gluten-free products are healthier for you than those used in regular foods, including pizza. The gluten-free market has also attracted people who think it is cool to be eating gluten-free products, just as they are attracted to other fads and trends. Even the marketers were surprised by these developments and, as a result, now consider such users in their product development and marketing. To them, any sale is a good sale.

But there are a couple of things that are not normally highlighted, such as the fact that gluten-free products are considerably more expensive, and often have much higher calorie content (often the products have considerable fat). I recall reading about a study where a group of celiacs using gluten-free products were tracked for two years. At the end of the study, they found that about 80% of them put on weight. This morning I did a Google search and found a report on that study, at http://www.celiacdisease.net/assets/documents/SP08CeliacCtr.News.v5final.pdf. I don't know if non-celiacs would suffer the same indignity from their consumption of gluten-free products (there may be biological factors unique to celiacs only), but I wonder whether they would be as interested in gluten-free foods if they read the results of the study. Paying more and getting fatter does not sound like a compelling proposition to me.

Peter

Peter,

Thanks for the info.  I am going to check out that information from the link you provided. 

In our case, the main issue is one of a possible autistic child in a family who is trying to go non-gluten and non-casein (as if non-gluten is not rough enough).  This diet is even more controversial than a straight non-gluten diet.  That brings up a whole other issue with regard to the cheese, but that is for another day.  The "experts" are rather divided on this dietary issue for autistics.  But, we want to be inclusive rather than exclusive, so we are doing our best to accommodate wherever we can.  Your link, Peter, may add further fuel to the controversy for this family.  They are basically testing out this diet for the summer and seeing how their oldest son does compared to baseline (although admittedly this is still rather subjective).

-M_E
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2011, 03:01:35 PM »
M_E, your pizza looks good. I bet that hot 2Stone really helps things versus a home oven.

Plainslicer,

You are right, it helped quite a bit.   :chef:
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2011, 03:03:55 PM »
If you have the time you could try making a sourdough starter with a gluten-free flour, and using that for flavor. I made a few breads lately with Schar White Bread mix with 1% or so brown rice flour starter, and it made the flavor and aroma wonderful. That mix is corn starch with some rice flour and some psyllium seed husk for fiber and a more moist crumb. It has the closest taste to wheat flour that I've found so far. I really want to try making pizza from it but haven't had the time yet.

I also did some experiments a few months ago with long cold fermentation (baker's yeast) and it really helped the flavor, though it was of course much more subtle than with the sourdough. That experiment was with the King Arthur all-purpose mix, which I now think tastes a little too strongly of rice flour for pizza crust.

Plainslicer,

Thank you.  Do you (or anyone else here) have any experience with putting herbs in a gluten-free pizza dough to enhance the flavor?  If so, I would be glad to hear what has worked (or not worked) for anyone.

-M_E
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2011, 10:19:40 PM »
Mad_Ernie,

I consider you Gluten-Free pizza a win, too!  :) Looks great to me.  I have been a tester for Peter Reinhartís new book that is on Gluten-Free baked goods next year.  It has been eye opening to try so many different ingredients that I never tried before.  Things I never thought would work well, did turn out good. I haven't tested all the recipes, because it is expensive to buy all the ingredients. It will be interesting to see how Peter Reinhartís recipes will be presented in his new book next year.  I donít know the results of the other testers, only my test results.

Norma

Thanks Norma.

Keep us posted on your work with Peter Reinhart's book.  Although I'm very glad I don't have to eat a gluten-free diet, I am becoming more fascinated by the alternatives and substitutes.

-M_E
Let them eat pizza.


Offline norma427

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Re: Early attempt at making a gluten-free pizza
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2011, 11:17:07 PM »
Thanks Norma.

Keep us posted on your work with Peter Reinhart's book.  Although I'm very glad I don't have to eat a gluten-free diet, I am becoming more fascinated by the alternatives and substitutes.

-M_E

M_E,

The testing for Peter Reinhart's book is about done.  The testing for the book was for gluten-free and mostly no regular sugars, so it was really different, at least to me.  After Peter Reinhart's book is out, maybe I can comment more.  At least for me, the foods were different, but interesting.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!


 

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