The Secret to Great Gluten-Free Pizza? You'd Be Surprised.
This Jimmy Kimmel video made the rounds this week when his show stumped a few civilians on the street by asking them to explain what gluten is. But Kimmel's best line just might have been: "People are very anti-gluten, which bothers me because I'm very pro-pizza -- and you can't be pro-pizza and anti-gluten."
Well, it turns out you actually can be -- once you have a great gluten-free pizza dough. At Food Network Kitchen, we ate A LOT of gluten-free pizzas for research purposes before we developed our own gluten-free dough. From frozen to pizzeria-fresh, we tried everything we could get our hands on. Truth be told, most were disappointingly tough and gummy. Where was that chewy pull from the crust? After lots of conversation (and chewing), we realized that we were unfairly comparing gluten-free pizza dough to regular pizza dough. They are like apples and oranges. So we adjusted our expectations and found a few gluten-free pizzas that were good -- and even some that were more than good.
A review of existing gluten-free pizza dough recipes turned up some off-the-wall ingredients, like xantham gum and psyllium powder, which are familiar to avid gluten-free cooks but can be a little intimidating to anyone who isn't. We wanted to try and achieve a crust without using these specialty ingredients. That's when our sights fell on ... the potato. Why wouldn't that work? After a few tries we found the right combination of potato, rice flour, tapioca starch and egg white. Using a potato ricer -- the kitchen contraption that turns out the creamiest mashed potatoes -- is key to getting the cooked potato the right consistency. And if you make this dough often, buying one is worth the small investment.
Once you're ready for your gluten-free pizza party, be sure that your pizza stone is nice and hot in a 500-degree oven. Using one ensures that the crust will brown nicely on the bottom and edges. (If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a baking sheet in pinch.) For weeknight dinner convenience, it's great to make a batch of dough, shape the pizza shells, par-bake them and freeze them for when you need. Try our toppings suggestions or make it your own. Either way, know that you can have gluten-free pizza and enjoy.
Leah Brickley is a Nutritionist-Recipe Developer for Food Network Kitchen.