Gluten-free pizza is a staple that should be in every gluten-free kitchen, and it should be a good one. I have tested many versions and narrowed it down to two. Of all the factors involved in making gluten-free pizza dough, what makes a seriously good one? What ingredient is a game changer?
About six years ago, I began to have severe pain and tingling in both feet, and I started to have balance instability. After seeing several local physicians here, (being misdiagnosed with MS was visit #1), I went to the Cleveland Clinic in Florida because the symptoms literally halted my life.
At the Cleveland Clinic I went through about 10 months of rigorous testing: scans, blood tests, lumbar puncture, nerve and muscle biopsies, heavy metal testing, and so on and so forth. I was finally given a “loose” diagnosis of CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) and put on IVIg infusions.
Two years of IVIg did nothing.
During this time, I was doing my own research (of course) and found that gluten can be tied to neuropathic pain, especially peripheral neuropathic pain.
So, I’ve been eating gluten-free on and off for about five years. As of next month, I have been on for real, with no cross-contamination or “falling off the wagon” for a year. Although I no longer have balance issues, the pain, numbness and tingling still persists.
I now have a neurologist locally that is skeptical of my CIDP diagnosis, and is determined to figure it out. What I know for sure is that it isn’t MS, or Guillain Barre.
Is it Meningitis? No.
Cancer? Heavy metal intoxication?
Nope and nope.
Flu vaccine reaction? Probably, more than likely, yes. The flu vaccine has been known to cause Guillain Barré Syndrome, amongst other things.
But what actually IS IT?
They just don’t know.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is in most bread, pasta, and in many commercial food products like soy sauce and even some candies.
One thing I’ve learned, however, is that gluten is a neurological irritant and can be the culprit of multiple medical issues, including peripheral neuropathy.
I personally feel like it certainly couldn’t hurt me to avoid it.
Mastering The Art of Gluten-Free Pizza Making
One of the things I’ve always been most proud of in the kitchen is my pizza dough recipe. When I had to cut out gluten, I knew I would start the experimentation process to find out how to get my pizza groove back.
I will never settle for mediocre pizza.
I love to make it, and I love to eat it. I have made pizza with every gluten-free flour there is. I’ve made pizza with cauliflower, pizza with gluten-free bread flour mixes, pizza with no yeast, lots of yeast, and so on and so on.
No matter what you use, with the lack of gluten, you must use something to compensate for that.
Hence the use of xanthan gum, an additive that is typically used as a binding agent. Xanthan gum acts as a binding agent, giving it the elasticity that gluten normally would.
There is one commonality every gluten-free pizza I’ve made has, and that’s the texture.
The best way to describe it is like cookie dough. There’s minimal cohesiveness, no stretchiness at all, just dense, sticky dough. This is a description I haven’t found on any of the gluten-free websites I’ve visited, so I felt like I was doing something wrong.
This should be reiterated to the home cook – your gluten-free pizza dough will NOT resemble typical pizza dough as far as texture. It may look like standard pizza dough at first, but once you pick it up and stretch it apart, there is no stretching; it just separates. Keep this in mind – that’s to be expected with gluten-free dough.
In order to get your pizza shape, the dough needs to be pressed out very gently with your fingers or rolled out.
Don’t worry if it breaks apart or has holes; just press it back together and smooth it out until it looks like you want it to. You’ll think the pizza won’t turn out the way it should, but I promise it will.
Gluten-Free Pizza Dough
The taste of gluten-free pizzas hasn’t been all terrible; some much better than others. I genuinely do really like cauliflower crusts. Making it is a bit labor intensive, but if you like to cook, it’s no more time-consuming than any other recipe that’s worth it.
It’s doable on a weeknight if you start early and prepare. Otherwise, it’s a weekend project.
Making it is when I discovered that I liked it; because before that I wasn’t thrilled about even trying it. Although good, it can never replace traditional pizza dough made with flour.
I recently ran across an article about using eggs in pizza dough, which made me curious about its effect on gluten-free pizza dough.
I made two versions for the purpose of this article; both were made with a combination of sorghum flour, rice flour and tapioca flour, but one was made with the pièce de résistance, an egg, and one without.
The egg, in fact, did make a difference. I found that the bottom crisped somewhat better than without it, and this particular dough already has a pretty good brownish crust.
It also didn’t crack open in several places after baking like the one without the egg did.
Another important aspect of this whole pizza-making situation is parbaking the dough. This ensured that the crust was adequately done all the way to the middle, and allowed longer baking to get those crispy edges.
We don’t typically parbake traditional pizza dough because that dough cooks at the same time as the toppings. Parbaking overall makes a better gluten free pizza crust experience, so don’t skip this part.
3 Crucial Tips for Making The Best Gluten-Free Pizza
From all of the pizza making (gluten-free) I’ve done over the past few years, I’ve identified three essential components to making a delicious gluten-free pizza that rivals traditional pizza.
- Using a binding agent like xanthan gum and adding tapioca flour to the flour mixture also helps because it has similar structural elements as xanthan gum. If you don’t have xanthan gum on hand, corn starch can be a good stand-in, as well as unflavored gelatin or arrowroot powder.
- Egg. I found that the use of an egg in my recipe produced better results than without it from an elasticity standpoint.
- Parbake the crust. This makes sure your crust is done all the way through the middle and gets those crispy little edges. Without doing this, you may have to take it out of the oven prematurely because you can’t let the cheese burn.
The use of tapioca flour and the xanthan gum together definitely helped from a texture standpoint. Obviously, the use of xanthan gum alone doesn’t make up for the lack of gluten entirely when it comes to elasticity and cohesiveness, so tapioca flour is definitely something I’ll be adding from now on.
I want to know if you make this, and please post it on social and tag me!
Here’s your printable –