Pizza Friday

TGIPF, thank goodness it’s Pizza Friday. Another week gone by just like that, and another reason to celebrate the glory that is Pizza Friday and kick off the weekend with a purpose.

Okay, so Pizza Friday really originated from the fact that my dear BF, Alex, and I had an insatiable craving for pizza every Friday night. We played the, “What do you want for dinner?” game for quite some time before we were just honest with each other and acknowledged that pizza was truly the only answer. Our relationship hit the next level when we came to this mutual understanding.

Living a gluten-free life provides its challenges, but pizza really is not one of them. The world must have also recognized the necessity of Pizza Friday and has supplied us gluten-intolerant beings with a multitude of options. Having taste-tested my way through the majority of chains and local joints, I have found a few favorites.

If you’re saying, “I’m FREE, get me out of the house/office/clutches of the ominous email ding!”:
1. Me-N-Eds Pizzeria (perfect thin-crust pizza with lots of flavor)
2. California Pizza Kitchen (mushroom, pepperoni, sausage and goat cheese FTW)
3. Blast 825 Pizza (their taps are self serve, super awesome)

If you’re saying, “I’ve been home for 5 minutes and these sweats are not turning back into publicly acceptable pants for the rest of the weekend.”:
1. Fresh Brothers (if you’re cool with square slices)
2. Domino’s (extra sauce is a must)
3. Udi’s Frozen Pizza (stick that on a pizza stone for super crisp crust)

And you can’t have pizza without beer. No really, there are some great gluten-removed beers out there right now and several major brands are coming out with new options as we speak. Here are my favorite gluten-reduced beers at the moment:
1. Omission Pale Ale (the one with the blue label)
2. Stone Brewing Delicious IPA (light with a hoppy face punch)
3. 101 Cider House IPC (technically not beer, but completely gluten free with a hoppy taste for that beer feel)

So what if you’re in the mood for a game night in with your friends and a desire to build your own unique (and too complicated to ask the pizza guy to do it) pizza combo? That’s where this gluten-free pizza crust recipe comes in. Prep ahead and freeze or get the recipe going while your friends are on their way. This recipe will please even your gluten-everything friends.

This recipe is from The How Can it be Gluten Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. I have tried many recipes out of this book and have yet to find a dud. Similar in texture to a wheat-based crust, this tender and airy on the inside, crispy on the outside crust makes the perfect base for any authentic homemade pizza.

A newcomer in this recipe is powdered psyllium husks. You can find this in the supplement section or bulk section of your health food market. If it is not powdered, you can stick it in a coffee grinder, food processor, or Magic Bullet to create a finer texture.

While a friend mentioned to me that she and her husband use psyllium husks occasionally to stay regular, I can assure you that is not its purpose in this recipe. The psyllium husks act to strengthen the protein in the dough so it can hold onto the gas and steam during baking, providing the light, airy texture to the final product. It also adds a bit of chew and earthy flavor to the crust.

This “dough” will not look like your typical pizza dough. It is more of a spreadable batter that is shaped using a rubber spatula and parbaked to hold its shape.

Since going gluten free, I have missed the smell of yeasted dough. This will take you back to the days of baking fresh bread with Grandma. You’ll want to bottle this as room freshener.

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To shape the dough, lightly spray parchment and a rubber spatula with oil. I like to flip my cookie sheets over for this because it makes spreading the dough easier and gives you more room to expand.

Divide the dough in two and spread with sprayed spatula. When you have formed a thick crust, lightly spray the dough with oil and place plastic wrap on top. Use the plastic wrap to evenly spread out the dough to a thin crust, about 1/4″ thick.

For added flavor, I like to sprinkle my crust with Italian herbs like rosemary and thyme, and a little bit of kosher salt, before I bake.


This recipe makes enough for 2 pizza crusts. Clearly not enough for a game night and four friends. Our simple solution is heading to the nearest pizzeria and purchasing a few balls of dough. Your friends can then shape and top their own personal pizzas. Insta-pizza party.

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We were feeling the creativity this Friday and opted for mango, jalapeño, prosciutto; pepperoni, olive, roasted red pepper; and the rest of the kitchen sink, topped with arugula for a refreshing bite.


Pizza Friday would not be complete without a game or two. On the docket tonight, Exploding Kittens and hours and hours of Canasta. “Play Canasta; play, play Canasta!” Pizza Friday doesn’t get any better than this.

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Similar in texture to a wheat-based crust, this tender and airy on the inside, crispy on the outside crust makes the perfect base for any authentic homemade pizza.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. (3 and 1/3 cups plus 1/4 cup) ATK Gluten Free Flour Blend
  • 2 and 1/2 oz. (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) almond flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons powdered psyllium husk
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 and 1/2 cups warm water (100 degrees, just warm to the touch)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Oil spray
  • Pizza stone

Instructions

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour blend, almond flour, powdered psyllium husks, baking powder, salt, and yeast on low speed until combined.
  2. With the mixer running, slowly stream in warm water and olive oil until incorporated.
  3. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is sticky and uniform, about 6 minutes (dough will look like a this batter).
  4. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 1 and 1/2 hours our until puffed and bubbly inside.
  5. Adjust racks to middle and lower position oven. Using the backside of 2 baking sheets, line with parchment paper (not wax) and spray liberally with oil spray.
  6. Using a sprayed rubber spatula, divide dough in two and transfer half to each sheet.
  7. Spray the spatula again and spread out dough to an 8-inch circle.
  8. Spray top of dough with oil spray, cover with plastic wrap, and use your hands to spread dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough on second prepared sheet. Sprinkle with herbs/salt if desired.
  9. Place prepared sheets in oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F (do not preheat). Bake until firm to touch, golden brown on underside, and just beginning to brown on top, 45-50 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer crusts to wire rack and let cool.
  10. Add pizza stone to oven and preheat to 500 degrees F for at least 30 minutes. Top pizza with desired toppings and transfer to pizza stone in oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Notes

Parbaked crusts can sit at room temperature for up to 4 hours. If you plan to freeze, cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap then foil. Frozen crusts do not need to be thawed before topping and baking.

http://www.neighborhoodbaker.com/pizza-friday/

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