If you think that gluten-free breads taste good, I would say that you haven’t tasted gluten-free bread. Seriously, for a guy that’s not a huge fan of bread in the first place, gluten-free varieties are never fun: they’re either dense beyond belief or have a strange consistency. For that very reason, I’ve been leery of all gluten-free substitutes. However, pizza deprivation can drive a man to do some crazy things, and lately I’ve tried my hand at gluten-free pizza.
I realize that there are Paleo pizza crusts out there that are made with ground nuts, but I don’t have the courage to try one of those yet. Maybe later. I’m also sure that there are plenty of homemade crust recipes on the internet but I figure for now I’ll leave it up to the experts.
First, a word on how to cook a proper pizza at home. I’m not a big fan of tomato chunks in my red sauce, so I will buy pre-made pizza sauce or I will blend a spaghetti sauce if I’m in a pinch. Sauce from scratch is always an option, but I like to consider pizza a quick meal so I don’t like to put too much work into it. Jarred sauce will generally taste better if you simmer it for 30 minutes to reduce acidity before applying it to the crust. We also like to use a pesto sauce; we brush melted butter on the crust and then spoon pesto sauce on.
Cheese placement is essential! You want to evenly spread grated cheese (picture above) or lay out slices of mozzarella (picture after the break). When the pizza is fully cooked, you will want to broil the top to bubble and brown the cheese. Let it rest for five minutes before slicing.
pepperoni and mushroom pizza with melted mozzarella slices
The first crust we tried is a 10-inch flat shell made by Against the Grain Gourmet, which I’ve seen sold in several stores. The crust is made mostly of tapioca starch, milk, eggs and cheese. It came out crispy on the outside and a little flaky, but the inside of the shell was a little chewy, which I attribute to the tapioca.
chicken pesto pizza
We also tried Kinnikinnick’s personal pizza crusts, which are made with rice flour and tapioca starch. These crusts were very thick, and fluffy tasting; they were absolutely terrific and didn’t seem any different from wheat-based crust.
At the end of the day, having a tasty gluten-free pizza alternative really makes avoiding wheat a lot easier. I plan on tackling some more involved versions including homemade crust, but for now I couldn’t be happier.