I met the folks behind Otto’s Cassava Flour while attending the Paleo f(x) conference in April, and during our chat, they challenged me to make a pizza crust using their flour. Never one to turn a challenge down, I accepted, and here’s what I came up with. I found that a combination of their flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch created a pizza crust that is light and crisp, and still a little chewy like my original pizza crust.
Cassava flour differs from tapioca starch, despite the fact that they come from the same plant. While tapioca starch is the extracted starch from the root of the yuca plant, cassava flour is peeled and baked yuca root, so it retains the plant’s fiber as well as the starch. Tapioca starch behaves like cornstarch, but cassava flour adds body to dishes, mimicking wheat flour in dishes like this tortilla recipe from Forks and Beans.
Otto's Pizza Crust (Gluten-Free, Perfect Health Diet-friendly)
1/2 cup Otto’s Cassava Flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1. Preheat your oven to 500°F. Combine the flour and starches in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, combine the cream, water, butter, and salt and warm over medium-low heat. Once the butter melts and the liquid just starts to bubble, remove from the heat and stir it into the starch mixture. Let cool for 5 minutes.
2. Add the beaten egg to the mixture and knead together with your hands. Add the Parmesan, pepper, and oregano and mix together until it’s doughlike. If it gets too sticky to work with, dust it with some more tapioca starch.
3. Split the dough in half, then stretch out each half into the thinnest disc possible without tearing. Put one half in an 8- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet, spreading the dough to the edges of the skillet with your fingers. With a fork, poke some holes in the dough to let air pass through.
4. Bake in the center of the oven for 6 minutes, then take it out and put it on the stovetop. This step is important because it gives the dough time to cook through without burning the toppings.
5. Add sauce, cheese, and toppings as desired. Put the pizza back in the oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown. For extra-crispy toppings, broil for the last minute or two of cooking.
6. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough. Or, if you have two cast-iron skillets, you can knock out both pizzas at once! This pizza also cooks well on a pizza stone or even a heavy-duty baking sheet that’s been lightly greased with melted ghee. If using a baking sheet, bake the crust for 8 minutes instead of 6 during the first stage of cooking for best results.
** Avoiding dairy? Use ghee (or coconut oil) instead of the butter, use 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk instead of the cream and water, and use 1/4 cup nutritional yeast instead of the cheese.
As you can see in the first picture of this post, sometimes I sprinkle a little white corn meal on the bottom of the cast iron skillet to give the pizza a “parlor” feel. Totally optional!