Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gluten-Free Pizza

I have made a lot of homemade pizza. Most of it was not gluten free. Every Friday night was pizza night at my house, and every Friday night every one was happy (who doesn't like pizza?), and everyone ate their dinner, it was fun to have my kids help me (read: eat cheese, pepperoni and olives), and it was more economical than going out. It was fun, but it was also a strategy. Pizzeria pizza used to really mess up my son's blood sugar. But if I made it at home and used white whole wheat flour, part-skim mozzarella, turkey pepperoni, and served it with a salad, it didn't affect him more than any other meal. (Well, except for the post-pizza gluten bellyache, but we didn't know that back then.) So when my son was diagnosed with celiac, that was one of the things I mourned: pizza night with the hubby and kids.

During the first few weeks after diagnosis, we tried a few GF pizza crust mixes. They were all nasty. And then I found Annelise Roberts' book "Gluten Free Baking Classics." My husband took one bite of her pizza crust, and said, "Hey, this is really good." And now thanks to her wonderful crust recipe we are back to having pizza night.

Gluten-free pizza toppings.

For toppings, I use generally use Walmart's Great Value pizza sauce, sliced olives, and part-skim mozzarella, with Hormel's turkey pepperoni, and Canadian style bacon. They are all marked gluten free. Of course, your toppings are only limited by your imagination. (Her recipe is half whole grain, thanks to the millet and sorghum. Hormel's turkey pepperoni has been one of my favorite products for years: no one ever guesses it isn't regular pepperoni and it has 70 percent less fat in it.)

A pre-baked pizza crust.

The pizza dough is kind of like a really thick cake mix dough. The hardest part about making the pizza is spreading it out evenly in a circle. I have found that the easiest way to do that is to use a regular cookie sheet, spray it lightly and sprinkle it with corn meal. Then use an offset spatula sprayed with pan spray to spread the dough out. You let the dough rise for 30-40 minutes and pre-bake it. Then you cover it with your toppings and bake it again. The only change I've made to her recipe is to pre-bake it for 10 minutes instead of 15, and then to bake it with the toppings on it for 15 minutes instead of 10. We like our toppings a little more cooked than they were getting.

Piping hot turkey pepperoni and olive pizza.

My kids requested a "Hawaiian" pizza.

Each dough recipe makes one pizza. I usually make two pizzas for dinner. (I'd say they are about mediums.) That feeds two adults, two pizza-loving little boys and leaves ample for left-overs for the little boys' lunch the next day. I've found that you can bake two pizzas at once, but it works better if you make sure that the one that pre-bakes on the top shelf, is on the bottom shelf when you are baking your toppings, and vice versa.

For more information on "Gluten-Free Baking Classics" check out the link to the right to Annelise Roberts' Food Philosopher web site. Or check out my earlier posts about her book.

Note to diabetics: 1/8 of a pizza is 24g of carbs, before toppings. I usually give a combo bolus over an hour and a half and split it half and half.

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