Monday, January 3, 2011

Pizza! Crust

When you have food intolerances, allergies, or other limitations, there are not a lot of things you can buy in the store pre-made. Much of American food is processed and, depending on your food limitations, probably contains some ingredient you can't have or don't want. One of the things that is difficult to find in stores or restaurants is pizza. About 4:00pm today I made the mistake of asking Dona and Samantha (my wife and daughter, respectively) what we should have to eat for supper/dinner. I was thinking spaghetti, because there's a jar of store-bought sauce in the cupboard and a bunch of noodles ready for the cooking. It would be a fairly quick and easy meal. "Pizza!" was the answer I received. Actually, Samantha voted first for her normal request (pancakes) and Dona vetoed spaghetti.
"We just had spaghetti." 
"Not for several months!" I said. 
Dona doesn't like spaghetti. I don't really know why, but even if we have it twice a year, it's too often for her. I would like it about once a month. Spaghetti must have made her think Italian or something because her next thought was, "Pizza!" "Yeah! Pizza!" says Samantha. I know when I'm out-voted.

The pizza I make is highly regarded in the family. I always thought it was decent, but not great. However, I receive a lot of accolades every time I make it. Mostly I thought that Dona and Samantha were being nice. However, I decided my pizza might be good when even my 22-year-old stepdaughter, when we had pizza a couple of weeks ago, liked it. I took that as high praise, because she has more refined tastes than I do. I used to make a rice-flour crust for myself and a wheat crust for them, but since Dona and Samantha have had limits placed on their food intake I had to find another crust for them. I found one that we all could eat. I also like it because it's fast. I can whip one out in ten minutes.

  • 2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder ( I had to use soy milk powder, which I happened to have, because I was out of nonfat dry milk. 
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vinegar
Mix all the dry ingredients together, I try to remember to use a whisk because the tapioca flour, like corn starch and baking soda, sticks together in lumps, so you have to work it pretty well to get the lumps out. If you don't it looks like this.
The white spots are un-mixed tapioca flour

Stir in the liquid and beat until mixed thoroughly. It's going to be a little sticky. I even tried using less water, but it still was sticky. Get out a piece of plastic wrap that is at least as long as it is wide, and spray it with cooking spray. Even if you are cheap, like I am, don't skimp on the plastic wrap. It probably will take you 4 sheets, because this will roll out fairly thin. Anyway, put two sheets of overlapping plastic wrap on the table and spray them. Scrape the dough onto the plastic wrap and spray two more sheets. Lay them, overlapping, on top of the dough and press out so it's about an inch thick and 6-8 inches in diameter. Roll with a rolling pin until the dough is 1/8-1/4 inch thick. The plastic wrap might bunch up or get caught in the dough, so you might have to peel it off once and lay it back on the dough. You can flip it over, too. Once it's rolled out, peel off the top plastic wraps and then slide your hand under the dough. Then, like a pie crust, lay it out on the pizza pan. Don't forget to peel the plastic off what is now the top side. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, take it out and put sauce and toppings on it and bake it again until the cheese melts. My sauce recipe will be forthcoming.

**A couple of things to keep in mind about this pizza crust. You are using bean flour. If you get gas or have other reactions to beans, go easy on the pizza. The result of a surprise high fiber invasion of your intestines could be "explosive." You also could play with the flour mixture. Use less bean flour and substitute rice or quinoa. I also have a really good rice flour-tapioca flour pizza crust I used to make but that's another blog.

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