Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers October Challenge: Pizza!!

I finally joined the Daring Bakers! And what a perfect first challenge. I love pizza (did you know I have a pizza slice with wings tattooed on my hip?) as you may or may not know. Pizza is one of my favorite foods. I already have a stand-by gluten-free pizza recipe, but gave this months recipe a shot. I'm glad I did. It's vegan, first of all, and second, it doesn't need any ingredients that I don't normally have around the house. 
Flour mix, water, salt, sugar, yeast, olive oil. I made the recipe three times. Once in Milwaukee, where I made the recipe just as it said, and ended up with six small (personal sized) pizzas. They were good, and fed three gluten-eaters, but the consensus was that we should bake the crusts before topping them, just enough to firm them up a bit. Otherwise the dough just tasted a bit raw. When I made pizza at home, with/for Alex, I decided to do something different than plain pizzas with pepperoni and mushrooms or whatever. On the train on the way back from Milwaukee, I read most of Jane and Michael Stern's Two for the Road, which I liked a lot. There was a recipe for fresh clam pizza, from Frank Pepe's in New Haven. 

My parents both grew up in Connecticut, and both sets of my grandparents live(d) there. My dad took us a few times to the New Haven legendary pizza places, Sal and Pepe's. The two restaurants are a block apart, on the same street. I haven't been back in years and years, but was so interested in recreating the thin-crust, garlicky clam pizza for Alex. I'm so glad I did, it was awesome. We had it two nights in a row it was so good. 
Here is the GF version of the recipe, which I don't think made much difference whether it was made in 1 or 2 days. 
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart
Makes 6 small or 3-4 large pizzas
4 1/2 c rice flour mix
2 t xanthan gum
1 3/4 t Salt
2 t instant yeast
1/4 c olive oil
1 3/4 c ice water
1 T sugar 
cornmeal for dusting
Method: 1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
 Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. I added in extra rice flour to make it a more managable dough. 3. Flour a work surface or counter with rice flour.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).
To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.
5. Sprinkle some rice flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.NOTE: 
If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the rice flour again.
6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap. (I just wrapped each dough ball in plastic wrap.)
7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.
You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few Tbs only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.
NOTE: If you want to make the dough in one day, just let the dough rest about an hour. Not in the fridge. 

On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator.  Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with rice flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C). NOTE: 
If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.
 Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches  in diameter - for a 6 ounces  of dough).
Make only one pizza at a time.

I suggest baking the pizza before topping! Bake at this point between 5-10 minutes, until if you press down on the crust it no longer feels like it can be reshaped. 

11. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.
 Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes. (I had to bake mine longer, about 10-15)
Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.
13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 
5-8 minutes.
After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving. 
New Haven Clam Pizza
1 pizzasworth of dough
1/2 head of garlic
3 T olive oil
2 T Parmesan cheese
a dozen just shucked littleneck clams, and some of their juice
1 t oregano

Mince the garlic and let steep in the olive oil for 10-15 minutes. Spread over the pizza crusts, then sprinkle with the clams and juice. Sprinkle the cheese and oregano over, bake for 10-15 minutes, and eat. You will probably repeat. 

I also made pizzas with tomato sauce, mozzerella, spinach (under the cheese), mushrooms, onions, bacon, and pepperoni. That was also delicious. I love pizza!!


  1. I love your pizzas and topping they look so good!

  2. wow those look amazing! What are you using for rice flour mix?

  3. Ruth - Thanks! I'm glad they look almost as good as they tasted!

    Gaile - My rice flour mix is posted on the right side of the page!

  4. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Congrats on a good looking GF pizza!!

  5. oh you'd think I would have noticed it that over there! :) thanks!!

  6. These pizzas look nice and crispy and I love the toppings you chose!

  7. Anonymous8:30 PM

    Lookin reeeal good!!

  8. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Looks great! Both pizzas look delicious. Love the pizza tattoo! :)

  9. Wow! You really do love pizza. LOL! Congratulations on your first DB challenge. Your pizzas are lovely.

  10. Thanks so much everyone!!!

  11. Anonymous10:16 PM

    OMG..... I'm begging you... move over, sister and save me a slice! (Or three!)

    ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy - that LOOKS SO GOOD!

  12. Anonymous10:38 PM

    Your clam pie looks so delicious! I've never seen gluten-free look so good...

  13. Anonymous5:32 AM

    Oh these look good!

    I think I'm just going to spend some time reading your blog and drooling. Don't mind me...

  14. Glutenfree and it looks good !
    Goes to my favorites :-)

  15. wow! clams look good! I'm sure it tastes divine!

  16. What gorgeous pizzas! Great tattoo! Very well done!



  17. What fantastic pizzas! The pictures look amazing!

  18. Your pizzas look awesome! Great job!!

  19. congrats on becoming a daring baker!

    gosh those look so, so good. I really think I'm going to have to try this out.

    Question though, you say you don't have to put the dough in the freezer over night - but how long should you freeze it if you choose to make it all in one day? (Or am I totally dense here and you don't need to freeze it at all...or worse, is it written somewhere in plain sight that I'm just missing?)

  20. Yum, your gluten free pizza looks so yummy. I was tempted to try the gluten free version but I was intimidated. It looked too complicated!

  21. Dana- Don't freeze the dough if you want to eat it the next day! The directions say to refrigerate the dough overnight to let it rest, but I didn't find any difference in dough that was refrigerated and dough that was just used right away.

    Katie - its not complicated!! You just can't really toss it like regular dough.

  22. Great job on your GF pizzas. They look great! Also, very nice photos too!

  23. Anonymous3:19 AM

    Congratulations on your first successful DB Challenge.
    I'm so impressed with all the GF DBs who gave this challenge a go.
    Your pizzas look lovely!
    Jane of

  24. Anonymous2:42 PM

    That clam pizza looks great! Having grown up on Cape Cod, I love seafood pizza. And welcome to the DBs!


  25. Anonymous10:13 AM

    hi Jill, I made this last night and me and Ben had a gluten-free vegan pizza party!!!!!! it was so, so awesome. we've never been able to eat pizza together.
    I used your rice flour mix (subbed white rice flour for the brown 'cause I didn't have any), and just let it rest an hour instead of refrigerating it over night. it was so delicious!

    OH also, I didn't have instant yeast so I just proofed regular yeast in warm water w/the sugar, and then added it with the wet ingredients