Pssst! Allow me to share the secret of chewy, tasty, egg-free (and vegan) pizza crust. This recipe builds on an earlier blog post about tapioca gel, something which allows gluten-free doughs to have better structure and chew.
In my work I develop products free of eggs, dairy, nuts, soy (and beans), oats, gluten, wheat, fish, shellfish, sesame and sulfites. I'm a little jealous of people who can use eggs or dairy - both dairy and egg proteins give gluten-free products more of that 'just like wheat' taste and texture. It also means my work can be very challenging, something I rather enjoy, though it does require seemingly endless iterations until I hit something I'm actually satisfied with.
The pizza dough is made in two parts: tapioca gel is made first, and then you use the gel to make your pizza dough. The gel gives it an outstanding texture - nice crumb, good chew and decent crunch on the crust. Here's a small roll I made with the dough to show its internal structure and crumb. Not perfect, but pretty darn good:
If you use only 1 cup of Tapioca Gel and omit the oil, you can make a very easy-to-handle bagel or pretzel with the dough. I'm serious!
I liked my old version of pizza dough, but truthfully, it is too complicated - too many ingredients that I generally avoid (bean flours, oat flour) and it didn't have an ideal structure. This pizza recipe, using the tapioca gel recipe (link below) makes a great product that has a better structure than simple starch alone. I made a version of this with pre-gelantinized tapioca flour and it really didn't perform as well. The gel makes the difference.
This is slightly more elaborate than mixing all ingredients in one bowl, but trust me, it is worth the extra effort.
Cake and Commerce's Pizza Dough
First, up to one day ahead:
- 2T Tapioca Starch/Flour
- 2 C Cold Water (hot water will not work)
Combine in a sauce pan and turn on heat to high. Stir until color of mixture becomes transparent and a texture becomes gummy. Do not boil. Remove from heat immediately. Cool. May be kept in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. May be used as is when still warm, about 100F. Be very careful - the tapioca mixture will kill the yeast if it is above 110F.
While the gel is cooling, measure out your pizza dough ingredients:
- 1-1/2 teaspoon dry yeast (if you use instant, you can omit the water and add yeast to the dry ingredients)
- 1 T cold water
- 2 Cups tapioca gel (above)
- 1/4 C arrowroot
- 1/2 C toasted quinoa flour*
- 1 C light buckwheat flour (or substitute additional toasted quinoa Flour)
- 1/4 C white rice flour
- 1 t xanthan gum
- 1-1/2 t salt
- 1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a stand mixer, combine water and yeast and stir to dissolve. Add the 2 cups of tapioca gel and continue to mix. Add all dry ingredients, mix until smooth. Add in olive oil. Mix for an additional minute.
The dough will be very wet, unlike a traditional pizza dough. This is not a problem. Dry dough will not rise as nicely or taste as good.
You have two things you can do now:
1. scoop the dough into a loaf pan, allow to rise until double in volume and bake as bread (if you decide to go this route, replace the oil with water)
(it will look like this - this version has the 3T tapioca AND oil)
2. Make Pizza
(I'd make pizza.)
To make pizza, lightly cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise until double in volume, about one hour if you used slightly warm tapioca gel. If you prefer to make pizza ahead, you can put it in the dough refrigerator before you let it rise and use it the next day. You'll still need to let it warm up and rise if you do opt for the cold method.
Ready to bake?
Preheat your oven to 500F.
Scrape down the dough. It will come apart in chunks. Do not worry - it will bake like a dream. Keep your hands wet at this point - the dough is sticky and wet hands will allow you to handle it without making it stick.
On a baking pan place silicone baking sheet (recommended), piece of parchment OR tinfoil. You can use oiled tin foil on top of one of those aluminum pizza pans, the ones with perforations, if you like. Scoop out about a third of the dough from the bowl. With wet hands, shape it into a round. Press into the middle to thin it out. Keep the edges slightly thicker. Don't worry about putting a hole in the dough. You can fill in holes with more dough. You can poke holes in the middle to keep large CO2 bubbles from making your dough look less than perfect. Or not.
Allow your crust to sit in a warm place for ten minutes. It doesn't need to be oiled, but oiling doesn't hurt. You're not leaving it out for long and it won't dry out.
Place the dough in your extremely hot oven for 8-10 minutes. You'll be baking it twice (for an extra crispy dough) so make sure the crust doesn't get too dark. If you have opted for bread, bake it at 375 degrees rather than 500 for about 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven. You can freeze the ungarnished crust at this point OR sauce, cheese it, and top it.
Place your topped crust back in the oven. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.
A few tips: For a crispier crust, replace the arrowroot with white rice flour and increase the toasted quinoa flour to 1 C while reducing buckwheat to 1/2 C.
Have a different grain preference? That's fine, just substitute in the grains you like...the results will be a little different, but it will still work as long as you include some rice flour and starch.
Remember: when handling the dough, keep your hands wet. It will not harm the dough.
* To toast quinoa flour: heat oven to 300F. Turn oven off. Place quinoa flour on sheet tray and leave in hot oven until oven cools down, or about 2 hours. It is ready to use when cool.