Gluten Free Pizza, It’s Not Just A Fad

Today I was going to post about how I make my gluten free pizza crusts. I’m still going to do that but I felt I needed to mention something I came across today. I was perusing Babble when I saw this article, http://www.babble.com/body-mind/is-a-gluten-free-diet-right-for-you/

Needless to say I was both shocked and horrified. How could this site openly suggest readers adopt a gluten free diet as a means to loose weight, or fit in? Is the author in middle school? In it they mention Celiac disease so it’s not like the woman writing this drivel doesn’t know what the diet is for. But to suggest that it’s a great way to drop a few pounds or seem cool is just plain wrong- and even dangerous. All I need is one waitress to read this article and then they think it’s okay if they pick the croutons off my salad. It’s not, it could make me very sick. Celiac disease is not like a lactose intolerance. I’m not just going to have an upset stomach for a few hours, or days. When a person with Celiac disease eats gluten their body begins to attack itself. After consuming a communion wafer the body can take up to a week to repair the damage caused by that tiny bit of gluten.

After trying, and failing to find contact information on the Babble site I went to their Facebook page. I posted a comment and a link to the offending article. I asked them to remove the post because it contains potentially harmful medical advice, written by someone who isn’t even a doctor. They responded saying they “had escalated my concerns” and promptly deleted my post. So, I’m guessing they’re going to do nothing. The reality of it is this. If you’re having stomach problems don’t just give up gluten (or try any new diet). Go to your doctor, you know the person trained to treat medical complaints. If you think giving up gluten will fix your problems you may well be right. But at least you’ll be able to test for Celiac. Once you give up gluten if you do have Celiac disease it becomes difficult to test for it because your body starts to heal itself.

Here’s a link to a reputable site for Celiac disease, http://celiac.org

FYI, I’m not a doctor either. But I just can’t stand thinking there are people out there who are being led to believe a gluten free diet is a game. It’s not, it’s like medication. A gluten free diet is the only known treatment for Celiac disease, it’s not to be taken lightly.

Now on to what I’d hoped to post today. Pizza!!!!

This is the brand of crust I buy, Image

I but it in bulk from Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-Gluten-16-Ounce/dp/B001D0676C

The first time I tried it I hated it, it was horrible. It was weirdly doughy, didn’t cook all the way through and glued itself to my pizza stone. It took many trips through the dishwasher and being baked in the oven trying to burn the chunks of crust off it. After that I decided to experiment, this is what I came up with.

You’ll need to get a few things:

Parchment paper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, a big bowl of water, and a pizza stone

First prepare the crust according to the instructions on the side of the package. But add in the garlic powder and Italian seasoning before mixing otherwise it’s quite blah, I use about a teaspoon of each. Then the instructions will tell you to split the dough in half, do it. And when you go to make your crust just grab one half- do not use the whole thing. You’re going to make two full size crusts from each package, otherwise it just never cooks.

Lay your parchment paper on your pizza stone. I guarantee it’ll keep it from sticking better than anything else. You want to spread the dough as thin as you can, all the way to the edge of your pizza stone (I’ll shrink up quite a bit while baking). Use your bowl of water to keep your hands wet (not damp, but soaking wet). It’s okay to really soak the dough, it’s never messed it up on me yet. If your hands aren’t dripping then the dough will stick to you like crazy.

Now you’re going to bake it- for a really long time. The instructions say to bake it for 7-9 minutes without toppings, then another 15 or so with them. And you can do that, if you’re a fan of raw dough. But I usually cook mine for more like 15-20 on the first go. Now after the first go in the oven you can let it cool completely and freeze it (they freeze really well, just keep them on the parchment paper and they won’t stick to each other) or you can add your toppings and bake on for another 15 to 20 minutes. I usually make about 6 to 8 crusts at a time and freeze them for fast meals. If you’re planning to freeze them I suggest under cooking them a bit. For whatever reason this works best.

To reheat a frozen one I take it out of the freezer and put it straight into a 425 degree oven for about 18 minutes (leave it on the parchment paper!!!!!). It does have to cook longer if it had been frozen even without the toppings. Because remember, you’re not cooking them 100% of the way if you’re planning to freeze them. After it’s finished heating up and cooking thoroughly, I take it out, add my toppings and back in it goes for another 10 (or more, depends on the toppings). My husband loves these, and he doesn’t have to eat gluten free. So unless it’s really good he usually skips my gf substitutes. So the fact that he asks for it says something.

So again, biggest things to remember:

Hands must be dripping wet when spreading the dough/glue. Spread it as thinly and evenly as you possibly can taking it to the very edges of your pizza stone. It’s going to shrink up on you quite a bit, so don’t worry. Cook the crusts all the way through before adding toppings, otherwise it’ll just go soggy. You can’t really over cook this stuff, but undercooking it is easy to do. Add seasonings to the dough, it’s just so bland on it’s own. And don’t forget your parchment paper, because otherwise you may find yourself having to toss your pizza stone…

I’ve been thinking I might be able to use the dough to make those cheese straws. If cooked long enough it doesn’t really burn, it just gets more crunchy. If I ever remember to try it you can bet I’ll be posting it here.

Image

Here’s a photo of one of my finished masterpieces. Please excuse the meerkat, they don’t get many pizza opportunities on the savannah.

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