This NY-style gluten free pizza crust is a real thin crust pizza that actually folds in half when you grab a slice, and has that famous chew!
What makes this gluten free pizza crust different
This pizza crust is “NY style” because it has a thin, chewy crust that folds in half on the horizontal when you grab a slice. It’s only slightly crispy on the very, very outside, like in darker spots underneath the pie and on the edges.
Almost no matter how thin you make it, you’re not going to have a cracker-like crust. A super crispy crust is not a bad thing. But it’s just not the texture we’re going for here.
They say the price of a slice of pizza in New York City tracks the price of a subway ride (or what used to be a subway token (I might be a bit older than you think!). When I lived in Manhattan and then Brooklyn, I don’t remember ever ordering a whole pie except for delivery.
You generally buy pizza by the slice, and then you eat it walking down the street. And if you’re going to eat it walking down the street (which is admittedly kind of gross, but I was in my 20s and had no clue), you’re going to want to fold it in half. You end up finishing it way too fast, but again, you don’t know that’s bad because you’re 20.
How to handle the raw dough
To get this pizza crust to be chewy and foldable, you need what’s called a high hydration ratio. That just means how the amount of water compares to the amount of flour. Here, the hydration ratio is nearly 85%.
In our most lovely basic gluten free pizza dough recipe, the hydration ratio is only 60%. That’s actually low for a conventional pizza recipe, but I think we know by now that gluten free baking is just different in so many ways.
An 85% hydration ratio means that this is a wet dough, and we need to keep it that way if we want a chewy, foldable crust. When you’re handling the dough, you don’t add any more flour at all. You shape it with wet or oiled hands. It’s not fun, but it works.
You’ll notice that, even after shaping, the raw gluten free pizza dough isn’t smooth. It’s kind of dimply.
Try not to judge it like I am. I’m judging it pretty hard, since I’ve been avoiding this sort of sad-looking gluten free bread dough for years, but here, it works like no other.
Why I don’t like to parbake this pizza crust
I’ve tried making this pizza by parbaking the crust, which usually involves baking the crust alone, without any toppings until it’s just set. You can then remove it from the parchment paper, add your toppings, and bake again until everything is bubbling and set. But your crust may not be truly foldable if you do that.
To make sure that we have exactly the right chew and texture (I know, stop saying those words, but I can’t!), I prefer to top the crust when it’s raw but shaped. Then, we bake it in a very hot oven for no more than 10 minutes. In fact, I usually bake it for less.
If you’re baking it on a pizza stone, you should consider pulling out the crust after just 8 minutes. The edges may not be perfectly browned and gorgeous, but the bottom should be just right.
Can I make this crust and freeze it?
Since this question is getting asked a lot, I’m adding this right to the text. I don’t ever recommend freezing raw yeasted dough. It may kill the yeast.
If you aren’t satisfied with keeping the raw dough in a sealed proofing bucket in the refrigerator, and just baking it right before you serve it, you can try parbaking but only the classic sense of the technique. That means baking it just until set at a low temperature.
Here, that would mean to bake the shaped crust, plain, at 300°F for less than 10 minutes, until just set. Then let it cool, wrap it tightly, and freeze it. When you’re ready to serve, defrost the crust mostly (at room temp), top, and bake at 450°F as directed.
But I really really recommend not parbaking it at all, just making the dough and storing it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake and serve it. It really comes together in minutes that way.
Since everything is measured by weight, you can also cut the recipe in half and just make one pizza. It’s sooooo good cold!
Ingredients and substitutions
Gluten free flour blend
I try to develop recipes that can be relatively agnostic about which of my recommended all purpose gluten free flour blends you choose, since I know not everyone has access to the same ingredients. But this recipe is designed to create an especially specific texture.
For that reason, I highly recommend using either Better Batter or my mock Better Batter in this otherwise very simple recipe. It’s a sturdy flour that is best for creating a chewy crust that doesn’t puff up too much like a blend like Cup4Cup would. Using the proper flour blend here also helps us avoid using any other enrichments or stabilizers, like Expandex modified tapioca starch or eggs.
First off, if you’re at all unfamiliar, tapioca starch is the same as tapioca flour. It’s like flammable and inflammable having the same exact meaning. Why, universe, why??
Tapioca starch, the starch from the cassava root (not the same as cassava flour, which is actually the whole root), has unique stretchy properties when used in baking. That’s why we can use it alone to make things like Against The Grain copycat rolls.
It has no substitute, I’m afraid. And some brands, like Bob’s Red Mill, are of inconsistent quality. I buy tapioca starch from nuts.com. It’s not expensive, and seems to have a shelf life of approximately forever.
The only dairy in this recipe would be in the cheese that you select for your topping. If you’re dairy-free, my favorite shredded cheese brand is Violife, but Follow Your Heart is also quite good. Even Daiya has gotten a lot better in recent years.