This thick crust gluten free pizza dough takes only minutes to make, and has the authentic bite and chew that you’ve been missing. Make tonight pizza night!
Having a proper recipe for an authentic gluten free pizza crust means so many things to my family. It’s only my son who has to be gluten free, but we all eat that way at home (and I eat that way everywhere, whether I’m with my son or not). When they sell pizza in the school lunchroom on Fridays, my son can come home and expect real pizza at home that night. When he’s invited to a birthday party and everyone’s having pizza, so can he. And it looks, smells and tastes like the real deal. If it’s a cracked and crumbly crust, it’s just not going to cut it. I want my son to be proud, not ashamed.
This gluten free pizza crust recipe comes to you straight from page 187 of my gluten free bread cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread. I decided to provide it here on the blog because I know not everyone is going to buy the book (even though of course I wish you would!), but I want everyone to have the chance to have real pizza. This recipe is so authentic and easy to handle that you can even make it on the grillin the summertime—right on the grates. I thought it was time to provide complete step by step photos, too, to walk you through how to make and shape the dough, and bake the pizza. It begins with a starter, which is just a quick-rising flour-yeast-sugar mixture. If I’m being completely honest, sometimes I skip the starter step and just put all of the ingredients in the mixer at once. But the dough is always easier to handle when I follow the recipe as written. (Practice what you preach, Nicole!)
The dough starts off super shaggy, as you can see, but as you knead it with a dough hook (in a stand mixer or a handheld mixer with dough hooks) it becomes smoother and even lightens a bit in color. When you reach the point where it is done being kneaded, the dough will come off the sides of the bowl cleanly when scraped with an oiled spatula. All that’s left to do is seal the dough in a proofing bucket or other well-sealed container and pop it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Closer to 12 hours and the dough will be easier to handle, but as long as the dough is cold, you can work with it.
The risen dough will look a bit shaggy again, but kneading it very lightly with some extra gluten free bread flour will smooth it right out. Then it’s ready to be patted and rolled into a round.
In case you need it, when the bread book first came out, I filmed a quick iPhone video of me shaping the dough into a round. But really, any way you get it into shape is perfectly fine. Then just top it with sauce and cheese, and bake it. If you have a pizza stone, great. If not, an overturned baking sheet that allows some more air circulation will work.
As far as I’m concerned, an authentic gluten free pizza crust recipe is more than just a way to eat bread and cheese (I know, cue the violins 🎻). It’s proof. Proof that, if they can make it with gluten, we can make it without—and demand that it’s good. Proof that we can have Friday night pizza nights (that are even easy on the adults, since the dough takes minutes to prepare and can be made up to five days ahead of time). Proof that we don’t have to accept a cracked and crumbled crust as the best we can do. Let’s do better.
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 ounces, by weight) warm water (about 95°F)
2 cups (280 g) Gluten Free Bread Flour*, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/3 teaspoons (4 g) instant yeast
2 teaspoons (12 g) kosher salt
1 tablespoon (14 g) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (2 ounces, by weight) water, at room temperature
*BREAD FLOUR NOTES
1 cup (140 g) Gluten Free Bread Flour, as discussed more fully on pages 8 to 10 of GFOAS Bakes Bread, contains 100 grams Mock Better Batter all purpose gluten free flour (or Better Batter itself) + 25 grams whey protein isolate (I use NOW Foods brand) + 15 grams Expandex modified tapioca starch.
To make the starter, place all the starter ingredients in a medium-size bowl, and whisk until well combined. The mixture will be thick and shapeless. Cover and set the bowl aside in a warm, draft-free location to rise until doubled (about 40 minutes).
Once the starter has finished rising, make the dough. Place the flour and yeast the bowl of your stand mixer, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil, water, and risen starter to the bowl, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until combined. Raise the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough will begin as a rough ball and become very sticky, but should be smooth and somewhat stretchy. Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket large enough for the dough to rise to double its size, and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (or the oiled top to your proofing bucket). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 5 days.**
**Note: If you prefer, you may make and use this dough on the same day. It will not be as easy to handle, however, but you can work with it. To use the dough the same day it is made, after making the dough, set the covered dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment to allow it to rise to double its size (about 1 hour). Once it has doubled, place it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or until it is chilled. This will make it much easier to handle. Then, continue with the rest of the recipe instructions.
Once the pizza dough has finished rising in the refrigerator, it is best to work with it cold. Place a pizza stone (or overturned rimmed metal baking sheet) on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smoother as directed in These General Shaping Tips. Divide the chilled dough into two equal portions, and roll each into a ball. Sprinkle both lightly with flour, and cover one with a moist tea towel so that it doesn’t dry out. Using well-floured hands and a rolling pin, as necessary, pat and roll out the first piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch round, rotating the dough and flouring it frequently, to prevent sticking, as shown in the gluten free pizza shaping video. Roll and pat the dough more thickly as you work from the center of the dough to the edges to create a crust. Transfer the round of dough to a piece of unbleached parchment paper. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Top your pizza with sauce and cheese, then place the pizza, one at a time, on the pizza stone. Bake until the crust is browned and your toppings are cooked as desired (about 8 minutes, but time will vary depending upon toppings and taste). Allow the pizza to set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.