There’s one huge reason why I haven’t committed to a gluten free diet: pizza. It’s silly, I know, but a slice of New York-style cheese pizza is my favorite food. Even after traveling the world and eating some pretty amazing meals, that perfect slice of pie still stands out. It’s my number one go-to meal, and I don’t know how to make gluten free pizza dough that stands up to my expectations.
I keep trying gluten free dough to try to get it right, but up until now, I’ve never been impressed. Part of the delight of pizza is its simplicity, and simple food has to be spectacular. Each individual components must stand on its own while also coming together perfectly. No pressure, right?
Gooey melted cheese; tangy, sweet, and acidic marinara sauce; and crunchy – yet chewy – crust. The dough is the vehicle that delivers all the toppings. It must be textured enough on the outside to give us a much-needed contrast, yet the insides have to be soft and easy to eat.
Simply stated, I haven’t had a perfect enough experience with gluten free pizza dough (until now).
The Challenge With Gluten Free Dough—There’s No Gluten
Too often, gluten free pizza dough is doughy, flavorless, and lacks texture. Boring, disappointing, and certainly not memorable. The gluten in the flour is what gives pizza dough its oomph, it’s elasticity.
Regular dough is kneaded and kneaded and kneaded some more. It rises and is punched down, only to rise again. This develops (and relaxes) a gluten network that creates a beautiful texture as it bakes.
With gluten free doughs, there is no kneading because there is no gluten to develop. This revelation this was the first step to making a better gluten free pizza dough – don’t knead!
If you’ve played around with dough recipes before, you might agree that gluten free doughs are super sticky. It’s impossible to knead that sticky mess anyway, and adding more flour will create a dense, dry finished product. So, embrace the stickiness and skip the kneading.
Yeast and the Power of the Rise
Now that we’ve realized how to make gluten free pizza dough without kneading, let’s talk about the yeast. Yeast is a living organism that gives rise to your dough. The yeast creates carbon dioxide bubbles as it heats up in the oven, creating air and rise inside the dough. This means that the insides stay soft and chewy while the hot oven creates a browned, crusty exterior.
Proofing the yeast for gluten free dough is super critical. Because there’s no gluten network, gluten free dough doesn’t rise as much as regular dough. Activating the yeast by feeding it with honey will get it raging and ready to go. In only five minutes, the mixture is foamy and yeasty-smelling (you know what I mean, how else do you describe that?).
A Brief Note about Toppings
Now that you know how to make gluten free pizza dough, it’s time to consider toppings. Where do you start? Marinara and mozzarella cheese is classic (although I always add a bit of provolone cheese, too, to amp up that cheesy flavor). Garlic oil and fresh mozzarella will add some excitement to your life (especially if you’re making a bacon and kale pizza, my personal favorite!).
My biggest piece of advice: don’t use too much sauce (a 4-ounce ladle should be enough), and don’t pile on the toppings. That includes the cheese! One cup of cheese should be your maximum. Too many toppings will create soggy dough, and no one wants that.
Let’s Get Started: How To Make Gluten Free Pizza Dough
The best part about this recipe (other than how delicious it tastes) – it only takes 8 ingredients to make it. Once you pick up a bag of gluten free flour, you should have all of the ingredients in your pantry at all times. So…what are you waiting for? Let’s make some pizza!
Baking instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pizza for about 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Time will vary depending on if it’s a thin or thick crust.
Yields: 1 pizza crust | Serving Size: 1/4 of crust | Calories: 245 | Total Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 292mg | Carbohydrates: 41g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 6g |
- 1 cup warm water (temperature should be between 95 and 110 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups (more as needed) all-purpose gluten free flour we recommend Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water, honey, and yeast. Mix to combine well and dissolve the honey and yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- In a second bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, mix well.
- Stir the olive oil into the water mixture then gradually add the flour mixture. Stir well to combine. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky. If the dough is too soupy, more flour can be added until a sticky dough forms.
- Spray a clean bowl with nonstick spray and place the dough inside. Cover and let rest for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, spread on a pizza pan and prepare your pizza!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 12-inch pizza sheet and add dough. Evenly press and spread dough until most of the the sheet is covered. Bake pizza for about 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Time will vary depending on if it's a thin or thick crust.
- TIP: add dried spices and seasonings to the flour mixture before adding to the wet ingredients for a zesty twist!