Pizza or Focaccia

These instructions are all-inclusive and have a lot of steps. Don’t lose heart. This pizza is as good as you used to get at your favorite pizzeria. The pizza crust and focaccia are based on a modification to Carol Fenster's focaccia recipe.

Step 1 – Buy two good, non-stick pizza pans. The favored pans, and also the least expensive, are from Target. They measure about 14” from rim-to-rim and have about 12-1/2” flat surface across the diameter.

Step 2 – Create you own “Italian” seasoning mix. Buy spices in powdered form or grind in a mortar and pestle or electric spice mill:

Italian Spice Mix
Amount Measure Ingredient
4 teaspoons Oregano (Mexican or Greek)
2 teaspoons Thyme
2 teaspoons Dried basil
1 teaspoons Rosemary
2 teaspoons Whole-leaf marjoram (Get bulk from Whole Foods – better quality and way less expensive than supermarket bottled spice.)

Step 3 – Make the pizza crust (Focaccia amendment is at the end of the crust recipe.)

Pizza Crust
Amount Measure Ingredient
1/2 Cup Garbanzo-Fava bean flour blend – Bob’s Red Mill or Amazing Foods’ Garfava Note: These are quite different, but both will work just fine.
1/2 Cup Potato starch or Cornstarch if you have no potato starch. Note: Purchase at Asian food store
8 teaspoons Corn flour (Bob’s Red Mill Masa or Hispanic brand of Masa Harina de Maiz – this is NOT cornmeal, polenta, or milled-to-a-powder cornmeal)
3/4 Cup Tapioca flour
2 Tablespoons Expandex or if you do not have this, use tapioca flour
2 - 3 Tablespoons

Yellow or white corn meal (not polenta nor corn flour) Note: Supermarket cornmeal is not inherently gluteh free, but most can tolerate the major brands. If you demand GF then purchase Arrowhead Mills which carries a GF designation.

1 Tablespoon White sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1 – 2 teaspoons “Italian Seasoning Mix” from above
1 – 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (The refrigerated kind, not Kraft shelf-stable cheese in the tall green can.)
1-1/2 teaspoons Instant yeast (SAF or Fermipan preferred. Red Star is OK. Fleischmann's is flabby and not recommended.)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Warm (110° F) water
2 Tablespoons Olive oil

Mix the dry intredients is a separate bowl

Put liquid ingredients into the work bowl of a mixer. Blend on low. Now add the flour and dry ingredient mixture, blend briefly until somewhat mixed and beat on low speed for two minutes.

Coat two pans with Olive oil, but don’t allow the oil to pool. Use your fingers to paint the pans generously for easy release of the finished pie.

Scrape the dough from the mixer workbowl, dividing equally between the two pans. Place some gluten-free flour in a flat dish or shallow bowl, coat your fingers and press the dough flat, covering the bottoms of the pizza pans as evenly as possible. You can pinch a rim of dough if you like. The crust will be thin.

Using a pastry brush, brush between 1/2 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon of olive oil on the dough. Sprinkle liberally with your “Italian Seasoning” mix. The flavors are oil-soluble. That is why you need the oil here.

If you like a cracker-y crust, bake immediately in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.

For a chewier crust, place in a warm, but not hot location and let rise until doubled in height, about 30 – 45 minutes. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.

The crust will not be fully cooked. You can freeze the fully cooled crust(s) at this point. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil – baking pan with pizza crust in it. Now place in a large ZipLock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Fully defrost the crust before using it.

Focaccia instructions. Scrape the dough into an 11” X 7” pan that has been prepared by coating all 5 sides with margarine and then dusted with brown rice flour. Press the dough evenly using fingers dipped in gluten-free flour. Using a pastry brush, brush-on up to 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with your “Italian Seasoning Mix.” Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled. Bake in a 400 degree F, preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until a steel bread tester comes out clean. You may need to cover the braking bread with an aluminum foil hat to prevent over-browning.

Making the Pizza.

On your next trip to the Supermarket buy two 14 ounce jars of Ragu Pizza Sauce or Trader Joe’s Pizza Sauce. (No smiling, now. This is rather tasty stuff and is of good quality.) You will need 3/4 jar for each pizza.

Pre-cook and drain the following vegetables:

Diced onions – cook at low heat until nicely brown and slightly caramelized. Don’t add sugar to caramelize.

Diced mushrooms – start with clean, washed Portobello mushrooms. Place them in a shallow oven-proof pan, coat lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with “Italian Spice Mix,” onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 325 degrees until the mushrooms are fully cooked. Dice 1-1/2 mushrooms for each pizza and enjoy the rest as wonderful mushrooms.

Slice 3 or 4 zucchini into 1’ pieces and microwave until just slightly tender. Drain the water. Chop about 1 cup and enjoy the rest.

You can also use diced red peppers, artichokes, etc. The more types of vegetables, the better.

Now spread 3/4 of a 14 ounce bottle of pizza sauce on a pizza crust. Add the vegetables in the amount you like, but these shrink, so be generous. Now sprinkle on a mixture of your favorite shredded Italian cheese – mozzarella, parmesan, romano, and (optionally) chunks of sliced of provolone. Some people add cheddar or Monterey Jack.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned as you like it. This could be 15 minutes or even 20.

Enjoy! Serves two hungry adults for dinner with a lunch-size amount left over.

In comparison to Carol Fenster's recipe, one variable we changed was to use garbanzo-fava flour instead of sorghum. The intent was to get chewier bread and one with higher protein.

The test on focaccia was a total success. It baked up tall and had a nice chew. We then tried the same flour mix on focaccia and made pizza crust from it, the pizza was spectacular. All of the flour adjustments are included in the recipe above.