September 23, 2007

Sourdough Pizza - Gluten Free

For thousands of years people around the globe have been eating flat breads with a variety of toppings or fillings. The Indians have paratha, the Germans have flammkuchen or tarte flambee for the French, but flat breads like pizza come from the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The ancient Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and Turks all had their versions of flat bread. In the remains of Pompeii, archaeologists found the remains of shops that look like the modern pizzeria.

The most important innovation which led to the modern pizza was the addition of a fruit from the New World, the tomato. Brought back to Spain, the tomato was originally considered to be poisonous, but by 1540 it was in cultivation. The Spanish helped to spread the tomato across Europe, the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

By the late 18th century the poor people of Naples added tomato to the yeasted flat bread, creating the first pizzas. With the migration of Italians, the United States saw the first pizzas in the late 19th century. They were sold from street carts in Italian neighborhoods in large cities such as San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. By the end of World War II the popularity of pizza spread across the United States by returning veterans from the Italian campaign who developed a fondness for the bread.

Pizza was the first thing I thought of when I received my diagnosis for gluten sensitivity. My first attempts at making a gluten free pizza were not memorable. Time and experimentation have led to more successful gluten free pizza recipes, although to date this one is the best. The sourdough lends a soft and slightly tangy taste to crust. The crust turned out a crisp bottom that will allow you to hold and eat a slice of pizza. The gluten free flour combination and agave syrup provide a healthier crust that is also lower on the glycemic index.

Crust Recipe

1 1/2 cup Sourdough Starter
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup Corn Flour
1/2 cup Arrowroot Starch
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tb Olive Oil
1 Tb Agave Syrup
1/2 cup Water (dough may need 1 or 2 Tb more)
1 1/2 tsp Kudzu Powder, dissolved in the Water

Pizza Toppings

Pizza Sauce
Fresh Basil
Mozzarella Cheese
Sage Sausage
Any Topping You Like

Equipment Needed: A plastic or wooden spoon, a large glass, plastic or wooden bowl, pizza pan or pizza stone.

1. If you have a sourdough starter already, bring it out and let it come to room temperature. If you don't have a sourdough starter, then follow the directions on making a sourdough starter which is on my post for Sourdough Waffles.

2. In a large glass mixing bowl, dump in the first six ingredients and stir together.

3. Pour in the agave syrup and slowly start adding the water until the dough forms a moist soft ball. Depending on your baking conditions, you may need to add one or two tablespoons of water more to the dough.

4. Cover and place in a warm location for 1 hour to rise.

5. Cover a pizza pan with parchment paper. Pour out the pizza dough into the center of the pizza pan. The dough will be very soft and bubbly. Sprinkle corn flour over the top of the dough and dip your fingers into the flour to keep them from sticking. Pat out the dough into a circle using the corn flour as needed.

6. While the dough rests, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and gather your pizza toppings.

7. Spread the pizza sauce over the top of the dough then sprinkle with fresh basil sliced into fine strips. Then place the mozzarella cheese around the top and sprinkle with sage sausage.

8. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and the cheese is bubbly. Allow to cool and then slice.

What did my family think about this pizza? They all thought that this was the best gluten free pizza I had ever made. I agreed, the crust was light and soft and the bottom crisp. The slices held together beautifully while you held them to eat. This is a keeper.


Cheekalina said...

OH! This looks delicious! I LOVE sausage pizza too! We move out to the PNW from the midwest (sausage capital) and no one here makes just sausage pizza - so weird! It's THE only pizza to satisfy that craving for us!

I will have to try this - I've always been intimidating by starters.. .and then am racked with guilt when I don't "feed it" and it dies. LOL


Sheltie Girl said...

Hi Kate - I understand about the sausage. In the midwest and south, you can find bulk pork sausage that isn't in casings. You can even find it with different spices...

I understand about feeding the starter. I sometimes have to remind myself to use it, but when I do everything turns out tasting so good, I wonder why I waited.

Sheltie Girl

jill and wes said...

Hi Sheltie girl,
Argh I just wrote this all thing but something happened with blogger and it didn't go through.
Let me try to remember what I said.. oh yeah I was saying how I love your blog. This recipe looks yummy as do you other recipes on your blog.
I love that you use agave nectar instead of sugar. I do the same,even though I have not gotten around to posting any of those recipes yet on my blog.

Your strawberry cornbread looks so good and I want to try it in the future. I really liked your story that went with it. I've always had a fascination with Native American cultures.
I was looking around at your fabulous blog and noticed your recipe for Carob coconut truffles. I thought I was the only nut who loved things like carob and coconut milk :) I was excited to see you had Teeccino in the recipe. Last week I found there site and read it was gluten free, so I purchased some. Then I was worried maybe it wasn't gluten free because of the barley. So you feel safe drinking it? It is such a great tasting coffee substitute.
I apologize that my comments are unrelated to this particular post!

I will definitely be checking out your yummy gluten free creations in the future!

Cheekalina said...

Thank you EVER so much for figuring this out.

I've just about gathered the courage to make my own little "feed me" monster in the fridge... Now I just have to find room for it and get it started!


Slacker Mom (aka Mrs. GF) said...

pizza..good pizza..I swear it's the Holy Grail of gluten free eaters!!! This looks great.

Thanks for sharing!

Sheltie Girl said...

Hi Cheekalina & Slacker Mom - Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my search for a delicious pizza crust.

Sheltie Girl

Sheltie Girl said...

Hi Jill - I double checked Teeccino before I bought some. I found it at my local Whole Foods store. You can find more information about Teeccino from their website:

As far as the barley goes, Teeccino has had their beverage blend tested for gluten by the good folks at the University of Nebraska. Under the FAQs section of their website they give you the link to the test results so you can see for yourself.

I hope this helps,

Sheltie Girl

Mary Frances said...

I'm almost embarrassed to ask this since I live in the land of kudzu, but what the heck is kudzu powder and what does it do?

Mary Frances

Sheltie Girl said...

Hi Mary Francis - Kudzu/kuzu powder is a dried powder made from kudzu/kuzu roots. It is used as a thickener and for making gelatin. You can purchase kudzu/kuzu powder at most Asian markets or you can purchase it from Eden Foods ( I purchase my kudzu/kuzu powder from my local Whole Foods where it's located with the Asian foods.

Does that help?

Sheltie Girl