It’s 9/11. Which means I, like you, just watched a couple of videos that made me cry. None of us over the age of 15 will ever forget that day or how it has changed us as a nation. Now, that being said, I know you didn’t come here to feel sad. You came here to see what’s cookin’.
Well, in the spirit of looking back 10 years I’m going to share with you what we had for dinner a couple nights ago.
Pizza. My greatest food weakness. I’m not exaggerating when I say I can eat most of a large pizza all by myself if someone doesn’t tie me to my chair. 10 years ago I was a sophomore in college and at that time I ate a LOT of pizza. Hell, I still eat a LOT of pizza and I’m going on 30. I just try not to eat so much of it now.
Oh, and the biggest difference between then and now is I make it myself. It’s really not a big deal to make at home. Fresh dough pizza is just so wonderful. And at home you can do just about anything you want on a pizza. Whatever you’ve got leftover in your fridge would probably make a good pizza if combined well. And it’s CHEAP man. Well… if you’re making it with wheat flour it is anyway. But more than that, working with dough is a wonderful tactile experience everyone should try at least once. I LOVE working with pizza dough. Even gluten free pizza dough can be fun and easy to work with.
Because I live in a split household with one person that eats gluten free and five that don’t I always make two batches of dough, one GF and one regular. We all eat the gf sweet goodies I bake but, in the interest of saving money, this is one thing I always double up on.
I will get a tutorial up here on pizza dough someday but really it’s not difficult. I use the same method (the one I learned for making wheat dough) for both. This is what I use for regular pizza dough. Scroll to the bottom for my recipe for GF dough. Use whichever you prefer. Or use a ball of dough from the prepared foods section of your grocery store or your favorite pizza place. Whatever floats your boat.
This picture shows the regular, glutenous version. I promise you though the GF crust comes out looking almost identical if you roll it out to the same thickness. My husband likes his crust super super super thin and his pizza, consequently, does not photograph well.
Friday night I wanted to make pizza but didn’t have any mozzarella in the fridge. Or pizza sauce for that matter. Which makes it kind of hard to make a “traditional” pizza. Not to worry. I feel no need to be traditional. This is my BBQ Chicken Pizza and it couldn’t be easier to assemble. All you need is:
BBQ Chicken Pizza
1/2 recipe pizza dough (gf or regular)
About 1 cup Bottled BBQ Sauce (I used Wegmans Memphis BBQ Sauce)
4oz Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
4oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 Chicken Breast, cooked and diced
1/2 cup Red Onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, put it into the oven to get it nice and hot while you make your pizza. The crust bakes up so much better when it goes onto a hot stone. Otherwise you might get toppings that are browned/burnt and a crust that’s not done in the middle. If you are using a round non-stick pizza pan, do the same thing but put it in upside down. I honestly don’t know why they tell you to do that but I’ve read that direction many places so I’m passing it on to you. Word.
Tear off a sheet of parchment paper big enough to cover your pizza pan. Yes, to do it my way you need parchment paper. I love my way. I would never go back to doing it any other way. So suck it up and buy the parchment paper. You won’t regret it.
Roll or hand stretch your dough out to the thickness you prefer in your crust. It will rise in the oven so roll it out thinner than you want it to end up. This is kind of a trial and error thing until you get it the way you like it. I stretch mine out to about 1/4” thickness. Maybe a little thinner. You’ll get a feel for it after doing it a couple times.
Spread on about 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, more or less to taste. Obviously leaving a rim around the edge so you have crust. I trust we all know what pizza is supposed to look like :p
Distribute both cheeses evenly over the sauce.
Put the diced chicken in a bowl and toss with the other 1/2 cup of sauce. You might not need that much. You just want enough sauce to coat the chicken well. Toss the chicken on the pizza as well.
Sprinkle on the red onions and slide the pizza, parchment paper and all carefully onto the hot pizza stone. Bake for 12 minutes.
After you remove your beautiful pizza from the oven sprinkle on the cilantro, again, to taste.
And there you have it! I was not planning on blogging this initially, just practicing food photography before dinner. I wish I would have taken more pictures in retrospect. So so so yummy. I ate the whole pizza by the following lunch. Bad me. I promise I’ll get more money shots next time I make pizza. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Pizza Dough (adapted slightly from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef)
125g corn flour
125g sweet rice flour
125g potato starch
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 3/4 cups warm water (think hot shower warm)
4 tsp instant dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for coating
In bowl of stand mixer whisk together first six ingredients and make a well in the middle.
Pour water into the well and sprinkle yeast on top. Let the yeast ripen for 5-10 minutes (until it gets foamy).
Pour in the olive oil and, using your dough hook, mix your dough on low speed until it comes together, maybe 3-4 minutes.
Form dough into a ball (it will kind of look like a brain at this point) and rub all over with olive oil. This keeps the outside from getting too dry while it rises. Cover with a dish cloth or paper towel and leave to rise in a warm place. In the winter I turn my oven on for about 10-20 seconds, turn it off, and then put my dough in and shut the door. The few seconds the oven is on is enough to raise the temperature from the normal 65 of my house to around 80. Perfect for making happy yeast.
Let it rise for at least an hour. It will not rise as high as a glutenous dough and will not be as elastic but it will still roll out real nicely. Rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper is the easiest way – though some say that destroys all the nice air bubbles and that stretching it is the way to go. To each his own.
This recipe makes two large crusts. If not using both immediately, excess dough can be wrapped and placed in refrigerator for a day or can be frozen and used later. I have no idea how long it will keep. We always seem to need the freezer dough within a week :p