July 27, 2008

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough...or Focaccia

This week was a busy one. I can't even remember everything that happened it was that crazy. Tuesday and Wednesday night I went to a friend's orchard and picked cherries. Each year, I tend to go so crazy on cherries that I get my fill. Meaning I don't care if I never see another cherry. Well, almost never. About the time a year has rolled around, I'm craving them again. If you didn't already know, my cravings are seasonal. I picked enough Vans (dark cherries) to can seven quarts for Grandpa. I also picked enough Royal Anns (light cherries) to freeze 5 quarts, eat too many, and dry 2 quarts worth. This I did on Thursday evening after work.

On Friday, I went to my first Happy Rider's event. Basically, a bunch of people who like to ride bikes meet on Friday afternoon and go to a few different bars and have a pint of beer. I don't drink beer so I had water at the first one and a fruity drink of unknown name at the second one. After waiting for everyone to order their pint, I told the bartender I wanted something sweet, fruity and under $4. He wouldn't tell me what it was so I think he just made it up but it certainly hit the spot. Andy met me there and we went upstairs afterwards to a Mexican place for dinner.

Yesterday, I had a table for work at the Portland Farmer's Market. Everyone was great and I found some goat mozeralla. Andy did a chicken on the rotisserie in the barbie. He has had to work both days for the last two weekends so his weekend wasn't so great. But, this brings me to the title of this post. A friend of Andy's from when he was in high school called and wanted to come talk about old times. He came over and stayed for dinner. We had the chicken, a salad, and my new gluten-free focaccia bread. Everyone seemed to like it so I thought I'd share. I used the same dough to make a pizza for Andy and I last week.

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough (Joy of Cooking, 1997)

Mix on low speed in a heavy-duty mixer bowl with the paddle attachment for 1 minute:
1 c. brown rice flour
1c. white rice flour
1 1/2 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1 T. xanthan gum
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 T. yeast

Add and mix on low speed for 1 minute:
1 c. buttermilk (I used lemon juice and almond milk)
3 T. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 eggs
1 egg white
1/4 c. very water (115-125 degrees) water

Increase speed to medium-high and mix for 4 minutes. Grease a 12" round nonstick pan (for thick crust) or 14" round pizza pan (for thinner crust).* Sprinkle with:
2 T. cornmeal or polenta

With wet hands, press the batter onto the pan and spread evenly. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until puffy, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the crust all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Cover with sauce and other toppings (except cheese) and continue baking for 10 minutes for the thin crust or 15 minutes for thick crust. Cheese may be sprinkled on for the last 5 minutes of baking.

* I used a square cookie sheet for the pizza crust. It was thick but good. I think next time I would split it in half. For the focaccia last night, I did split the dough in half and pressed it out pretty thin. Don't be afraid to keep your hands very wet to do this. I let it rise and then poked it, spread a little bit of olive oil and pesto, and salt on top before I baked them. Then I probably baked them for about 20 minutes or so. It got golden on top and was done in the center. Getting it done in the center can be tricky with this dough. Be patient and watch it!

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