Gluten-Free Cornmeal Crusted Pizza....it can be done!

A few weeks ago I ate at

Otto

in Notting Hill, who's claim to fame is that they are the first to bring Cornmeal Crusted Pizzas to the UK, hailing from Portland, Oregon. Their regular Cornmeal Crust is not entirely Gluten-Free (although they do have purely GF options) but they have found the amount of wheat to be small enough not to upset those with gluten intolerances. I was pretty excited to give it a go! Pizza was the one thing I was the most sad about when deciding to eliminate gluten, because having had the odd GF pizza in the past, I knew life would never be the same again.

And it still isn't, but I have at least found some pretty darn close alternatives!

Here's my Otto pizza, which was BBQ Pulled Pork (um...amazing), and thankfully it did not make me sick!

After this raging success, I haven't been able to get cornmeal crusts out of my mind, and so i set out to make my own tonight. I found a

recipe

that I was happy with and gave it a go, and was determined to not be put off by the sloppiness of the uncooked dough!

Ingredients

2.5 cups GF self raising flour

1.5 cups cornmeal

2 t salt

2 t xantham gum

1 t baking powder

2.5 cups warm water

2 T vegetable oil (I used sunflower tHough and had no issues)

2.5 t instant active yeast

I didn't have as much cornmeal (which is polenta by the way) as I needed, so added extra flour, so I think next time it will taste even better!

Method:

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour through to baking powder) and stir to mix.

2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the water, oil and yeast and stir well to combine. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to give the yeast time to begin to activate. Mine never goes frothy, but apparently it may!!

3. Pour the dry ingredients into the yeasty water and mix on a medium speed for about two minutes. You are trying to get as much air into the dough as possible. 

4. Allow this "dough" to sit for an hour or two to prove. I say dough, but it really isn't very dough-like at all! It is more like muffin-mix almost!! Very sticky anyway. 

5. After the allotted time the dough will have risen a little and will have air pockets throughout. It is now ready to spread onto a baking tray. 

I used two rectangle trays, lined with al-foil and parchment paper. The recipe suggested spreading the dough with an oiled spatula, but I found the best way was to use oiled fingers! 

6. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes, or until slightly crusty. 

7. Cover with toppings of your choosing. I did one BBQ Chicken (with red onion, sliced capsicum and cheese) and a Ham & Marscapone (with sliced yellow tomatoes, red onions and cheese). 

BBQ Chicken

 Ham & Marscapone

Before eating the finished product tonight I prepared Mr M by saying to forget everything he knows and loves about pizza and prepare for a doughy, yeasty and generally non-yummy non-pizza! Boy was I wrong! I would make it a little thinner next time, but even still, the edges were crunchy, and the cornmeal gave it such a pleasant taste that regular GF pizzas seem to be missing! The toppings were great, I did my two favourites just to give it more chance of success, but I think a simple ham and pineapple would survive anyway!

It is of course more effort than regular bought pizzas, but if you don't happen to live right around the corner from Otto, it may well be your next best way of enjoying pizza again!

We were so happy with this, Mr M said "well now you have your pizza base for life, that's done" and we agreed it was they best tasting GF pizza we'd ever had.