One of the things I get asked for so often, particularly for gluten free cooking, is pizza base. There are so many packet mixes and pre-made bases out there which suit certain allergies, but I personally prefer home made pizza bases any day. This recipe is one I have been using for years, and I actually think it originally came from one of my high school text books, but unfortunately I’ve written it into journals and transferred it into notebooks so many times that the original credit is long gone. However, I’m happy to admit it’s not one that I made up myself, just one that I love to eat. If you wish to change any of the ingredients listed below to suit your particular diet, please refer to my substitution guidelines.
I love pizza. It is one of those sneaky meals that you can actually make pretty healthy if you want to, or a little naughty if that’s your thing too. For me, pizza always includes a couple of staples – bacon and cheese. I have had delicious pizzas without bacon, I must admit, but then I also think that there’s nothing that cannot be improved by adding bacon. Nothing. Anyway, one of the things I love most about home-made pizza is that it’s reasonably cheap, feeds a lot of people and can be composed of basically whatever you have in your cupboard. This particular pizza, I was looking in the cupboard going ummmmm what’s for dinner ummmmmmmmm and then I found some bacon in the freezer, some pumpkin, one egg, a couple of tomatoes that needed to be used or thrown out – and that was the beginning of something delicious. In the end all I had to do was add some cheese and a few herbs and voila, delicious. Now I won’t be giving any topping suggestions in the recipe, as everyone is different, but I find usually two to three rashers of bacon is more than enough for this pizza base size, and you probably won’t need more than a cup of cheese. I like cheese, and I like a cheesy pizza, but having so much lactose intolerance in my household (me included) has led me to cut down the amount I sprinkle on top. A good shortcut here is to use some grated tasty and then top it off with some grated parmesan. Both low lactose, full flavoured cheeses that will help give the illusion of heavy cheesery. Yum. If cheese is an issue, then I have also tasted delicious pizzas made with goat’s cheese and soy cheese. I will admit I’ve never tried it cheese free, but there’s a first time for everything right?
Now onto the base, which really is the star of the show. This is so easy to throw together, especially if you have a food processor. Don’t stress if you don’t, but I will admit it is one of the best appliances I own, particularly since going gluten and lactose free. All my pizza bases, all my pastry, soups, sauces – so many uses for the food processor. It even slices my veggies and grates my cheese if I really want it to, but I don’t use those features much. Anyway, if you have a food processor, totally use it. You won’t regret it. And if not, this is still pretty simple to do. I’ll make sure to include two sets of instructions in the recipe just in case. Something to keep in mind is even though I’ve given a measurement for the water, you won’t need it all. It’s an add a bit at a time type of game, and sometimes I end up with it just right, and other times a little sticky, but you can work around the result no matter what it is.
When you’ve got your dough and you’re ready to press it out, line your tray with baking paper to make life a little easier. I use my hands to press the dough into shape and if the surface is a bit sticky, just sprinkle some flour on the top so your hands don’t get too goopy. Keep sprinkling flour as the dough widens too, because it will become sticky as it spreads. Now obviously your pizza size will depend on if you like your crusts thick or thin. I’m personally not that fussy, but if I have my crust on the thinner side, then the pizza is big enough to feed two adults and two children with leftovers. So I usually do that. If I have guests then I make two lots (and two flavours of pizza) but if it’s just us then this is easily big enough for everyone.
Baby Led Weaning Notes
The main thing I watch with home made pizza is the salt content. Cheese, bacon and even tomato paste can be very salty. So I always check labels and try to use and salt reduced ingredients where I can. You can also make your own tomato puree for paste if you’re really worried, but I usually buy a low salt tomato paste and spread it nice and thin. Apart from that, this gets really hot in the oven, so I always cut my little unicorn’s slice first, chop it into fingers and set it aside to cool down a bit (or even pop it in the freezer for a few minutes if it’s super hot) while I get everyone else’s ready. Even if the topping falls off the base, the cheese does a fair job of sticking things together so she doesn’t struggle to pick bits up. In fact, she loved this pizza, so she stuffed it in her face as fast as she could!
Simple Pizza Base
- 1 cup gluten free self raising flour
- 1/2 cup gluten free plain flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup water
- Start by preheating your oven to 230 degrees celcius, and line a large tray with baking paper.
- If you have a food processor, put in the blade attachment and then add the flour and the butter. Pop the lid on and pulse until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs.
- With the processor running on a low speed, add the water a splash at a time until the dough forms a ball inside the bowl of the food processor. Turn it off and discard the extra water.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can either rub the butter into the flour with your fingers, or melt it down and pour it into the flour. Stir it a little to mix.
- Add the water a splash at a time, mixing the dough with either a spatula or your hands until it comes together into a ball. Discard the extra water.
- Put the dough onto your prepared tray and scatter a little bit of flour over the top. Using your hands, press it out to fit your tray or until you achieve the desired thickness.
- Spread the base with tomato paste (or pesto, or whatever you are using as your base sauce) and then add toppings of your choice. Put a layer of cheese on last to help hold it all down.
- Put your pizza in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, making sure the cheese is melted and golden on top.
- Grasp the tray with one hand (oven mitt on) and the baking paper with another, and with a confident motion, slide the pizza off the tray and onto a chopping board.
- Slice and serve!
Remember that whatever you use as a topping needs to cook in 15-20 minutes, so make sure you slice things thinly or chop them up small so that they have proper time to cook. If you are using eggs as one of your toppings, whisk them up in a bowl separately first and then carefully pour it over the top. Be careful, because if you pour too close to the edges it will dribble off.
If you decide to freeze this, make sure the toppings you use are suitable to be frozen. I recommend pre-slicing your pizza and then wrapping each slice in foil before you stick it in the freezer. That way when you’re ready to eat, just take out a slice and either let it defrost on the bench for a while or unwrap it and defrost in the microwave. The base can get a little soggy after freezing, so I like to reheat this in the oven for five or ten minutes at 180 degrees before I eat it, but you can also reheat it completely in the microwave if you need to – just be wary that you might need to eat it with a knife and fork. Yum!