Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Everything Peace Pretzels & Pizza Blanca

You remember that pizza I made for Mama Dazz’s birthday? Well, about that…

This post is significant, because it is the mark of the end of my four-month hiatus from The Gluten Free Ratio Rally. An entire summer of recipes I planned to create for each challenge was put on hold or forgotten because I had things to take care of that had nothing to do with cooking and everything to do with being in the present. But if you have been reading this blog long enough, you know how much cooking is part of my identity. There was something missing during those four months, deep down beyond the raspberry filling of my chocolate shell coating that used to be warm, loving, and inviting . And believe me, when something so crucial to your happiness is neglected, something you’ve watched flourish and evolve over a course of months or years, you do feel it.

But that chapter of my life has ended just in time for a new one to begin. I think it could be a best seller; it has it all. It has comedy, especially when making a multitude of messes in the kitchen on a daily basis. It has adventure, where the journey of my life as an undergrad is transitioning to the unknown of graduating. It has romance, and I think that is self-explanatory. This new chapter is titled “Arizona”, and here’s why.

Way back when I was a little fiend, a lover of sugary gluten treats and playing kick ball in my Sunday best, Mama Dazz would often go on travel to Arizona for her job. Every time she went she would go to the same restaurant and get a white pizza (no tomato sauce, with cheese, tons of garlic, basil, and tomato slices). It is her favorite pizza, and it was a similar pizza we had in Cape Cod.

I keep thinking back to that pizza, to every delicious bite that had soy and sugar, and I strived to make a crust that worked for my purposes. So I looked into Ruhlman’s book for inspiration. His ratio was five parts flour to three parts water, the exact same ratio as his bread recipe only with olive oil added into the dough. But gluten free dough is different than gluteny dough; sometimes it’s stickier and the idea of kneading such a gelatinous beast was a nightmare. That is, of course, until I stumbled upon Jim Lahey’s My Bread and his no-knead method of baking amazing out-of-this-world bread.

True, his ratio of pizza dough is almost identical to Ruhlman’s, though Lahey recommends a twenty-four hour rising period which, I believe, makes all the difference. I didn’t wait a whole day until I made a fantastic pizza, but I think letting it sit overnight until lunchtime makes a bangin’ pizza crust. I did stray away from his basic pizza dough recipe (or five parts flour to three parts water, a dash or two of salt, a packet of yeast, and a smidgeon of sugar to feed the yeast), and made a masterpiece. The flour combination was absolutely perfect. It was a pizza crust that took us back in time to the BGF days.
Basic Pizza Dough

200 g Rice flour
100 g Glutinous rice flour
100 g Potato starch
20 g Buckwheat flour
20 g Millet flour
10 g Amaranth flour
350 g Water, room temperature
10 g Unrefined apple cider vinegar
1 Large egg
1 packet (2 1/2 tsp. or 10 g) Active dry yeast
5 g Agave nectar or honey
1/2 tsp. Sea salt

In a medium bowl (or electric mixer), stir in the flours, egg, yeast, agave nectar, and salt. Add in the water and mix (either with a wooden spoon, by hand, or on medium-low speed) until blended.
Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature overnight to twenty-four hours.
Separate the dough into two equal parts, about 16 oz (453.6 g) each.
Use immediately or store in the freezer* up to a month.

Makes 32 oz.

*I noticed that freezing the dough, then refrigerating it to defrost, and then forming into the pretzels kept their shape when being molded and during the cooking process. Shauna mentions something about this kind of process for her pretzel recipe also. 

Pizza Blanca

16 oz Morri’s GFRR pizza dough
1.75 oz Frozen spinach, broken into small chunks
1 shallot, finely diced
7.5 oz Ricotta cheese
4 oz Mozzarella cheese, grated or torn into manageable pieces
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. Oregano
3 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
0.5 oz Basil, sliced into thin slivers
1 Roma tomato (4.25 oz), thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Lay out the pizza dough in a greased 9x9” pie plate (or in a slightly larger cast iron skillet) and evenly spread it to the edges.
Layer the pizza starting with the spinach, then the cheeses, the spices, and garnish the top with the garlic, basil, and tomato.
Cook for 35 – 40 minutes or until the pizza is hot in the middle and the crust is thoroughly cooked.

Serves 4 – 6 people.

And now, the pretzels.

So, the full title of this recipe is "Everything Fo[u]r Peace Pretzels". Clever right? They’re formed into peace signs… and there were four of them. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to work with the dough at all by hand, but as I said, freezing then refrigerating is crucial. They aren’t pretzel pretzels. They’re pizza pretzels, a fun way to use up pizza dough you have laying around. Looking back, I think they would’ve been delicious bagels, but making a peace sign with food was just too cool an idea to pass up.

Everything Fo[u]r Peace Pretzels

16 oz Morri’s GFRR pizza dough
Olive oil, for greasing the baking sheet and coating the tops of the pretzels
Finely ground corn flour, for dusting the pans

Everything Bagel spices
1/4 tsp. Black sesame seeds
1/4 tsp. White sesame seeds
1/4 tsp. Sea salt
1/4 tsp. Caraway seeds
1/4 tsp. Poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. Dehydrated onion

Preheat the oven to 475ºF.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, coat the pan with olive oil and then the corn flour.
Separate the dough in four equal parts (up to 16 depending on the shape and how thick/large you want the pretzels to be).
Form them into peace signs (or your shape of choice), and lay them out on the baking sheet with at least and inch separating them from each other.
Heavily season them with the spices
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the pretzels are done.

Makes 4 – 16 pretzels.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the wonderful hostess for this month’s GFRR. Karen of Cooking Gluten-Free, author of the book with the same two, a blogger and a mom of two, began her gluten free journey when her children were diagnosed with celiac disease in 1997 and 1999. Similar to the GFRR’s “focus to collaborate and work together, comparing ratios and results, struggles and successes, all the while empowering each other to be better gluten free bakers”, she emphasizes the “pay it forward” spirit and does so in abundance.

Actually, I think we all do. Here's a list of the other Amazing Participants for this month's GFRR pizza crust challenge:

*Karen | Cooking Gluten-Free!    GASP! Garlic, Artichoke,Sun-Dried Tomato, Pesto Pizza 
Meg | Gluten-Free Boulangerie    Pissaladière (Provençal flatbread w/ olives & anchovies)   
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies    Teriyaki Chicken Pizza   
Erin Swing | The Sensitive Epicure    Stuffed Pizza Pie: Spinach, Mushrooms, Sausage   
Charissa | Zest Bakery    Sauteed Onion & Sausage Grilled Pizza with Basil   
Pete and Kelli | No Gluten, No Problem    Grilled Pizza  
Mrs. R | Honey From Flinty Rocks    Pepperoni Pizza & Pineapple, Black Olive & Ham Pizza   
Caneel | Mama Me Gluten Free    Pizza crust by ratio (choose your toppings)   
Meredith | Gluten Free Betty    Pizza   
Claire | Gluten Freedom    Fajita Pizza with Cilantro Pesto Sauce  
Dr Jean Layton | GF Doctor Recipes    Pizza  
Brooke Lippy | B & the boy    Dessert Pizza    
Lisa | Gluten Free Canteen    Rum Raisin Apple Pizza Pie, Gluten Free, Dairy Free   

Peace and Pizza to all, and to all an amazing feast!


  1. This looks great - and I love the pretzel idea!

  2. So glad you are back, and great pizza!! Very interesting about letting the dough rise for an entire day, I will have to remember that next time!

  3. love that you made pretzels with your dough... fantastic idea! thanks for sharing. :)

  4. pretzels! very cool. I like letting the dough rise for a long long time, too. looks yummy.

  5. glad you've rejoined the rally! I can tell that you definitely have a love for cooking and I can see it in this post. Interesting twist (haha sorta!) with the pretzels! Will have to give that a try.

  6. pizza, pretzels and a wonderful memory re-created. gorgeous!