Madrona Nutrition and Fitness: Recipe and Nutrition Guide

Madrona Nutrition and Fitness:
Guide to Wellness through Holistic Diet
and Lifestyle

Rachel Fiske
Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant,
Certified Personal Trainer

Friday, April 18, 2014

NY Style Pizza

Gluten free pizza has been popping up like crazy around San Francisco. Many popular pizza places around the city are now offering a gluten free option. For a once in awhile treat, this may not be so bad; however, for those of us suffering from IBS or other gut-related symptoms, a bread still centered around processed grains could cause some problems.

I've tried all sorts of "alternative" pizza crusts. And to be honest, most are horrible. I've tried almond flour crusts which are delicious but feel like you just ate 2,000 calories worth of nuts because, well, you did. I've experimented with cauliflower crusts which, while many paleo chefs swear can be the answer to all of your pizza cravings and woes, and its not that I don't believe them, but mine was no such thing. Coconut flour crusts were boring, cornmeal crusts were indeed delicious but corn is very hard to digest for many people and they usually use another flour as well. Ok, enough!

The point is, when I discovered this pizza crust recipe from zenbelly catering, I was thrilled. It is a crisp, thin crust pizza that is nice and light and easy to prepare. I'd also never really experimented with yeast before, so it was fun! I hope you enjoy this pizza as much as I do. And remember, you can always experiment with toppings: cheese or no cheese, a tomato or pesto sauce, whatever veggies or meat toppings you have on hand. ENJOY!

Notes / Tips:
✽ If you have a pizza stone, use it. If not, use the heaviest sheet pan you have.
✽ Warm the bowl you’ll be putting the yeast mixture in, as well as the measuring cup you’ll be measuring the water with. If it’s cold, the water will cool right away, and might not activate the yeast. Just run some hot water in it before using.
✽ This recipe involves high heat cooking, which might rub some people the wrong way, since there is olive oil and nut flour involved. This is one of those situations where I absolutely put taste and texture first. Good pizza is cooked at high temperatures, and that is part of what makes good pizza good.  You can use a different fat if you’d like.
✽ Results are best when the crust is cooked almost entirely before adding toppings, so I recommend having your toppings almost completely cooked before adding them in the last step.

NY Style Pizza Crust

1 tablespoon gluten-free yeast
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/4 cup warm water (should feel warm on the inside of your wrist, but not burn)
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (or other melted fat if you’re opposed to heating olive oil)
1 tablespoon egg whites (less than one egg)
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
and of course your favorite toppings! 
  1. In the warmed bowl of your stand mixer (or alternately, the bowl you’ll be using with hand-held beaters), combine the yeast, honey, and warm water and whisk to combine. Let sit for a good 5 minutes. It will get foamy and active.
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and egg white.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the almond flour, tapioca starch, and sea salt.
  4. Once the yeast is foamy, add the wet and dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium high for 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl once to make sure it’s all incorporated.
  5. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula again to gather the dough together. It will NOT look like the dough you remember, it is much wetter. Use the spatula to get it into as much of a ball as possible.
  6. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set in a warm (but not hot) place. Allow it to sit for 75-90 minutes. I know, it’s torture.
  7. After 75 minutes, check the dough to see if it’s risen. It won’t rise as dramatically as a conventional dough would, but it will have changed, and gotten aerated, and a bit larger. (see above pics). If this has happened, Turn your oven on to 500 and if using a pizza stone, place it in the oven to to heat up while the oven warms.
  8. Lightly oil a sheet of parchment paper and turn the dough out onto it. It will likely be a bit stuck to the bottom of the bowl, just scrape it out as best as you can.
  9. With oiled hands, gently flatten out the pizza dough into a 9-10″ circle. It will be aerated, so might want to leave empty spaces.
  10. Carefully transfer the parchment with the dough onto the pizza stone or sheet pan.
  11. Bake at 500 in the lower 1/3 of your oven for 6-8 minutes, or until it’s starting to brown at the edges.
  12. Add desired toppings and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Allow to cool for a minute before slicing.

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