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Daring Bakers October Challenge: Pizza!!

Posted Oct 29 2008 11:11am
I finally joined the Daring Bakers! And what a perfect first challenge. I love pizza (did you know I have a pizza slice with wings tattooed on my hip?) as you may or may not know. Pizza is one of my favorite foods. I already have astand-by gluten-free pizza recipe, but gave this months recipe a shot. I'm glad I did. It's vegan, first of all, and second, it doesn't need any ingredients that I don't normally have around the house. 
Flour mix, water, salt, sugar, yeast, olive oil. I made the recipe three times. Once in Milwaukee, where I made the recipe just as it said, and ended up with six small (personal sized) pizzas. They were good, and fed three gluten-eaters, but theconsensuswas that we should bake the crusts before topping them, just enough to firm them up a bit. Otherwise the dough just tasted a bit raw. When I made pizza at home, with/for Alex, I decided to do something different than plain pizzas with pepperoni and mushrooms or whatever. On the train on the way back from Milwaukee, I read most of Jane and Michael Stern'sTwo for the Road, which I liked a lot. There was a recipe for fresh clam pizza, fromFrank Pepe'sin New Haven. 

My parents both grew up in Connecticut, and both sets of my grandparents live(d) there. My dad took us a few times to the New Haven legendary pizza places, Sal and Pepe's. The two restaurants are a block apart, on the same street. I haven't been back in years and years, but was so interested in recreating the thin-crust,garlickyclam pizza for Alex. I'm so glad I did, it was awesome. We had it two nights in a row it was so good. 
Here is the GF version of the recipe, which I don't think made much difference whether it was made in 1 or 2 days. 
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart
Makes 6 small or 3-4 large pizzas
4 1/2 c rice flour mix
2 t xanthan gum
1 3/4 t Salt
2 t instant years
1/4 c olive oil
1 3/4 c ice water
1 T sugar 
cornmeal for dusting
Method: 1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
 Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. I added in extra rice flour to make it a more managable dough.  3. Flour a work surface or counter with rice flour.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).
To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.
5. Sprinkle some rice flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.NOTE: 
If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the rice flour again.
6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap. (I just wrapped each dough ball in plastic wrap.)
7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.
You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few Tbs only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator.  Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with rice flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C). NOTE: 
If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.
 Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches  in diameter - for a 6 ounces  of dough).
Make only one pizza at a time.11. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.
 Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes. (I had to bake mine longer, about 10-15)
Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.
13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 
5-8 minutes.
After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving. 
New Haven Clam Pizza
1 pizzasworth of dough
1/2 head of garlic
3 T olive oil
2 T Parmesan cheese
a dozen just shucked littleneck clams, and some of their juice
1 t oregano

Mince the garlic and let steep in the olive oil for 10-15 minutes. Spread over the pizza crusts, then sprinkle with the clams and juice. Sprinkle the cheese and oregano over, bake for 10-15 minutes, and eat. You will probably repeat. 

I also made pizzas with tomato sauce, mozzerella, spinach (under the cheese), mushrooms, onions, bacon, and pepperoni. That was also delicious. I love pizza!!
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