Saturday, Sagan and the best gluten free pizza

The last time I posted an article, I was in the process of entering the Fred Whitton Challenge and trying to get back in my pants. I am pleased to announce progress on both fronts: I have indeed won the lottery and got a place in the Fred and I have indeed dropped 16 pounds, as planned. The secret… well, there is no secret: beans, porridge, no alcohol, no sugar, nothing remotely pleasant for a couple of months sorted me out! I have also rebuilt my HED rims with lighter Sapim D-Light spokes and fitted a DT Swiss 350 fron hub that takes centrelock rotors, hence crucially the awesome Shimano XTR Freeza one (crap photo, I know). A new pair of Hutchinson Sector are on and lovely tyres they are indeed. Now I just need the big chill to end, to clock some mega mileage before May.

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On a lazy saturday, whilst watching Sagan dominating with panache the Het Nieuwsblad and yet losing again the sprint, I plotted another attempt at a gluten free pizza. My wife cannot eat gluten and we both like pizza, which is fair enough, as I am Italian and bake the best pizza this side of Naples. I always feel guilty when baking and often end up buying supermarket pizzas, as I know she won’t like those (that’s what love does to you, folks!) Previous attempts to avoid the dreaded stretchy protein, following various recipes online, resulted in half disasters and I was about to give up on the all idea. But then again, we seem to make decent gluten free bread, by using a slight modification of a bread-maker recipe provided by Doves Farm and largely based on their gluten free bread flour. Their recipe as such doesn’t work as the flour, mainly based on rice, is too fine and there are not enough larger particles to build a spongy stable structure. A bit like concrete, bread needs a mix of particle sizes to proof, swell and avoid the typical post-bake collapse. At this point I should reveal that my daily job is to teach solid state chemistry in a number of undergraduate courses. Adaptation of my recipe to hand mixing yields a wet mix, which needs to proof for about two hours. The resulting spongy dough can be spread on an oiled tray, topped with goodness and baked like any other pizza in a hot oven at 180-200 degrees C for 15-20 minutes. The result is surprisingly good, so good I was in two minds whether to publish it or profiteering from it. My good nature means I would rather share it with you lot, as good food is for sharing, not for making money.

So, here’s how it looks out of the oven:

pizza

And here’s how you make the dough:

200 g of Doves Farm gluten free white bread flour

30 g of gluten free Gram flour (chickpea flour)

1 tsp of sugar and 1tsp of salt

1 egg small

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

150 ml of water

2 tbsp of white wine or cider vinegar

1 tsp of fast action yiest (gluten free)

Mix everything thoroughly with a spoon and allow to proof for two hours in a bowl covered with film. Add a bit of the above flour and spread on an oiled tray, using your fingers. Top with whatever you fancy and bake as above.

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