One of the foods I miss most at college is pizza.
I think I could start a dozen posts with that phrase: “One of the foods I miss most at college . . .” And every it would be true. I just miss food.
Anyway, pizza. As with most dishes available in the dining hall, I refrain from consuming the pizza at school. Granted, the perfect circles of heat-kissed, unnaturally white crust bubbling with shimmering, pale cheese and creamy red sauce that emerge with astonishing frequency from gas-fired brick pizza ovens are well-presented. Sometimes they look downright alluring. Usually, though, I’m not tempted. I like my pizzas with lots of vegetables or fruits, often in somewhat odd combinations. So, I wait. One meal turns into ten and five days turn into five weeks, and I forget about pizza. And cheese.
Once I come home and, in my rummaging through our cooking implements, am forced to shove aside our pizza stone several dozen times, I realize how much I have longed for a good piece of pizza. With cheese – any kind of cheese.
Do you know how hard cheese is to come by on a college campus? Impossible. All that is available is feta crumbles and shredded soft cheeses for salads. Everything else is either a close relative of velveeta or already melted atop some greasy dish I don’t want to eat anyway. I think I’m repeating myself.
Back at home, I make pizza. I’m one of those thin crust people. Actually, no. I’ll eat any sort of crust, but thin is what I make at home. Of course I don’t use white flour, so for the longest time I used a whole wheat pizza dough recipe that worked just fine. It consistently produced properly stretchy pizza dough sufficient for two pizzas. I used it as a base for several pizzas of my own with reasonable success. But after a while I became discontent with how soggy the crust tended to become if I spread more than a thin layer of any sort of soupy sauce on it. I wanted a dependably thin and crisp crust. An impermeable crust. An impervious crust. A super crust!
Pardon the dramatization. Pause for a second here and lower any expectations you might have. I like this crust; it’s good. But it’s really not a super crust. What it is is like eating pizza on a thick, slightly soft cracker. Perhaps that doesn’t sound appealing to you. Try it, though. I bet you’ll like it.
Plus, it’s way faster than regular pizza dough. Forget proofing and rising and planning ahead. Want to make pizza? Go ahead. Now. You can mix together and roll out this crust in less time than it takes your oven to heat up.
That it is gluten-free is incidental - a fortuitous bonus.
Thin Pizza Crust [Gluten-Free]
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup soy flour (or more corn/flax meal or other flour; whatever!)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 tablespoons water
[Makes one average-sized pizza crust.]
Preheat your oven 400°F.
Place pizza stone or sheet in oven to heat. This is key. It’ll help the crust cook both on the top and the bottom and will make it crispy.
Combine all ingredients to make a moist dough with which you can form a ball. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Take the pizza stone out of the oven and lay the dough on the stone. The edges of the dough will probably be a bit rough; patch them if you like. Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges, before adding toppings. Bake again for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted and toppings are heated thoroughly. Enjoy!
[Note about the flour: I'm not gluten intolerant, so sometimes I use some whole wheat flour because I can. But, I always stick to the base of the recipe: the 1/2 cup each of flax meal and cornmeal. That other half a cup of flour could be just about anything, I think.]