gluten free pizzaAh, PIZZA! Who doesn't love it? I'm sure that there are some people who actually don't like pizza, but for the most part, it has become a staple in the American diet. Pizza can be a really easy fix for a quick family meal, but if you happen to have intolerance to wheat and gluten, it is pretty much off the menu. One of the first things that my husband started craving when he found out about his allergy was pizza, so I set about finding a cure for the craving.

Gluten free pizza crusts are available at many health food stores, and even a few of the main supermarkets in their specialty sections. I have tried many of these crusts, but they are quite expensive, and some of them have very little flavor.

Since I am very lucky to have a friend who lives a gluten free life-style, I went to her and begged for a pizza crust recipe that would satisfy our cravings. The following is my friend's recipe, with a few minor additions that I have found work well for this pizza crust. This is not a quick fix, by the way, but if you want something done right…

Ingredients:

1 C. Rice Flour (or 1/2 C. Brown Rice Flour and 1/2 Cup White Rice Flour)

1 C. Tapioca Starch Flour

1/3 C. dry milk powder

1 3/4 Tsp. Xanthan Gum powder

1 Tbs. dry yeast (Red Star Yeast is gluten free, but all of them aren't!)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 C. warm water

1/2 TBS sugar

1 1/2 Tbs. shortening (I use butter flavor)

1/4 C. hot water

2 egg whites at room temperature

Optional Spices:

Garlic powder, basil, oregano, dried rosemary, onion powder

Method:

· Mix the first five ingredients in a mixer

· Combine the yeast, sugar and lukewarm water in a separate bowl or mixing cup

· Melt the shortening in the hot water. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well

· Add the egg whites and mix again

· Add optional spices if desired

· Add the yeast mixture, and mix for 4-5 minutes on high.

To spread the dough out on your pizza pan or cookie sheet, you will need to grease up your hands pretty well. This is very sticky dough. Spread it out on a rice-floured pan of your choosing and let it rise in a warm area for about 15 minutes before baking it.

· Bake the crust for 20 minutes at 425 F.

· Remove the crust from the oven and top it with your sauce, cheese and toppings.

· Bake again for 15 minutes

· Remove from the oven, slice and enjoy!

For even more added flavor, you can brush the crust with garlic and olive oil before baking it. The addition of the extra seasonings really makes this crust a winner. It has the consistency of thin focaccia bread, and it really works for pizza toppings.