I went to the Philadelphia Gluten-Free Potluck MeetUp yesterday and the topic of pizza came up. Lauren in the group spoke well of Bob's Red Mill pizza crust, and since I was apparently taking the day off of my paleo-vegan diet (an inherent challenge of gf potlucks when my willpower is at an ebb), I decided to dust off the package of BRM crust mix I've had in the pantry for months and give it a try.
One thing I like about it is that it contains the yeast packet and the flour mix all together. Some other expensive mix I bought recently required that I have my own supply of xanthan gum. What is the point of the mix if I have to go out and purchase the other dry ingredients? Especially something as expensive as xanthan gum when the mix is already incredibly expensive by itself. Very annoying, so Bob's crust gets a thumbs up for requiring me to only have eggs and olive oil on hand.
Because I don't have tons of prior experience in making gluteny pizza dough, I wasn't too encumbered by what I thought it would be like. I've also gotten used to the idea that gf doughs for ANYTHING are more like batters -- very gooey, wet
and sticky. And, just as Jessie at last month's gf potluck had described about gf dough in bread machines, the pizza dough crawled up my beaters and threatened to gum up my mixer. I stopped several times during my "mix on medium speed for about one minute" instruction. I had to fake it on how much time was actually spent mixing, and hope that I wasn't wrecking the integrity of the dough while I farted around with ungooping the beaters.
Which brings me to a complaint I have with Bob's. Maybe it's because I don't have much gf baking experience that one thing I'm not as crazy about is their folksy directions. "Mix warm water and yeast and let it sit for a little while." What does that mean? One thing I do know is once yeast is in the equation it's like a science project and I need to know if a little while is 1 minute, 3 minutes or 10 minutes. I went with 3. I also don't like that they tell you at the top of the directions to preheat your oven, when the mixing and the rising and the spreading on the pizza pan takes a good half hour. No one needs to preheat for a full half hour. I was also a little confused about the "Divide the dough in two in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes to let it rise." Two balls of dough individually wrapped? Two blobs in the same bowl but with plastic wrap over the whole thing? If I'm using all of it do I need to split it into two balls anyway? I went with two blobs, each covered with plastic wrap. When I came back 20 minutes later, it sure didn't look very risen. Still, I soldiered on.
I spread the goopy batter as best I could in or 15-inch pie pan (it says it will make 2 12-inch pizzas or 1 16-inch pizza -- I had too much dough for our pan so I threw a little blob of it onto another pan to cook up.) It spread on pretty think, which worried me, since I have yet to see a professionally-made thick gf crust. Would it turn out gummy or soggy? I tried to make it medium thick, what ever that means. I went ahead and did the pre-baking (long enough? maybe not given our hinky oven. Bob's doesn't say if its supposed to be browned or look all pale. Mine looked pretty pale). I added sauce and cheese, finished baking it, and it came out looking just like a pizza. Jenn had come in from outdoors during the pre-baking and she told me later that the initial waft wasn't a pleasant smell. Yikes! She was pleased to report that in the end it smelled like pizza should. Whew!
Then for the performance and taste test. I was very happy that it lifted out of the pan pretty easily. When something that wet goes in, I worry that it will stick. It did turn out to be a little on the thick/doughy side, so next time I will spread it thinner. The bites with cheese and sauce were very enjoyable. The bites of mostly crust by itself not so much. Pizza crust should be enjoyable on its own merits. I remember being a broke college student ordering crust-only pizzas for delivery for about $3 -- it was like getting fresh hot bread delivered. Bob's crust doesn't stand up in that sort of catagory. Still, it was way better than the GF Bisquick pizza, had most of the ingredients included, and cost only $4.50, which compared to $8 - $12 for a pre-made frozen gf pizza crust or up to $11 for other mixes, I'd say it was an excellent value and one I would do again. When I'm taking a day off of being a gf-paleo-vegan, that is.