Brown Rice Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
Although I eat more than my share of gluten, I have many friends who don’t. For their sake, I am always on the lookout for gluten-free recipes. When I first learned about gluten-free pizza crust made with finely chopped cauliflower, for example, I was intrigued and went right to work. But ultimately, I was disappointed; cauliflower doesn’t hold together nearly well enough to simulate pizza crust. So I began experimenting with other gluten-free pizza crusts. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that hot and cooked brown rice, when pulsed in a food processor, results in a very cohesive mass—cohesive enough to simulate pizza crust. The finished product is sufficiently sturdy too; it can withstand the weight of any number of toppings, from traditional sauce and cheese to sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese.
Brown Rice Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Makes one 12” pizza crust
¾ cup brown rice—cover with water, soak one hour and then drain
2¼ cups boiling water
⅔ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ ounce freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
1½ tablespoon rice flour
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the soaked/drained rice, salt, and 2¼ cups boiling water in an ovenproof pot with a tight fitting lid. Place in preheated oven for about an hour until rice is soft. As soon as the rice is removed from the oven, scrape it into a food processor and puree until a congealed mass forms. (Note: due to the fact that cool rice doesn’t stick together adequately, it’s very important that the rice is still hot when pureed. Plan accordingly.) Add grated Parmigiano (optional) and rice flour; pulse until completely combined. At this point the pureed rice may be refrigerated for later use or continue as below.
Prepare parchment paper by placing two stacked pieces of parchment paper on a work surface (note: the oil seeps through one piece, so two pieces are necessary), brushing the top piece with a thin layer of olive oil, making sure it is completely oiled as the rice mixture is very sticky. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the rice mixture onto the middle of the parchment (I say scrape, as it is a sticky, paste-like mixture ) and drizzle it with olive oil. With oiled hands, pat the lump into a disk ~6” in diameter. Top with another piece of oiled parchment (the oiled side should face down on the rice mixture) and flatten the rice mixture into a rectangle ~12”x 13” (I find that a rolling pin works well here as you want the mixture to be a consistent thickness). Peel off the top layer of parchment paper.
Preheat oven containing a pizza stone (or, if you don’t have one, an upside down half-sheet pan) to 425°F for ~30 minutes so the stone gets sufficiently hot. Using a pizza peel or a sideless cookie sheet, transfer the rice crust on parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone. Bake crust for ~15-20 minutes or until the edges brown (20-25 minutes if the rice mixture is cold) . Remove the pizza together with it’s parchment paper from the oven - top with desired toppings and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes until toppings are hot and crust is sturdy. Remove from the oven and using a spatula, carefully slide the pizza off of the parchment paper. Hopefully, you oiled the parchment paper well - if not the rice crust will stick a bit. Slice and eat.