DIY Mix–Pizza Crust
I was planning to make a gluten-free pizza for dinner the other night, and just as I was measuring out the ingredients for the crust, I thought, why not measure out several so I’d be that far ahead the next time I wanted to make pizza. So I set up a few quart freezer bags and started making mixes. I’m so glad I did! In just a few more minutes I had a batch of the dry ingredients (except the yeast) sealed and on the shelf. I work from home, but I still am at my desk for hours. By 5 p.m. I have to decide what will be our dinner. If I haven’t thawed something or put something in the crockpot, I go search the pantry shelves for an appropriate meal. Now that I have the pizza crust almost half made, I think we will be having it every couple of weeks. I’ll have to work out some new toppings just to change it up!
I was surprised how quickly I was able to put together one evening’s meal and 5 more mixes for the future. I was also very pleasantly surprised how many mixes I was able to make with the flour on hand. The five pound bag of Freedom Delivered all purpose Gluten Free Flour seemed to go a long way. I think I have over half of a bag still in the storage container. I know we used to sell a pizza crust (box for 2 crusts) for $10.99 plus shipping, so I wondered just how much my mix cost to make. Lots of variables–my mix makes 1 crust per bag, so I would have to compare it to a cost of $5.50. Here is how it broke down: Flour $ 1.87, Salt $0.02, Baking Powder $0.03, Sugar $0.03, Oregano $0.10, Garlic Powder $0.10–for a total of $2.15. Now I still have to add yeast to each mix, Yeast $0.57. Since you had to add water and olive oil to the previous mix, I added nothing to the cost comparison. Total for my pizza crust mix = $2.72! Almost half price!
The savings is a very good thing, but I think that knowing exactly what is in the mix is almost as important. When I went gluten-free, I cleared my pantry of anything with gluten in it. Then I took out all my other ingredients, such as baking powder, to check if they were gluten-free. If the brand I normally use was not certified gluten-free I searched for an alternative and stocked my shelves with them. This made my cooking and baking so much easier–I didn’t have to check every time and I knew I was not taking any chances. Much to my surprise, many of the brands I used were gluten-free so I could continue to use them. Now, I’m very fortunate as we are only gluten sensitive. Some occasional exposure to gluten only causes us some discomfort. I think if we were more susceptible to problems with minor, occasional gluten exposure, I’d want to control what is in my foods even more. Making your own mixes allows you to be sure the ingredients are gluten-free, but it also allows you to make substitutions to avoid other food allergens. I flip from using dairy and non-dairy all the time. Since we do not have a dairy allergy, I do this for my convenience. For example, where we live we often have winter weather that can make driving difficult. For years now, I have kept (and used) almond milk instead of cow’s milk for cooking and baking. Some recipes are enhanced with the almond milk flavors. The same goes for butter, margarine or non-dairy shortenings–I use what I have, what I like in the recipe, or what I need to adjust for a visitor’s health.
So, how did it get ready to assemble my first set of mixes? Since I bake gluten-free all the time, I had the food scale. Freedom Delivered all purpose Gluten-Free Flour weights 124 g per cup and I always weigh it for recipes. It is a cup for cup substitute for gluten-full (wheat) flour, but it is always best to weigh the flour, so you don’t ruin a recipe with too much! Food scales are readily available and cost $25 or less. Mine weighs grams and ounces–and I use it all the time. Well worth the investment. Then I had the quart freezer zip bags since I freeze lots of leftovers and meat portioned for meals. I did have to think about how to handle the bags. They don’t always stay open and can be difficult if your hands are full. I decided to roll the top part down about 2-inches. This makes the ribs for the zip hold the bag open pretty well. Then I decided to use storage containers to hold the bags upright. This system seemed to work well for me. I recommend that you try it out ot come up with your own method–before you start measuring.
I was all set to start and decided to try one mix to see if there were any pitfalls that I hadn’t thought through. I always weigh my flour on the scale in a bowl. I scoop flour out of the storage container and put it into the bowl until I reach the desired weight in grams. This allows me to scoop out a bit if I’m over or add a bit if I’m under, until I’m spot on. I also used the scoop to put the flour into the bag. Since the flour is so light, I don’t want to lose any in the air! Also I want to get all that I should from the bowl–sometimes I sweep the rest of the bowl out with the tips of my fingers. In baking, accuracy is important. Next I measured out each of the ingredients and sprinkled them on top of the flour. No problem! For the next 4 mixes, I measured the flour for each mix, then the salt, then the baking powder, etc. This way went even faster–so that is how I will measure ingredients for my next batch of mixes. In less than ten minutes, I had the 5 extra mixes ready for storage. All I have to add to the stack, is a print out of the directions to finish the baking. I print out one and slip all the mixes and the printout into a gallon storage bag–ready for the next time.
I learned a lot about how to handle bulk preparation for the mixes. I learned that one set-up and one clean up saves a lot of kitchen time. I’m halfway to a homemade pizza dinner soon.
- 1¾ cup Freedom Delivered gluten-free All Purpose Flour (217 g)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ tablespoon sugar (or desired sweetener in equal amount)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon yeast (use quick acting or bread machine yeast)
- ¾ cups warm water (should be 105-110 degrees--a warm hand washing temp)
- ½ tablespoon olive oil (oil of your choosing)
- Pizza sauce and toppings, cheese as desired
- Gather the 6 ingredients for the mix. Prepare and mark the zip storage bags.Turn the tops down so the bags stay open and you can get the ingredients in them easily. I also stand the bags in a container to help keep them upright--it helps!
- Measure these ingredients into each bag. Close each bag and print a copy of this recipe to store with mixes for future preparation instructions. See below.
- Prepare pizza pan by spraying with cooking spray. Put a parchment paper over the sprayed pan and bake on the parchment.
- Put contents of one prepared mix into the bowl of stand mixer. Add yeast and mix on low to blend. Measure hot water from tap. It should be quite warm. I use an instant temp thermometer to be sure it is hot but not over 110 degrees--this is crucial. Add the oil to the water. Turn on the mixer to low and slowly pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. When the dough pulls away from the sides, turn off the mixer. With a rubber spatula, make sure all the flour in encorporated.
- Put dough onto the prepared pan. FOR THIN CRUST, this dough can be used immediately. Heat in oven to 425 degrees F. Spread dough to cover pan and prepare with sauce and toppings. When oven reaches temperature place pan in oven. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 to 18 minutes. Check to be sure pizza is baking evenly--rotate pan if oven is warmer in the back.
- FOR A SLIGHTLY THICKER CRUST, cover dough with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with baking spray. Cover plastic with clean kitchen towel and place pan in warm place to rise for about 10 minutes. Remove plastic and put sauce and toppings on crust.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Rotate pan so crust bakes evenly. Edges should be golden. Let stand 5 minutes, cut and enjoy.