The most INCREDIBLE Gluten Free Stuffed Crust Pizza. With its perfectly baked crust, doughy, foldable interior and gooey cheesy filling, you’d never know it‘s gluten free AND wheat free. Easy to make at home for ‘old school’ heavenly pizza joy!
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Gluten Free Stuffed Crust Pizza beyond dreams
THIS gluten free Stuffed Crust Pizza is beyond my wildest dreams. It’s exactly what I’ve been searching for. In the 13 years since we became a Coeliac household, the magic of a perfect pizza let alone one with a gooey, cheesy crust has eluded my life. But on the back of mastering my Gluten Free New York Pizza dough, it seemed only right to take it ‘up a level’.
Let’s be clear… This is no ordinary gluten free pizza. With its doughy, foldable hand-stretched base and crusty, cheese-stuffed outer edge, it’s exactly as it should be. The dough is kneadable and shapable (with no ‘wallpaper paste’ to ‘manipulate’). And there is absolutely NO gluten free wheat starch or ‘Caputo’ flour in sight. Just pure gluten free-wheat free alchemy.
Even better… The dough base is also egg free, dairy free, soy free, nut free and vegan. This means you can add whatever toppings and cheese you need to keep you happy and safe… NO missing out on Stuffed Crust Pizza EVER again!
Is it easy to make this recipe?
Absolutely yes! Making my gluten free Stuffed Crust Pizza is a cinch. Just follow the step-by-step instructions on the recipe card and you can’t go wrong. I promise!
What ingredients are needed for Gluten Free Stuffed Crust Pizza?
Gluten free flour blend
If you want great gluten free pizza (with the flavour and texture to rival wheat) then the flour blend you use genuinely matters. A bag of ‘Doves’ or ‘Measure for Measure’ honestly won’t cut it (although feel free to try if that’s all you have).
The blend shared in the recipe is a carefully balanced, bespoke, home-mixed combination of starch and protein flours that together offer the desired rise, texture and ‘chew’. The three flours (all easy to source) are tapioca starch, millet flour and either oat OR buckwheat flour.
In testing, this blend worked to create the best pizza. Indeed, I tested varying combinations over many months to get to my happy point. However, if for any reason you need to switch out an individual flour, then check through my information on Gluten Free Flours to find a suitable like-for-like (ie starch vs protein) alternative.
I always use psyllium which is rough-ground in baking. The reason for this is that partial-grinding breaks the husks to allow for better hydration. And psyllium powder is usually too finely ground to the point that (in my experience) it impacts the final texture negatively.
Having said this, if you want to make Stuffed Crust Pizza and only have psyllium powder available, then you could still use it, but at about 80% of the total rough-ground husk listed in the recipe.
Either way, the psyllium is ESSENTIAL when making my gluten free pizza dough and cannot be substituted with anything else. If you need a pizza dough recipe without psyllium, there is an alternative Crispy Pizza Base on the blog, which uses xanthan gum instead.
Salt is added primarily for flavour, but the amount (which is very small) is carefully balanced so as not to impact the yeast action.
Yeast and sugar
Yeast is essential to make your Stuffed Crust Pizza dough rise. And the sugar is there to help activate it.
My yeast of choice for pizza is Active Dried Yeast (the type that needs to be activated before adding to the dough mix). However, if you want to use instant yeast, it should still work fine. Just be aware that instant yeast works at a different strength. Thus, I would advise checking the advice for the brand used. With Allinson’s yeast (the brand I use), only half the amount of instant (Easy Bake) yeast is required as a substitute. While the type of sugar used to activate the yeast is flexible, I tend to use honey because it is natural and dissolves easily. However, this can be subbed weight for weight with either maple syrup or caster sugar.
Water and water temperature
The amount of water used in the dough is finely balanced for hydration and pizza texture. I have been quite specific in the recipe about the amount needed for the flours used.
It is also important the water used is warm to activate the yeast (at about 38 to 39 C (hand warm)). Bear in mind water that is too hot will kill the yeast. And water that is too cold will prevent yeast activation. If in doubt, hedge on the cooler ‘tepid’ side and place the yeast bowl over a mug of steaming water to gently warm it.
Olive oil and vinegar
In addition to the above, the Stuffed Crust Pizza dough needs a drop of cider vinegar and olive oil. The acidic vinegar (which can be subbed with either white wine vinegar or lemon juice) helps increase the yeast activity for a more open texture. The olive oil offers softness, but is finely balanced so the dough remains chewy but not heavy or stodgy.
Cheese to stuff the crust
If making a Stuffed Crust Pizza then you need to stuff the crust! For this you’ll need some cheese… Specifically, a cheese that holds well with the heat but still melts into gooey deliciousness. I’ve tested the recipe with several cheeses and I recommend one of two options:
- A block of firm Mozzarella Cheese (such as this one from Galbani), which is specifically suited to pizza making and can be cut into sticks. It’s also easily sourced in good supermarkets.
- Cheese Strings – aka String Cheese (the type that is often popped in children’s lunch boxes and comes as individually wrapped sticks).
Both of these options are robust and can be cut into lengths that allow them to be easily placed around the edge of the dough. The dough is then simply pulled over the firm cheese and sealed ready to melt into the crust when baked.
Does this Stuffed Crust Pizza contain gluten free wheat starch?
Absolutely no. THIS Stuffed Crust Pizza is completely wheat free. I am aware there’s been a recent trend towards using gluten free wheat starch in gluten free bread products and pizza and that some gluten free bloggers use a particular flour brand ‘Caputo Fioreglut’. While I have no doubt that it makes great pizza, I have chosen not to follow this path for the following reason:
While gluten free wheat starch has had the gluten ‘washed out’ and is thus certified gluten free, I have personally reacted previously (occasionally) to commercial products that contain it. As I do NOT have a wheat allergy/intolerance (but am Coeliac), I consequently remain sceptical as to whether it is consistently safe. Thus I prefer to home-bake with completely non-wheat-based products. And aim to create bakes with no compromise on either texture or flavour, without resorting to ‘washed-out gluten’.
Is this recipe for Gluten Free Stuffed Crust Pizza safe for people with Coeliac Disease?
I appreciate that a small proportion of Coeliacs cannot tolerate oats and that gluten free oats are unavailable in some countries. Thus, I have tested and provided alternative flour options for anyone unable to either source safe oats or tolerate Avenin (the ‘offending’ protein).
Tips for making the BEST gluten free Stuffed Crust Pizza
However simple a recipe is, it’s always helpful to have tips for getting the best results. So this is my best advice for making a perfect gluten free Stuffed Crust Pizza:
Mixing, stretching and proofing the dough
- Fully hydrate the dough – ie, let it sit for about 20 minutes. This ensures the dough becomes ‘kneadable’ and stretchable. And starts the proofing process.
- Hand stretch the dough straight onto lightly floured baking paper (cut to the size required). To do this, use flat palms and/or knuckles to pull it into shape.
- Flatten the dough to about 3mm thickness across the whole base.
- Cut the cheese ‘sticks’ into lengths about 4 cm (1½ inches) long. This is short enough to be able to lay them around the edge in a neat circle.
- Place the cheese ‘sticks’ around the perimeter of the dough base set about an inch in from the edge.
- GENTLY fold and stretch the outer dough rim over the cheese, trying to avoid any rips and tears.
- Tuck and press the dough fold to seal it tightly on the inside of the cheese rim.
- Check the dough edge and pinch together any holes to prevent the cheese from leaking out.
- Once shaped, leave the dough base ON the baking paper. This allows for easy transfer to the hot baking tray once it’s proofed and topped. The paper is then removed part-way through baking so the base can crisp on direct heat.
Topping and baking your Stuffed Crust Pizza
After much experimentation, I’ve worked out the best process for topping and baking this Stuffed Crust Pizza so that the crust is golden, the bready texture is perfect and the cheese topping doesn’t burn…
- After the base has proofed, give the ridged edge a very light brushing of olive oil to help it become golden in the oven.
- Next… Add ALL your desired toppings EXCEPT the final cheese sprinkle. This will be added later! (Try not to ‘overload’ the pizza however as this will prevent the dough from baking efficiently).
- Avoid using too much wet sauce (tomato Passata, etc), as this might make the base soggy.
- Preheat the pizza baking tray as well as the oven!
- Use either a cake lifter, pizza peel or a couple of spatulas to help transfer the unbaked pizza (still on the paper) to the HOT pizza baking tray. And immediately pop it back in the oven.
- Part-bake the pizza for about 15 minutes, until the base has firmed and the toppings are almost cooked.
- Then… take the pizza from the oven, carefully remove the base paper (with the help of a spatula or fish slice), sprinkle with the last layer of cheese and return it to the oven. Do this step quickly to ensure the cheese-filled rim doesn’t ‘deflate’ before it’s completely baked and set.
- Bake for a final 5 to 10 minutes until the top layer of cheese is golden and bubbling.
Equipment to make Stuffed Crust Pizza
Most of what you need to make pizza at home is pretty standard stuff. And given that this recipe is developed to bake in a standard kitchen oven, a ‘pizza oven’ is completely unnecessary. I don’t own one myself!
Nonetheless, a couple of bits of ‘kit’ are definitely worth bearing in mind…
- When baking gluten free (and particularly for gluten free bread bakes), it’s advisable to use a set of digital kitchen scales with grams for accuracy. If the scales have a micro-measure, that’s even better as this will allow for accurate tiny measures such as for the yeast and salt. (I have these dual-platform scales).
- You need a large enough baking tray and it needs to be oven-safe to a high temperature. I use a perforated pizza tray similar to this one for even heat distribution. But you can also buy multi-pan kits for family use.
- It definitely helps to have a Cake Lifter or a pizza peel to transfer the soft, uncooked pizza to the baking tray. Failing that, a couple of fish slices can be used.
Storing leftover pizza
Unlike most gluten free pizzas, this particular recipe is still amazing eaten cold. Yep… you read that right! No rubbery or rock-hard frisbees here. No reheating or ‘refreshing’ necessary. Because THIS gluten free pizza stays soft and lightly doughy even when it’s been in the fridge. And that makes it the perfect addition to lunch boxes and picnics (or even for breakfast).
Simply wrap cooled leftovers in foil and store them in the fridge!
Ready to make gluten free Stuffed Crust Pizza?
I hope that was all helpful information and that I’ve tickled your taste buds enough to try making my gluten free Stuffed Crust Pizza at home. If there’s anything you don’t understand, just shout! You can leave a comment at the bottom, or message me on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest). Don’t forget to let me know how you get on… I love hearing from you guys!
For all my other yummy gluten free recipes, don’t forget to check out the categorised, photographed, Gluten Free Recipe Index. It’s my huge online free recipe ‘book’ packed with inspiration whatever the occasion!
All shared with my love
Gluten Free Stuffed Crust Pizza
- cake lifter or pizza steel or fish slices
- pizza cutter or sharp knife
- 6 g honey (or maple syrup or caster sugar)
- 4.5 g Active Dried yeast (full, just rounded teaspoon for x1 recipe)
- 145 g hand warm water – at 38 to 39 C (100.4 to 102.2 F) NOTE : If using Buckwheat flour instead of oat flour use 5 to 10g less water.
- ¾ tsp cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
- 6 g olive oil
- 60 g tapioca starch
- 40 g millet flour
- 30 g oat flour (or buckwheat flour) (or quinoa/sorghum/alternative protein flour if preferred)
- 8 g rough-ground psyllium husk (not fine powder)
- 4 g fine sea salt (SCANT half teaspoon for x1 recipe)
- 120 g block Mozzarella (cut into strips about 1 cm across and about 4 cm (1½ inches) long) OR 6 String Cheeses, cut into thirds length-wise (approx amounts)
Toppings – tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato Passata (sieved tomatoes)
- 1 to 2 tbsp concentrated tomato puree (tomato paste)
- ½ tsp dried Italian herbs (or oregano + thyme + basil, etc)
Toppings – the rest
- 4 to 5 tbsp grated pizza mozzarella (the drier, grated variety)
- 2 tbsp cheddar cheese (optional)
- vegetables/toppings of choice (onion; mushroom; peppers; courgette; cherry tomato; olives; Buffalo Mozzarella; sliced Pepperoni, meats etc etc)
- ½ tsp dried Italian herbs (or herbs/spices of choice) – optional extra
- salt and pepper (to taste)
Stretching the Dough
- fine ground polenta; maize; brown rice or millet flour. to sprinkle (polenta gives an authentic feel)
- A little extra olive oil for hands and brushing the edges of the pizza dough
- In a large mixing bowl, weigh the yeast and honey (or maple syrup/sugar) with the hand-warm water.
- Gently whisk together with a fork to blend and dissolve the yeast, then set aside for 10 minutes or so in a warm place (or set over a bowl of steaming water), to activate and become frothy.
Mix the flour blend
- While the yeast is activating, weigh the dry ingredients (flours, psyllium husk and salt) into an airtight container (or separate bowl) and mix well until fully blended.
Making the dough
- Once the yeast is activated, add the vinegar and olive oil to the bowl and stir through to blend.
- Add the dry flour mix and using a firm wooden or silicone spoon, beat well and vigorously until smoothly blended (with no lumps). The mixture will initially look very liquid, but as you continue beating, it will start to thicken (some flour switches will cause quicker thickening than others).
- Once smooth and starting to thicken, set aside for 5 minutes, before stirring or folding through as a final mix. The mixture should now be quite thick.
- Scrape the dough together into the centre of the bowl and set aside for about 20 minutes in a warm place (covering the bowl with a large plate or cling film), to proof and to complete hydration.
Preparing the baking paper
- While the dough is proofing, prepare a large sheet of baking paper by cutting it to shape and very slightly larger than needed for the baking tray.
- Liberally sprinkle the baking paper with fine ground polenta (or maize flour, brown rice flour or millet flour).
Hand stretching the dough & adding the cheese crust
- With oiled hands (or using lightly oiled food gloves), scoop the dough from the bowl (you may need to use a spatula to release/scrape any stuck dough from the bottom) and compress it into a ball (do not 'knead' however, as it needs to maintain a little of the air from the first proof).
- Place the dough ball in the centre of the prepared baking paper and using flat fingers and/or knuckles, gradually press the dough outwards into a circular shape.
- Continue to press the dough until it is about 11/12 inches in diameter (which should allow a good size and reasonable thickness to fold the outer edges over the cheese). Use the baking paper shape as a guide, turning the paper to help keep the circle even as the dough is worked. The dough should be about 3mm thick all round when the circle is complete.
- Next, place the filling cheese 'sticks' around the perimeter of the pizza dough, approx 1 inch in from the edge.
- Fold and gently stretch the dough border over the cheese being careful not to tear and then press into the inner dough line to seal. If there are any splits in the folded dough, pinch together to seal them so the cheese doesn't 'leak' when it melts.
- Once shaped, set the dough bases aside to proof for about 12 to 15 minutes.
- IMMEDIATELY turn the oven on to 220 C (428 F) so that it has plenty of time to preheat to temperature.
- Place the baking tray(s) in the oven at the same time to preheat so they also become super-hot.
Topping the pizza
- Prepare the tomato sauce by mixing the Passata with the tomato paste and herbs.
- After the dough base has proofed (it should be gently puffy), gently brush the raised border with a little olive oil. Do not press down as the dough needs to maintain its rise.
- Next, spoon the tomato sauce onto the central area of the dough and carefully (and lightly) spread it across the surface using the rounded back of a large spoon, stopping at the raised edge.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese across the cooked tomato sauce and top with other toppings of choice, herbs, etc (but NOT the final layer of cheese).
Baking the pizza
- Take the pizza baking tray from the oven (shutting the oven door to maintain heat) and immediately transfer the pizza base (still ON the baking paper and with the support of a cake lifter, pizza peel or a couple of spatulas) to the tray.
- Bake for 15 minutes (enough time for the dough to set into shape at the edges).
- After 15 minutes (and working quickly), remove the pizza from the oven and ease off the base paper, sliding the pizza onto the metal surface direct.
- Top with additional cheese (as required) and return the pizza to the oven as quickly as possible.
- Continue to bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes until golden on top with crisp edges.
- Transfer to an apropriate plate or pizza board, slice and serve.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Gluten Free Stuffed Crust Pizza shared with
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- Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- What’s For Dinner with The Lazy Gastronome