Monday, 30 July 2012

MLLA Chickpea pizza base

Of all the gluten free flours I have tried, chickpea flour (or besan or gram flour) has been the most reliable.  In fact, if I had to choose just one gf flour to stock, I think this would be it.  It has some qualities that I find unusual in a gf flour.  It doesn't take grainy.  It doesn't necessarily depend on other flours to balance it out.  Yes, it can smell a bit funny.  Yet it has been great all by itself in frittata, crackers, brownies.  Now it has proved itself a dream in a pizza crust.

As usual baking with Sylvia ended in a messy kitchen.  We had been trying on her clothes earlier in the day to check ones that didn't fit.  I found a party dress with a pink sash and a velvet top.  It was gorgeous but according to the label it should have been too small.  She wore it anyway and looked gorgeous.  It did get rather floury though in the pizza making.  Every time I put a handful of pizza on the table for handling the dough, Sylvia stuck her hand in it and swirled it everywhere!

The dough was slightly more fragile than my regular wheat pizza bases but it did bake up crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.  It tasted best hot.  We all enjoyed it and had no leftovers.  Sylvia ate some, though not heaps. (She seemed to enjoy playing with the raw dough more than the cooked pizza.)  I am not sure it would replace my fast track pizza dough on a regular basis but I am sure we will have it again.  Who doesn't love a pizza base that is quick, nutritious and tastes great. And it is gluten free and vegan!

I made a fairly standard pizza topping for sylvia with a tomato sauce (made by blending tomato paste and baked beans) and cheese.  I am so smitten with the tofu and cashew ricotta that I decided to use that in lieu of cheese on our pizza.  I used the tomato sauce, some olive, artichokes, cherry tomatoes and dollops of ricotta.  It was lovely with some baby spinach on top when cooked.  Both pizzas had lots of protein.

My expectations of home made GF pizza are low but this chickpea pizza was amazing.  However, the lovely chickpea flour can't take all the credit.  The dough also had ground psyllium husks.  An alternative to gums in GF baking.  I have had some in my pantry for too long.  Now that I have finally used them and found them great as a binder, I must use them more.  So I will finish with a list of other psyllium husk recipes that I want to use.

Recipes from the interwebs using psyllium husks:
I am sending this to My Legume Love Affair (#49), founded by Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook and hosted by Simone of Bricole this month. 

Chickpea pizza base
adapted from Cara's Cravings
makes 1 medium pizza and 1 small pizza

1 cup warm water
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
1 tsp brown sugar or other sweetener
1 and 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan) and extra for kneading
4 tablespoons ground psyllium husks
1/2 teaspoon salt
polenta to sprinkle on pizza base

Stir together warm water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Leave for about 10 minutes until the yeast blooms (ie it develops white, frothy patches).  Preheat oven to 250 C and generously sprinkle 1 medium and 1 small pizza trays.

Add remaining ingredients.  Tip out onto a board that has been floured with chickpea flour.  Knead for about 5 minutes.  Place dough back in the bowl and let rise for about 20 minutes.  (I let mine rise a bit longer).  It should be spongy but mine didn't double in size as regular wheat would.

Using well floured hands and a well floured board, roll out dough and transfer onto prepared pizza trays.  It wasn't too hard to transfer to the small tray but the dough was a bit fragile when transferring to a medium tray and had to be patched a wee bit.  Place your toppings on the pizza and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Best eaten hot. 

On the Stereo:
Way to Blue: Nick Drake

28 comments:

  1. I never realised you could raise chickpea flour on it's own. I can see air-holes in your picture. I've done flatbread before with began but this is quite genuinely - a revelation...

    I wonder if you've tried making 'chips' out of it? ..3-1 water to chickpea flour, stir when cold, then bring to a simmer and whisk for a few minutes, until it pulls away from the pan. Tip out on to an oiled plate and set for an hour. Cut into chips, toss with a little oil and salt and bake at 200 for 20 minutes.

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    1. Thanks Adam - the texture of the pizza was fantastic - haven't tried the chips yet but saw a recipe for chickpea tofu recently and wondered if it was like the chips

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  2. I love chickpea chips so I can see how this would work. Sylvia is a most stylishly dressed sous chef too! I love how she cooks with dolly in one hand :D

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - must try making chickpea chips - my mum made them once and we all loved them. And actually dolly is helping measure the flour :-)

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  3. I've heard from GF friends that chickpea flour is the best for baking, but it's also the most expensive. Sigh. I do love the sound of this crust though! Have to try it.

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    1. Thanks Joanne - I am surprised you find it the most expensive- I haven't found it overly expensive - maybe it is cheaper at Indian shops where I sometimes buy it.

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  4. Hello!
    I have to ask - have you ever noticed a funny, bitter metallic smell or taste in your chickpea flour? Every time I buy it, I seem to get this, which makes it awfully unpleasant.

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    1. Thanks Matt - I debated over whether I mention this - I didn't want to make chickpea flour sound horrid but yes it can taste very strong. I think this is why it works so well in something like brownies that have a strong flavour. It seemed to work in the pizza when hot but when cold the flavour came through. And the chickpea crackers I have made a few times just seem to work well with the flavour rather than fighting it (as I have occasionally found). It took me a while to find the right recipes but now I love chickpea flour

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  5. I made this one last week, too--without the yeast. It was a perfectly delicious thin-crust pizza! And I loved how easy and quick it was. Yours rose so high!! It looks beautiful.

    Hope you do try those sweet potato buns--we loved them!

    PS Ate the cauliflower alfredo from your blog tonight. Divine!!

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    1. Thanks Ricki - good to hear it works without the yeast too. those sweet potato buns have remained in my head and I keep thinking I must make them - glad you enjoyed the alfredo

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  6. oh my gosh that looks WONDERFUL! isn't homemade pizza the best! taking it out of the oven, and basking in its golden brown glory -- nothing quite like it:)

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    1. thanks GF happy tummy - it was wonderful - we eat home made pizza far more than shop bought these days - I agree it is so satisfying to take it from the oven

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  7. I can't get over the mucus-like gloopiness of psyllium husks, but chickpea flour is lovely :)

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    1. thanks Hannah - you sound like you have played with psyllium husks far more than me - I am quite fascinated by them because I still don't understand them

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  8. I haven't experimented much with GF flours, but my experiences with chickpea flour have been very positive. I'm now extremely keen to try this, and if I do, I will think of Sylvia's input and your swirling flour as I make it :)

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    1. Thanks Kari - glad you too enjoy chickpea flour - I have had mixed experiences but am pleased to say that lately it is more positive than not - even though I can do without it being swirled over my kitchen

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  9. Um, I am totally making that.. i have to get the pizza base

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  10. This is so interesting, I haven't seen a chickpea flour pizza base before. I find that chickpea flour is fantastic when you use it in small amounts and mixed with other ingredients but the flavour of it can be really overwhelming in things like vegan frittatas/quiches.

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    1. Thanks Mel - this was a revelation - though I have enjoyed chickpea flour in baking before I haven't thought of using it with yeast. I agree that the flavour can be overwhelming but as I've written a bit about in response to Matt the worbit above, I have found some recipes where it really works on its own - though you need to find what works with it because not everything does.

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  11. Very interesting, Johanna. My first experiment with chickpea flour has not gone well: I used it mixed with other GF flours. On the other hand, I like farinata, so I am sure I would like your pizza. I had not heard about psyllium husks, so thanks for the information. And thank you for contributing to My Legume Love Affair. Sylvia making pizza dough in a party dress is totally adorable.

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    1. Thanks Simona - sorry to hear your experiment with chickpea flour hasn't worked - I have mixed it with other gf flours and it has been worked well but GF flours can be tricky and I don't always get the right combination. I particularly like the psyllium husks as an alternative to GF "gums"

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  12. I love the sound of both pizzatoppings. I have never used chickpea flour. Nuce to see Dolly helped too!

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - they were both great - and yes there are many hands in our kitchen - if only that helped me cook more rather than clean more :-)

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  13. what a great and interesting recipe Johanna! Ans how cute is this post.

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  14. I've been wanting to try this base since you posted it and finally did tonight. It was really delicious. My son can't eat gluten so I normally use various blends of flour but this was so easy with just the one flour and so yum. Thanks for sharing:) I love how versatile chickpeas are.

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  15. Thanks Tash - so glad it worked for you too. I find the mix of flours in so many gf baking recipes quite intimidating, which is why this appealed - glad it made it easier for you and your son

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