Naomi likes a thin-based pizza, sparingly spread with a simple tomato sauce and baked as hot as the oven can go, until the base is invitingly crisp and the cheese is melted and bubbling. You are welcome to put pineapple and ham on your own creations, but I think that the holy trinity of bread, tomato and cheese is unbeatable.
To make the pizza base, mix the sorghum flour, yeast and water together in a large bowl until smooth, then cover and set aside at room temperature for an hour to ferment.
In the meantime, make the tomato sauce for the topping. Chop the plum tomatoes and put them into a pan with the juice from the tin. Add the garlic and cook, covered, over a medium heat, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt, a few good grinds of pepper, the sugar and a little vinegar if you think the flavour needs lifting. The olive oil will take a bit of stirring during cooking to get it to emulsify with the tomato. The sauce shouldn’t be too thick, but if it’s very thin, cook uncovered for a few minutes to drive off the excess water. Set the sauce aside to cool once you have made it.
When you are ready to make the dough, beat the remaining pizza base ingredients except the polenta or rice flour into the sorghum mixture, using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment if you have one. If you do not have a mixer, use your hands to squidge out all the lumps and beat the mixture until smooth.
Sprinkle some flat baking sheets with fine polenta or rice flour. Sprinkle the work surface with fine polenta or rice flour and scoop up a quarter of the dough with floured fingers.
Roll into a ball and then roll out on your floured surface into a thin circle. Keep moving it to check it hasn’t stuck and lightly flour the surface to make sure the rolling pin doesn’t stick either.
When the circle is about 5mm thick, pick up an edge gently and slide the rolling pin underneath it. Use the rolling pin to help you transfer the delicate dough to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Make smaller pizzas if you’re struggling to handle the dough.
Divide the tomato sauce between the pizzas and gently spread it out using the back of a spoon. Slice the mozzarella balls and lay them on top. Sprinkle with thyme or oregano leaves, if you have some, and drizzle any exposed dough with a little olive oil.
Leave to rise at room temperature for about an hour (or 30–45 minutes if your kitchen is very warm) until the dough looks a little puffy.
Preheat the oven to 250°C/Fan 230°C/Gas 10, or as high as it will go.
Bake the pizzas on their trays for 6–8 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the base is cooked underneath. Scatter with rocket leaves and Parmesan shavings, if you like, and serve straight away.
For the pizza base
- 70g sorghum flour
- 10g fresh yeast (or 3g quick dried)
- 120g tepid water
- 140g potato starch
- 40g tapioca starch
- 25ml olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 scant tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp xanthan gum or 2 tsp ground psyllium husk
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- Fine polenta or rice flour for sprinkling
For the topping
- 400g tin plum tomatoes
- 2–3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 50ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- A pinch of sugar
- A few drops of wine vinegar (optional)
- 2–3 mozzarella balls, each about 125g
- Thyme or oregano leaves for sprinkling (optional)
- Sea salt and black pepper
- A handful of rocket leaves
- Parmesan shavings (optional)
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Gluten Free Cookery
Learn how to make bread, pastry and treats to suit your intolerance, with a day of gluten-free baking at the River Cottage Cookery School.