Gluten-free Mini Pizzas and Bread Sticks

These gluten-free flat breads make excellent mini pizzas, with a thin and crispy crust that holds up to the toppings. They also double as crunchy bread sticks for your favorite dip, or pair them with pasta and a salad. Almond flour, brown rice flour and buttermilk create a sturdy crust with a satisfying bite and great flavor that complements whatever it’s served with. The pizza crusts are easy to make, so bake a batch or two when you have half an hour and keep them in the freezer for a super quick meal (the crusts can go straight from the freezer to the oven). I cook them on a panini press, which eliminates shaping the bread, often a tricky part of working with gluten-free dough. If you have leftover bread sticks, grind them in the food processor to make bread crumbs and store in the freezer.

The pizzas taste great hot out of the oven, but even better, they’re delicious cold. The crust stays crispy in the fridge, and the bread sticks don’t get soggy if you leave them on the counter overnight. They just get crunchier. Besides pizza, these flat breads make great Tuna Melts. Or try cheddar cheese, tomato slices and crumbled bacon. Of course, any panini combination would be delicious as well. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re lactose intolerant, mozzarella and other aged cheeses are okay to eat, according to “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, by Sue Shepherd. Most people with lactose intolerance can handle about 4 grams of lactose per serving of food without experiencing problems (page 29). As always, only eat what your body can tolerate, and only you know what that is.

By the way, if you don’t have a panini press, I think you could use a waffle iron instead, though the bread might be thicker and need more time to cook. If you try this, let me know how it turns out.

Note:  Research now says that almonds should be limited to about 10 nuts per serving, so only eat a small serving of this. Ten nuts weigh about 12 grams. To calculate how much of this you can safely eat, divide the 150 grams of almond meal in the recipe by the 12 grams per allowed serving to get 12.5 servings total. The recipe makes 4 (9 inch/22.5 cm) pizza crusts, so a safe serving is 1/3 of a pizza crust, or 1/12 of the recipe.

Gluten-free Mini Pizzas and Bread Sticks

Makes 4 (9 inch) pizzas or about 30 bread sticks of varying lengths

150 grams (1 2/3 cups) blanched almond meal
150 grams (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) brown rice flour
63 grams (1/2 cup) tapioca flour
63 grams (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) potato starch
2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Kosher salt
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk (or lactose-free milk +1 teaspoon or 10 ml lemon juice)
1/2 cup (120 ml) water

Preheat a panini press. Combine the almond flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together. Add the buttermilk and water, then beat with an electric mixer until there is no dry flour and the batter is smooth.

Pour 3/4 cup of batter on the center of  the panini press. Use a heat-resistant utensil to spread it across the widest part of the grill surface. Quickly press the top down, holding firmly for a moment so that the dough spreads evenly. Cook for 3 minutes if you’re making pizzas. Cook for 5 minutes if you’re making bread sticks. Remove the bread to a wire rack to cool and cook the remaining batter.

For bread sticks: while the bread is warm, use a serrated knife to cut it into narrow sticks. Run the knife along a ridge to score the top, then fold along the scored line to break the bread evenly. I make my bread sticks two ridges wide. Cool on a wire rack.

For pizzas: you can finish the pizzas now or cool them and freeze for later. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and put 2 of the flat breads on it. Add your choice of cheese and toppings to the flat breads. Bake for 15 minutes, or till the cheese melts and begins to brown. Put toppings on the remaining pizzas while the first ones are in the oven. Remove from oven when done and serve.