Can you cook gluten free pizza in a wood fired oven?

Gluten free pizza has become increasingly popular as more people adopt gluten free diets. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, gluten free pizza provides a way to still enjoy this beloved food. But can you successfully cook gluten free pizza in a super hot wood fired oven? Let’s take a look at the factors to consider.

What Makes Wood Fired Oven Pizza Unique

Wood fired ovens can reach temperatures upwards of 900°F. This is significantly hotter than a standard home oven, which tops out at around 550°F. The extremely high heat allows the pizza to cook quickly, in just 60-90 seconds. The intense heat also imparts unique characteristics:

  • A crisp, charred crust from the direct exposure to fire.
  • Blistering and charring on the top of the pizza.
  • A smoky flavor from the wood fire.

This quick, intense cook time presents some challenges for gluten free doughs which do not have the same elasticity as traditional wheat doughs. However, with the right techniques and recipes, you can absolutely cook gluten free pizza with great success in a wood fired oven.

Choosing the Right Gluten Free Flour

The foundation of any great gluten free pizza is the dough, and that starts with choosing the optimal gluten free flour blend. Here are some good options:

  • Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour: An all-purpose gluten free flour blend contains starches like tapioca, potato, corn or rice flours mixed with xanthan gum to mimic the qualities of wheat flour. Bob’s Red Mill is a widely available brand. All-purpose blends provide flexibility for baking and pizza making.
  • Gluten Free Bread Flour: For pizza dough, consider a flour blend formulated for bread baking which contains higher protein. King Arthur Flour’s Gluten Free Bread Flour includes milk powder, sorghum flour, and eggs for a higher protein content. The additional structure helps create a chewy pizza crust.
  • Almond Flour: For a protein and fiber boost, you can substitute up to 30% of the flour blend with almond flour. Its slightly nutty flavor also adds complexity to the crust.

Steer clear of flours like coconut and cassava which are too delicate for pizza dough. Test out a few blends to discover your favorite gluten free pizza crust formula.

Additional Tips for Gluten Free Pizza Dough

To create a pliable gluten free dough that can stand up to the high heat of a wood fired oven, consider these tips:

  • Let the dough proof longer to develop flavor and structure. Allow it to slowly ferment in the refrigerator overnight if possible.
  • Add flavor enhancing ingredients like honey, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, or beer which all contribute fermentable sugars for browning and also boost moisture retention.
  • Increase hydration by adding a bit more water to the dough to keep it flexible.
  • Knead thoroughly and allow to rest between kneading to develop the gluten network.
  • Shape into a disk rather than stretching into a flat circle so the dough can maintain its structure.

With extra fermentation time and careful shaping, your gluten free dough will take on an airy, chewy interior under the crispy fired exterior.

Selecting the Right Toppings

When it comes to toppings, you’ll want to avoid ingredients that will create excess moisture on the gluten free crust. Skip vegetables with high water content which will make your crust soggy. Delicate proteins like sausage and bacon can also overcook and dry out in a wood fired oven. Here are some good topping options:

  • Meats like pre-cooked pepperoni, chicken, or chorizo
  • Hearty vegetables such as mushrooms, peppers, onions, roasted garlic
  • Sundried tomatoes for rich umami flavor
  • Goat cheese, feta, parmesan, ricotta
  • Fresh herbs like oregano, basil, thyme
  • Fruit like figs, olives, caramelized onions

A simple margherita pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil is always a delicious choice. Get creative with combinations of meats, veggies, and cheeses that complement each other.

Transferring the Pizza to the Oven

Transporting a gluten free pizza dough to the oven requires some finesse. Typically, you would just stretch the dough out right on the oven’s baking surface. But gluten free doughs can be stickier and more delicate. Here are two options:

  • Pizza Peel: Use a long wooden pizza peel to first shape the dough on a floured surface, then transfer it onto the hot baking surface. Work quickly to get the dough in and out of the oven before it sticks to the peel. Have your toppings ready to go on as soon as the dough hits the oven floor.
  • Parchment Paper: Shape the dough on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal or rice flour. Slide the dough still on the parchment directly onto the oven floor. The paper protects the dough from sticking. Top and quickly pull out the parchment after a minute or two once the crust firms up.

Baking Tips

Once your gluten free pizza is happily cooking away in the wood fired oven, follow these tips:

  • Rotate the pizza mid-bake so that it cooks evenly. Gluten free doughs can be more prone to scorching.
  • Lift and check the underside of the crust during baking to prevent burning.
  • Add fresh mozzarella, herbs, greens, and other toppings during the last 1-2 minutes of baking so they don’t overcook.
  • Use a drizzle of olive oil around the crust edges to get a nice charring.

Your gluten free pizza will emerge from the flames crisp, smoky, and delicious. Take advantage of the extremely high temperatures to get the best results.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with proper techniques, gluten free pizza in a wood fired oven can still present some challenges. Here’s how to troubleshoot problems:

  • Burned crust: If the edges or bottom char too quickly, use a thicker crust, rotate more frequently, and lift to check underside. Add a parchment paper barrier.
  • Undercooked center: Create a smaller, thinner crust. Use less toppings so crust can cook through. Rotate to evenly distribute heat.
  • Soggy crust: Reduce hydration and increase gluten free flour in the dough. Avoid wet toppings. Allow dough to fully proof to develop structure. Use drier cheeses like parmesan.
  • Sticks to oven floor/peel: Make sure baking surface is generously floured. Use gluten free flour or cornmeal to dust peel. Shape dough on parchment paper for easy transfer. Work quickly.

Don’t get discouraged if your first attempts don’t come out perfectly. Making great gluten free pizza in a wood fired oven takes practice. Try different shaping methods, flours, and recipes to discover what works best.

Gluten Free Pizza Dough Recipes

To get you started, here are a few tested gluten free pizza dough recipes ideal for wood fired ovens:

Classic Gluten Free Pizza Dough

This recipe uses a simple blend of tapioca and brown rice flours perfect for high heat baking.


  • 1 1/4 cups tapioca flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the tapioca flour, brown rice flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.
  2. Add the olive oil and warm water and mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add additional flour as needed to reduce stickiness.
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, flip to coat, and cover. Let rise for at least an hour at warm room temperature.
  5. Punch down dough to release air bubbles. Portion into 2 balls.
  6. On a floured surface, use your hands to shape and stretch each dough ball out to desired size. Top and transfer to oven.

Hearty 5 Grain Gluten Free Pizza

For a fiber boost, try this hearty multi-grain crust with almond flour. Sorghum flour adds protein.


  • 3/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flours, xanthan gum, yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the honey, water and olive oil. Stir to form a shaggy dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and stretchy. Let rest for 10 minutes then knead 5 more minutes.
  4. Grease a bowl and transfer dough. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours at warm room temperature until doubled in size. Punch down.
  5. Divide into 2 portions. Shape each into a disk on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Top as desired and transfer pizzas to preheated oven. Bake 60-90 seconds until crust is browned and cheese melted.

Gluten Free Pizza Margherita

This classic version uses just a few simple ingredients to let the flavor shine through.

Pizza Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope quick rise yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella slices
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Make the dough by mixing together the flour blend, xanthan gum, sugar, yeast and salt. Form a well and add water and olive oil. Mix until a dough forms.
  2. On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in oiled bowl to rise for 1 hour.
  3. Punch down dough and divide into 2 portions. Roll or press each out into a round disk shape.
  4. Top with sauce, mozzarella slices, tomatoes, and fresh basil.
  5. Transfer to preheated wood fired oven. Bake for 5-8 minutes until crust is browned and cheese melted.
  6. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Key Takeaways

Cooking gluten free pizza in a wood fired oven is fast and fun. With high heat and the right techniques, you can achieve amazing results. Here are the key tips to remember:

  • Choose a flour blend with components like sorghum, almond, or rice flours
  • Allow more time for dough to ferment and proof
  • Increase hydration slightly to keep dough flexible
  • Shape dough into a disk rather than stretching out thin
  • Transfer dough on a pizza peel or parchment paper
  • Use quick-cooking toppings like veggies, pre-cooked meats, herbs
  • Rotate frequently while baking
  • Work quickly to get dough in and out of oven

With delicious gluten free pizza hot from the flames, your friends and family will be amazed at what you can create. The impressive results are worth the extra effort. So fire up that oven and get baking!

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