There’s no disappointment to match the problem that says, “If I eat pizza I go to the ER.” Celiac and its lesser cousin, gluten intolerance, are a scourge.
If you’re one of those people who thinks gluten issues are a mere fashion statement, trust me: you need be close to someone with a gluten problem only once to realize oh, no—this problem is for real. It’s just not real for everyone who claims it. That notwithstanding, I have an opinion on this. It’s also going to make somebody angry.
I refuse to make a gluten-free pizza dough. The reason why is not that I’m against your gluten problem. I’m against MY gluten problem. And my gluten problem is that I’ve been unable to make a gluten-free pizza crust that’s acceptable.
I’ve tried several times. It's been awful. The commercially available processed products taste better, but I don’t make them. I’m not a processor. It’s cheaper and easier for you to buy a frozen cauliflower pizza shell than it is for me to teach you how to make one from scratch.
That said, I have eaten a very credible, gluten-free Detroit-style pizza. I also made some calculations looking at the price of the ingredients. Mother of pearl. Pizza is supposed to be affordable. You shouldn’t have to take out refinance the house to buy the ingredients.
The ultimate goal at Free The Pizza is to share the joy of making and serving pizza to your friends and family. That joy diminishes when concessions are made to a sub-par, overpriced results. I’d rather make you something else.
That said, I’m also a cockeyed optimist. I like to think that this will not always be the case. In a perfect world, some doctors somewhere will wave a magic wand and celiac and gluten intolerance would disappear.
Barring that, I will eventually be able to offer some solution for gluten-free crust that is easy and affordable. Until that time, I prefer to not enter the foray. I will feel your pain and put something else on the menu. And perhaps, in our lifetime, science will make great pizza possible for one and all. Until then, Free The Pizza (and spare the gluten)!
How spicy IS that pizza, anyway? Probably hot enough to scare my Irish friends, but is it a race with the devil...
The Spicy Lover's Pizza? The new, limited-time Pizza Hut hottie has been on our TV constantly since the Big Game, which was on right before Valentine's Day. It's hard to take the claim of "spicy" too seriously. It's a product for the masses. There's no talk about ghost peppers or Carolina reapers or even habañeros going on.
But The Dallas Observer just unleashed their Food Intern, Chance Townsend on this baby. (Linked below.) His report? As suspected: it's just not that hot. And he ate the whole thing. A hearty thanks to Mr. Townsend for going out on this limb in the name of spice and pizza.
Someday, when we try vacuum sealing pizzas, I'll send him one of our rippin' hot "Race With The Devil On A Spanish Highway" pies: a layer of crushed red pepper beneath the sauce, an excessive quantity of Fresno chilis on top of the cheese, along with slices of a sassy Spanish chorizo. (Served with a warning label.) https://www.dallasobserver.com/.../micah-parsons-pizza... #spicypizza #dallasobserver #ChanceTownsend
Pizza dough schadenfreude: are you ready for maybe the dumbest experiment ever? Then Again... PART III
A PRETTY GOOD PIZZA I WILL NEVER MAKE AGAIN... Probably. Never say never, but this looks likely. The batch of no-knead Neapolitan dough that I just whipped up on the spur of the moment yielded a pretty good pizza here. The pie in the picture is a sweet Italian sausage, Spanish chorizo, crimini mushrooms, and serrano chilis. (Low-moisture mozzarella and Romano cheeses.)
It tasted great if lacking structure. As you may know, that's one of my criteria: does the pizza have the form and chew of good American-style pizza. This was more like a soft, Neapolitan-style pizza. Granted it was good. But what seems to be happening here is the dough is too wet to do what I want it to do in a home oven. It had form, just not enough of it.
Therefore, I will not be sharing this dough recipe with you. I want to spare you the angst this has caused here in the Free The Pizza household kitchen. Indulge your joys at my pain if you wish. Schadenfreude is all relative. At least it's just pizza. And if any of the dough left from this experiment proves me wrong, I'll be sure to start laughing out of the other side of my pizza hole and broadcast it to you. FREE THE PIZZA!
Pizza dough schadenfreude: are you ready for maybe the dumbest experiment ever? Then Again... PART II
So, last week, we described the impromptu silliness of trying to make a pile of no-knead neo-Neapolitan pizza dough on the fly. We are also realistic enough to know it may not work. But, we have a pizza. So far, there is no clear and tragic failure in which y'all can take delight. No schadenfreude. That's the good news.
But the resulting pizza is a resounding, "Meh?" It's an OK pizza. Not great. Not awful. The pizza itself was of uneven thickness, making it uneven in flavor. The thicker parts tasted better.
The big challenge here was stretching the dough. As with my previous, albeit brief foray into no-knead pizza dough, it was very elastic and sticky.
It's hard to stretch, but that may also be operator error. So we're going to be trying more. Folks are attracted to no-knead recipes, and it's understandable. I've made no-knead bread with great luck.
So, on this National Pizza Day, we've made an effort and will continue to work on it. If and when it works out, we'll make the recipe available.
Free The Pizza!
GET READY TO TAKE DELIGHT IN MY FAILURE! Who knows how it'll go? Nobody! But, after whipping up a giant batch of standard Neapolitan-style dough yesterday, this happened: your procacious Pizza Geek wondered what would the result be if he mashed up a standard no-knead dough recipe with the sugar and oil from a typical recipe for neo-Neapolitan dough.
If you're new to all this, Neopolitan is the traditional pizza of Naples. Flour, salt, water, yeast. That's it.
Neo-Neapolitan is the evolutionary style that made New Haven pizza famous. It contains all the components of Neapolitan-style dough, along with oil and sugar, which is verboten in Naples. Yes, there are even laws about this stuff.
No-knead dough is easy. Pizza failure is hard. You end up scraping glop off of hot steel and calling your local 30-minutes-or-less outlet. Anyway, this is all a big mystery.
Maybe it'll become a PLO. (Pizza-Like Object.) Maybe it'll be amazing and easier than ever. We don't know what's going to happen, but stay tuned...
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the bestselling, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, pro-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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