I’ve been curious to try gluten & dairy free pizzas at mainstream pizza chains just to get a sense of what they’re like so I can set an expectation before I make my own version to satisfy my occasional pizza craving. After all, they’re not real pizzas so it’s almost unfair to compare them to regular one!
- My first experience in trying out GF DF pizzas in pizza chains!
I put up a post on a local foodie facebook group to ask for recommendation, and a few people recommended pizza pizza, Pizza Nova and a few small local places. Normally I would go for a local place, but the beauty of mainstream pizza chains is that you can get your GF DF pizza when your family & friends get their regular ones (I guess I feel less left out?), and there’s consistency & availability where ever you go. So I decided to ordered my first DF & GF pizza from pizza pizza and overall it was quite alright (to my surprise), but it was too salty for my liking and the crust was a bit gritty, dry and cracker-like, also a bit bland (I like crusts with a contrasting texture like crispy on the bottom but pillowy and chewey on the inside, but we’re talking about gluten free crust here so don’t get your hopes up too much, ha)!
On a side note, it’s so interesting that gluten free pizza crust has become widely available in many mainstream pizza chains nowadays (pizza pizza, Pizza Nova, Dominos, Papa John’s, Pizzaville), but not all of them have dairy free “cheese” option. I choose to limit dairy & gluten intake not because of allergies, but that got me thinking how well can those mainstream pizza chains can make sure there’s no cross contamination as they handle so much regular pizzas! Hmmm…
- Now…time to make my own version!
I found this amazing gluten free pizza crust recipe here from Gluten Free Palate. I like this one because there’re only 9 ingredients and all of them are very easy to find (no psyllium husk powder or Expandex modified tapioca starch). However, it does contain egg so it’s not vegan. Here’s another similar recipe that does not contain eggs (from Mama Knows Gluten Free).
The recipe from Gluten Free Palate turned out quite amazingly! It had a nice chew somewhat like sourdough toast, crispy on the bottom and the edges, slightly sponge-like on the inside and has a nice solid structure. This homemade crust was also much more flavourful than the one from pizza pizza as I used a robust EVOO and the egg also contributed to the richness and rising too.
I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour. I highly recommend this gluten free blend as it’s truly 1 to 1 in many cookies & cakes recipes. I also like that it doesn’t impart too much flavour on the finished product (some soy based gluten free flour does). For bread, I’d add a little more xanthan gum just to have a more rigid structure to hold the air bubbles. However, my friend tried to make fresh pasta with this flour and it was a total mess… Well, I’m glad that I don’t have to learn this the hard way.
Now, let’s talk about CHEESE as the cheese is just as important in the pizza as the crust! I watched a few youtube videos that review and compare different brands of dairy free/ vegan cheese for use in pizzas. I decided to try the daiya cutting board mozzarella style shreds and I was not disappointed! It’s dairy, soy, gluten, egg & nut free. I actually bought a bag of regular mozzarella shreds to compare side by side with the daiya cheese. Regular mozza smelled just like milk, while the daiya cheese had a pungent parmesan-like aroma. It melted very well, and was so incredibly stretchy! However it can get a bit leathery and slightly translucent after it’s completely cooled down. So eat your pizza HOT!
I froze two mini GF DF pizzas for an easy lunch and added some cured meats afterward :) They froze well and tasted even better after reheated (twice baked)!
Check out this video for a review of other vegan shredded cheese for pizza!