gourmet

Gluten Free Pizza with traditional pizza character!

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We are pizza nuts spreading the idea of backyard craft pizza on the BGE. When doing demos we are always asked about opening this world to people who want gluten free pizza. I have been focused on getting traditional pizza just right so I have not put much attention on this challenge. One of my team members is a great cook and has found that a gluten free diet is much better for her.  So, I began looking around for a recipe that was as close to conventional pizza as possible.  My criteria were:

  1. Conventional pizza cooking method - raw dough with ingredients into the oven.
  2. Has to taste/crunch/chew like a traditional crust
  3. Must be Italian style- ( a Mexican corn tortilla makes a great quesadilla, but not a pizza)
  4. Non gluten-free eaters should appreciate the pizza on its merits.

So this left me with very few options that I could find in recipes.  Cauliflower recipes (no offense to those who love them) did not seem to be the right thing, and other combinations were different dishes entirely.  I mentioned this challenge to Charlie Augello of E48th Street Market  in Dunwoody, GA and he gave me a grin and handed me the solution.  Caputo -The Flour of Naples,  knows a little bit about pizza, so I gave it a try:

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This is an interesting mix of corn starch, rice, and other things.  It has the most bizarre feel in the bag.  If you walked on a field of it there would be a squeak like a sandy beach.  I used half of the bag or 500g of flour (17.6 oz).

I followed Caputo's online recipe, with two small exceptions; For this batch I used baker's fresh yeast instead of dried, and since I would be cooking the dough in 7 hours, I added a little honey to jump start the yeast.

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I used a 3X conversion for the fresh to dry yeast, so 9 grams (.3 oz) of fresh yeast is equal to 3g of dried yeast.  I added a little water to the yeast to make a kind of slurry and added it to the dry ingredients. (I measure by weight as much as possible. Try a scale, it is so much easier.)

Then, I added the typical other ingredients of pizza crust.

14g Kosher salt

1.5g of Baking soda.

1 tsp of honey

13.5 fluid oz of water

.75 fluid oz olive oil  (EVOO)

I mixed the dry ingredients in the stand mixer, and then tried the dough hook.  A dough hook is not useful without gluten, so I turned the dough onto a surface coated with this special flour and kneaded it by hand for a few minutes.  Again it has a strange feel about it when you squish it.

I formed three dough balls, about 300 grams each, and let them rise on the counter for about an hour.  I then put them into the refrigerator for about 5 hours - overnight would have been even better.

An hour before cooking, I pulled the dough balls out of the refrigerator and found that they had risen much more that expected.

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They looked great.  A slightly different smell than regular pizza dough.  (They smelled a little like saltine crackers!)  I worked with one to create the first pizza and found that it handled a bit differently.  There is very little stretch to the dough.  Draping the dough across your hands is not that effective because it lacks that window-pane property from gluten.  So, I formed the dough into a pizza shape on the counter and then transferred it to the peel.  The pizza below has red sauce, mozzarella, chicken, onion, and a little basil.  The raw pizza looked great going into the Pizza-Porta.

 

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I was a little nervous how this would cook so I checked it about every minute.  I was amazed to watch the edge start to rise and get a little bit brown after 4 minutes.

When I pulled it out of the oven after about 5 minutes at 600F, it looked fantastic.

 

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The true test would be in the eating, and sure enough it was great.  The edge had bubbles and was a bit puffy.  The middle was a little bit dense, but crispy.  This particular pizza could have cooked just a bit more as the dough on the bottom is a little thicker than a typical pizza.  Non- gluten free eaters agreed that it was a little bit more dense than regular pizza, but good, and the gluten free eater of the bunch said "This is the best pizza I have had since going gluten free years ago"  - Yay, we had success!

The second pizza was a different concoction.  Artichoke pesto as the base (hence the green tone), topped with shredded chicken, feta cheese and onions with a little basil.

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We got this crust a little bit thinner in the center, and cooked it a little bit browner to yield this pizza.

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This pizza was a winner all around.  The dough had  the chance to rest longer at room temperature before cooking, letting it rise a bit more.  The additional cooking time and thinness got the center to cook more thoroughly and provided an even lighter, crunchy crust.

The online recipe needed a little more yeast, and I recommend a longer aging period. From this experience, I highly recommend the Caputo "Free of Gluten flour".  Thank you Charlie, for a great gluten free solution!

 

Here is the full recipe.   Enjoy - Thanks for reading.   Cortlandt

Gluten Free Pizza

500g Caputo "Free of Gluten flour"  (Half of the bag)

3 g dry yeast (half a pouch) - use bread-maker yeast if possible  (9g of fresh yeast in this recipe)

13.5 fluid oz of water

.75 fluid oz Olive oil  (EVOO)

14g Kosher salt (slightly less than a Tbsp)  half this amount for table salt

1.5g of Baking soda. (1/4 tsp)

1 Tsp of honey

This will yield 3 Pizza doughs of 300g (10 oz) each

 

Smoke on the Lake - with real smoke

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On Saturday, May 7th, we joined a fellow entrepreneur and friend Evan, from Hedgehog Lacrosse,for our first real-live barbecue contest.  Smoke on the Lake is a fundraiser for the Rotary club of North Cobb County, GA.  This event gave us a chance to test out some changes in our hinge design.  Cooking Friday night and five hours on Saturday gave us lots of time to test.  We also got to some Pizza R&D. Hedgehog Lacrosse has a snazzy tent and trailer that we enjoyed over the 2 day event.

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We setup at this beautiful setting on Lake Allatoona near Acworth, GA on Friday night.  Not knowing what to expect we only brought 10 pizza doughs along for the night.  The crowd finished those off in no time.  We enjoyed Evan's fantastic wings, a concert and fireworks to end the night.

Early Saturday morning we put the Pizza-Porta to work roasting peppers while getting up to temperature.

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After the pizzas starting rolling out, we had some guest pizza makers show up to help.  Our kids basically took over operations.

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The day was picture perfect with blue skies and a great crowd.  We even got a sneak taste of the winning ribs submission and second place chicken winner - thanks to our neighbors - Team Sweetbottom.  They pulled an all night effort and took home some hardware.

 

On the pizza R&D front, we tried some different combinations.  We stripped the meat off a batch of chicken wings and added hot sauce, blue cheese, and mozzarella to make a wing pizza that was fantastic.  Then, to test chicken thighs, we added roasted garlic, and Fontina cheese.  It really brought out the flavor of dark grilled chicken.  Another notable experiment was testing different versions of pulled pork.

After an evening and a whole day of open and closing the Pizza-Porta - we are satisfied with the new hinge design.  On to production.

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Thanks kids for running the show for a while!

Make your own hand-crafted pizza this weekend.

Cortlandt

 

Pensacola Eggfest - or Bust

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After long deliberations we attended our first food festival. We were afraid to show the Pizza-Porta to anyone who might knock it off an go into production. Our patent is pending, so we hope that does not happen. We set up a couple objectives for the show: 1) Can we make authentic pizza from scratch on-site? Oh, and there will be 1200 people! 2) Does this crazy design work with off the shelf eggs? 3) Does anyone else think this is a good idea? 4) How do we get a "buy" signal?

The Pensacola Eggfest turned out to be a fantastic event. Everyone we met was helpful and supported everything we needed to do our cooking. We realize that pizza at a BBQ festival might seem a little weird, but the crowds were fantastic. We are proud to be part of this event and also to support Chain Reaction.

How did it turn out for us? 1) affirmative - We made dough for 50 pizzas - we put a stacked pizza stone in one BGE and a single in another. We cooked every single pizza! One egg was still on the first load of BGE charcoal at the end! Steady 600F degrees from 10:30 till 2:00 cooking the majority of the pizzas. We heard that our pizza was delicious, with just the right crunch. 2) affirmative - We placed the two Pizza-Porta's in their eggs, slid them around a little to ensure the fit, and then started cooking. 3) affirmative - We had a great number of folks tell us that this was a good idea. Thank you Big Moe Cason, Chris Grove, and Big Green Craig for the shout-outs. 4) affirmative - We hope to be shipping in a few months.

 

Backyard Gourmet Pizza Peelers was our team name for the event.  Special thanks to our wives for the hall pass, and for jumping in to help!

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Here are some other photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Current Prototype - we have come a long way

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  This is an account (from memory) about the first prototype.

As I mentioned elsewhere, Ben (my now Pizza adviser extraordinaire) purchased a dedicated pizza oven for his backyard.  I was intrigued to say the least.  It burned really hot (your home oven is really only good to about 450° F). and it kept a very consistent hot temperature.  I had recently made huge skewers to put into the top of my Char-Griller® Akorn grill for Tandoori, so I knew that a kamado style grill was versatile.  I tried making some pizza's in the Akorn at a high temperature, and they turned out pretty well, but the process just wasn't right. I was leaning over a 700° fire trying to slip a pizza peel out from under the pizza.   It is like tailgating with a disposable aluminum grill.  You can do it, the food is hot, but it does not respect the authentic ritual.

So, I set our to bring the right ritual into pizza making on a kamado style grill.  At the time I did not know why the rituals existed, but more on that in a future blog.

I began by propping open the lid of the Akorn with some success.  I could slip a pizza onto the oven and it protected me from that blast of heat, but I lost any way to control the temperature.  I added some side baffles to keep the heat in, but with an open window I had difficulty getting the temperature that I wanted consistently.  I started tinkering in the shop with some sheet metal to create a device that would insert but also control the airflow.  After 47 cut fingers and a few nights of work, I came up with the design below. It is made of galvanized metal, but we focused on temperature testing, not cooking. I understand that cooking and galvanized metal do not mix.

Proto 1