We haven't had too much success tasting pre-fab pizzas aimed at specific diets in the past. Our test of four frozen vegan pizzas turned up four big duds, while Domino's gluten-free crust proved edible only when piled with tons of toppings. Our single foray into the world of gluten-free and vegan frozen pizzas gives me shudders to even think about.
But what about a semi-homemade gluten-free pizza? Pamela's produces a family of gluten-free products, including a Gluten-free Pizza Crust Mix. I'm happy to report that this is the most successful gluten-free pizza product we've tasted in this office.
The process for making a pizza is simple: combine the mix with water, form it into a dough, then press it out into a circle. Unlike traditional pizza dough, this stuff will not stretch. It's a common shortcoming of any gluten-free dough, as it's gluten—the long interconnected network of flour proteins—that gives bread and pizza dough its elasticity and stretchability.
This dough feels much more like tender pie dough.
We topped it off with our New York-style Tomato Sauce, some shredded low moisture mozzarella, a bit of fresh basil and olive oil, and popped it into our Breville Crispy Crust Countertop Pizza Oven to bake.
What came out the other end sure as heck looked like pizza. It even got a touch of browning around the edges—something that's notoriously difficult to get right with gluten-free breads. Likewise, the underbelly showed a few light spots, and there was promising crispness as we cut through.
As expected, the texture of the crumb doesn't live up to that of real, wheat flour-based bread. It has more of a sort of bubble-gummy gumminess. Where it excelled, however, was with its crust, which was crisp and crackery. Not ideal, but a good step up from your average gluten-free product.
It's telling that the whole pizza managed to get eaten (and quickly) in an office with no known gluten intolerances. It's a good indication that this might be the first gluten-free pizza crust on the market suitable for mixed company, and that's an accomplishment indeed.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.