Nursing the Gluten-Free Pizza Predicament to Perfected

Executive Chef Bradley Herron came back from a recent Restaurant Trade show excited about a gluten-free dough he had discovered. He got a sample, made some pies, and everyone was impressed with the crust and the overall taste. It was lighter and more airy, clearly better than what we had been making in house.

We brought in the dough from Wild Flour Bakery in Boulder, Colorado in early August and the response has been great at Harry’s Pizzeria®. GF Pizza sales have grown from 1.9% with our old crust, up to 4.5% of total pizza sales with Wild Flour’s product.

I wanted to learn more about the company that produces the dough, so I reached out to Kim Desch, the founder and CEO of Wild Flour Bakery. Kim was a Nurse practitioner addressing autoimmune disease and gluten-sensitivity 10 years ago in California. GF wasn’t part of the everyday conversation around diet, nor dining out.

“Pizza is that go-to food which was always the downfall for my patients in keeping a gluten-free diet,” she says.

At about this time, she too was diagnosed with gluten-intolerance and so became keenly aware of how difficult it really was for her patients. “I became gluten-free and it really stinks.  The pizza was really hard. I had teenage kids and let’s face it, pizza is a necessity! I said to myself, ‘there has to be a solution that does NOT involve nasty, cracker-like, flavorless and weird-textured pizza crusts!”

Kim got started solving this dilemma — not a chef herself, but like any chef in our restaurants would. It took her two years of research and development “my family ate a great deal of bad pizza!” They moved to Boulder in 2011. She describes Boulder as the GF capital of the World. The Boulder environment has been great to test her pizzas and to hear back from chefs – who are the toughest critics. In time, she created and perfected her custom, yeast-raised, blended dough – a mix of starches and grains, all non-GMO ingredients.

Wildflower’s GF dough doesn’t bake directly on the oven deck but is instead hand formed on this silicon mat avoid as little cross contamination as possible.

They now have been selling it for four years to restaurants with many satisfied chefs and many customers doubting whether this is truly GF.  “People called to say, they are sending the pizzas back – they don’t believe it. We tell people ‘Having a great gluten-free experience is possible, and we make that possible,” Kim says.

Chef Brad is excited about the response we have gotten to the new product and is looking forward to bringing it to Genuine Pizza™ when it opens in Aventura later this month. He particularly likes how well the dough behaves in our Marra Forni ovens, and how simple it is to work with. “We are excited to have a dough that customers enjoy and keep coming back to order again and again.” All pizzas at Harry’s Pizzeria’s three locations can be made with GF crust. Of course, there is a possibility of cross-contamination, as the restaurants are not GF environments, so we advise against it for cases of extreme gluten intolerance.

The process, as close to perfected as we can get. Until there’s something better!

After Glow: Announcing ella after 3 Thursday, October 8

mgfd_miaIt's. About. To. Go. Down. @chefmschwartz on the roasted and raw turnips with bottarga and white miso #ellaafter #ellaafter2 dinner service #secondpop #soldout begins at 7pm @ellapopmiami. Next dinner is 10/8. Tickets live 9/8 through the link on its profile. #bottarga #turnip #whitemiso @ericlarkee @chefbradleyj 🌟🌟🌟

Michael’s view from the pass of his first course at ella after 2, roasted and raw turnips with bottarga and white miso

On October 8, ella will turn its clocks back a little earlier for Michael’s ella after 3 dinner service to open up new time slots: 6:30, 6:45, 7, 8:30, 8:45, and 9 p.m.  CLICK HERE for tickets to select your seating.  Early bird gets the worm!

Here’s a refresher on the ella after drill: Chef’s new light and airy cafe in the Design District has a second pop. One Thursday a month the café stays open late for a prix fixe dinner cooked and served by chef/owner Michael Schwartz including 4 courses with wine pairings for $75, plus tax and gratuity. The inside is set with communal seating and offers advance tickets in 2-hour time slots beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Menu will be released prior to event and is subject to change. No substitutions. All sales are final. Please be on-time – after 15 minutes seats will be forfeited.

 Ella_Folded Menu_9.9.15_Printable final

Please join us when Chef does it again with a new menu.  He’s still thinking… But you already knew that! Thanks for playing and see you soon in Palm Court.  Our latest daytime menu adds Wynwood Brewing’s La Rubia bottles, gluten-free bread, JoJo Tea including single origin, a daily breakfast scramble and (not printed) afternoon TAPAS!  There’s just so much ella to love.

The Daily Scramble: Back to School for the ellas

Today the kids are headed back to school!  For the grown up ones like Michael’s eldest daughter Ella, today is the start of a new adventure. COLLEGE.  Freshman year is so exciting.  So much to absorb, new routines to learn, new people to meet.  Daddy Schwartz called upon Dr. Seuss for the words to say goodbye and good luck as his eldest chickie flew the coop for Tulane University this weekend: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

And since you are smart like Ms. Schwartz, you know you can’t start the day, especially the first day back to school, without a good breakfast.  ella has your back thanks to some additions to the breakfast line up that happened over the weekend!  This morning began in hypermode as Miami artist Alejandro Contreras (our friend from Design Miami’s past) put the finishing touches on our new blackboard to complete last night’s vinyl installation. Kitchen manager Vanessa Nunez put out the cafe’s first Daily Scramble, two eggs, today with caramelized onions and herbs, with True Loaf wheat toast.  Alejandro should have an extra kick in his step today, especially after that $350 macchiato (I fixed the decimal point.  Where’s my refund!?)  

AlejandroThose looking for gluten-free options have many things to choose from on the current menu, but we are also pleased to now offer the sandwiches and other dishes with gluten-free bread upon request!  Zak the Baker’s gluten-free chocolate almond cookies also came in to satisfy those sweet teeth out there.  Enjoy getting scrambled, take a seat under the shade in Palm Court and ease into the school year.  Fall’s almost here!  Please find the updated menu at ellapop.me!