Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Namaste Gluten Free Pizza Crust Review

When it comes to pizza, I'm pretty picky. While it would take a lot for me to ever turn down a gluten-free pizza (except cross-contamination), I've had more than one disappointing subpar pie during my tenure as a gluten free diner. Though I would love to be able to go to my favorite pizza chains whenever I'm craving this all-American fare, the inconvenient truth about gluten-free pizza is that it's pretty expensive. Spending upwards of $15-20 for one single-serve pizza is hard to stomach no matter how much I enjoy the pizza. Though I bite the bullet once in a while, I've made it my mission this summer to find a good gluten-free pizza crust mix in the event my school's cafeteria pizzas don't make the grade. Usually, I turn to Udi's frozen crusts when I make homemade pizza, but I wanted to mix it up a bit- literally and figuratively.

In visiting many different grocery and specialty stores and comparing different pizza crust brands, I selected Namaste Foods' Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix due to it's quality ingredients and the fact it was produced in a dedicated facility free from wheat, soy, corn, potato, peanuts, tree nuts, and dairy. Also, in regards to its ingredients, the mix caught my eye because it was sugar free and did not involve yeast and allowing the crust to rise. Avoiding that process shaves minutes off the pizza's prep time and streamlines the process in my opinion. 



The package advertises that it makes two 14 inch crusts. While I was hungry, I knew I couldn't eat an entire 14" pizza on my own and since I hate having leftover pizza, I decided to halve the recipe to make a smaller crust. Again, earning points for ease, the only ingredients needed to combine with the dry mix was water and oil, two common kitchen staples. Into a mixing bowl went 3/4 cup of the dry mix, 1/2 teaspoon canola oil, and 1/2 cup of water. 



After mixing the dough for a couple minutes, it was thoroughly mixed. The package instructed that the dough would be the consistency of cake batter, but being unfamiliar with "cake batter consistency" I made my best guess. The aroma of the granulated onion/garlic and Italian spices already in the dough wafted out and was tantalizing. 


Once the mixing is completed, I poured it out onto a piece of parchment paper and used a spatula to form the crust. The halved recipe to make a 14" pizza made a perfectly-sized individual crust for me. The dough spread really well and wasn't crumbly like other mixes I've made; there was no need to flour or oil my fingers to make it spread. Though my crust-forming skills could be described as "amateur" I was able to get the crust to about a 1/4 inch thing and pretty evenly distributed. From there, I parbaked it in the oven on my pre-warmed pizza stone for 20 minutes.



When it emerged, the parbaked crust was a light golden brown and had firmed up. I transferred it off the parchment paper directly on the pizza stone so that it could further crisp up for the second round of cooking. The edges of the crust puffed up and formed a nice ridge. For toppings, I used watered down tomato paste for my base. I prefer the paste because it gives a rich tomato-y flavor and can be seasoned to my taste using red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, and other spices. Atop it, I piled on red bell peppers, onion, and sauteed portobello mushrooms. Eagerly anticipating my first slice, I slipped it back into the oven for 15 minutes until it was done. 


When I took it out, I quickly realized a mistake I made in the pizza prep; by not putting a barrier between the crust and stone, the crust ended up sticking slightly to the surface. With the help of a spatula, I was able to separate the two and soon had a sliced pizza ready to eat. The crust was crispy enough to hold its own under the weight of the toppings unlike some pizzas I've had (both self-made and from a restaurant). The center of the crust was chewy on the inside and crispy on the bottom which I really liked. Towards the rim of the crust, the dough got airy, light and crispy as if air bubbled had inflated the dough. I really liked this effect as it was so unlike any other gluten-free pizza I've had before. The seasoning of the dough shone through, but did not overpower the flavors of my toppings. All things considered, I really enjoyed the pizza and appreciated the easy prep method that was not too complicated. Namaste's pizza easily fills the gap for a great gluten-free crust that I was looking to fill and I cannot wait to make my next creation. 

For more information about Namaste Foods, click here.
For more information about the pizza crust, click here.
To purchase a 6-pack of the mixes on Amazon, click here

Disclaimer: The review provided is current to the time I bought the product. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change without notice. Each product should be reviewed for individual nutritional needs. Feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

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