Gluten-free pizza can be pale, chalky, and have the consistency of matzo. But for the past month, Bradley Herron, executive chef of the Genuine Hospitality Group, has been testing flours and developing a gluten-free crust for Harry's Pizzeria that's just as satisfying as the wheat-based variety.
"It's like dealing with an alien dough," he says. "You just mix it until it's mixed, because there's no gluten to develop. It has the consistency of a pie crust with no elasticity."
After much trial and error, the gluten-free crust is now available on the menu at Harry's. And along with the pies, there's gluten-free beer, too.
See also: Miami's Ten Best Pizzas
Herron uses a gluten-free flour blend by Caputo -- the Neapolitan brand that also supplies Harry's with its conventional flour.
It combines rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch, and sugar with soy flour. To this blend, Herron adds yeast, honey, and olive oil. The result is a gluten-free crust that's thinner and paler than the regular variety. It is, however, nearly equal in flavor.
To make the pies, the gluten-free dough is rolled into a tortilla-like shape. In the mornings, after the oven is cleaned, these crusts are par-baked. Later, they're placed on a sizzle platter and baked to order.
All pies are available on gluten-free crusts at an additional cost of $2.
Omission's Lager ($7) is proffered as a gluten-free beer option. Unlike other breweries -- which employ sorghum, rice, buckwheat, or millet -- Omission uses malted barley in its recipe. The Portland brewery extracts the gluten with a "proprietary blend" of enzymes. The result is a great-tasting beer, one that meets the cut-off line for gluten-free products.
Soon, Harry's will expand its gluten-free options to include desserts. Executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith is developing a recipe for gluten-free biscotti -- one that's just as delectable as the original.
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"There's so much mediocre food at this level," she says. "People who can't eat gluten have just become used to food that's just OK."
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.