My husband and daughter brought home news of a potential treasure from a trip to Albertsons last Friday — a new line of gluten-free frozen pizza from DiGiorno!
The version available at Albertsons was pepperoni with a thick crust. A four-cheese thick-crust version is also available, but they didn’t see it at Albertsons. DiGiorno has had a thin crust gluten-free pizza for several years.
I am not a fan of thin-crust pizza. I eat it because the alternative is no pizza at all.
So I was excited to try the thick-crust gluten-free pizza, hoping against hope that when I bit into it, the crust wouldn’t crumble to dust in my mouth. Chewy! I want chewy!
And DiGiorgno delivered chewy!
Furthermore, my body did not rebel over the next day or so as it would have if I had eaten food with gluten.
And, finally, the rest of my gluten-tolerant family was not repelled, as they have been by alternatives that use replacements for wheat such as cauliflower.
How did DiGiorno create a thick, chewy gluten-free pizza crust?
Let’s look at the ingredient list on the side of the frozen pizza box.
The ingredient list includes WHEAT*, WHEAT STARCH*, RICE STARCH, BUCKWHEAT FLOUR, FLAX SEED, GUAR GUM, and PSYLLIUM FIBER. These all likely make up the crust. Anybody who has struggled with a gluten-free diet instantly raises an eyebrow over WHEAT* and WHEAT STARCH*.
The asterisks on WHEAT* and WHEAT STARCH* lead to this intriguing note at the bottom of the ingredent list:
That’s great… except that the gluten in wheat is what allows wheat breads to rise under the influence of yeast or baking powder/soda without collapsing. Something has to be added to provide structural support.
That would be GUAR GUM and PSYLLIUM FIBER.
Psyllium fiber is also a thickening agent.
Not knowing DiGiorno’s manufacturing secrets, I would guess that the guar gum and psyllium fiber provide the structural support that allows the crust to rise and presents the diner with a thick chewy crust to enjoy.
The thick-crust pepperoni gluten-free pizza was much better than thin crust but toppings remain stingy.
Next time, I’l add extra pepperoni along with onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and extra cheese. Once my tomato plants are producing, I can throw on a handful of Jelly Bean Yellow grape tomatoes! That will blow DiGiorno’s “calories per serving” clear to kingdom come but will deliver more satisfying pizza ’tude. (The box says your serving size is 1/5 pizza for 320 calories — who slices a pizza in fifths!?!)