For obvious reasons, pizza is a tricky one for someone who is lactose intolerant. I’ve come to appreciate the experience of going out for pizza since becoming lactose intolerant. It’s so nice to go out to a cozy restaurant, sit around a table with a group of friends and enjoy a slice or two of pizza. There are a few places in Calgary that I’ve found that I can go out (and even order in) to enjoy pizza. Generally, I can get away with pizza that has no cheese. Some places offer pecorino romano as a garnish, and I ask for extra. The small lists of places that I would recommend for a lactose-intolerant pizza to dine at in Calgary are:
Famoso offers vegan cheese if one were wishing for that. Without Papers, Double Zero, and Avatara offer gluten-free crusts. All of the above places have been extremely helpful with dietary restrictions, and have made me a delicious pizza pie.
Sometimes you just want to bite into a hot, cheesy slice of pizza. While very accommodating, the above restaurants just can’t offer it to me. I suppose, I could give them my lactose-free cheese – but I might be asking too much. How weird would it be for a girl to show up with a bag of cheese and ask the chef to make her a pizza to her exact specifications? I have decided it’s too weird, so I’ve searched and searched for recipes and techniques to mimic the pizza I love so much at home.
Here are my preferences: thin crust, charring, small amounts of tomato sauce, cheese. Sometimes I like to add pepperoni or bacon. I like specialty pizzas too. A few of my favorite creations (and copy cats) include Spicy Perogi Pizza, BLT Pizza, Buffalo Chicken Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza and Prosciutto and Arugula Grilled Pizza (made on my BBQ!). The recipe that follows offers a doughy but crisp pizza crust. I add a tablespoon of olive oil in the mix to make the dough a little more pliable. I’ve also used whole wheat flour, though you need a little bit more liquid to make it just as chewy. I found it at The Kitchn. It doesn’t need to spend time rising. You can have pizza in a matter of 30 minutes. It’s perfect for an easy, made-for-you lunch, a quick weeknight dinner, or your weekend pizza night. The only tools you’ll need include a hot oven and a pizza stone. Other supplies that, while not necessary but will help make this a quick and easy job, are a pizza peel, cornmeal, and a stand mixer.
Lactose-Free Pizza Crust
Yield: 2 personal size pizzas or 1 large pizza
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time 8 – 10 minutes
3/4 cup warm water (105 degrees F)
1/2 tsp of active-dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Whatever your little heart desires!
(Note: If you wanted to try, make your own lactose-free mozzarella)
**For the photos included here**
1/4 brick Lactose-Free Cheddar Cheese, grated ( L’Ancetre Organic Lactose-Free)
1 pepperoni stick, sliced finely
1 tbsp olive oil
1. About 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking, pre-heat your oven to at least 500 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it on a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven. A hot pizza stone is the key to perfect crust!
2. In a glass measuring cup (or small bowl), add the yeast to the warm water. Use a fork to stir the yeast into the water. Let this rest for about 5 minutes. The yeast should dissolve and foam slightly.
3. Add the flour, salt and yeast/water mixture and olive oil to the bowl of your stand mixer outfitted with the hook attachment.
4. Mix the ingredients on low-speed until combined. Add more water a bit at a time if the dough isn’t coming together.
5. Once the dough has pulled together, turn up the mixer to medium speed. Allow the dough to be kneaded here for about 5 minutes. It should be smooth and elastic when you pull it off the hook.
6. If making 2 pizzas, cut the dough in half. If not, shape away. Use a rolling pin to start the rolling out process. Once you’ve gotten a semi-flat circle, it’s time to use your hands. Be as careful or adventurous as you wish – just try not to let the crust hit the floor! Pull, toss and shape until you’re happy with it. If it’s not perfectly circular, don’t worry – that look is what I call rustic.
7. Dress your pizza on your pizza peel. If you have cornmeal, put some down under the crust. I used parchment paper today. You could also use a little bit of flour. You just don’t want your pizza to stick to the peel or pizza stone. A tip that I’d like to offer is to brush the crust with a little bit of olive oil, then lay down the sauce, then the cheese, then the toppings.
8. Slip your dressed pizza onto the pre-heated pizza stone into the oven.
9. Allow your pizza to cook between 8 – 10 minutes. Watch it carefully – you want the crust to brown, the cheese to melt and the toppings to become crispy – you don’t want it to burn.
10. Remove the pizza using the pizza peel. Slice, serve and enjoy. Careful though, it’s hot!
(Recipe adapted from Homemade Thin Crust Pizza by The Kitchn at http://www.thekitchn.com/weekend-cooking-homemade-thinc-45499)