Author Topic: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust  (Read 6475 times)

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Offline canadave

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reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« on: January 17, 2010, 02:50:14 PM »
Hi all,

Long time no post :)  I haven't been on this forum for years.  I was diagnosed with celiac disease a couple of years ago, which put an abrupt end to my enjoyment of regular pizza (celiacs cannot consume even the slightest amount of gluten, which is in all non-gluten-free flours).

However, I'm trying to replicate a delicious gluten-free crust I found.  It's made by "Still Riding", and distributed throughout the US to pizzerias so that they can make a 12" gluten-free pizza (hopefully with appropriate safeguards to prevent cross-contamination of regular flours in the oven).  On a recent trip to the States from Canada, I sampled the crust, and it's great.

But the crust isn't available here in Canada.  So, I'm left with only one option--to try to replicate the crust as best I can at home.  And I'm hoping others here with experience in reverse-engineering recipes might be able to help me (that was never my strong point in pizza-making).

So here's what I've got so far.  The page describing the crust and its ingredients is here:
http://www.stillridingpizza.com/Ingredients.aspx

The ingredients are as follows (I don't think they're in "most to least" order):
- Bean Flour
- Rice Flour
- Tapioca Flour and Starch (I think tapioca flour and starch are the same thing)
- Xantham Gum
- Salt
- Yeast
- Egg
- Cider Vinegar
- Sugar
- Canola Oil

Now, the website says that an entire 12" crust is about 300 grams (actually 304, to be precise, but I think for reverse-engineering purposes we can safely just round it off to 300).  There is some nutritional information that gives clues to what the amount of some of the ingredients might be.  For instance, it says that there are 4.6 grams of "sugars" per 100 grams.  I'm guessing that means that I should have about 15 grams of sugar for an entire crust, or about 4 teaspoons (which sounds about right).  Here's the list:

All Results Reflected Per 100 Grams        Value
===============================
Protein                                                 9.9 g
Carbohydrate (Total)                             50.8 g
Fat (Total)                                            4.3 g
Moisture                                             32.8 g
Ash                                                     2.2 g
Calories (282)
Calories from Fat (39)
Saturated Fat                                        0.4 g
Trans Fat                                              0.0 g
Dietary Fiber                                         4.5 g
Sugars                                                 4.6 g
Sodium                                                558 mg
Calcium                                                 21 mg
Iron                                                    1.16 mg
Cholesterol                                            0.0
Vitamin C                                              0.0
Vitamin A (international units)                    5

Going by all this, and using what I remember of my experience making normal pizza crusts in terms of the usual proportions of ingredients, this is what I've got so far as the amount of the various ingredients I need to make an entire 300-gram pizza crust:

Flour (Bean + Rice + Tapioca): 200 grams
Water (figured from "moisture"): 100 grams
salt (figured from "sodium"): approx 1.6 grams (equals 1/4 tsp)
yeast: ?
xanthan gum: ?
Canola oil (figured from "fat"): 13 grams (equals 1 Tbsp)
Cider Vinegar (figured from other GF pizza recipes, not that important an ingredient): 1 tsp
Egg: 1 egg yolk (standard for just about all gluten-free recipes)

I haven't yet figured out how much yeast/xanthan gum needs to go into this...not entirely sure how to calculate it.  Also, not sure if my assumptions on my other calculations are correct.  Where's Peter? :) 

Also, I'm going to need to try to figure out the relative proportions of the bean/rice/tapioca flours.  I've usually seen it as 1:2:1, but maybe there's a way to actually figure it out (based on, say, the protein content per the ingredients list).  I'm not sure how to do that though.  Any suggestions on that score would be very welcome.

I'm hoping this thread becomes a source of info for other celiacs, or for people who want a gluten-free crust, so that we can achieve the best possible gluten-free pizza crust (it is EXTREMELY difficult to get a good gluten-free pizza crust, for obvious reasons).  Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 17, 2010, 03:09:17 PM by canadave »


Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2010, 03:02:34 PM »
Oops--I meant to post this in "Dough Ingredients", not "Starters/Sponges"  :-[  Would a mod be kind enough to move it over?

Actually, if there's any way to place this request, I think a "Gluten-Free Pizza" subforum (amidst the other "NY Style", "Neapolitan Style", etc) would be a very good idea.  I know for a fact that there are tons of celiacs out there who would love to discuss making a really good gluten-free pizza, but have nowhere to do so.

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 12:36:15 PM »
I bow to you, All-Powerful Nameless Moderator!   ;D

Now I could just use some help figuring the reverse engineering out....it's a snowy stormy day here, perfect baking weather!  :chef:

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2010, 02:48:41 PM »
Well, I made my first attempt.  I tried using 1 tsp of yeast and 1 tsp of Xanthan gum as a starting point.  Then, I mixed everything together and baked it on an oiled pan in the lowest rack of the oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

Results:

-- The dough came out of the mixer EXTREMELY stiff.  It was malleable with effort, and thankfully was not very elastic at all, but it felt dense, albeit soft.  Spreading it out with my hands, it sort of felt like sculptor's clay.

-- Within three minutes in the oven, the crust started to get a few major bubbles...bummer.  I poked some holes with a fork to settle them down.

-- After 10 minutes in the oven, the crust came out pretty burnt (browned, not black) on the bottom.  It also stuck to the pan in many places.  It was a mess.   However, the top of it was fairly good, with only slight browning in spots.

-- Taste: well, it was pretty dry, as matched the overall feel of the dough to the touch.  It also had a weird, slightly metallic/baking soda type of aftertaste....nothing major, but just barely noticeable.  It came out fairly flat, so there wasn't a lot of texture to speak of, but at least it wasn't overly gummy like other gluten-free doughs--a positive sign.

So...have to figure out where to go from here.  I'm thinking an increase in the oil and water to up the moisture content slightly, and maybe bake it longer at a lower temperature....maybe 325?

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 09:06:26 AM »
Second attempt: even worse :(

This time I added slightly more water (about a Tbsp or two) and 2 Tbsp of oil rather than only one.  I also baked it at 350 instead of 450, and baked it for 15 minutes rather than 10. 

Not only did it still burn on the bottom and stick to the pan, but it never really cooked through fully; I tasted it and it was definitely undercooked.

Sigh....not sure where to go from here.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 10:06:07 AM by canadave »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 02:43:11 PM »
Dave,

As one who has gone through several reverse-engineering and cloning exercises, I fully sympathize with your plight. These kinds of exercises are not easy and they can be very time consuming. However, I have learned a lot from my reverse-engineering/cloning efforts. For one thing, I have learned to approach nutrition information with caution. Some pizza operators use nutrition information that is based on uncooked pizzas but others use nutrition information that is based on cooked pizzas. Also, products sold by such operators in their stores don't always meet their own nutrition information. Pizzas can be underweight or overweight, for example, because of workers using the wrong amounts of ingredients. Also, stores will often free lance their pizzas in ways that put into doubt their compliance with their own nutrition information. There are also ingredient quantities listed in nutrition information that are transformed or created during baking. An example of this is sugar. It isn't always clear whether the sugar that is reported in nutrition information is regular table sugar (sucrose) that is added to the dough at the outset or whether it might also include sugars that are created during baking. It might be a combination of both. There can also be ingredients that are used in small quantities that do not have to be reported. For example, I know that both fresh and dried eggs contain a fair amount of cholesterol. However, I do not see a value for it in the nutrition information you posted.

Given a choice, I would rather have a list of ingredients used to make the pizzas, preferably by order of predominance (which is usually dictated by governmental agencies). If the ingredients are not given in order of predominance, you will have great difficulty. For simple pizza doughs with a few standard ingredients, I have found that I can reasonably apply my knowledge of doughs and baker's percents to come up with test dough formulations. It is still not easy, and multiple iterations may be required, but at least you have a reasonable chance of coming up with a credible clone. In your case, the ingredients are so specialized that few people outside of the gluten-free community have access to such ingredients or information about them. For example, one of my favorite places to get information on food ingredients is the nutritiondata.com website at http://www.nutritiondata.com/. However, when I tried to find information on the ingredients you posted in your opening post, I could not find any information on bean flour, tapioca flour or xantham (xanthan) gum. I suspect that these are not ingredients that many of our members have in their pantry. 

Returning to the ingredients list you posted, it is hard to say whether the ingredients are given in the order of their predominance. I just don't have enough experience with gluten-free products to be able to tell. To get some clarity on matters like this, you might want to research other producers of gluten-free crusts and related products. For example, if you look at the website of Domata Living Flour at http://www.domatalivingflour.com/nutritionvalues.html, you will see a listing of pizza flour offerings that appear to list the ingredients by their order of predominance. From http://www.domatalivingflour.com/glutenfreepizza.html, it also appears that Domata works with GF shell producers to come up with specific pizza products.

I think I would research other producers of GF shells and related products to get a better feel for the ingredients themselves and possible sequences of ingredients in finished products. You might also look at well known suppliers of GF products like Bob's Red Mill. See, for example, their GF pizza crust mix at http://www.bobsredmill.com/gf_pizza-crust-mix.html. Bob's Red Mill also sells individual GF products (http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free/) such as rice and bean flours, tapioca flour and xanthan gum.

Peter

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2010, 02:51:21 PM »
Hi Peter, been awhile since we tossed some pizza talk around, eh? (no pun intended)

I knew you'd come through with your usual sage advice.  I think the first step will be for me to try to get a hold of an actual crust from Still Riding, when I'm down in the NYC area in a couple of weeks.  Perhaps the ingredients will be "in order" on their packaging.  I doubt the ingredients are in order on their website...I find it hard to believe that there's more salt than yeast, and that those are more prevalent than egg or canola oil.

And, I'll also have a look at the links you provided to try to figure out some common proportions.  It definitely is a "niche" type of pizza making; as you well know, the challenges of baking a pizza with no gluten are many.

That's one of the reasons, by the way, that I was hoping that PizzaMaking.com might be able to create a "Gluten-Free Pizza Style" subforum with the other ones like Neapolitan, NY, Chicago, etc.  It really is an art form all its own, and discussions of how to make a GF pizza don't really fit in with the others.  Plus, the quest for a good GF pizza is shared by many celiacs, particularly mothers looking to make GF pizza for their kids.  Would it be possible, do you think, to create such a subforum as a place for ongoing GF pizza discussion?

Thanks again for your help and advice as always :)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2010, 04:19:47 PM »
Dave,

I leave questions of indexing of the forum to Steve since he is the owner of the forum and decides on its format. In the past, for space and other reasons we have tended to limit the pizza styles to the most common ones with the greatest member/user interest. That might disappoint people who want a separate category for the New Haven style or Detroit style or St. Louis style or Greek style, but we have chosen instead to have people post on those styles in General Pizza Making or Other Types or another board that might make more sense in a given case. In some cases, a gluten-free version of a particular style, such as a New York style or a Chicago style, can be posted in the New York Style or Chicago Style board. That has been done of several occasions. For members who are interested in gluten-free pizzas, the forum's search feature can also be used to identify relevant posts.

In your case, you might want to send Steve a PM and plead your case.

Peter

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2010, 04:32:48 PM »
Fair enough--thanks :) I'll take it up with Steve.

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2010, 02:51:44 PM »
A very BIG thanks to Steve for being kind enough to create a dedicated forum for those of us who want/need to make gluten-free pizzas!


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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2010, 03:35:48 PM »
Let's see how it goes. If it's a low-traffic board then we will probably want to re-think. At least this way (with it's own board) it will be indexed by Google and show up there.
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Offline Steve

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2010, 03:37:11 PM »
or, perhaps we should put it in the specialty grains area.
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Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2010, 08:57:16 PM »
Can't ask for more than a fighting chance :)

Just please give it a month or so for me to spread the word on the various celiac sites....see how it goes, and then move/delete as you see fit.

Thanks again Steve!

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2010, 01:17:39 PM »
OK, well, I think I may have figured out one change I need to make, thanks primarily to Peter's note about the cholesterol content being zero although egg is listed as an ingredient.

I think what's happening there is that it must contain egg WHITES, rather than the egg YOLK--the yolk being the only part of the egg that contains cholesterol.  That makes sense, since a different gluten-free pizza mix I have used talks about only adding egg whites to its recipe.  It makes sense, too, in that the Still Riding formulation I've been trying seems to have been too dense; the added protein level of a yolk would probably be too high for this type of crust.

I'll try to use only egg whites next time I attempt this, and see if it makes a positive difference.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2010, 08:57:37 PM »
Dave, I have absolutely NOTHING to offer to your efforts except encouragement.  There's  a lot of people who can't tolerate gluten and I'm sure they'll appreciate your efforts.  I'm sure there are a lot of other folks following your efforts.

Offline canadave

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2010, 11:49:39 PM »
Dave, I have absolutely NOTHING to offer to your efforts except encouragement.  There's  a lot of people who can't tolerate gluten and I'm sure they'll appreciate your efforts.  I'm sure there are a lot of other folks following your efforts.

Hey there...thanks very much for your support and encouragement.  I can't tell you how much it means to me :)  It's been a lonely and fruitless battle so far, but I'm trying to stay focused and remember how much it would mean to so many of my fellow celiacs if a really, really good Still Riding clone was achievable at home.

Reading words like yours gives me the impetus to want to keep trying :)  Thanks again....

Offline topluck

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2011, 02:48:42 AM »
Hi Dave,
Hopefully you haven't given up. Pizza is too good of a food. My girlfriend's nephew is allergic to gluten/dairy/nuts. I am going to see what pizza I can create as well to be delish! I am going to be using several of the recipes listed in the GF forum to get started. I am not to the point of reverse engineering yet, but give me a few weeks and hopefully I can post some additional feedback for you.

-Benjamin Hudosn

Offline doodneyy

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Re: reverse-engineering "Still Riding" gluten-free pizza crust
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2011, 02:20:46 AM »
I understand everyone plight in not being able to eat flour based products.
So go here... http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14740.0.html