Out of curiosity, and to bring myself a bit more up to date on this matter, I did a search to see if I could find a connection between rye flour and the Mellow Mushroom dough. What I found was a single item, at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g36990-d399799-r191474450-Mellow_Mushroom-Carmel_Hamilton_County_Indiana.html
, in which a reviewer by the name of anthony a said: I believe MM uses a rye flour mix.
Standing alone without corroboration, that would be insufficient on which to conclude that MM actually uses rye flour in their dough.
As was previously discussed in this thread, at one time MM used wheat germ in their dough. But MM subsequently decided to stop using wheat germ in its dough and, as Norma reported, we were told that MM used only high-gluten flour. But, even after MM stopped using wheat germ, some franchisees continued to report in public documents that their MM dough contained that ingredient. We never did learn why MM stopped using wheat germ. But, as a fairly costly ingredient, especially when compared with flour, that might have been the reason. Usually, companies like the pizza chains are hesitant about changing their dough formulations, for fear that their customers will react negatively to the changes. Apparently, omitting the wheat germ from the MM dough did not have that effect.
Is it possible that MM has changed its dough formulation to include rye flour? Yes, it is if MM changed its dough formulation from what we understood it to be. So, the question is how to prove it. For example, since rye flour is an allergen to some people (more on this below), and since the MM website suggests that diners alert their servers to specific allergies, I checked the allergens list at the MM website at http://www.nutritionix.com/mellow-mushroom/menu/special-diets/premium
. That list replaces the previous list that is no longer available at the MM website but I was able to find it at the Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20120526125256/http://mellowmushroom.com/public/allergens102411.pdf
. Looking at either list, rye is not an ingredient on the allergens list. That led me to ask myself if MM had any items on their menu using rye flour as an ingredient. I found only one item that mentioned rye, and that was a rye hoagie roll used for the MM Righteous Portobello Reuben hoagie (http://mellowmushroom.com/corpmenu
Since MM is sensitive to the allergens issue, I suggest that PrimeRib tell his server the next time he is at an MM location that he has allergies to rye flour and ask if that ingredient is used in their pizza dough. PrimeRib might even repeat this exercise by calling MM at corporate headquarters and asking to speak to someone who is familiar with their products and ingredients to be able to answer questions relating to allergens. As can be seen from the article at http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cleanplatecharlie/2014/04/mellow_mushroom_celebrates_national_celiac_disease_awareness_month_debuts_new_gluten-free_menu.php
, MM is sensitive to people with allergies and other adverse reactions to rye, among other grains.
With respect to the gluten mass test that Norma mentioned, as best I can tell, for example, from reading an article at http://www.ivannikolov.com/does-rye-bread-have-gluten/
, rye flour contains a protein that includes gliadin, but that protein does not result in the formation of gluten when the rye flour is admixed with water, as is the case with wheat flour. So, if that is true, the gluten mass test would not include any added gluten from the rye flour. It is apparently the gliadin protein that some people are sensitive to. And, for that reason, people who are celiacs or are otherwise sensitive to gluten are advised to avoid rye flour.
I also did a check on the cost of rye flour relative to wheat flour, since in my experience with reverse engineering dough formulations of pizza chains there is a natural reluctance to do anything that materially raises the cost of their products, even for ingredients that are used in small quantities and whose omission might not be missed by consumers. While I do not have access to the pricing of millers of rye flours, especially in bulk quantities such as might be used by someone like MM, I see that Amazon sells a 50-lb bag of rye flour for $45 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0007NG4YQ/?tag=pmak-20
). That is at least three times the cost of a 50-lb bag of a typical high-gluten flour. In my opinion, having rid itself of wheat germ, and the attendant costs, MM would have to have a good reason to replace the wheat germ with rye flour.
Since PrimeRib appears to be motivated to get to the bottom of this matter, I encourage him in his efforts to that end.
P.S. In the course of investigating the above manner, I saw that MM has also updated its Nutrition information, at http://www.nutritionix.com/mellow-mushroom/portal
. I was hoping to see the weights of samples of their products but, alas, that information is not provided. Fortunately, I was able to find the old MM Nutrition information, for preservation purposes, at the Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20120105061842/http://mellowmushroom.com/public/nutritionfacts102411.pdf