Sunday 11 January 2015

Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Base Mix Review

Udi’s are an American gluten free company, and their products became available in the UK a couple of years ago. I was aware of them before they came to the UK, having tasted some of their bagels when visiting a friend in California a few years ago. I loved the bagel and so was delighted when they were one of the first products they introduced to the UK market. I have tried quite a selection of Udi’s products now, and they are introducing more and more due to increasing demand. I’ve found some to be a bit hit and miss, but their bagels are probably one of my most regular purchases (especially the choc chip and savoury ones!)

Anyway, enough about bagels. Udi’s have just launched a whole selection of baking mixes and asked if I would be interested in trying some out. Being a good home baker, baking mixes are not something I have bought before, but I was interested to see how they would compare. I was sent a pizza base mix, bread mix, cake mix and flour mix.

Making bread and pizza is quite difficult to achieve gluten free, as breads rely so prevalently on gluten to help give them their texture and structure. It just so happened that the time the mixes arrived, I was looking after my younger brother and so together we decided to try out the pizza base mix for lunch.

I found the ingredient list and method to be a little disjointed across all the range. As I’ve previously mentioned they are an American company, but I would have expected the packaging to have been made more UK friendly, as the extra ingredients required were stated in tablespoons and cups rather than grams. However the total weight of the mix is given in grams and has been given a coeliac UK accredited logo, so they must have updated the packaging for this. The cooking times too were not consistent, with the pizza base mix being stated in Gas Mark and Degrees Celsius, whereas the white bread mix was provided in Ferinheight only. Another thing I thought was slightly odd is that the instructions tell you use to use the whole bag of pizza mix (570g) which then makes 9 x 6inch pizzas – who needs that many in all in one go?!

Nit picking about packaging aside, I got to work, using only half the mix and was pleased with how quick and easy it was to put together. A bag of flour mix is provided along with a sachet of yeast. Water and oil are the only additional ingredients required.

The instructions state to use a stand mixer, which I don’t own, so I used a spoon and my hands which worked fine. After a short prove I had a lovely soft pizza dough. The instructions say “let rise in a warm area for 40 minutes. Bake for 16-20 minutes at 200C” No mention of when to add toppings (before or after baking), so I went for adding toppings on raw pizza dough and then baking on a preheated baking tray to ensure a crisp base. I suspect this was the right thing to do but I would have liked the instructions to be a little clearer.

I topped my pizza with some leftover tomato salsa, cauliflower, courgette and mozzarella, and finished it with some fresh mint when cooked. Meanwhile, my brother went for a meaty feast of leftover smoked ham, bacon and mozzarella. Both pizzas turned out well. The edges crisped up nicely and turned pale golden brown.

The middle and base of the pizzas were cooked, and had a slight chew which was nice. It was sturdy enough to hold without crumbling apart and wasn’t gritty to eat. Potato and tapioca starch are some of the main flour ingredients in the mix, so I suspect this helped the chew and binding properties. The flavour was good, not too salty, although I did find it slightly sweet for my tastes.

My brother happily devoured his pizza, so it passed the non coeliac eater test. He said it wasn’t quite ‘bready’ enough, but he’d happily eat it.

For ease and convenience I was impressed with the Udi's pizza mix and it’s the kind of thing I would consider buying if I wanted to host or was invited to a mid week pizza making evening with friends. I do however feel more care should have been taken over the units of measure for the ingredients (grams rather than cups) and more consistency given to the cooking temperatures across the range. They should at least be consistent with each other and ideally more geared for the UK market.

I look forward to seeing what other products Udi’s develop. I’ve seen on their American website that have cinnamon rolls – please can we try those in the UK too!


Gluten Free Alchemist said...

I don't tend to bother too much with pre-packaged mixes either as I find they are often heavily weighted towards rice flour. But it's always helpful to have something you can take packaged, particularly if you need a standby to take on holiday.

The Caked Crusader said...

Not seen Udi's anywhere...but someone who makes pizza bases and cinnamon rolls has to be worth investigating!

Anonymous said...

Did you use the full 360ml of water? I couldn't face putting that much in as I suspected it would turn to a liquid mush.