Friday, January 30, 2015

Pizza Hut Gluten Free Pizza

On Monday, 2,400 Pizza Huts around the nation starting offering gluten free pizza that was created in partnership with Udi's.  The plan is to continue to roll it out across the country based on consumer demand, so if your local Pizza Hut does not carry the new gluten free pizza, ask them to.  You can fill out a request form here.  

Yesterday, my daughters and I headed to our local Pizza Hut on Maguire Boulevard near Fashion Square Mall.  You can click here for a list of Pizza Hut restaurants currently carrying the gluten free pizza, which includes 23 stores in Orlando 

I rarely eat pizza at restaurants because of the risk of cross contamination, but Pizza Hut is making gluten free cheese, and cheese & pepperoni pizza on Udi's certified gluten free crust, using procedures that are certified by GIG, the Gluten Intolerance Group.  On Pizza Hut's website, which you can view here, they have answers to questions you might have about their gluten free pizza.  I also suggest that you read the blog posts written by Celiac and the Beast and the Celiac Diva, who had a chance to visit Pizza Hut headquarters, ask lots of questions, and see how the pizza is made.  

When I opened my menu at my local Pizza Hut, I saw what I was looking for.  Our waitress made me a little nervous, because she seemed to have no clue what I was talking about when I mentioned the gluten free pizza.  It turns out, she hadn't worked in a week, so I was her first customer asking about it.  When I ordered my pizza easy on the sauce, with cheese and pepperoni, she asked if I wanted any additional toppings, but I didn't order any, because of the risk of cross contamination.  The crust, marinara, cheese, and pepperoni come in a designated gluten free kit, but other toppings, even if they are naturally gluten free, might be cross contaminated, so it wasn't worth the risk to me.   

Our waitress delivered my pizza to our table in a special box designated for gluten free pizzas.  The pizza is 10" and feeds one or two people depending on your appetite.  I easily finished the whole pizza, which was the perfect size for me.  I use Udi's pizza crusts at home to make four cheese pesto pizza, and rosemary garlic flatbread to go with my white bean hummus, so I knew to expect a thin crust pizza when I went to Pizza Hut.  

I didn't go in expecting much, because I prefer to eat white pizzas without red sauce.  Before I was diagnosed with celiac, I did enjoy an occasional Pizza Hut personal pan pizza, but I always ordered them very light on the sauce.  My pizza was good, but I did lift up the cheese and scrape off as much sauce as I could.  I could have ordered it without sauce, but I decided to try it easy on the sauce for my first visit.  Besides the edges, which were a little overcooked, I enjoyed the pizza crust.  My pizza had just the right amount of cheese, and I really liked the pepperoni.  Diana, who prepared my pizza, came out and asked what I thought about it, and apologized for how my pizza was cut.  She said she is getting used to cutting the 10" pizzas.  Overall, I was impressed, and would definitely eat the pizza again.

I have been getting a lot of feedback from my blog readers about Pizza Hut's gluten free pizza.  The general consensus is that they enjoy it.  Some feel that it is too expensive, but others said the price was reasonable.  I paid $11.14 for my pizza with cheese and pepperoni.  Some felt that it is too small, while others thought it was a great size.  Pizza Hut's gluten free pizza serves one or two people, and is cut into 6 slices.  I would say that I am a pretty big eater, and it was the perfect amount of pizza for me.  Several people told me that they thought it was overcooked along the edges.  Since the crust doesn't rise, one blog reader even suggested that Pizza Hut spread the cheese all the way to the edges to prevent it from burning.  I wouldn't say that my pizza was burnt anywhere, but I do wish the edges had been a little less cooked.  At home, when making pizza with Chebe, I do spread my toppings all the way to the edges of the pizza, because I feel the crust cooks better around the outside of the pizza that way.

I think it's great that Pizza Hut has listened to its customers, and teamed up with Udi's and the Gluten Intolerance Group to make a safe, certified gluten free pizza.  A lot of my blog readers have been mentioning that they eat pizza at Domino's, which concerns me if they have celiac.  I have heard great things about Domino's crust, but because of a high risk of cross contamination, they do not recommend their pizza for customers with celiac disease.  If you have celiac and eat pizza at Domino's, please check out what they have to say about the safety of their pizza on their website.

I don't foresee myself eating the gluten free pizza at Pizza Hut that often, because we make amazing pizza at home, but it's nice to know I have the option.  My daughters occasionally bring home free pizza certificates to Pizza Hut from school for meeting their reading goals.  In the past, I have told my family to go to Pizza Hut without me, but now I can join them.  I am also looking forward to having the option to go to Pizza Hut for a safe meal when we are on our summer road trips.

Have you tried Pizza Hut's new gluten free pizza?  What did you think?  


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