Friday, March 9, 2012

Harvester Brewing

Dark Ale.  Need I say more?   Oh yes - it's gluten-free.

I stopped by Belmont Station last evening to meet the brewers, James and John, of Harvester Brewing, which has its base right here in Portland, Oregon.  I had to fight my way through a throng of admirers just to get a taste, but it was worth it. 

Harvester Brewing just started distribution of their Pale Ale in December, and already they are available in quite a few local markets.  Last night they introduced two new beers, the Dark Ale and the Experiment Ale, a red ale.

I had tried the Pale Ale when I first heard about it, maybe a month ago.  When I tried it again last night I noted a change, and I asked James about it.  Has there been a distinct difference between batches?

He granted that he's always improving his recipes.  He noted humbly, "I think I'm just becoming a better brewer."  We talked about how the chestnuts they use influence the taste.  I thought the most recent batch of Pale Ale had a really great balance between the citrus aromatics of the hops and the nutty base flavor.

All of the beers have the same basic makeup, made with sorghum, GF oats, chestnuts, cane sugar and hops.  James and John were explaining that they play with the yeast, the hops, and the roasts of the sorghum to achieve the distinct flavors of each brew.  These ales are a lot more full-bodied and hoppy than your average gluten-free beer, so be prepared for a new taste experience.  If you have been craving some variety in your gluten-free beer selection you should pick up a few of these tasty new ales.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gluten-free Pizza Crust Recipe

I've done it.  After years of development and encouragement from friends who have tried my recipes, I've finally started to sell my gluten-free flour mixes to the world.  Here's a recipe that's the first in a series of recipes that all use my flours.

This crust is the perfect gluten-free thin crust.  It can come out kind of chewy or crisp, depending on how long you par-bake it before adding toppings.  Please try, share, comment, and enjoy!

Gluten-free Pizza Crust Recipe

Combine in a medium bowl:

1 cup (135 g) Deluxe Pastry Flour
1 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp (12g) sugar
1/4 tsp salt

In another bowl, whisk:

1 egg at room temperature or warmer
2 T olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and loosely mix together.  Sprinkle over the dough:

very warm water (115-120 degrees F/46 C)

until the dough comes together enough to be stirred or kneaded, about 1/4 cup (60 ml).  The dough will be sticky and spongy but not unmanageable.  Coat the ball with a little bit more flour if needed to handle.  The dough should look like this:
Dust a sheet of parchment paper with a little bit of flour and place the ball of dough on top.  Sprinkle some flour on top of the ball of dough and place another sheet of parchment paper on top of that.  Roll out the dough to a circle about 12" wide.

Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and cover the dough with an inverted bowl.  Let rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.  In the mean time, about 10 minutes before your dough is done rising, place a pizza stone or large cast iron skillet in the oven and  heat the oven to 500 degrees F.

When the oven is to temperature, uncover your dough.  It should have some bubbles in it like this:
Place the dough, still on the parchment paper, on the hot pizza stone or cast iron pan.  Bake in the oven for 3-5 minutes (3 minutes for chewy, five for crispy).  Pull the pizza out of the oven and top with sauce, cheese, and delicious toppings.  Bake until the cheese starts to brown, 11-15 minutes.  Let cool for several minutes before you slice and enjoy.