Comparing the merits of two cauliflower pizza crusts
I love pizza; I'm not alone.
My pizza love affair began as a very early teenager with delivered pizza. My folks didn't allow any soft drinks (sugar, you know), so we had "yucky" milk with our pizza. Cola's ruled ever since.
I began making pizza when I was 15 years old: hot roll mix, canned tomato sauce seasoned with oregano and hand-grated cheese. Not as good as delivered, but decent, nonetheless.
Readers know I've shared many recipes for homemade pizza, including my take on Chicago-style deep dish baked in a well-seasoned iron skillet, as well as a wheat-free crust mix using almond flour.
Two years ago, I eliminated all highly processed foods, including those made from wheat flour, from my food plan, along with all sugars, such as maple syrup or honey -- all to the good for both my weight and long-term health.
For these two years, my pizza solution has always been a frozen, low-hassle cauliflower crust pizza from Caulipower (on sale, $7.99 for two crusts -- eatcaulipower.com).
The good news: zero wheat. The less-than-good news: lots of carbs from processed ingredients such as brown rice flour and cornstarch. One whole Caulipower crust delivers 84 carb grams. For those doing their best to stay below 50 carb grams a day, this won't work. I use it for a "cheat" day and have pizza no more than twice a month.
Yes, I could eat just a half pizza and save 42 carb grams. Even topped with veggies, sausage and cheese, that's not enough.
Regular frozen pizza crust made with wheat flour is higher in carbohydrates (like 96 versus 84), so there's not much carb saving there. Wheat-free is my real goal.
Yes, I could make my own cauliflower pizza crust, and there are some seemingly decent internet recipes. However, a scratch-made cauliflower crust, even using frozen cauliflower rice (read: grated), still requires a multistep process to get to the topping and final baking. For me, it's a time issue.
An advertisement for Cali'flour pizza caught my eye since it is keto-friendly, meaning low in carbohydrates. I headed to the website (califlourfoods.com) and looked at its plain crust's ingredients: fresh cauliflower, mozzarella cheese and egg whites. That's it -- three ingredients.
Total carbohydrates for one whole Cali'flour crust: 9; net 3. I didn't shout: "Eureka," but did get excited about this crust's possibilities.
Next, I had to find those Cali'flour crusts. Not that easy. Yes, I could order a three-box six-crust set online ($38.85 including shipping) or head to Walmart Superfoods and get a two-crust box for $9.46.
I went to Walmart, where I could only find its Original Italian crusts.
Turns out there is an additional step to using the Cali'flour crust -- pre-baking (just like a homemade cauliflower crust). Due to the crust's cheese ingredient, I pre-baked the crust and then baked my pizza on a parchment paper-lined pan.
The Cali'flour crust met all my low-carb needs, as well as delivered 300 fewer calories. All good.
Both crusts make a decent no-wheat-flour pizza. Calipower delivers a lower-hassle crust for less money that isn't close to being low carb. Cali'flour pizza costs more and has an additional step yet works perfectly for a low-carb, lower-calorie food plan. Take your pick.
• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.