Can't have gluten? Try flatbreads

BURNING QUESTIONS

April 09, 2008|By Erica Marcus | Erica Marcus,Newsday

My husband and my son have been diagnosed with celiac disease and must adhere to a gluten-free diet. The big problem is pizza: I have not been able to find a recipe that substitutes the flour in pizza dough.

Celiac disease is an intestinal autoimmune disorder that renders the sufferer incapable of digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat (and its relations: spelt, kamut, einkorn and farro) as well as in other grains such as rye, barley and triticale.

Instead of searching in vain for a decent wheat-free pizza, I'm going to suggest you dig into the world of global flatbreads. While Europeans were perfecting pizza (and the wheat-eating inhabitants of the Levant, pita), South Indian bakers were making dosas (flatbreads made from rice and bean flours) and Central and South Americans were exploring the world of cornmeal dough (masa) to make tortillas.

Instant tortilla flour, called masa harina, is available in any market that has a Latino clientele, as are inexpensive aluminum tortilla presses. I'll bet your son would enjoy making his own tortillas, then using them to make his own tacos, quesadillas or taquitos.

If the family craves the Mediterranean flavors that go so well with pizza, you can make farinata, the chickpea pancake native to Liguria, Italy (called socca in Provence, France).

Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to erica.marcus@newsday.com, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747-4250.

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