Ohio is the heart of it all, but who knew that included gluten-free pizza?
Now, thanks to Heather Zook, co-owner of Sinfully Gluten-Free Pizzeria and Bakery in Centerville, the Miami Valley may soon become the home of the world’s best gluten-free pizza.
This past October, the U.S. Pizza Team (yes, there is such a thing) held its annual American Pizza Championship and Fall Trials at the International Baking Industry Expo in Las Vegas. The competition brought many first-time competitors, including Zook. Pizzaiolos (pizza makers) competed in several different categories, including Gluten-Free, Best Pie, Freestyle Acrobatics, Largest Dough Stretch, Fastest Pie Maker and Fastest Box Folder.
The great state of Ohio swept the Gluten-Free category with Zook taking first place with her Three Meat Pizza, made with a white rice and millet blend crust and topped with a mix of mozzarella and provolone cheese, pepperoni, sausage, crumbled bacon and caramelized onion, lightly sprinkled with basil and oregano. With her win, Zook won a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team and a trip to compete at the World Pizza Championships in April in Parma, Italy.
Second place went to Mike Amheiser of Pizza Dock in Fredericktown, in north-central Ohio, for his “Mike’s Favorite Pie,” featuring pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, bacon and hard salami, topped with Romano cheese, fresh basil and garlic. Jason Samosky of Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria in Valley City, in northeastern Ohio, placed third with his “Spinachi” pizza.
For the World Pizza Championship, Zook said she plans to change things up a bit. “The pizza I make will be slightly different. I knew the judges in Las Vegas would be American but the judges at the World Championship will be Italian, so I’ll be playing towards more of an Italian taste, using less sauce,” Zook said. “In Italy, they are very particular and strict about the requirements for something to be considered gluten-free. We have to submit a list of ingredients and documents proving that our dish is gluten-free.”
Zook’s husband, Dave, will be accompanying her to Italy where she’ll compete on the first day of the World Competition on April 7 and hopefully bringing back another first place win and making Dayton the location of the “World’s Best Gluten-Free Pizza.”
While Zook understandably couldn’t share her award-winning gluten-free pizza crust since she’ll be competing with it in April, she was willing to share a delicious recipe for cheesebread (gluten-free of course). For those wanting a pre-made gluten-free pizza crust that tastes just like its gluten-loaded counterpart, Sinfully Gluten-free sells their crust at their store, located at 9146 Dayton Lebanon Pike in Centerville, and at all three Dorothy Lane Market locations.
SINFULLY GLUTEN-FREE CHEESEBREAD
The ingredients are not exact. Use amounts according to your preference.
1 8-inch or ½ of one 12-inch Sinfully Gluten-Free pizza crust
Pizza cheese (mozzarella, provolone — whatever you prefer)
Dry basil and oregano
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Smear the crust with olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with pizza cheese blend. Finish by sprinkling with oregano and basil and bake for 10-15 minutes.
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