This week’s Young & Hungry column explores D.C.’s burgeoning gluten-free pizza scene and how even many of the city’s upper-crust (ahem!) pizzerias are now offering non-traditional wheatless pies. Perhaps the latest joiner is the venerable Pizzeria Paradiso, which has been experimenting for months with a new homemade crust made from brown rice, sorghum, and buckwheat flours. In the article, proprietor Ruth Gresser said she planned to launch the gluten-free option around mid-February. And, sure enough, today, Paradiso set a date for its wheatless dough debut via Twitter: Feb. 15 at its Old Town Alexandria location, with gluten-free beers on hand to wash down the gluten-free crusts.
Every work week Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock of DC Brau shovel about 1,500 pounds of soggy grain out of their mash tun. Left to itself, this used-up barley (it resembles “dehydrated oatmeal,” according to Skall) would begin to fester, turning sour and smelly in a day or less.
None of it goes into the city’s sewer system, assert Skall and Hancock. Their usual modus operandi is to donate their leftovers to local farmers, who use for it for composting or, more commonly, for livestock feed. (“Cows are number one,” says Skall, but goats and poultry like it as well.)
To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the partners set their sights a few links up the food chain and decided to turn their waste into bread for the city’s indigent population.
The day after the holiday, Skall and Hancock sealed five gallons of spent grain in a food-grade plastic bucket and rushed the grain, still warm from steeping in hot water, to Pizzeria Paradiso, which turned it into loaves at its kitchens in Dupont Circle and Old Town.