In the United, October is observed as National Pizza Month. This celebration began in 1984 by Gerry Durnell, founder of the magazine Pizza Today. Gerry chose October as that month coincided with the debut of his magazine that year. He was the owner of a pizzeria in Santa Claus, IN and realized there were no magazines or trade publications to help his business or the industry overall.
And who doesn’t love pizza? I know I certainly do, but there are couple of issues related to pizza made with conventional ingredients and by conventional methods. Many pizzerias use non-organic wheat which is sprayed with various pesticides. Plus traditionally wheat has been fermented into what’s known as sourdough.
Sourdough uses wild yeast while conventional pizza uses baker’s yeast, which is a single strain of yeast from a wild yeast culture. Baker’s yeast made it faster and cheaper to produce baked goods, but also removed a lot of the nutritional value.
Sourdough pizza is healthier and easier to digest than regular pizza for a number of reasons. It has a lower glycemic index than other pizza. Sourdough is much lower in phytates due to the lactic acid bacteria in it. The fermentation process creates prebiotics and probiotics. Some people with gluten sensitivities can even handle sourdough.
But not all sourdoughs are created equally. Even with sourdough, it’s important to use organic flour. Many sourdough bakers take a shortcut and use conventional flour thinking people will eat it just because it’s sourdough.
In alphabetical order, here are the 5 best organic sourdough pizzas in Los Angeles available for takeout:
Location: Silverlake, Fairfax, Santa Monica, Venice, Pacific Palisades, Calabasas
Erewhon began as an independent natural foods store in Boston in 1966 and launched Erewhon West in Los Angeles in 1968. In the past decade, additional Erewhon stores were built and there are now a total of five supermarkets. Erewhon has high standards for what they allow in their stores, including no refined flour. As even some natural and organic loaves used refined flour, Erewhon bakes its own fresh organic line of breads with sourdough being among them. The Erewhon stores all also have cafes where shoppers can take out food. Some also have tables to eat at outside. Among the menu items offered at the cafes are organic sourdough pizzas. They have several types of pizzas or you can make your own with the wonderful veggies and meat that pass the Erewhon standards.
Michael McSharry went from being in the advertising world in London to making pizza and bread at a restaurant on the border of Echo Park and Historic Filipinotown. He said that while sourdough wood fired pizzas are all over London, Los Angeles is just getting warmed up to them. He’s helping in part with Grá Restaurant. Grá not only focuses on pizza, but other types of ferments as it menu also includes pickles, kimchi, kombucha, and skin-contact wine.
Hail Mary Pizza
Location: Atwater Village
The ingredients for the pies at Hail Mary Pizza are sourced directly from small farmers, so they know how the food was grown, raised, and harvested in addition to having a relationship with the growers. Their organic wheat is grown in California and Utah and uses a good amount of wheat flour. The dough is made by hand daily. They also use ethically sourced meat and seafood to top their pizzas. These toppings include sausage, chorizo, salami, porchetta, and anchovies.
Pie & Cone
Location: Eagle Rock
Pie & Cone is a locally owned, Chicano-owned, family oriented restaurant in the Eagle Rock neighborhood. They’re committed to including fresh and regional ingredients to their pizzas. Pie & Cone’s pizzas also contain organic ingredients when possible. The name refers to having both pizza and ice cream at their restaurant. The cones are house made and are filled with McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, which comes from dairy cows who graze all year on grass in the Central Coast of California.
Chris & Caroline O’Donnell were holding Sunday night pizza parties when they met chef Daniele Udati. Daniele grew up in Naples, Italy. His craft is a combination of what he learned through his family bakery’s traditional bread recipes and having been trained at some the best pizzerias in Campania. Daniele introduced the O’Donnells to his signature slow dough fermented for 48 hours and the idea for Pizzana began. Also a part of the restaurant are Sprinkles founders Candace & Charles Nelson. The couple have a passion and undertaking to using fresh and seasonal produce from the local farmers markets.