For those with dietary restrictions like gluten intolerance or celiac disease, finding safe and delicious pizza crust options can be challenging. Schar is a popular gluten-free pizza crust brand carried by many grocery stores, so understanding how to store it properly is key.
The Short Answer
Yes, Schar pizza crust should be refrigerated both before and after baking. The packaging specifies to store refrigerated and use within 5 days of opening. This helps maintain freshness and optimal texture.
Examining the Ingredients in Schar Pizza Crust
To understand why refrigeration is recommended for Schar crust, it helps to look at what ingredients are used:
- Rice flour
- Potato starch
- Buckwheat flour
- Vegetable oil
- Baking powder
- Guar gum
- Xanthan gum
The main ingredients in Schar crust are gluten-free flours and starches mixed with water, oil, and gums to provide structure and texture. Unlike traditional pizza dough made with wheat flour, there is no gluten development that happens when the dough is kneaded.
Instead, the starches and gums create a pliable dough matrix that firms up during baking. This gives the crust a pizza-like chew and allows it to hold toppings. But without gluten, the dough remains more delicate and prone to staling.
Why Refrigeration Helps Maximize Freshness
Keeping Schar pizza crust refrigerated helps slow staling and maintains optimum texture and taste. There are a few reasons for this:
1. Slows Retrogradation of Starches
When starches like those in rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca are hydrated, the starch molecules unwind. But over time, they can re-associate in a process called retrogradation. This recrystallization causes the crust to become firmer and more stale.
Cooler refrigerator temperatures significantly slow down this retrogradation process. Starch chains have less molecular mobility, so they don’t recrystallize as quickly.
2. Retains Moisture
Refrigeration also helps the pizza crust retain moisture and avoid drying out. Dough left at room temperature would lose moisture much more rapidly.
The gums used in the recipe like guar and xanthan are excellent at holding onto water. But they work best when the dough remains chilled.
3. Slows Microbial Growth
Finally, refrigerating the Schar pizza crust inhibits microbial growth. With perishable ingredients like water and oil, bacteria and mold can start to grow if left at warm temperatures. But in the cold fridge, growth of spoilage microorganisms is significantly delayed.
Following the Instructions for Storing Schar Pizza Crust
To get the most out of this gluten-free pizza crust, be sure to follow the storage instructions on the packaging. Here are some key tips:
- Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- Allow the crust to come to room temperature before baking for about 30 minutes.
- Use within 5 days of opening.
- After baking, store leftover crust in the fridge and use within 3-4 days.
- Do not freeze, as this will negatively impact texture.
With proper refrigerated storage before and after baking, you can enjoy fresh Schar crust and avoid premature staling. Just allow it to come to room temp before using to prevent a doughy center.
Signs Your Schar Crust Needs to Be Discarded
If not stored correctly, Schar pizza crust can go bad before the use-by date. Check your crust and discard if you notice any of the following:
- Mold growth
- Off odors like sourness or yeastiness
- Very dry, cracked, or brittle texture
- Loss of pliability when at room temperature
You should also discard crust that is past the 5 day use-by date after opening, even if no signs of spoilage. This ensures you enjoy the Schar crust at peak freshness and flavor.
Storing Unbaked vs. Baked Schar Crust
Does storage method differ for unbaked Schar crust compared to leftovers? Here are some key differences:
Unbaked Schar Crust
- Keep in original packaging until ready to use
- Seal bag tightly between uses
- Use within 5 days of opening package
- Store in fridge entire time, removing 30 mins before baking
Baked Schar Crust Leftovers
- Store in airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap
- Use within 3-4 days for best quality
- Keep refrigerated entire time; do not freeze
- Reheat leftover slices in a 300°F oven until warm, about 5 minutes
The main difference is the shorter use-by window for baked crust. The refrigeration guidelines remain the same – be sure to keep both unbaked and baked Schar crust chilled.
Can you freeze Schar pizza crust?
No, Schar does not recommend freezing their gluten-free pizza crust. Freezing will cause texture and flavor deterioration. For best results, keep refrigerated and use within 5 days of opening.
How long does unbaked Schar crust last past the use-by date?
It’s not recommended to use Schar crust past the 5 day use-by date printed on the packaging. Staling and reduced freshness will be noticeable. For food safety, discard crust that is more than 5 days old after opening.
Can unbaked Schar crust sit out at room temperature?
No, Schar crust should always be refrigerated until ready to bake. Leaving it at room temperature will cause premature staling and encourage microbial growth. Store in the fridge and remove 30 minutes before baking.
How do you store baked Schar pizza crust leftovers?
Leftover baked Schar crust should be stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated for 3-4 days maximum. Reheat leftovers in a 300°F oven for 5 minutes before serving.
The Takeaway on Schar Pizza Crust Storage
For best results when using Schar gluten-free pizza crust:
- Keep refrigerated at all times, both before and after baking.
- Allow crust to come to room temp before baking to prevent doughy texture.
- Use within 5 days of opening package.
- Eat leftovers within 3-4 days and refrigerate between uses.
- Check for mold, off-odors, extreme dryness, or loss of pliability as signs to discard.
With proper storage in the fridge, you can enjoy fresh gluten-free pizza any night of the week using Schar crusts. Just be diligent about refrigeration and use-by dates for optimal flavor and performance.