Pizza Isn’t Just for Carnivores Anymore
Milwaukee’s Cedar Teeth makes frozen veggie pizzas
Hannah Roland, mastermind and head chef of Cedar Teeth Frozen Pizza, greeted me warmly at the door of what used to be R&D Pub, where she and two employees produce vegan and vegetarian frozen pizzas for the Milwaukee area, and invited me into a kitchen a bit larger than the average household size where the magic happens. Her dedication to offering delicious vegetarian and vegan locally made frozen pizza is laudable.
She quickly and fastidiously walked me through the nine (give or take) steps her pizzas go through. First off, her toddler-aged sourdough yeast starters are fed; following that, the day’s amount of crust is taken from them and rolled out into pizza dough. The sourdough crust—similar to a house yeast for a brewery in that it gives each individual pizza a grounding, unifying flavor with enough wiggle room to stand up to all kinds of different pizzas—cooks up crispy and chewy at home, the tastiest example of cognitive dissonance that I can recall.
Of course, before that frozen pizza gets thrown in the oven, it must be topped. (And before that, each pizza crust gets dusted with rosemary and shaped into Cedar Teeth’s identifiable and unique rectangle.) Roland’s pizzas run the gamut from classic frozen-pizza fodder like the excellent Large Marge Margherita, which is a blast of tomatoes-three-ways goodness, to less-traditional pizzas such as their Smashed Potato pizza, which ingeniously puts a heaping helping of hand-mixed garlicky mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese and sour cream on top of their rosemary sourdough crust, or The Peanut Gallery, a Thai-inspired vegan pizza that features a nicely textured peanut sauce with hand-cut broccoli and cauliflower florets and two cheeses atop it.
Roland credits both her childhood environment and time in front and back of house at Three Brothers Restaurant for her interest in cooking and kitchenly acumen. She described her youth in a small town near the Canadian border, Bottineau, N.D., as a bit hectic—her family would go into a neighboring large town monthly and stock up on provisions. Figuring out what to cook, especially towards the end of the month, “was like being on ‘Chopped,’” Roland joked.
For the rest of the summer, Roland and her staff will continue their work in the kitchen at R&D Pub, but she and her husband are planning on opening a larger location in Bay View this the fall. It’s important to her to have a public space where customers can come in, hang out and eat—presently, customers can get her pizzas at any Outpost Natural Foods and various mom-and-pop grocery stores around Milwaukee, with a retail price hovering around the $10 mark. Cedar Teeth Frozen Pizzas, made to order for each store to ensure freshness, are a niche gladly filled.