SmartMarket: Making a Crispier, Cheesier Vegan Pizza

Saf-Pro Artisan Fleurage Semolina is a new solution from Lesaffre that adds a crunchy burst of cheese flavor to pizza crusts.

Nearly one-third of Americans plan to eat more vegan foods in 2022, and pizza makers have a unique opportunity to tap into this growing trend as flexitarians and new vegans search for plant-based versions of the foods they love—like pizza. Unfortunately, finding ingredients to create delicious vegan pizza has been a challenge.

Many vegan cheese solutions have come to market in recent years, but most rely on spice blends that are insufficiently flavorful—lacking the depth and intensity of dairy cheese—and result in finished products that are bland and without sensory appeal.

Saf-Pro Artisan Fleurage Semolina topping is a new solution from Lesaffre that adds a crunchy burst of cheese flavor to pizza crusts, breadsticks and other baked goods while maintaining vegan specifications. Fleurage Semolina is durum wheat semolina infused with a proprietary blend of fermentation-based coatings that’s as easy to add to existing recipes as sprinkling onto formed dough. The soy-free and sesame-free topping imparts rich, cheesy umami characteristics with mild salty notes and adds crunchy textures to vegan and traditional pizza crusts and other breads.

“With Fleurage Semolina, it’s your recipe but with a twist,” said Ralf Tschenscher, master baker and baking business development manager at Lesaffre North America. “The aroma, flavor and texture from Fleurage gives you a totally different product.”

Foodservice operators that offer vegan or traditional pizzas for takeout and delivery will find additional benefits to using Fleurage Semolina. The crunchy topping helps crusts resist sogginess while in the steamy environment of a pizza box and warming bag, and it also gives take-and-bake and frozen pizzas extra visual appeal to stand out in the refrigerator or freezer case.

With Fleurage Semolina, pizza makers now have an easy-to-use ingredient solution to create cheesy, crunchy, delicious vegan pizza that caters to the growing base of consumers who are looking for plant-based comfort foods.

For more information, visit Lesaffre’s website at