Posted by: Kath Usitalo | June 8, 2010

This Pizza Was A Dutch Treat

The 1761 DeZwaan Windmill produced the flour for our pizza crust

We have our favorite pizza joint, Luigi’s, a roadhouse in Harrison Township that gets rave reviews for its pasta, seafood and beef—but we’ve only eaten the pizza and antipasto salad. And we have our favorite local carryout pizzeria, Uncle Paul’s, when we need something quick for dinner. But we also like to make pizza from scratch. TJ has turned out some great grilled pies on the Weber.

The other night I had the urge to make pizza with a wheat crust using the stone-ground Graham flour I’d bought from the DeZwaan Windmill in Holland. It’s the only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the U.S., and it’s operated by the only American, Dutch-certified professional miller, Alisa Crawford.

DeZwaan, which is Dutch for “graceful bird,” was built near Amsterdam in 1761 and is the last windmill exported from the Netherlands. Since 1965 it has towered over the 36-acre Windmill Island city park that honors the Dutch heritage of the west Michigan city.

I was there during Tulip Time, but when the spring blooms fade the gardens are filled with perennials so it’s a colorful place to visit all season long. Guided tours of the windmill, plus a museum and other attractions are included in the park admission.

Beautiful old wood gears keep turning

Alisa was busy working on the windmill’s centuries-old inner workings on the day I visited; I hope to return to learn more about her interest in the trade and role in preserving this piece of the past. How many girls dream of becoming a miller? (She was the only woman in her class.)

By the way, the flour she ground from Michigan wheat is much softer than the whole wheat flour I buy in 5 pound bags at Kroger, so I had to add a bit more than my standard wheat crust recipe calls for. The family ate both versions, veggie and meat, without complaint.

I would count that as success, wooden shoe?

Meaty and veggie toppings on crust made with flour ground at Holland's DeZwaan mill



  1. Nice pun there at the end, Kath….she says as she groans! Your opening photo looks like it could be a postcard – beautimous! Not quite as lovely looking as your pizza….yummo!

    • I was pleasantly surprised by Windmill Gardens. Quite a nice park.

      Next I’m going to try making bread using a recipe that came with the flour.

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