I know what you mean about the hop utilization with the malt, da da da..., but I've never had any problem. I mean if the goal is bitter - it's there. If the goal is aroma, well, you are adding the aroma hops during the last 15 mins which is usually the schedule for aroma hops. I'm not a real hop head for IPAs and such.
NOTE: Earlier I mentioned that I boil 1.5 gals of water, but I forgot to say that I add 1 to 1.5 lbs of Extra Light DME to the pot. Equal measurements 1:1 or 1.5:1.5 works. Sorry, My bad.
I use whole hops and up the quantity by the recommended 10% over the recipes recommendation. This is a nice balance just on the sweet side (I like sweeter Hefe Weizens). Upping your hops a bit more will give you more bitterness.
Getting back to the theory of hop utilization, I'm not certain where I stand on that.
I think whatever the "utilization" results may be I can still produce a (bitter) hop tea just by boiling it in plain water for 1 hour with no malt.
I added some hop tea to a batch I thought was a tad too sweet and it ended up nicely balanced. I was very pleased.
I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just some experiment I did and I am satisfied with the results. I still consider every batch an experiment. As long as you are tweaking a known recipe it is an experiment as far as I am concerned. Others may not agree, but that's OK.
I can vouch that my brews have been lighter for it.
Mikey: I know where you're coming from. Don't you think I started out with cans? I consider myself a pretty logical person. If you DON'T re-cook your malt for an hour it can't get any darker. That's one of the reasons I recommend using the lightest malt possible, whenever possible. IMO, using canned malt is not the way to go for lighter brews. I think they are best reserved for bocks and stouts where the darkness is desired.
If it's not grain then it's already been cooked. Why overcook it?