February 13, 2018 at 7:01 pm #11159
Back in its heyday, Godfather’s Pizza used to advertise that their large pizza had 3 POUNDS of cheese on it.
Nancy’s (originally in the western suburbs of Chicago) does a stuffed pizza that looks like a layer cake. One slice is a meal–and then some. It’s still arguably the best of the Chicago-style stuffed pizza that Nancy’s claims to have invented. (Giordano’s also claims that honor, and possibly Lou Malnati’s.)
When I was in college, there was a pizza place in Evanston called The Inferno, their specialty was what they called a dubl-dough pizza, the thing had to be at least 4 inches high, not counting the toppings. Somehow, they managed to get all the dough cooked so it wasn’t just a raw mass of pizza dough in the middle, and they were very popular among Northwestern students on Sundays, when the dining halls didn’t operate.1+February 14, 2018 at 9:46 am #11162
I stretch my pizza first by hand then finish by rolling it with a rolling pin. I do this on butcher block with flour. Then I put the pizza on parchment and add sauce, cheese and toppings. I take the parchment out of the oven after the crust has baked and set.
As for the cost of build vs. buy we just like what we make better. Plus last Sunday we had cheese pizzas, olive pizza, pepperoni pizza, and veggie pizza (sans olives since we used them all on the olive pizza). If we tried to order all that it would be far too expensive.
I remember going to Giordano’s for the first time during the Watergate hearings so that would be 73 probably. It had recently opened its first location on Kedzie. I remember because it was my first trip out of the house after being laid up for a week with the mumps – during the Watergate Hearings when the only think on television was Sam Rayburn… 🙂
I went to Nancy’s many years later on a date because the young lady wanted to go there.
There used to be a place – I cannot remember the name – I think it was on Chicago Ave just on the Evanston town line. It sold pizza by the pound but they ended up on the wrong side of someone from the city who drove them out of business. They were shutdown for their scales being off even though they were under-weighing the pizza.
For years Hyde Park had two pizza places – Nicky’s and Enriquo’s. Nicky’s is still there or has been reopened. Then came the Medici followed by Giordano’s and now there are too many places to count.1+February 14, 2018 at 10:26 am #11166
Lincoln has had a flurry of pizza places open in the past few years, and another one is opening this Friday in downtown, but most of them use too much garlic in their sauce, some also use it in their crust. And since I’m now limited to one slice of a 12″ pizza at a time, due to the sodium content, going to a sit-down pizza place doesn’t make much sense any more. (We haven’t been big restaurant patrons in quite a while due to garlic issues–it’s in EVERYTHING!)
When we lived in Rogers Park and then Evanston, our favorite pizza was a hole-in-the-wall place on Main street, but Gulliver’s on Howard was a close second and My Pie (down by the Loyola campus) was another we liked. A lot has happened since we moved to Nebraska in 1977. The hole-in-the-wall place closed (it’s a Giordano’s take-out place the last time I drove past), Gulliver’s changed owners and he change the recipe to use cheaper ingredients, and My Pie moved, though I don’t know if that was under the same ownership. A lot of the places on Howard depended on the fact that Evanston was dry, so the college crowd would head there to drink. But Evanston went wet and business at the Howard places suffered. (You can order beer at the student union now!)
The owner of Nancy’s sold to a franchise group in 1990 and people tell me it isn’t quite as good. I understand there are two Nancy’s locations that aren’t part of the franchise, they may be better. The last time I was in Chicago, I went to Lou Malnati’s River North location, takeout was a 90 minute wait, but it was pretty good.0February 14, 2018 at 10:48 am #11169
Thanks to Mike, BakerAunt, and Aaron for telling me about hand-stretching the pizza. I’ll try that next time.1+February 14, 2018 at 10:56 am #11170
I’ve never had the nerve (or motor skills) to try tossing pizza dough, but hand stretching doesn’t compress the dough as much as rolling it does.1+February 14, 2018 at 11:55 am #11171
I’ve hand-tossed (Do Not Put extra flour on the dough before tossing it!), I’ve hand-stretched, and I’ve rolled it. Part of the reason I roll it now is that it makes it flatter.
In college we would have hand-tossing competitions to see the different ways and tricks people had for tossing pizzas. I was never good enough to compete.
We are actually having Giordano’s tonight. I ordered heart shaped stuffed pizzas. I was going to let them sit outside last night but my we had a bear tip over a trash can Sunday so I kept them in the garage.1+February 14, 2018 at 1:26 pm #11174
I’ve commented a lot on what is not available in our very small town, but pizza can be ordered from Papa’s (a restaurant). I’ve had their pizza at friends’ house; it is expensive although good. A less expensive place, Bourbon Street Pizza (I think it might be a chain, at least in the state) opened last year across from the park. It is less expensive, according to our friends, and also very good. A third place, Culver Wings, on the outskirts of town, was selling pizza and hot wings, but I do not know if they are still in business, and no one I know ever got pizza from there.
We like my pizza, so if we ever order out, it would probably be because of lots of company.
I’m making the Ultra-Thin Crust Pizza tonight. I wonder what inspired that choice? 🙂 Could it be because we have been talking a lot about pizza these past few days?0April 6, 2019 at 3:50 pm #15448
For the first time, I made KAF’s “Now or Later Crust.” It has semolina, which I probably can’t have but don’t know for sure. It yields 2 pizzas. It led me to a question:
(1) What do y’all do when you want to freeze half the dough? Do you let it have the first rise with all the dough before dividing it? Or, do you cut the dough in half and put one-half in the freezer without the rise, thinking it’ll get plenty of rise thawing out in the refrig?
This recipe calls for par-baking the crust for the freezer, but that isn’t practical with my freezer.0April 6, 2019 at 4:03 pm #15449
I let my dough do the first rise and then cut it up and freeze it. It doesn’t seem to have much of a second rise thawing out.
I have pre-rolled the dough and then placed them on parchment and then they seem to have more of a second rise.
I have tried par-baking crusts in the past to reproduce a Chicago, tavern-style thin crust but my family did not like it.0April 7, 2019 at 5:38 pm #15481
Aaron, do you remember what your family didn’t like about par-baking the crusts?
I made KAF’s Now or Later Pizza Crust today. It’s only my third homemade pizza, and I still find them daunting. Prepare the topping, after shopping for the toppings. And, I’m not the least creative with food, so I agonize over the toppings. Make the dough if there’s none in the freezer. Turn the dough into a crust. Bake, in this case, par-bake and bake. Take it out and cut it. By the time I eat it, I’m worn out.
When I made the first two pizzas, I chalked it up to the learning curve. After today, I think I’m still near the base of the curve, far away from the peak.
The good news is that I really liked this crust. It was thinner than the other 2 KAF crusts I made and didn’t like because they were too thick. And, the crust itself had flavor because of olive oil in it. What worries me is that part of the reason I liked the crust is the semolina flour in it, and I’m guessing that’s not good for me medically. Won’t know for sure for a few weeks when I see dietician.
I made a 3 cheese pizza — mozzarella, fontina & Parm Reg. I used garlic olive oil as the sauce. My husband and I both enjoyed that sauce with the cheeses.0April 7, 2019 at 8:57 pm #15483
Semolina is usually considered a healthier flour than white flour, especially for diabetics, what is the dietician concerned about?0April 8, 2019 at 6:51 am #15487
Mike, too much protein and too much fiber.0April 10, 2019 at 8:51 am #15508
ItalianCook, my family did not like the texture, I think.
I’ve tried two and three cheese mixes. The first pizzas I made was for the school bar in college and we used mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan (doubt it was Reggiano ;-)). I’ve tried that mix and just mozzarella and provolone. I am the only one who likes those mixed. I’ve tried fontina which was too strong. I’ve been meaning to try fontal which is soft and milder to see if they would like that.
I make the dough and grate the cheese. Sometimes I will cut up the vegetables but my wife usually does that – olives, some kind of pepper other than green which I do not like, and onions – usually red. I usually buy pre-sliced, criminy mushrooms and break the slices into smaller chunks as I put them on the pizza.
Meat is simple, usually sausage or pepperoni. I’ve experimented with a few different sausage types – Italian (pork or chicken), Turkish and Moroccan (lamb usually with different spices). I used to par-cook it before I put it on then I stopped that.
My wife is the creative one. Sometimes she likes a swiss chard-olive oil-goat cheese-and mozzarella pizza.
You can try a lower gluten flour. I use part cake flour. That would help lower the protein content.0April 10, 2019 at 10:40 am #15509
I buy whole-milk mozzarella at Sams Club in 5 pound bags, then repackage it in 12 ounce quart bags and freeze it.
My mother always said a pizza just wasn’t a pizza without a little Romano cheese on top, but I don’t keep that around, though sometimes I use a little Parmesan. I do keep a four-cheese blend from Sams on hand, but don’t generally use it on pizza. (It’s excellent as a topping on bagels, though, and I also use it in gluten-free Brazilian Cheese Rolls.)
We’ve been doing flatbread pizzas lately using a lavash we can get at the grocery store, we use the mozzarella and some havarti.
If I make a crust, I’m probably going to use the ‘Roman’ crust recipe in Peter Reinhart’s book, “American Pie”. It’s a dough that makes a really thin crust. For a thicker crust, I’ll use my variant on one of the recipes from Pasquale Bruno Jr’s book, “The Great Chicago-Style Pizza Cookbook”, which I have posted here: Chicago-Style Pizza Crust. (Pasquale’s book was out of print for a while but is available again.)2+April 11, 2019 at 12:50 pm #15522
Has this thread been going on for over a year!?!The power of pizza!
I was re-reading some of the older posts. I’ve had Nancy’s recently and they accidentally gave us a large instead of a small. You could barely tell we’d eaten any. My colleague ate two pieces despite my warnings.
Giordano’s seems to have the best par-baked and shipped pizza.
I’ve made my own sausage. I’ve also made sausage for Whole Foods. All their sausages have some amount brown sugar. Breakfast sausages have more. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas they add sage to some of it and that is for turkey dressing. Hot Italian sausage has red pepper. I don’t remember black pepper but I can check.
I like making it because I can vary the spice level. I can reduce the sugar and the salt without affecting the taste. It seems as if it needs to a day or two for the spices to really open up and add flavor.2+April 11, 2019 at 4:14 pm #15527
Sigh. I do miss the occasional good sausage, as well as most cheeses. I’m glad, however, that I can make a pizza we like that fits into current dietary parameters.0April 15, 2019 at 3:32 pm #15591
BakerAunt, you may have said this in one of the cooking/baking threads, but I don’t recall. What do you use in place of the cheese on pizza?
I can’t have tomato sauce but can sub garlic oil. I can’t imagine a substitute for cheese.0April 15, 2019 at 3:37 pm #15592
Aaron, Rachel Ray on Food Network made a lot of different sausage when her 30 Minute Meal was regularly aired. Of course, she used pre-ground pork, instead of grinding it herself. The only reason I haven’t tried her recipes is that I never know how long to cook sausage patties. With links, I cook until brown on all sides. Seems to me patties have more sausage, and I’m worried that they cook all the way through. End result is hard, crunchy patties.0April 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm #15599
There are vegan substitutes for cheese, they’re not too bad on pizza, actually. (I made some vegan pizzas when we had a guest who had a milk allergy.) I don’t recall much about their nutritional content.0April 16, 2019 at 1:49 pm #15617
Italian Cook–I sometimes use tomato paste from a tube to spread on the pizza crust. I’ve also brushed it with olive oil and put sliced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes on it.
I use part-skim mozzarella on my pizza as well as freshly grated Parmesan. For a pizza made on a half-sheet, I use 4 oz. That keeps my serving to 1 oz. per meal.
The part-skim mozzarella has been the best that I could find here for a lower saturated fat cheese. However, today, I found pre-grated 2% cheese at Kroger in the larger town where we do our grocery run. I’m planning to try it for a black bean burger recipe. I’m not sure that I could find vegan cheese in this area, even if I wanted it. I’ll stick to lower-fat cheeses because I also need to get a good amount of calcium from foods I eat–especially in light of a recent nutritional study that calls into questions whether supplements actually provide the benefits of consuming vitamins and minerals in real food. Sigh.1+April 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm #15671
I saw Sara Moulton on Simply Ming today. I thought she was making a pizza, but when I searched for the recipe I discovered it’s called, “Alsatian Onion Tart.” https://www.registercitizen.com/lifestyle/article/Recipe-Alsatian-onion-pie-11986234.php#item-85307-tbla-2
Regardless of whether it’s called tart or pie, I think it looks like a good pizza. I am fascinated by the sauce — crème fraiche with an egg yolk & nutmeg. Have any of you ever used crème fraiche as a sauce?
She made her dough on the show, but I missed the mixing of the dough, so I don’t know the recipe of that.0April 19, 2019 at 8:46 pm #15678
Creme fraiche is kind of like sour cream, but a bit smoother and less likely to curdle. It’s rather pricey.
My wife has a ‘Christmas Coffee Cake’ recipe that calls for sour cream that was her grandmother’s Christmas treat. We’ve made it a few times but my wife was always disappointed with the taste. Her grandmother was a farm wife and I think she used real sour cream, not that cultured stuff they sell these days.
I’ve thought about either trying to sour some fresh cream, make some creme fraiche (I’ve got a recipe for it) or buy some at the store and try that in the recipe, I think it might come closer to what she remembers, although some remembered tastes may be more memory than taste.0April 19, 2019 at 8:55 pm #15679
Interesting article on pizza–particularly, Detroit style:0April 19, 2019 at 9:23 pm #15681
I’m going to have to order Peter’s new Perfect Pan Pizza book when it comes out next month.0April 19, 2019 at 10:09 pm #15682
Larger supermarkets may have sections catering to vegans and people who are lactose-intolerant, but a health food store might be a better option, if there’s one around.0
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