People who know me well, know that I am not a big fan of St. Louis style pizza. When I moved to St. Louis from Arkansas in 1991, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as St. Louis style pizza until I had my first encounter with the bizarre square pieces. I was having dinner with a friend (a St. Louisan) at Talayna’s and we ordered a pizza. When the pizza arrived at the table I tried to extract a triangle-shaped “pie” piece. (To my credit, I remember the restaurant as being dimly lit). I looked at it for a while and finally was getting ready to take my knife to the pizza when my very polite friend said “Isn’t it funny how St. Louis Pizza is cut in squares?” Ah, yes, squares. No wonder.
Besides the squares, I’ve been very verbal about my dislike of provel cheese. What is it anyway??? Why does it make my stomach hurt? So, it may seem very unlikely that I’m about to write about my experience creating a kind of “St. Louis Style” pizza. But here it is.
On Feb. 10. 2010, I saw an article in the Post-Dispatch by Joe Bonwich about how Meghan Erwin introduced the world to St. Louis pizza through Cook’s Country magazine and was able to reproduce Imo’s style pizza. I was intrigued by the no rise crust and loved the idea of making that so quickly. So, I decided to give it a go. Pretty much that’s the only part of the recipe I used. Remember I don’t like provel so….(Erwin does tell you how to create your own provel like cheese if your area doesn’t have it readily available.)
Here’s the recipe.
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 TBLS cornstarch
2 TBLS sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 TBLS water
2 TBLS olive oil
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Place a pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet on the rack. preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
2. Combine flour, cornstarch, 2 teaspoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine water and olive oil in a measuring cup. Stir water mixture into flour mixture until dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times, until cohesive.
3. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, press into a small circle and transfer to a sheet of parchment paper dusted lightly with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll and stretch dough into a 12-inch circle, rotating parchment as needed. Lift parchment off work surface and onto an inverted baking sheet.
4. Top each piece of dough with ingredients. Carefully pull one sheet of parchment paper and pizza off a baking sheet and place on the hot baking stone. Bake until underside of crust is golden brown and cheese is completely melted, 9 to 12 minutes.
I made two different types of pizzas. I used Mangia Pasta pesto as the base for the first pizza then topped it with artichoke hearts, chopped fresh red pepper, and parmesan reggiano. For the second pizza, a jarred marinara was layer one (I used Newman’s Own), and then steamed broccoli, and shredded mozzarella.
I loved the crispy crust and it was so easy and fast to make. I didn’t have a pizza stone (we broke ours years ago and sadly have never replaced it) so I used the inverted baking sheet. Also, I didn’t have parchment paper so I just put it straight onto the pan (I oiled it a little to prevent sticking.)
I will definitely make this crust again–many thanks to Meghan Erwin! But, I must confess, I’ll keep cutting my little triangles.