I’m so full right now
In the past 60 days I’ve had to taste test over 200 pizzas to get my recipes right (there are worse jobs). I discovered it’s true what they say about pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s good. But I wanted mine to be great, and to follow a few rules, so it took some time. My crusts and toppings have to be as local as possible, and more than anything, this little project has to be about connecting real food, grown by real people, with customers who want something better.
My first problem was the crust. I hated every one I tried. The bar is set pretty low when it comes to thin pizza crust. They were either too doughy, or so thin they’d get soggy, and they all came in one flavor. Cardboard.
Finally I found an ultra thin crust made by Quaker Bakery in Appleton. It was crisp but held up to my heavy toppings. It didn’t get soggy while I was making my pizzas, and it tasted rich, satisfying, and buttery when baked. Winner winner!
However, I still wanted to find a crust that had only 5 ingredients and tasted like the pizza in Italy.
Pizza in Italy vs Pizza in the US
Italians do things differently when it comes to their most famous export. Less is more. Poco preparation. The crust is king. It is given the most care, and generally cooked in a blazing wood-fired oven. Italian pizzas have very little cheese compared to those stateside, the sauce is usually just crushed tomatoes. The real key, though, is that the toppings aren't fussed with; left alone to co-star with that crust.
Don’t get me wrong, when I’ve been drinking I want foods that are designed in laboratories to trick me into eating every crumb. Doritos, Mountain Dew, Tombstone, Jacks, Bagel Bites, Totino’s Pizza Rolls! I love it all. But I eat pizza sober, too. And I'm an adult. So after getting a taste of how unfathomably delicious the real stuff is, I was on the hunt for a local crust with real Italian flavor.
Real Italian Pizza Crust In Wisconsin
I finally found the perfect Italian crust!
In Italy. :-|
It broke my rule. It’s not locally made, and it doesn’t support local farmers the way my other local ingredients do. So to offset this fact, my Italian Crust pizzas are almost exclusively topped with ingredients from our farm, or nearby organic farms.
Our Wood-Fired Frozen Pizza Crust. Naked. With all it's beautiful bumps and blisters.
Each of my Italian crusts is hand made in Modena Italy, put in an 800 degree oak-fired stone oven and par baked, then flash frozen and shipped to me. It tastes like Italy. It’s not cheap. But it’s the best there is.
It’s just 5 ingredients: soft 00 flour, water, olive oil, salt, and yeast. It has the essence and character of every pizza I ate in Italy; irregular bubbles and blisters and charred spots from the oak fire. The essence of the smoke is there in every bite. It’s crisp but tender. I couldn’t be more happy with it. And it’s not doughy, like eating a loaf of bread. It’s still thin and almost the same weight as our die-cut thin crust.
I ate 200 pizzas to settle on a crust. I hope you’ll give our Italian Crust Frozen Pizzas a try.
I put together my findings on Why Italian Pizza Crust Tastes So Damn Good. If you’re into it, feel free to take a look!