I am new to this forum and came here looking for my favorite pizza recipe. I have been going to Monical's pizza in Danville, Champaign, and Bloomington, Illinois since I was a kid. After reading all of the posts here I have come up with my own version. I'm sorry if some of it duplicates what someone else has said. I am a plain 'ole cook and not into measuring hydration and all that 'pizza tech talk'.
Since we live about two miles away from the nearest Monical's it is much easier to order it than to plan ahead. But when we can't afford Monical's or the kids just want to make pizza this recipe will do.
1 tsp. active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup hot tap water
1 cup cold water
1 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
Sprinkling of cornmeal, coarse pepper, salt
Mix together yeast, sugar, and hot water in medium bowl. Proof for 5 minutes. Add cold water, salt, and bread flour. Mix into ball. Turn out and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. (Will be somewhat stiff.) Divide into fourths and cover with towel. Let rest five minutes.
Roll each dough ball between two sheets of waxed paper until 1/8 inch thick. The dough is stiff, so it is kind of hard, but keep at it and it will work. (Yes, I wish I had a sheeter!!!)
Once dough has been rolled out as thin as possible you can trim it in a circle or keep it lumpy and homemade looking, which is what I do. Lift up top waxed paper and sprinkle with cornmeal, a little coarse pepper, and a little salt (my husband thinks it needs the salt). Replace waxed paper and place on a plate. Roll remaining crusts, add cornmeal, salt and pepper and stack on top of each other with waxed paper in between. Once the four have been stacked cover all with Saran Wrap and place in refrigerator for 24 hours (this is key!).
1 small can plain tomato sauce (add 1 1/2 tsp. sugar)
3 cups Kraft Italian blend cheese (I use Mozzarella and Parmesan blend, but have also used the five cheese blend and it is good too.)
Pepperoni (Meijer store brand tastes like Monicals)
Sausage (Monical's puts their sausage on raw, but I'm not sure if home ovens will cook completely. We do not like sausage, so don't use it.)
Any other toppings you like
Preheat oven to 500 degrees with baking stone on lowest rack. Remove one crust from fridge, remove top waxed paper and flip over onto pizza peel or a plate so that cornmeal side is down. Dock crust with docker or large fork. Immediately place on stone in oven and bake for four minutes. Remove from oven. The bottom should be blistered and there should be at least a couple of fifty-cent sized bubbles for true Monical's fans!
If the bubbles are too big, poke a hole in them and flatten with a fork. Top with a very thin layer of sweetened tomato sauce to the edges. (Use 1/4 can for each crust. You should be able to see the crust through the sauce.) Use 1/4 of cheese spread to the edges and top with remaining toppings. Don't make the toppings too thick. Sprinkle with basil, coarse pepper, and salt.
Return to oven and bake until center of pizza starts to bubble (approx 4 minutes with two toppings, leave in longer if needed for more toppings). Turn on your oven light and watch it. It will start bubbling from the outside in. Don't overcook or edges will burn. For authenticity cut into squares....not triangles!!! Enjoy!
NOTES for best results:
I have tried larger pizzas but the edges burn before the center is done. Monical's does not usually have dark patches on the bottom, but a crispy crust with small blisters all over it.
Don't overdo the toppings. If you are using more variety, use less of each one.
If you haven't tried Monical's thin crust, the sauce is not really Italian flavored. It is plain and in a very thin layer covering the crust completely. No edges showing!!