### Author Topic: Home Run Inn  (Read 16194 times)

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#### loowaters

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2008, 06:42:00 AM »
Loo,

Can you tell me how much cheese, by weight, you used on the pizza? And was that amount about in line with what you would get at an HRI pizzeria? If you know how much sauce you used, that might help also. Most pizza operators use around 7-9 ounces of mozzarella cheese and about 5 ounces of sauce for a 12" pizza.

One of the curious things about the HRI 12" frozen pizza is that the total sodium content is 4800 mg (based on the nutrition data at the HRI website). The sources of the sodium are the mozzarella cheese, the sauce, and the dough. Using, say, 8 ounces of cheese and 5 ounces of a basic tomato pizza sauce (without any added salt), those two items would contribute about 1900 mg. of sodium. That leaves 4800-1900 mg., or 2899 mg. sodium, for the dough. At about 2400 mg. sodium per teaspoon of salt, that comes to about 1.21 t. salt for the dough. I believe that that would be almost double what you used per dough ball. Using more cheese and more sauce would get the salt level in the dough down, which is why I asked you about the amounts of cheese and sauce you used. In the throwdown video I referenced earlier, it looked like HRI used a lot of cheese, maybe more than they use on their frozen pizzas. Not having seen or had either an HRI pizzeria pizza or frozen pizza, I have no way of knowing.

Peter

Peter, I used 8 oz. of shredded mozz for the pie and thought that was plenty before cooking but realized I probably could've used another couple ounces of cheese when eating it.  I'm not sure how much sauce I used to be honest, I just kinda eyeballed that but would guess it to be in the 4-5 oz. range.  Again, I thought the cooked pie could've used a little more.

Regarding the increase in salt, that's quite an increase you show there and as we've already addressed that would necessitate an increase in yeast (or at least draw it to the same amount ) as it's listed ahead of salt on the ingredients list.  I think with an increase in both the cheese and sauce I can increase the salt to match the yeast at 1.5% and it should be pretty good.  That will be addressed with trial #3

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

#### RSMBob

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2008, 11:01:06 AM »
Quote
Sins?  I don't see any smileys so I'll say that I don't need any crap on how to prepare a pizza, particularly one done to replicate a style that I've had hundreds of in my lifetime.

Hmm, I'm not a smiley kind of guy  (at least on boards) so my apologies as things were apparently taken the wrong way. I thought by the "red frisbee" thing that you'd know I was joking about that comment. I missed your comment on the stone (must be my post-holiday hangover). I know that most toppings go under the cheese, but pepperoni could be an exception.

I am VERY impressed with the pizza...otherwise I wouldn't have commented that I intend to give it a try myself! I've had HRI for close to 40 years now and it remains among the best...especially after my last visit last week.

2 things I will add regarding their pizza. One, it has almost pie crust type edges, pressed in (is "fluted" the correct term?) and recently they have been serving the restaurant pizzas on black plastic trays that have pips sticking up to hold the pizza off the bottom (assuming to keep the crust from getting soggy).

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2008, 12:15:37 PM »
2 things I will add regarding their pizza. One, it has almost pie crust type edges, pressed in (is "fluted" the correct term?

RSMBob,

I believe that the "fluting" you refer to may be because of the rim that is formed by hot pressing the dough in the hot press and the high oil content. If the dough contained little oil, I don't think that you would be able to flute it.

Peter

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2008, 12:38:15 PM »
Regarding the increase in salt, that's quite an increase you show there and as we've already addressed that would necessitate an increase in yeast (or at least draw it to the same amount ) as it's listed ahead of salt on the ingredients list.  I think with an increase in both the cheese and sauce I can increase the salt to match the yeast at 1.5% and it should be pretty good.  That will be addressed with trial #3

Loo,

I believe that I did the salt calculations correctly but I can't say that with absolute certainty. This is not my area of expertise. For purposes of the salt calculations, I used ordinary supermarket brands of low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheeses as proxies for the HRI mozzarella cheese (I also checked the Nutrition Data data), and I used ordinary supermarket brands of tomato products as proxies for the HRI sauce (I do not have any 6-in-1s, or Bonta or Bella Rosa Escalon products on hand to examine the labels). It's possible that HRI adds salt to the sauces they prepare, and I suppose it is possible that the brand of mozzarella cheese HRI is using contains more salt than other brands, but I tend to doubt that because most brands tend to be fairly similar in terms of sodium content. Another possibility is that HRI is using Kosher salt, which would result in a smaller number for the volume of salt used. I have not read anything to believe that they are doing that.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 02:01:23 PM by Pete-zza »

#### loowaters

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2008, 01:38:19 PM »
Hmm, I'm not a smiley kind of guy  (at least on boards) so my apologies as things were apparently taken the wrong way. I thought by the "red frisbee" thing that you'd know I was joking about that comment. I missed your comment on the stone (must be my post-holiday hangover).

No problem, I'm over it.  Maybe my sense of humor is off as I'm trying to get over being sick

Quote
2 things I will add regarding their pizza. One, it has almost pie crust type edges, pressed in (is "fluted" the correct term?) and recently they have been serving the restaurant pizzas on black plastic trays that have pips sticking up to hold the pizza off the bottom (assuming to keep the crust from getting soggy).

I know where you're coming from on the pie crust type edges.  It's not as tender as a pie crust would be but it's definitely in the family.  They show how they create the rim in one of the videos that Peter referenced in this post:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6009.msg51590.html#msg51590

Another thing about the results is that this came out with a, big surprise here, fresher taste than frozen.  It's been a long time since I've eaten at one of the restaurants but it seemed more along those lines...thankfully.  As I mention in the post regarding my latest trial, I need to crisp this pizza up quite a bit but the flavor is right there.  My recall on the last time I ate at an HRI restaurant goes back quite a way, it had to have been the mid '90's at the one in Arlington Heights (I think) off Algonquin Rd. (again...I think)  It looks like that restaurant isn't there anymore.

My Grandparents introduced me to Home Run Inn pizzas via the frozen pies on the tin with the clear plastic lid crimped on top (they suffered freezer burn rather quickly in that packaging) back in the mid '70's.  I talked with my dad about my efforts on this pie the other day and asked him if when he was a kid they ever ate Home Run Inn frozens.  He laughed and told me that he didn't eat the frozens until I came along but remembers when he was a kid ordering from the original pub and going to pick up the pizzas for take out and having to wait in line out the door to get their order.  My Dad grew up in Riverside near Harlem and 26th St. and were about five miles from the original restaurant.  Kinda neat because he'd never shared that with me.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

#### loowaters

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2008, 01:47:46 PM »
Loo,

I believe that I did the salt calculations correctly but I can't say that with absolute certainty. This is not my area of expertise. For purposes of the salt calculations, I use ordinary supermarket brands of low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheeses as proxies for the HRI mozzarella cheese, and I used ordinary supermarket brands of tomato products as proxies for the HRI sauce (I do not have any 6-in-1s, or Bonta or Bella Rosa Escalon products on hand to examine the labels). It's possible that HRI adds salt to the sauces they prepare, and I suppose it is possible that the brand of mozzarella cheese HRI is using contains more salt than other brands, but I tend to doubt that because most brands tend to be fairly similar in terms of sodium content. Another possibility is that HRI is using Kosher salt, which would result in a smaller number for the volume of salt used. I have not read anything to believe that they are doing that.

Peter

Thanks again for all your hard work on this because without you this would've been a pretty drawn out trial and error process.  I'll up the salt a bit to see what we get.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2008, 05:25:10 PM »
Rather than completely sitting on the sidelines, I decided to take a stab at making an HRI clone so that I can get a better feel for what the various factors are that are embodied by the HRI style of pizza. Since I don’t know how the pizza I made relates to the basic HRI pizza, I will summarize what I did and show some photos. I will leave to those who have actually had an HRI pizza to critique what I did.

The dough formulation I used (from the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html) was this one:

 Flour (100%):Water (49%):IDY (2%):Salt (1.75%):Oil (25%):Total (177.75%): 218.6 g  |  7.71 oz | 0.48 lbs107.11 g  |  3.78 oz | 0.24 lbs4.37 g | 0.15 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.45 tsp | 0.48 tbsp3.83 g | 0.13 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.69 tsp | 0.23 tbsp54.65 g | 1.93 oz | 0.12 lbs | 4.05 tbsp | 0.25 cups388.56 g | 13.71 oz | 0.86 lbs | TF = N/A
Note: Flour used was Pillsbury unbleached all-purpose flour; the oil used was an 80/20 canola/corn oil blend; the water was tap water; no bowl residue compensation was used

As noted above, I used the Pillsbury brand of all-purpose flour and an 80/20 canola/corn oil blend since these were all I had on hand. I did not use a bowl residue compensation. That was strictly an oversight. I originally started with a hydration of 40 percent but found that the dough did not form a cohesive ball at that value (I was using a KA mixer with a C-hook). So, I gradually added more water, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough held together, as I imagined it would in an HRI setting. The final hydration as a result of doing this was around 49%, as noted in the above formulation. The final dough weight was 13.05 oz., and the finished dough temperature was 74.2 degrees F.

After letting the dough ball rest for about 20 minutes (see the first photo), which simulated the period where a large amount of dough is converted to many dough balls, it was oiled and went directly into the refrigerator in a lidded 1-qt. Pyrex glass bowl, for about 24 hours. While in the refrigerator, the dough about doubled, as can be seen in the second photo. The dough did not “blow” and it did not blow off the lid despite using 2% IDY.  It was a very orderly affair, which leads me to believe that the amount of yeast can be increased ever further to get a more pronounced flavor of yeast. Increasing the yeast would also permit using more salt.

After letting the dough warm up at room temperature for about 2 hours, I shaped and stretched it out enmtirely by hand (no rolling pin) to about 12”. Handling the dough was very easy, and I found that I had no trouble working with the dough, including forming a thin, upright rim (see the third photo below) and pinching the edges to get a fluted effect. This was for the purpose of containing the cheese and toppings right out to the outer edge. I did not dock the skin. To the skin, which weighed around 13 oz. at this point, I added 9 ounces of a low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese (shredded), 5 oz. of a 6-in-1 pizza sauce with dried Italian oregano and ground black pepper, and 1.35 oz. of Hormel pepperoni slices. The total weight of the unbaked pizza was a bit over 28 oz. The pizza was dressed on a lightly floured wooden peel. I acted quickly so that the pizza wouldn’t stick to the peel.

The dressed pizza was baked on a pizza stone that was positioned on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at 500 degrees F. The total bake time was about 12-13 minutes. After removing the pizza from the oven, the first thing I did was to weigh it. It was about 24.5 oz. This compares with a weight of a bit over 28 ounces before it went into the oven, as noted above.

The photos of the finished pizza are shown in the next post. The pizza was very tasty, with flavor and textural characteristics reminiscent of a deep-dish pizza but in a different format. The crust was a bit crispy on the bottom, but the rest of the pizza crust was tender. There was a bit of crunch to the rim itself. The pizza was cut into small pieces using the “family cut”, as opposed to slices, solely for the sake of authenticity. The cut pieces were rigid, not floppy.

I’d be happy to answer any questions or to provide further detail on any point if what I did merits it.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 06:10:57 PM by Pete-zza »

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2008, 05:37:40 PM »
And photos of the finished pizza itself...

Peter

#### loowaters

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2008, 06:49:29 AM »
Peter, it's good to see that you decided to jump in and make one of these pies yourself.  I was beginning to doubt your dedication to this project.   I keed, you couldn't possibly do more.

How long did you knead the dough, or, as the "C" hook likes to do, spin the dough around the sides of the mixer bowl.  You went with about an ounce more dough than I used for my 12".  What were your thoughts on the thickness?  What kind of difficulty did you have getting the pie off the peel?  I thought there was no way I could do it with all the oil and didn't even try.

The pie looked great.

Loo
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#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2008, 09:41:53 AM »
Loo,

The way I prepared the dough was to first combine the IDY with the flour. I then put the water into the bowl and dissolved the salt in it. I gradually added the flour mixture to the bowl and, using the stir speed, mixed everything together. Because of the low hydration at the start (40%), the dough had the appearance of very coarse cornmeal. When I added the oil, the dough started to come together more, but not enough to form a cohesive ball. I tried using a long plastic spatula to help bring the ingredients together, and I stopped the mixer a couple of times to hand knead the dough into a cohesive ball, but the dough was still too scrappy. That is when I added more water, by the teaspoon, for a total of four teaspoons. When the dough finally came together into a cohesive ball, I kneaded it for about 5 minutes at speed 2, followed by about a minute of final hand kneading. The dough ball was just about perfect from the standpoint of being smooth and malleable. It was as I imagined it would be made by HRI. By that, I mean that I couldn't imagine that HRI, with a high volume business, would tolerate scrappy dough balls that barely held together. But one shouldn't interpret what I did as the only workable combination of water and oil. I am sure that many combinations would produce a nice finished dough ball. If HRI used/uses a sheeter, which BTB mentioned in an earlier post, I believe the dough ball I made would have gone through the sheeter without incident.

When time came to work with the dough to form it into a skin, it was like a ball of Silly Putty. I could press it just about any way I wanted, using my fingers, and I was also able to lift the partially formed skin and stretch it (I could have tossed it but didn't try doing that). I could form a rim with ease, to pretty much any height I wanted, and I could pinch and flute it, much like a pie crust, and have the indentations from my fingers remain. I could let it sit on my work surface and it would quietly sit there and not sulk or sink back into a lifeless form. If desired, I could have allowed it to proof. I found that I could handle the dough while it was cold just out of the refrigerator, or warmed up on my work surface. Overall, the skin seemed to have qualities and characteristics that are like those I read about in my research on the HRI pizzas.

As for the dough sticking to the peel matter, I lightly floured the peel but I could see that the dough wanted to stick a tiny bit to the peel. Since I could move the skin around at will, I just added a bit more flour to the peel and I worked fast to dress the pizza. Even then, if the pizza decided to stick to the peel, I think I could have moved the pizza to put more flour on the peel. I confess that the thought did cross my mind, however, that a perforated cutter pan, which is equivalent in many respects to a perforated disk, would be an alternative to consider, yet still be consistent with the practices that HRI is apparently currently using in most of its locations other than the original one. I used the peel mainly to prepare the pizza the way that I imagined the early HRI pizza makers used with their deck ovens.

With respect to the crust thickness, I originally used a thickness factor of 0.115. I chose that value because I wanted to achieve a dough weight that, together with amounts of the cheese and sauce I decided to use, would produce a finished product that weighed around 26 ounces, the figure that I took off of the HRI nutrition data. However, the weight of the dough went up a bit when I added the additional water (four teaspoons), which had the effect of increasing the thickness factor. Since the finished baked weight was a couple of ounces over that figure (even when adjusted for the addition of the pepperoni slices), I think I would be inclined to use less dough the next time and possibly reduce the amount of cheese by about an ounce. If I am ever able to find out from HRI why there is a discrepancy in the numbers used in their nutrition data (e.g. 18 oz. vs 26 oz.), that might help determine the relative quantities of the different parts of the pizza. It might also help zero in better on the issue of how much salt should be used. As it was, the pizza crust did not taste salty.

A final note: The next time, I would also be inclined to lower the bake temperature and increase the bake time in order to get a more crispy crust while still having a tender interior. I don't know whether that comports with an authentic HRI pizza, but it is a characteristic that I like.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 01:47:20 PM by Pete-zza »

#### donnamarie

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2008, 03:01:36 PM »
Pete and loo--

You guys are amazing in trying to recreate the HRI pizza.  I'm a Chicagoan now living in Tampa Bay (like BTB) and I am having pizzagasms over the pics here and in the Lou's thread.  I've tried DMK's LM recipe and had some problems.  Mostly with trying to get the edges to stay up.  I'll try loo's next weekend.  I'm able to get Stella mozzarella at Wal-Mart and there's a great Italian market with excellent sausage (Cacciotores just N of Hillsbourough for the benefir of BTB) so I'm good with ingredients.

I've only had the frozen HRI pizza.  Since I'm going to put in an order for the PSTK pans, can I get a rec for the screens (or whatever I need) to make an HRI style pizza?

FYI-I think this is my first post but I registered long ago.

Love this HRI thread guys.

#### loowaters

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2008, 04:48:08 PM »
Since I'm going to put in an order for the PSTK pans, can I get a rec for the screens (or whatever I need) to make an HRI style pizza?

Welcome donnamarie,

I've got a restaurant supply place in town that I order pans from and just placed an order for a couple American Metalcraft perforated disks (http://www.amnow.com/pizzaTrays/perforatedDisks.html) in the hardcoat.  The model number is 18915PHC, those are 15", I figured that I could make 14" pies with just a little lip left on the disk.  Find a restaurant supply place and have them order them for you.  These places are always ordering from American Metalcraft and will just tack your order onto their bigger order and you most likely won't have to pay any shipping.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

#### BTB

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2008, 08:23:23 AM »
Donnamarie, check and measure your oven first.  Many will only hold a 14" pan confortably.  I am super satisfied with my 14" dark, anodized nonperforated cutter pan from pizzatools.com.  Best investment for pizzamaking I have ever made IMO.  It will work with most any style thin crust pizza.  It kind of duplicates the bottom of a deck oven, which IMO is the preferable way to bake a pizza.  I never use my screens or pizza stone anymore.  They are just collecting dust.  If you wanted to try a screen, you usually can get any size cheaply at your local GFS (Gordon Food Service) store.  They are usually everywhere (several in Tampa Bay).  Those are the type of screens that I see used at many pizzerias.

When I observed pizzas being made at the original Home Run Inn, they never used screens or disks, perforated or otherwise.  That is a new development that I guess they now need for their new conveyor ovens.  But none of us have conveyor ovens at home, I don't think.  I am not completely sold on the idea or utility of disks for home use.  But I know others have successfully used them, so it's something you have to assess carefully.

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2008, 09:58:36 AM »
As noted earlier in this thread, the HRI pizza sauce is made using an Escalon tomato puree product with water (plus a few other ingredients). Since I did not have any Nutrition Facts on the Escalon puree products, I sent an email to Escalon requesting same. What I was most interested in is the amount of sodium in the puree products so that I might calculate how much salt is used in the dough itself. Yesterday, I received a reply from Escalon. For the record, the Bonta 1.09 puree has 260 mg. of sodium per 1/4 c. (60 g.) serving. The Bella Rossa Fancy Heavy Tomato Puree 1.07 and the Bella Rossa 1.08 Puree both have 100 mg. of sodium per 1/4 c. (60 g.). So, the Bonta product contains over two and a half times the sodium content of the other the Bella Rossa products on a per-serving basis.

While we can't rule out the possibility that HRI is using a watered-down 6-in-1 product, I think it is more likely that it is using one of the "pure" puree products. If it is the Bonta, then the amount of salt used in the dough itself is likely to be a fraction of a teaspoon less than what I originally estimated (for the 12" pizza size). The amount of cheese used on a pizza is more likely to affect the overall sodium content than the sauce itself. So, I don't see any great need to alter the dough formulation earlier posted, especially since there may be other factors that are involved and for which we do not now have answers.

Peter

#### loowaters

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2008, 10:02:23 AM »
Thanks again Peter for all the work you've put in on this.

Rather than try to get some #10 cans of Escalon's various puree products, I'll get some 6 in 1's (which I haven't ordered in some time) and puree those and then drain or add liquid as necessary.  I'm sure that will add a much deeper flavor to the sauce than the Progresso crushed that I pureed and I'm currently using.

This little project, when I first set out anyway, to duplicate the Home Run Inn pizza was to get that crust just right and then use it as the base for other types of pie that I enjoy, most notably a BBQ chicken pizza (that I'm yet to make).  I'm pretty tickled that it came together so quickly and now as I look at it, I can't believe how close this is to my Malnati's recipe.  A slightly lower hydration, replace the olive oil with more corn oil, and add a little salt and it's done.  I over thought it at the start but with your help finished on just the third attempt.

Loo
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#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2008, 10:28:30 AM »
loo,

I enjoy projects like this one. It is like solving a mystery or a puzzle. It also helps keep the neural connections forming, which can be a good thing as one gets older. The brain is like anything else--you use it or you lose it.

I, too, am surprised by how fast this project came to an end. Since I have never had an HRI pizza, I thought that you would be working in your kitchen turning out pizza after pizza to get the magic formulation. There are still a few loose ends that I hope to tie up before we close the door on this chapter, but just looking at all of the Nutrition Facts that we now have I think we may be quite close to an authentic HRI dough formulation/pizza as things now stand. I'm pretty confident that the HRI doughs contains a lot of oil, much like the many other dough formulations for thin and deep-dish styles in the Chicago area. As with other regions around the country, pizza makers copy each other, either for competitive reasons or because workers move from one pizza place to another and bring their dough formulations and trade secrets with them.

Peter

#### KidNovak

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2008, 02:45:13 PM »
I lived in Cicero IL. for about 25 years. I now live in Louisville, KY.. Where's the Pizza!

In my younger years we use to eat at the Original HRI Pizzeria or Tavern on 31st. You could see  them making the pizza's. They had the big Rotating oven with the metal racks that looked like it would go all the way to the second floor.
It's been over 15 years since I ate at the original HRI.

Any way my mom and dad went to Chicago two weeks ago, and brought back some HRI Frozen Pizza's, Carms Italian Beef, etc...
The 6" pizza crust are definitely not hand made any more, as they were years ago.

I can say that when cooking the HRI pizza, the house smelled like beer.

Looking at Peter's pictures of the crust, I can say that Home Run Inn's is thinner and doesn't have many air bubbles. It definitely does have a buttery taste and sort of a flaky texture. The crust was kind of soft half through do to the thin sauce and the other half was a little more crispy, but not cracker crispy. The bottom of the crust was not as brown.

I have been trying to Duplicate a Pizza Place in Stickney, IL. called "Villa Nova" Pizzeria. It seems they use the same crust as HRI but very thin and the edges are flat.

I will try Peters crust recipe, since my recipe didn't have much of a buttery taste or texture.

Below is a Picture from HRI that came out of a old Pizza Cook book.

The other Picture is a Half Baked From Villa Nova Pizzeria.
The pizza is also frozen in that picture and the crust edge is
flat.

Novak
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 02:55:09 PM by KidNovak »

#### loowaters

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2008, 08:50:53 PM »
That first picture there is a little telling in to how they did it back in the day.  That shaker of oregano and the looks of the oregano on the pie as it's being prepped indicates to me that the oregano wasn't measured and mixed into the sauce before hand but just eyeballed as they topped the pie.  That usually results (at least in my own practices) in more of a spice than when measured and stirred into a premixed sauce.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

#### cmerins

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##### Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2008, 08:16:11 PM »
Hi all...this is my first post on this board but I've been a lurker for months. Coming from Chicago and now in Oklahoma, I've come a long way in making a great deep dish but now I'm looking to clone a Chicago thin crust.  I'm elated to see other people actively trying to replicate HRI at home. I'm not sure how much this helps everyone but here is a close up of HRI at the pizzeria from the Chicago Pizza Club:

www andrewstamm com/PizzaClub/20060301_HomeRunInn_05 JPG
(all the spaces should be periods )

The kinda 'spongy' layer in the crust seems to be pretty thick. Also, the sauce really seems to penetrate deep into that layer, which makes me think thinner sauce is definitely the way to go.

BTW - I was trying to get more of the pizzeria taste/texture in the frozen HRIs...before making one the other day I put it on the counter for 2 hours to thaw, then on the middle rack at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. It was GREAT...much better than just tossing it straight in the oven. I think the taste and texture both seemed a bit more reminiscent of the real thing too...

Thanks again to all you guys on here...I've learned so much already and I 'm making pizzas I wouldn't have dreamed of 6 months ago!