I have a few thoughts I'd love to share...I simply do not have the fond memories of Shakey's pizza that many of you have shared. We had a Shakey's in our hometown, and it simply didn't survive. The fact is Abby's Pizza ruled. Please understand....I am not criticizing the Shakey's idea or plan...but one must remember, regardless of the recipe you use or the method you employ, you can never leave out the human element. Way back when I was 19 and was just starting out in the biz...the pizza parlors (including Abby's) simply hired young teen agers at minimum wage and trained them to roll dough. Now if you have a fool proof process, that is one thing.....but simply speaking, you are talking about the most boring job in the world to a teenager....I remember many, many days when our poor dough roller had to roll out 500 pounds a day. Having said that, although we made many excellent pizzas, the consistency was not the greatest....and I'll tell you what,....we were busier than hell. Making 350 pizzas a night was nothing.....the higher volume stores in Portland, many times would do 500 pies. And now when you add the fact, that none of us knew about the most elementry basics about dough management...I mean the simple things...it's a wonder some of us lasted as long as we did.
Contrast these observations with the stories you hear today about the truly great pizzas in America...constrast them with Bianco, Mangieri, etc. I'll never forget while attending Tom Lehmann's pizza dough class in Manhatten Kansas....Tom mentioned that when he went out and ate pizza, he usually went to the chains because of their consistency, not the quality.
Now, having said all of that....there really is no mystique to a Shakey's crust. There are no magic ingredients, just the very simple ingredients found in most doughs. The secret as everyone knows is the lamination process. Every pizza shop that uses a sheeter to laminate pizza dough develops a process detemined by the dough itself and by the particular type of sheeter used....there are no deep dark secrets that can help in the pizza making process at home. If one want to replicate the Shakey's type crust, one must concentrate on the areas which will give the most bang for the buck and then adjust from there...and that simply has to be the lamination process.
I have done many, many experiments at my home,and I can tell you...you can take any recipe listed for a cracker crust on this website, you can even use whatever strength of flour you want....but as long as you laminate it, you will achieve a crust somewhat similar to what you are looking for.that is, if you can achieve the right thickness ,and if you find the right temperature to bake it at. In fact, you can even vary the hydration rates and come up with great crusts.
If you are interested I posted a seriers of experiments on the lamination process at:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6604.0.html
Please remember, my thinking was to create a process which will work at home with a simple rolling pin. My ideas came in very small increments over a long period of time. My very last experiment was used on Peter's Round Table clone, and in this experiment I concluded the process (at least for me) was complete and is a simple as I can make it.http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1911.0.html
It is the last post on the thread. Hope this helps all!