Oftentimes a person's taste in pizza is influenced by the location in which they were raised. Novel styles such as the Provel-laden St Louis Style are preferred by the natives who grow up with an understanding that their particular local style is the definition of "pizza". A definition that varies depending on who you talk to. Distinct regional styles such as these sometimes require an acquired taste, and are therefore little-known and under-appreciated by people outside of the native area. On the opposite side of the spectrum are the classic styles such as New York or Chicago thin that represent spot-on executions of pizza, perfect texture, saltiness, acidity, and sweetness. Knowledge of these styles permeates the general USA population, and rightly so; these styles do not require any explanation to enjoy, beginners and locals alike.
With that said, I believe there is a style that has undeservedly avoided the pizza mainstream. I grew up in the middle of the country and only lucked into experiencing this particular style after marrying someone from the Ohio Valley. The Ohio Valley Style, if you live in the northern horn of WV and the surrounding areas of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania then you know exactly what I am talking about. And if you don't then I don't blame you, a quick search of the forums returns only one mention of the style here:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7815.0.html
A broader search across the internet returns only a few more hits. I was lucky enough to find a mention of the Ohio Valley style at another forum five years ago: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/fb.ashx?m=473604
. And even luckier to see a user "wjcostello" was offering to email the original DiCarlo's recipe to anyone who wanted it. I immediately took him up on his kind offer and he sent me a detailed recipe. The recipe was clearly authentic, with commercial level measurements of flour, water, and yeast, and a back story of his time as a high school student in the fifties learning the recipe from a DiCarlo's employee. I tried to contact wjcostello to thank him for the recipe and ask for permission to republish it, but his email address is no longer functional, and since I might be one of only a handful to possess this recipe I'll post wjcostello's entire email at the end of my post in order to preserve it for posterity.
The Ohio Valley style is defined by a thick, but very light and crispy crust, a basic tomato sauce with hints of green pepper, a generous layer of slightly uncooked mozzarella, topped by a sparse layer of unbaked pepperoni. The dough is parbaked then withdrawn from the oven to receive a coating of sauce, then placed back in the oven until fully cooked. The pizza is then taken out of the oven, dressed with finely shredded mozzarella and pepperoni, cut into rectangles, and placed into a white department-store style box for purchase. The heat of the dough and the steam from the cooked sauce fills the box and melts the cheese closest to the bottom and leaves the top layer of cheese warm yet stringy. It is a unique style, but perhaps the crust can be compared to a very light focacia. The finished product comes close to a Sicilian style, but it stands out as a unique style that deserves more mention than is given on this site. Here is wjcostello's email, I hope the intelligent and enthusiastic members of this site can enjoy it, improve on it, maybe even convert it to baker's percents. And if you have the chance to travel to the Ohio Valley, be sure to try this unique and delicious style. I recommend Ray's Pizza in Wintersville, OH.
On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 9:28 PM, Bill Costello` <firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember this is the ORIGINAL pizza recipe…When I was growing up there was only one DiCarlos Pizza anywhere….and it was on Main Street around 14th in Wheeling WV….I spent about a week full of evenings with Tom (who had always made pizza for me in the 50’s when I was in High School). The one on 14th & Main is gone now but if you interested in getting the most original well the nearest to the original, go to the DiCarlos Pizza in Wheeling across from the McClure Hotel (around 12th and Market)
This sauce recipe is exactly as it is stated. It is really a simple Italian recipe…I recommend that you don’t try to jazz it up with spices, different tomatoes etc…ingredient brands did vary but Crushed Tomatoes means Crushed Tomatoes…not sliced or any other kind….so be very literal with the recipe. This recipe was for a full pot of sauce so you might have downsize the recipe proportionally…you can make a whole batch, divide it up and vacuum freeze it..
1 Cup of Wesson Oil
2 each – whole cloves of garlic, smashed
1 med to large onion sliced thin
2 tablespoons of Oregano
5 large institutional cans of Crushed Tomatoes
2 cups of thin green pepper slices (these were the canned type but you could use fresh)
Put this in a pot and slow cook for around 4 hours…..this is a basic recipe and that is what makes it good and healthy…don’t add anything .
½ lb of yeast
3 gallons of water
14 ½ cups of high gluten flour…make it into a slurry then add as much flour as you need to make it like bread dough. High gluten dough is bread dough
1/3 cup of salt
Mix it up as you would make bread dough…cover and let set until it rises at least twice the size.. Then divide in up into balls the size of the pizza you are making and let rise again….The original is made in a 16 x 28” pan…but I that last time I got it (Aug 2005) they were using a 16 x 16 pan (you get more corner pieces) and it was easier to handle and it was just as good..
Put a little Wesson oil lightly on the pan (makes the bottom crispy that we love) then …..Press and stretch the dough (this is the reason for the high gluten flour), ….put on some sauce and spread it around to fill all the voids…, then put on a little, I mean a little cheese...not too much you can always add more later if you want to …pop it into the oven high - 550 deg F…watch it and break the bubbles (if any) with a fork….when it is just done (check the crust) , pull it out, cut it, put on the pepperoni and then sprinkle mozzarella cheese (grated)(if you want a creamer cheese add about 20% provolone cheese) …the heat will melt the cheese and soften the pepperoni…(It is not recommended… to add much cheese when you first put it into the oven….the cheese will be done and the pizza won’t)..
If you want to locate those 16 x 16 pans, they can be procured from
The Twin Team
Twin Supply Inc
Ask for 16 x 16 x1 Tapered design BLACK steel, reinforced heavy gauge steel wire.
$32.00 per pan, plus shipping and handling
This item is not on their web site, please call and order on the phone