Author Topic: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted  (Read 77281 times)

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Offline cryan8181

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #100 on: August 04, 2013, 09:55:34 PM »
Although nothing I have made so far can beat an original Monical’s pizza, I think I have finally come up with a good clone. This has been the most helpful blog/thread on cloning a Monical’s pizza I have been able to find. Many thanks to those of you who have contributed valuable tidbits of information. A special thanks to Pete-zza. His contributions have proved to be essential in making a good pizza.

A little back ground information before I get to my recipe. I grew up in the Rantoul/Champaign county area and started going to Monical’s in Rantoul, IL in the late 70’s (mostly with my teenaged girlfriend, who is now my wife of 32 years).  We had to move several states away in the mid 90’s and didn’t realize the severe thin crust pizza withdrawals that awaited us. I have checked with several of my friends who have moved away from the area and the response is universal. You can’t get that kind of pizza anywhere else. Needless to say we go to Monical’s anytime we are back in the Midwest.

I have made dozens of these pizzas and have had family and friends try them. (All of them are also in Monical’s pizza exile and were qualified to critique the pizza). In this way I was able to tweak the recipe to make an acceptable clone. My recipe is almost the same as Pete-zza. There are some minor variations due to various limitations.  The pages following the recipe have comments and ideas added.

This recipe makes two roughly 12-13” crust or six roughly 7’-8” crust.

Dough

Flour:         12 oz.      
Water:       5.3 oz.      
IDY (yeast):   1/3 tsp.      

Sauce

Tomato Puree   10.75 oz.   
Aniseed      ½ tsp.      
Garlic salt     ½ tsp.
Oregano                  ½ tsp.
Basil      ½ tsp.
Salt      ½ tsp.
Pepper      ½ tsp.
Fennel      ½ tsp.

Cheese

8 oz. mozzarella
3 oz. provolone

Bake

Sauce:      ¼ cup or less
Cheese:      5-6 oz.
Toppings:     Any/All
12”- 13”                  525 degrees for 4 minutes, then 475 for 7mins. Times are estimates.
7”- 8”      525 degrees for 4 minutes, then 475 for 4mins. Times are estimates.

[[size=14ptDough[/size]

Flour:         12 oz.      This is about 2 ¾ cup of King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour.
Water:       5.3 oz.      About ¾ cup or a tiny bit more.
IDY (yeast):   1/3 tsp.      I have used a heaping ¼” tsp. and it works just as well.

I have not had much luck with all-purpose flour. It made my crust slightly wimpy and a little slick on the top side if I cooked it at the stated temperature.  It made it a little to cracker/crunchy if I cooked it a little longer.  The King Arthur works pretty well, but I am open to suggestions. I recommend weighing the flour. I use a little mail scale.

1.   Mix slightly warm water with yeast and a few grains of sugar. After 5 minutes add all the flour and fold in with a spatula.

 I have used a dough hook attachment to mix this but found it to be easier and faster with a spatula first and then by hand. I use only ¾ cup of water and need no more. If you kind of gently pull or tear the dough as you mix it makes for better hydration. I then form a dough ball and keep kneading in the dry residual flour. After 3-5 minutes you will have a dry dough ball with a hint of tackiness. At first you will think it is impossible to do this but with a little practice and finesse you will develop good technique.

2.   Apply a few drops of olive oil to the dough ball, cover and warm for an hour or so at 100 to 130 degrees.

The dough will raise 40% to 50%, but the purpose is to warm the dough so you can more easily roll it out. If it is not warm it can be difficult to roll.  Also don’t accidently over rise, pre-cook, or under warm the dough. I have done all of those things and I just had to work out the best way to do this through trial and error. But it was worth the trouble.

3.   Knead down the dough and separate into two equal balls (I use the mail scale). Roll each ball out to 12-13”.

You can roll this out pretty thin. I have played around with different thicknesses and they have all turned out tasting pretty good. If I roll it out to the thickness of 2 to 3 pennies it is real close to a Monical’s pizza. If it is the thickness of a nickel and a penny or two it has a slightly bread like quality but is still very tasty. My first few roll out attempts had just about every thickness in one pizza.

4.   Wrap dough and refrigerate (cold rise) for at least a days. Very important to do this and the main reason this crust is so good.
Loosely but completely wrap dough sheet in Glad Cling wrap or Glad Press-n-seal. I prefer Press-n-seal.  I then place the sheet on a piece of cardboard and stack them in the refrigerator.  If I wrap them too tightly the dough will have a wetness to it that seems to reduce the browning of the crust. If the crust is a little wet I will remove the wrap and place the dough directly on the cardboard, cover loosely and it put back in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so. A little flour also works sometimes.

I have had the best crust after waiting 2 days, 3 days and even 4 days later. The crust seems to brown better and taste better. This works out very well if you want to plan out a few days ahead.
(Freezing the crust and sauce has worked decent enough for me to consider doing again if I will be running short on time).


Sauce

Tomato Puree   10.75 oz. -Tomato paste sort of works, but I prefer puree (Hunt’s).
Aniseed      ½ tsp.    - I use whole seed crushed in a mortar and pestle   
Garlic salt                  ½ tsp.
Oregano                  ½ tsp.
Basil      ½ tsp.
Salt      ½ tsp.
Pepper      ½ tsp.
Fennel      ½ tsp.

All the above dry ingredients are crushed together in a mortar and pestle.( I hold back a little of this combination to add to the top of the pizza). I then add it to the puree and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes or so. This blends the flavors and reduces the tomato puree a little bit.

 At least in my opinion it does. The sauce you end up will be based on your memory and/or personal taste.
 
 I tried variations of this sauce recipe with several people at different times. Most couldn’t tell if the puree had been simmered or not. Most of them also could not tell if I left out a particular ingredient or not. So you probably don’t need all these ingredients.

The ingredients that seem to be must haves are: Aniseed, Basil, Garlic Salt, and Salt.

Other ingredients I have mixed /matched with the above recipe and have had good luck with are: Onion powder, Chipotle, Garlic & Herb, and Tomato Basil Garlic.

I will try almost anything, but this will move further away from the Monical’s taste.

   

Cheese

8 oz. mozzarella
3 oz. provolone

Shred and blend. This will easily cover 2 pizzas. The provolone seems to add a nice texture to the finished pizza.

Bake

Sauce:      ¼ cup or less
Cheese:      5-6 oz.
Toppings:    Any/All
12”- 13”                  525 degrees for 4 minutes, then 475 for 7mins. Times are estimates.
7”- 8”      525 degrees for 4 minutes, then 475 for 4mins. Times are estimates.

Note: I only use a pizza stone. I preheat the stone 40 minutes to an hour before use. I pre-heat the stone as high as my oven will go (550 degrees) on the top rack and move it to the bottom rack just before I put the pizza in. At the same time I turn my oven down to 525 degrees. Through trial and error I have found this works best for my home oven.

Place cold/cool dough on a lightly cornmeal covered pizza peel. Spread evenly the sauce on dough all the way to the edge. Too much sauce will bubble up through the cheese.
Add cheese evenly and to the edge. The amount of cheese can vary to taste just make sure it is even.
Add toppings, generally not too many to get that Monical’s feel. I have loaded up a few pizzas and they turn out good too. I have also used Organic Tucson Herb olive oil mixed with the toppings. This has added a nice hint of the Monical’s flavor to my pizzas.
I then sprinkle/shake a little bit of the dry ingredients I held back from the sauce preparation.

Lastly but very, very important is to sprinkle liberally basil over the whole top of the pizza. If you forget this you will definitely notice it missing. (I had to write the word” Basil “on the handle of my peel so I wouldn’t forget).
   
The first 4 pictures are from Aug 2013. I just made two 7 ½” sausages and mushroom tonight. Turned out good on all counts.
   
The next 4 pictures are some of my very first attempts back in 2011. The first two show the curst tuning out looking pretty good, having good texture,mouth feel, and tasting decent.

The next shows a good tasting pizza but with a so-so cheese application and the mouth feel was a little off. I started paying closer attention to the shape and toppings distribution after this one.

The last shows one where I forgot to turn down the oven from 525 to 475 degrees. It had a kind of saucy, spicy taste and a crackly, weird month feel. This is when I started paying closer attention to my baking temperatures, stone heat up time and sauce/cheese amounts.

Since these first attempts my pizzas have gotten better and better. It was fun and very encouraging to continue to improve.  I will keep trying different sizes and other ideas.

I hope some of you find this helpful.

 
   


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #101 on: August 04, 2013, 10:23:09 PM »
Those are some damn fine pizzas there Basil guy....thank you for the really nice write up.  :chef:
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #102 on: August 05, 2013, 06:25:44 PM »
 ^^^

Peter

Offline bobnfrapples

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #103 on: February 19, 2014, 10:30:36 PM »
In the Monicals kitchen. 


Offline dogboy

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #104 on: February 19, 2014, 10:47:48 PM »
In the Monicals kitchen. 
interesting. Glad I found this thread. I have a very similar monicals style and taste that I make.

Offline bobnfrapples

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #105 on: February 20, 2014, 08:02:13 PM »
I've never attempted to replicate Monicals but the info in this string is great! I hope to give it a go soon.

Offline dogboy

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #106 on: March 14, 2014, 08:57:54 AM »
Monicals style from last week. Baked at 550 on steel for 8 minutes. Finished bake with dried basil and garlic salt sprinkled over top. Although I did not use corn meal I did use semolina and had same effect. Guess corn meal is much cheaper than semolina.

Offline blacula

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #107 on: March 26, 2014, 02:58:17 PM »
That looks great.  It's been 25 years since I've been to Monical's, but I can still remember their pizza like it was yesterday.

My own efforts have improved significantly over the last year thanks to this thread.

Offline bobnfrapples

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #108 on: March 29, 2014, 01:04:04 PM »
Monicals style from last week. Baked at 550 on steel for 8 minutes. Finished bake with dried basil and garlic salt sprinkled over top. Although I did not use corn meal I did use semolina and had same effect. Guess corn meal is much cheaper than semolina.

That looks great! How close is it in taste?

Offline dogboy

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #109 on: March 29, 2014, 03:32:39 PM »
That looks great! How close is it in taste?
bobbn it tastes extremely close. I will do a side by side when I get a chance and post it. I still can order and eat monicals when I'm home. It's gonna be a couple more months as I am out of the country.


Offline dogboy

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #110 on: September 08, 2014, 08:42:40 AM »
Monicals