Author Topic: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted  (Read 84553 times)

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Offline loowaters

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2008, 11:43:04 AM »
Peter, this looks really good!  What exactly have you come up with for a formula and TF?  Is it posted somewhere in this thread and I'm just not seeing it?

I've never had a Monical's either as every time I ended up in the C/U area and needed pizza I ended up at Garcia's.  I'm always looking for good thin crust recipes. :chef:

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2008, 12:40:36 PM »
I just ate Monicals thin crust for the first time this last Thursday.  It was very good.  I noticed the bottom of the crust was quite blistered and not really brown.   This may be a result of their ovens.

cougarblue,

Thank you for the compliment.

I am not sure whether Monical's has switched over to conveyor ovens at any of its locations. Often regional chains will do that as their business grows and they have to make larger volumes of pizzas using largely unskilled labor, which usually leads operators to conveyor ovens. If conveyor ovens are used, then that means using screens or disks, which will produce somewhat different crust characteristics and coloring. It's also possible that the Monical's skins are being used cold, which can result in bubbles in the finished crust. I decided to just bake the entire pizza on the stone, and not to use a cutter pan or the like or to pre-bake the crust. The results were so good, with a nice balance between top and bottom that John (fazzari) talks about so often, that I think I would use the stone alone for future Monical's clone pizzas made in my oven. I might try using a cold skin, however, just to see what effect that produces.

Peter


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2008, 02:19:33 PM »
loo,

There were a couple of things that I principally used to come up with the dough formulation: the fact that the Monical’s dough consists of only flour, water and yeast, and that the nutrition information given at the Monical’s website is provided separately for the thin crust, sauce and cheese. The latter data was given for an 8” pizza, but a footnote indicates that an 8” pizza is equal to 1/3 of a 14” pizza. If you calculate the surface area of an 8” pizza and compare that with the surface area of a 14” pizza, you will see that the 3 times number holds pretty well. I elected to go with the 14” size only because that is the largest size I can bake on my pizza stone. From analyzing the nutrition data for the crust, I came to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that all-purpose flour with relatively low protein content is being used by Monical’s, at least as of the effective date of the nutritional information provided at the Monical’s website. The Pillsbury all-purpose flour seemed to fit the bill. However, I wouldn’t be afraid to use something like the Gold Medal Harvest King flour with its higher protein content. When I looked at the specs for that flour, it looked to be similar to the numbers given at the Monical’s website for their thin crust.

I used 8 ounces of diced mozzarella cheese on the most recent pizza, even though I estimated from the nutrition information given for diced mozzarella cheese at the nutritiondata.com website that the amount used by Monical’s is perhaps closer to about 6-7 ounces. I also estimated that the amount of sauce is around a half cup, with perhaps some salt added.

The biggest surprise is that I calculated a thickness factor of about 0.104258. That was based on the amount of dough I made for the 14” pizza. I somewhat made an educated guess on the hydration and yeast only because there was no way to ascertain these numbers from the Monical’s nutrition information. I knew based on my prior work with low- to medium-hydration doughs that the hydration of the Monical’s dough couldn’t be too high since the skins would have to be prepared in advance and conveniently held in a cooler for a day or so before using. This suggested a hydration of about 50-53%. I estimated that a normal yeast quantity for such a dough would be around 0.30-0.35% (IDY). I used tap water at around 68 degrees F, although it is possible that Monical’s has a water treatment system.

After piecing everything together as best I could, I came up with the following dough formulation using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html:

Flour (100%):
Water (52.8%):
IDY (0.32%):
Total (153.12%):
298.5 g  |  10.53 oz | 0.66 lbs
157.61 g  |  5.56 oz | 0.35 lbs
0.96 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.32 tsp | 0.11 tbsp
457.06 g | 16.12 oz | 1.01 lbs | TF = N/A
(Note: No bowl residue compensation used)

To prepare the dough, I put the water into the mixer bowl of my basic KitchenAid mixer with a C-hook, and then combined the yeast and flour in a separate bowl. Using the stir speed and the C-hook, I added the flour/yeast mixture to the water in the bowl by scoops of about two tablespoons each. I continued this until the water could not take on any more flour. I estimate that about half of the flour/yeast mixture was added over a period of about 4 minutes (on stir). I then covered the bowl and let the dough rest for about 15 minutes in order to improve the hydration of the flour.

At the expiration of the 15-minute period, I added the remaining flour/yeast mixture and, using my hands almost exclusively, brought all of the ingredients together in the mixer bowl in an effort to make a unitary dough mass. The dough was clearly on the dry side, so I found it necessary to add a half-teaspoon of extra water. That is all that was needed, and again using my hands I was able to form everything into a cohesive ball. The dough was then kneaded for about 6 minutes at speeds 2-3. Next time, I would be inclined to sift the flour to improve its hydration. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the extra water wouldn’t be needed. I’m sure I can improve the hydration even further by using the whisk/flat beater/C-hook dough preparation method as described elsewhere on the forum.

The effect of the added water was to increase the nominal hydration noted in the above formulation to about 53.6%. I would rather have it at the nominal value. The finished dough weight was about 16.05 ounces. From that weight, I calculated the abovementioned thickness factor of 0.1042588. I coated the finished dough ball with a very light coating of oil so that it would not develop a crust at the surface when it went into my proofing box. As it was, the dough was on the stiff side and would have been difficult to roll out by hand. Hence, the decision to use the proofing box to condition the dough so that it would roll out much easier and much more quickly.

After putting the dough ball into a lightweight, thin-walled plastic container, it went into my proofing box for about an hour and 15 minutes at around 130 degrees F. While in the proofing box, I estimate that the dough ball expanded by about 40%. Upon its removal from the proofing box, I rolled out the dough to 14” using a rolling pin. It took less than a couple of minutes to do this. The process was so simple and easy that I was able to roll the dough out in all directions to exactly 14” without needing a template to cut a 14” skin out of a larger sheet of dough. The 14” skin was then dusted with bench flour on both sides and folded in quarters. Because of its relatively high hydration, I used plastic wrap on all of the exposed surfaces of the skin before folding so that no part of the skin would come in direct contact with another part of the skin and stick thereto. The skin then went into the refrigerator for about 2 days.

The photos below show the Monical’s clone dough at the different stages, including the initial dough ball before going into the proofing box, the dough ball after removal from the proofing box, the 14” skin, and the 14” skin after being quartered and encased in plastic wrap.

I hope you will give the dough formulation a try and report back on the results. My feelings will not be hurt if you do not like the results.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 03:16:52 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline cougarblue

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2008, 05:01:33 PM »
Peter

FYI,

Monicals uses all deck ovens and cooks them directly on the deck using the pizza peels to insert and remove...... Also, I have a good friend that used to work there that has confirmed that thin crust pizza is pulled right from the cooler and made and put into the oven as you indicated may be the case.  She has also confirmed that the dry herbs used on top of the pizza are basil and oregano and she told me garlic salt and not powder on top.  Anyway, hope that info helps.

Deep dish pizzas are done in the pan, they brush a garlic/olive oil paste in the pan prior to putting the dough in it to proof.  The same sauce is used on both pizzas.....she said it consisted of Tomato paste, water, basil, oregano, salt, sugar and the secret ingrediant.....anise.

Mike

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2008, 05:23:55 PM »
Mike,

Thank you for the additional information. I suspected that Monical's was using deck ovens because of the photos in the menus shown at their website, specifically, pizzas on wooden peels. However, sometimes chains quietly shift to other ovens over time, even though they may still have and be using some of the original ovens, as Home Run Inn in the Chicago area has done. Sbarro's is one of the few pizza chains of any size that I am aware of that is still using deck ovens. However, they were bought out a while ago by a buyout firm, so who knows what they will do.

The sauce I made had all of the seasonings you mentioned, including, believe it or not, the anise. Using the garlic salt instead of the garlic powder also helps explain why the salt (sodium) levels were on the high side. When I examined the sodium levels of typical canned tomatoes, they seemed to be too low for the estimated amount used to account for the levels I saw at the Monical's website.

Pulling and using skins directly from the cooler makes a lot of sense. If my hydration level is anywhere near correct, the skin will be easiest to handle while it is cold. When it warms up, it is more like a conventional skin with more volume (rise). The finished crust using a cold skin may also be thinner because of the lack of a proof. Either way, the pizza should taste just fine.

I hope that you can try out the formulation I posted since you know what the real deal is like.

Peter


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2008, 12:46:50 PM »
You need to work on their deep dish.....in my opinion, Monicals deep dish pizza is even better than the thin crust. 

Mike,

By deep dish, do you mean the pan pizza? I have looked at the Monical's nutritional information for the pan pizza and think I can come up with a possible dough formulation. It's pretty clear that there is a fat in some form in the pan pizza dough. It's hard to say but I think the fat is either a single oil (e.g., olive oil), an oil blend (maybe olive oil and canola or vegetable oil) or possibly margarine (because of its sodium/salt content). I estimate that the amount of flour used in the 8" pan pizza is about 125% of that used in the 8" thin pizza crust. Making some assumptions on hydration and yeast (IDY), I estimate that the 8" pan pizza is based on about 7.32 ounces of dough. If the 3 times factor applies for the pan pizzas also, then the dough weight for a 14" pan pizza would be 21.96 ounces. Pizza Hut uses 22 ounces of dough for its 14" pan pizza, so the number I came up appears to be credible.

It would also be helpful to have an idea as to how Monical's prepares the dough for the pan pizzas. I can imagine several possibilities, including a same-day dough and a cold fermented dough, with the dough being proofed in both cases, much as Pizza Hut does with its pan pizzas. I understand that before Pizza Hut went to frozen doughs, the doughs made in individual store locations would be processed through a dough sheeter/roller. In a home setting, the more likely option would be a rolling pin (or pasta machine for those who prefer that method). The answer to these questions will govern the amount of yeast to use.

Peter

Offline csacks

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2008, 05:28:27 PM »
Peter, I tried your dough recipe and although I had my doubts, it was very good.  The very bottom of the crust cooked up to about 1/4 inch thick and looked like a mini sponge.  Crispy on the bottom, yet chewy.  I can't quite imagine producing this dough on a large scale because of how dry it seemed.  I worked all that I could in by hand, then put the dough into the KA.  The flour did all finally work in, but I am glad that I lost a little on the table top while I was working the flour in by hand.  I left the dough set out in my warming mailbox while I attended two basketball games.  I came home from the games, rolled it out, and put the rolled and folded dough into a wine cooler at 48 degrees for two days.  Unfolding the dough and pulling off the plastic was easier than I antipicated.  I will make the dough again.  Something is kinda compelling about it.  Sorry that I can't tell you if it is authentic.  I have never had a Monical pizza.  Craig

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2008, 06:02:23 PM »
Craig,

As I understand it, Monical's makes up the skins in advance and puts them in the cooler, separated by spacers made of paper or cardboard or something similar. I folded my skin for convenience because of limited refrigerator space. As you perhaps know, I have been using the dough warming method as a substitute for a commercial sheeter/roller. It just makes the dough so much easier and quicker to roll out. However, using the dough warming method can make the dough a bit moist at a hydration of around 54%. If I did not put plastic wrap on both sides of the skin before folding it, it would stick to itself while in the refrigerator and be almost impossible to separate later. Without using the dough warming method I suspect that I could have rolled the dough out eventually and that it would have been dryer as a result. Then it would have been more like the commercial skins that Monical's produces. I don't think that they can get too high in hydration because they have to get the dough through the rollers--although I suspect it is possible that they use a lot of bench flour. That certainly would result in dryer skins. In my case, I used only enough bench flour to be able to roll out the dough without its sticking to my work surface and a little more on the surfaces of the skin before encasing it in plastic wrap.

In any event, I am glad you gave the recipe a try and liked it. I estimate that my 14" Monical's clone cost me around $3.85 (materials costs only). The 14" Deluxe at Monical's sells for around $18.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 09, 2008, 06:28:48 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2008, 09:37:56 PM »
Since I had already conducted an analysis of the Monical’s nutritional information for their 8” pan pizza, I decided to take the exercise a step further and actually make a version of a clone of that pizza. In so doing, I thought that it would help to see an actual photo of a Monical’s pan pizza--of any size. However, after examining all of the menus available at the Monical’s website, I found no such photo. When I did a Google search, I came up empty. So, I decided just to forge ahead.

For purposes of making the 8” pan pizza clone, I decide on the following dough formulation as provided by the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html:

Flour (100%):
Water (55%):
IDY (0.50%):
Olive Oil (5.41259%):
Canola Oil (1.35315%):
Total (162.26574%):
127.9 g  |  4.51 oz | 0.28 lbs
70.35 g  |  2.48 oz | 0.16 lbs
0.64 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.21 tsp | 0.07 tbsp
6.92 g | 0.24 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.54 tsp | 0.51 tbsp
1.73 g | 0.06 oz | 0 lbs | 0.38 tsp | 0.13 tbsp
207.54 g | 7.32 oz | 0.46 lbs | TF = N/A
(Note: No bowl residue compensation used; the calculated thickness factor was 0.145627)

I no sooner came up with the above dough formulation only to discover that I did not have an 8” pan. However, I had a 7” dark anodized PSTK cutter pan from pizzatools.com. So, I scaled down the formulation for the 8” pizza to 7”. The resulting dough formulation that I actually used was this one, including the use of a 1% bowl residue compensation:

Flour (100%):
Water (55%):
IDY (0.50%):
Olive Oil (5.41259%):
Canola Oil (1.35315%):
Total (162.26574%):
98.9 g  |  3.49 oz | 0.22 lbs
54.39 g  |  1.92 oz | 0.12 lbs
0.49 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.16 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
5.35 g | 0.19 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.19 tsp | 0.4 tbsp
1.34 g | 0.05 oz | 0 lbs | 0.29 tsp | 0.1 tbsp
160.47 g | 5.66 oz | 0.35 lbs | TF = N/A
(Note: 1% bowl residue compensation used; finished dough weight was 5.70 oz. and finished dough temperature was 69.5 degrees F)

To prepare the dough, I started by first combining the IDY with the flour. The flour itself was the Kroger’s brand of all-purpose flour. I then put the water, which was water directly from the tap, into the mixer bowl of my basic KitchenAid mixer with the C-hook. I gradually added the flour/IDY mixture to the water in the mixer bowl and mixed the ingredients together using the stir speed, about 2 minutes. I then added the oil, which was an 80/20 blend of olive oil and canola oil, and the rest of the flour/IDY and mixed them together using the stir and 2 speeds, followed by combining the ingredients more fully by hand. I then kneaded the dough at the 2 speed for about 5 minutes. In retrospect, the better choice for making the dough would have been a food processor because the dough ball was on the small side (only 5.70 ounces) and actually too small for my mixer. After removing the dough ball from the mixer bowl, I shaped the dough ball into a nice round shape. The first photo below shows the dough ball at this stage. After lightly brushing the dough ball with a bit of olive oil, I let it rest for about 10 minutes. It then went into a plastic storage container (a Rubbermaid container) and into the refrigerator. It stayed in the refrigerator for 27 hours.

Upon removing the dough ball from the refrigerator, I allowed it to warm up at room temperature, which was a bit on the cool side (66 degrees F), for two hours. I then rolled the dough out with a rolling pin to about 6 1/2 “, or a bit less than the diameter of the bottom of the 7” cutter pan. After coating the bottom of the 7” cutter pan with a combination of a pulverized clove of fresh garlic and olive oil (about a teaspoon), I placed the rolled-out skin into the cutter pan. I then coated the outer rim of the skin with a bit of oil. I did this on the basis of reading that that is the method used by Pizza Hut--but using a spray--for its pan pizzas (see, for example, Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4067.msg33990.html#msg33990). 

At this stage, I had to decide how I would proof the skin. Professionals usually proof their pan pizza doughs in covered pans at room temperature or in proofing cabinets that provide a combination of heat (around 95-100 degrees F) and humidity (around 80% relative humidity). I thought initially to use my proofing box with accompanying humidity but, upon reflection, decided instead to use my microwave unit as a proofing unit since virtually everyone has a microwave unit and very few appear to have a proofing box or its equivalent. To accomplish the proofing of the skin, I heated a one-quart Pyrex glass measuring cup filled with water to just below the point of boiling, about nine minutes. I then placed the measuring cup with the hot water in it into my microwave unit along with the cutter pan with the skin in it. There was no need to cover the pan since there was plenty of humidity to prevent the skin from developing a crust. The temperature within my microwave unit was about 104 degrees F.

The pan remained in the microwave unit for about an hour. I then repeated the above cycle of heating the water, but this time for about three minutes, and returning the pan to the microwave unit. The pan remained in the microwave unit for another hour. At the end of that time, the dough had about doubled in volume. Next time, I think I would be inclined to use my proofing box, or else my ThermoKool MR-138 unit because they are simply easier and more convenient to use. For humidification purposes, I would use a container of hot water. For those who are interested in the proofing box I use, it is described at Reply 6 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,403.msg4887.html#msg4887 and as modified (to provide a window) at Reply 69 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49752.html#msg49752. The MR-138 unit is shown and briefly described at http://www.thebuzzelectronics.com/thermokool_mr138_thermokool_mr-138_deluxe_mini_cooler_and_w.htm (it is also described elsewhere on the forum) .

To dress the pizza in preparation for baking, I placed the sauce on the dough, followed by shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese (Best Choice brand), slices of pepperoni (Hormel), and a light scattering of garlic salt and dried basil and oregano herbs. The quantities of sauce and cheese were quite generous. The sauce itself was prepared from the Wal-Mart Great Value brand of crushed tomatoes, dried basil and oregano, sugar, and ground anise (about 1/8 teaspoon of the anise seed ground in a mortar and pestle). I found the sauce to have a very nice flavor, in large measure because of the ground anise. The second photo below shows the pizza as it was dressed for baking.

The pizza was baked on a pizza stone that I had placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 450 degrees F. The pizza baked for about 12 minutes. The two remaining photos show the finished pizza.

The pizza itself was very good. It had a soft center but a crispy bottom and a chewy rim. Although not shown in the photos, the bottom had a nice brown color, reflecting the “fried” effect produced from oiling the pan before inserting the skin. Next time, I think I would be inclined to use even more oil to accentuate that fried effect even further. Needless to say, the pizza was small enough to be consumed in one sitting. A more typical size of pan pizza might be the 14” size. For that size, I would have to devise another proofing method because my microwave unit, proofing box, and MR-138 unit are too small to accommodate a 14” pan.

If anyone is interested, I can scale up the 8” dough formulation presented above to provide a dough formulation for the 14” size.

As with the Monical’s clone thin crust pizza I made and reported on earlier in this thread, I have no idea whether the Monical’s pan pizza clone is like the ones sold by Monical’s since I have never had a Monical’s pan pizza either. But it sure tasted fine.

Peter


Offline cougarblue

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2008, 11:57:51 AM »
Pete,

That pizza looks really good.  Thank you for working on the deep dish pizza.  What quantities did you add in the other spices in your tomatos.  Also, I will be in Champaign this coming week and I will go to monicals and order a deep dish, take some pictures and see if i can find any more info out. Once again, thank you for your dedication to this forum.

Mike

Offline cougarblue

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2008, 12:02:31 PM »
After coating the bottom of the 7” cutter pan with a combination of a pulverized clove of fresh garlic and olive oil (about a teaspoon),

Peter,

Did you consider roasting some garlic?

Mike

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2008, 12:37:06 PM »
What quantities did you add in the other spices in your tomatos. 

Mike,

I just eyeballed the amounts of basil and oregano. I grew my own basil and oregano and dried them as the weather started to turn cold. When I use the dried basil and oregano, I just rub them between my fingers to get to a more powdery stage and add them to the sauce. The oregano is an Italian variety with a potent taste and perfumy aroma so I have to be careful not to overdo its use. The sugar was about a quarter-teaspoon. I am not a big fan of sweet pizza sauces so I use just enough to get the Wal-Mart crushed tomatoes to the natural sweetness level of the 6-in-1s. I did not add salt to the sauce because I find the Wal-Mart tomatoes to be salty enough on their own. The anise flavor showed through the sauce nicely. There was no salt in the dough I made (based on my analysis of the sodium content in the Monical's nutritional information), but I could not detect its absence. No doubt there was plenty enough salt in the rest of the ingredients.

I did not consider roasting the garlic. However, the aroma of the fresh garlic filled the room as soon as I removed the pizza from the oven and the pan. I'd be interested in the nature of the garlic-oil blend used by Monical's in the pans, that is, whether the garlic is a fresh garlic (roasted or not), a commercial garlic paste, or a dry form. I'm sure that roasted garlic on the pizza itself would be a great addition.

I look forward to hearing from you when you return from your Monical's trip. The best example of the Monical's clone pan pizza should be the 12" or 14" size. After I posted, I discovered that I have some 8" deep-dish pans after all. They are seasoned Chicago Metallic aluminum pans. The 8" personal size is good for one person.

If you can get a rough idea as to a typical weight of a Monical's thin crust pizza, say, a 14" pie, that would be very useful. The one I made started out weighing over a pound with all of the toppings and cheese and sauce. Some of the weight was lost during baking when water was driven out of the ingredients, like the crust, sauce, veggies, etc., but I would estimate that the baked pizza was still well over a pound, and maybe closer to 24-25 ounces if I had to guess. Often thin crust pizzas weigh more than people think. If I am way off on the weight factor, that would cause me to wonder what I am missing from my analysis of the Monical's nutritional information for the 14" size.

Peter

Offline cougarblue

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2008, 10:01:20 PM »
Peter,

I made your recipe for the Monicals deep dish with some experimental modification of my own.  When I talked to my friend that worked there, she indicated that the oil/garlic that was brushed in the bottom of the pan, was paste like......so I took a whole head of garlic and cut off the top of it....I then drizzled olive oil into the garlic and wrapped it tightly in some foil.  Then into the oven for an hour......this made a nice thick paste of roasted garlic. I mixed this thick paste with some olive oil and a little bit of salt.  It combined nicely using a small whisk.  I then brushed it into the pan in a small quantity and put the dough inside of the pan to proof.
 
For the sauce, I used a can of 6 in 1, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and finally the anise.  The sauce was very good.....I think I should have put some salt in the sauce but other than that, it was very good.  I might put a bit more anise in as well.  I did as you suggested and ground the anise in a mortar. 

Overall, I think we are moving in the right direction.  I did cook the pizza on top of my stone so it was a little too crispy on the bottom.  Monicals pizza is more bread like.  I have the same problem with the crust that I have when I have made Chicago style......the final product is too hard.  Very possibly because I am not cooking it right.

The flavor of the roasted garlic was very subtle....there might be more to that paste than I am aware but again......I think we are headed in the right direction. Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I did not take pictures.....I will take some of my next attempt.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2008, 10:21:22 PM »
Mike,

What kind of pan did you use, and what bake temperature? And did you use the recipe for the 8"?

Peter

Offline cougarblue

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2008, 12:38:55 AM »
Mike,

What kind of pan did you use, and what bake temperature? And did you use the recipe for the 8"?

Peter

Peter,

I used a 9" round pan from pizzatools.com with the non stick coating on it.  I baked at 450.

Mike

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2008, 07:59:41 AM »
I used a 9" round pan from pizzatools.com with the non stick coating on it.  I baked at 450.

Mike,

Usually, the bottom of a pan pizza is supposed to be "fried" and a bit crunchy, which is why so much oil is put on the bottom of the pan before placing the skin into it. Maybe Monical's is not using as much oil or possibly they are using a lighter colored pan. When you visit Monical's next, maybe you can find out what kind of pan they are using. Many of the older styles of pans are tinned steel or well-seasoned aluminum pans. Maybe in your case you can skip the oil in the pan and see what you get, or you can go to a lighter colored pan, even an aluminum one although you may want to oil it to get some coloration in the bottom crust.

Peter

Offline lindaw

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2008, 03:40:41 PM »
 :DWell I hope I am doing this right. First time on here. I worked at Monical's several years ago and began (and ended) my short career there as a delivery driver with a year or so as Assistant Manager in between. I grew up in Tolono, IL and my mother worked for the original owner of the first store, Walter Monical. They have a strong non-comp agreement which I had to sign when I became management. They even make anyone with access to the recipes sign it. My memory is not so good for specifics anymore but a couple of things I can tell you which you may have already heard are:
There are two recipes for the sauce; the thin crust sauce has just the canned sauce, water, and salt and pepper which I saw mentioned earlier in a reply but there is also a separate recipe for the pan pizza which is much thicker and richer.  The secret ingredient in this is anise. This recipe has a lot less water, also has the salt and pepper but it seems like it also may have had sugar in it. I can't remember the exact formula but I preferred the thick recipe.
As far as the doughs:  They are also pretty different, the thick crust dough we started in the mixer with the warm water, yeast and possibly sugar for food for the yeast. Mixed that up and let set a few minutes and started mixing while pouring in the flour and at the end some olive oil. We mixed that well and let it rest for a while then kneaded it, chopped into the right size chunks then we rolled on the power roller set to thick, dropping the flattened dough directly into the pans, which each had a small amount of olive oil in them, formed to the edge and put in the cooler to rest and age for a day before use.  The thin I don't remember quite as well and I did not perform the dough duties very often but the basic principles were the same except the recipe had no sugar for food and kept the rising to a minimum. The doughs were stacked with the cardboard circles between and cooled a day before use. Hope this info helps someone. My son's ex still works at a Monical's. Not sure if she's ever done the doughs, but I'll check. Wouldn't blame her if she guards the secrets though.


Offline PizzaDan84

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2008, 03:13:58 PM »
as with skyy I find it interesting as everyone tries so hard to recreate this closely guarded recipe.  As a long time employee of Monicals Pizza I have watched as we have put measures in place to safe guard our recipe even more as the company grows.  Peter you will be sad to know that as time passes fewer and fewer people will know the actual recipe as many ingredients are being prepared before they even arrive at the store.  The sauce for instance now only has 2 ingredients added in house preventing almost all current employees from disclosing any information about what it really contains. 

To those former employees who have so carelessly revealed trade secrets.  Please keep in mind that whether you signed a nondisclosure agreement or not sharing trade secrets is just wrong.  One poster in fact stated the EXACT reason these secrets are guarded so closely... he intends to no longer buy Monicals Pizza but instead make them himself.  Six pizzas an order I believe he stated  :o can you imagine the affect of loosing this gentleman as a customer might have?

One bit of information I would like to share however is something that I think is the reason Monicals has been able to maintain the same consistent flavor and quality.  A large majority of the locations still use the original suppliers and manufacturers.  Over the course of the years many pizzerias have been forced to use cheaper and lower quality ingredients to maintain profitability.  Fortunately for everyone Monicals Pizza strives for perfection and does everything in its power to continue to provide the highest quality product to its customers.

Monicals Pizza was started by Ralph Monical in Tolono, IL.  The company grew slowly under Rolph's watch and eventually he sold his interests and went on to other things, though I believe his family now owns a place called "Roma Ralph's" in the C/U area.  Ralph and his family were dedicated to the Monicals slogan of "People Pleasing People" and to this day every employee is trained and coached to be the best "people pleasers" they can.  Today Monicals Pizza Corporation operates roughly 30 locations with nearly another 40 locations being independently owned and operated through out central Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana.


Regards,

Dan

NOTE:  I'd also like to point out that all views, opinions, and statements are mine and mine alone. As such they should not be construed as an official statement by Monicals Pizza Corporation, its affiliates, partners, franchisees, or subsidiaries.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2008, 04:38:35 PM by dwilborn283 »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2008, 05:04:41 PM »
Dan,

I have done a lot of reverse engineering on this forum of commercial pizzas, and have done extensive amounts of research in the process, and, to be honest, I have found the best information to be public information, including ingredients lists, nutrition data, data provided by companies directly to customers (such as to vegans and people with allergies or special dietary needs), and articles prepared about the companies and their products. Sometimes, useful tidbits come from customers or employees or former employees but in most cases the information is not of a trade secret nature and, therefore, of limited value to the reconstruction exercise. In some cases, the information actually turns out to be incorrect, usually because of faulty analysis or memories, and can send me off in the wrong direction. Also, I have discovered that companies are not static. Their products and ingredients change, employees and managers change, and their suppliers change, so reverse engineering can become a moving target. I have also noted that, increasingly, ingredients used by pizza operators, especially as they grow to many units, are proprietary in nature, such as proprietary flour blends and proprietary cheese blends tailored to their operations, almost none of which are available to the public at large. Also, as you noted, more and more work is being done outside of the stores themselves. In fact, there are not all that many chains that even have mixers in their stores anymore, and those that do have been increasingly moving toward premixes that can be handled by unskilled labor. So, you are correct that the future information flow is likely to be less, although public information should still be available to be analyzed.

As with most of the commercial pizzas I have tried to reverse engineer, I have never had a Monical's pizza before, so I don't know if my Monical's "clones" are like a real Monical's pizza, even though I thought that the Monical's public information that I relied upon was better than provided by others in the pizza business. Someone else who has eaten in Monical's restaurants will have to tell me whether I am in the ballpark. 

Peter

Offline PizzaDan84

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2008, 05:43:05 PM »
Peter,

You definitely appear to have a knack for hammering out a fairly good clone to be sure.  With the exception of a few significant things you are fairly close to the proper recipe and procedure.  As I am sure you are aware most of these things are related to the type of equipment available.  I will say for those who don't know, buy a pizza stone it makes a world of difference.  Unfortunately the only way to know if you are TRULY close is to taste the clone(we are all about texture) and I am not about to go to that trouble since I can just whip a real one up  ;) .  Your pictures and descriptions I have read seem pretty good.   

Regards,

Dan

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2008, 06:07:34 PM »
Dan,

Thank you for the feedback.

You are correct about the equipment. My mixer and oven are not the same as commercial equipment. And I don't have a sheeter at my disposal. So, I can only make an educated guess at a skin thickness based on the calculated and estimated weights of cheese and sauce used on a typical Monical's pizza. If I had the weight of a skin for a particular size pizza at Monical's, I would be in much better shape in determining a proper thickness to use. I also don't have the same brands of flour, cheese, tomatoes, etc. So, I just use what I can get locally or via mail order. In my case, they produced very good results.

Peter

Offline PizzaDan84

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2008, 06:26:23 PM »
Peter,

I thought I might also mention that I find it HIGHLY unlikely Monical's will ever switch to conveyor ovens.  As you have stated the deck ovens and conveyor ovens cook differently.  It is this difference that would prevent us from switching to the more cost effective, and relatively dumbed down, conveyor oven.  We have, however, had extremely good luck cooking our thick crust pizzas in conveyor ovens and folks that come in may start to see both types of ovens in some locations.  Unfortunately I can't figure out for the life of me how to fit one into my equipment setup  :-\

On another note you might find it suprising, or not, that Monical's is famous for its THIN!!! crust and because we are contrary to most of the industry in this regard many of our practices and procedures differ quite a bit.

BTW you are also going in the right direction, I do believe thickness is off  ;)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2008, 06:40:16 PM »
BTW you are also going in the right direction, I do believe thickness is off  ;)

Dan,

Are you referring to the thin clone or the pan clone? I notice that I didn't show a cross-sectional view of the thin clone that would have given a good indication of crust thickness.

Peter

Offline PizzaDan84

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2008, 06:51:11 PM »
Dan,

Are you referring to the thin clone or the pan clone? I notice that I didn't show a cross-sectional view of the thin clone that would have given a good indication of crust thickness.

Peter

based on what has been said about the thin clone I came to the conclussion it was possibly a tad off.   

Offline TwinCities

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2008, 06:54:12 PM »
Hello,

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.

 
Crust:

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!).

Toppings:

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

Coarse pepper
Salt
Dried Basil

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!!

JL