Author Topic: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted  (Read 71753 times)

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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







 







Offline missy777

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #50 on: April 25, 2009, 02:01:08 PM »
Hello, everybody!

I am new to the forum and am a dyed-in-the-wool Monical's Pizza fan. My new doctor came from Illinois and we started talking about our favorite foods, and he went on and on about Monical's thin-crust pizza, and how he missed it since he came to Indiana. I had never heard of Monicals, but pizza has always been my favorite food, so I did a little research and miracle of miracles, I found a Monicals about 15 minutes from our home! My hubby and I went that same night and have never eaten any other pizza since. We go about twice a week, and it is our favorite meal ever!! We told Doc too, and have seen him up there several times eating his favorite pizza and that great neon-orange salad dressing. He even dips his pizza in it! LOL I got some pics of our last Monical's pizza for those trying to picture what it looks like so they have an idea how to work up a recipe. Hope the pics come through!

Missy

Offline missy777

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #51 on: April 25, 2009, 02:03:10 PM »
I'm trying to add more pics so you can see how thin the crust is.

Missy

Offline missy777

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2009, 02:03:40 PM »
Here's the underside

Missy

Offline BRIAN31462

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #53 on: May 21, 2009, 11:44:04 PM »
Just for the information of those reading this forum and the moderator,  I am from the Tolono, Illinois area and grew up with the Monical's family and their wonderful pizza.  I remember the first little white building they were in just off Main St.
At one time they offered a pizza called the Blue Flame Special, that would knock your socks off and from memory I can tell you we used to get a large pies (16" Blue Flame), Salad, and Coke for the unbelievable price 0f $6.99.  Now from what I understand, the same combination will run you almost $25.   But it is still worth every penny.
And I have also noted in the forum the discussion of the ingredients in the sauce.  The sauce, and even the Italian Dressing they offer (and yes it is good to put on your pizza too) are not the same they had years ago.  I have also noticed a difference in the tastes of the pizza's even from region to region.  For the closest to the original Monical's Pizza, you have to go to the restaurant in Tolono.
Just my 2 cents worth on this topic and now I think I am going to have to drive the 3 1/2 hrs just so I can have a taste of heaven again.

Offline Deacon Volker

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #54 on: May 22, 2009, 11:31:20 PM »
Loved that "Blue Flame" pizza...very aptly named!

I agree with your assessment on the current state of Monicals Pizza.  My own opinion is they're growing so large for a "regional chain" that quality has been cut to make everything std. from one to the next somehow.  Our local went through a brief period of "now that's the way I remember it" recently with yet another new manager.  Sadly, when he left...it was back to a product usually lacking in taste.  Their brief resurgence though convinced me it was all technique and not necessarily ingredients which is responsible for their less than stellar offerings.  Sad, cuz they "did" have a unique product.

Offline BRIAN31462

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SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CLOSE
« Reply #55 on: June 07, 2009, 11:03:48 PM »
 ;D

I made the Monicals Thin Crust recipe that Pete came up with and I have to say, that after converting the ingredients from weight to measures and working with the amount of spices per pie, I believe we have a winner.   
I may be way off on my measures since I was converting basically from my head after trying a couple of different conversion sites, but it seems to have worked great, though I got two pizza's out of the dough recipe.

How I had it worked out was 3 Cups of All Purpose Flour, 1/8 tsp. ADY, and 12+ Tbls. of water.  I put the flour and yeast into my KitchenAide Food processor with the large bowl and the dough cutter in place and then slowly added the water 1 Tbl. at a time, until it started to form a good ball.
I then removed the ball and placed it on floured wax paper and kneaded it for about 5 minutes and formed into a nice ball and lightly coated with oil and covered with plastic wrap and let set for 45 minutes.  I then cut dough in half and rolled out thin, floured both sides and covered with plastic on both sides, Folded in quarters and refrigerated overnight.

When ready to cook the next day, I removed a skin from the fridge, unfolded onto the back of a cookie sheet, no pizza=stone yet, and using the tomatoes Pete used, I ladled a small amount onto the skin and cover entirely but very thin.  I then sprinkled rather heavily with oregano, basil and garlic salt, sprinkled a little Anise Seed (Couldn't find powdered) added the cheese covering all the sauce, then added my ingredients.  We don't eat pork but I found that the Jenny-O Turkey Sausage is good, so I had a roll of that fried up and scattered over the cheese along with sliced peppers and onions, and fresh mushrooms sliced thin.  I DID NOT add much of any one ingredient.  I then sprinkled over the top of it all some more basil, oregano, garlic salt and anise seed.

Having preheated my oven to 525 I slid it in for 4 minutes, then reduced the heat to 475 and cooked for another 7 minutes.

Having grown up with the Monicals family and the wonderful pizza they created in Tolono, I have to say that this is very, very close to the original.  Some more tweaking with the spices and maybe some crashed red peppers over the top?  Still experimenting.....Will let you all know what happens with the next one And post some pictures.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #56 on: June 07, 2009, 11:32:12 PM »
Brian,

I'm glad things worked out well for you. Can you tell me which brand of all-purpose flour you used, how you measured it out (e.g., stir, scoop and level), and also the size of the pizzas?

Peter
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 11:44:35 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline BRIAN31462

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2009, 12:09:24 AM »
Brian,

I'm glad things worked out well for you. Can you tell me which brand of all-purpose flour you used, how you measured it out (e.g., stir, scoop and level), and also the size of the pizzas?

Peter

I used Gold Medal All Purpose Flour and scooped it out of the bag and leveled the 1 cup measure I was using with the back of a knife.  The size of the pizza is, and you have to understand it was NOT round, (I am only able to use one arm so it makes some things a little difficult, so it was odd shaped), but it covered about 3/4's of the back of a 11" x 15" cookie sheet.
All the other ingredients are the ones you listed and the spices were all Tone's.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #58 on: June 08, 2009, 09:15:30 AM »
Brian,

I assume the dough formulation you used or started out with was the one given in Reply 27 as follows:

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

I thought I might be able to confirm your weight to volume conversions, but I can see from your description of the shape and size that I would not be able to come up with accurate results. However, I thought that you might like to know that there is a tool on the forum, called the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator, at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/, that can be used to make weight to volume conversions for many different ingredients (listed in the pulldown menu). I see that the Gold Medal all-purpose flour is one of those ingredients. So, if we assume that you use the "Medium Measurement" method for measuring out the flour, then the 10.53 ounces of flour in the above dough formulation converts to 1 c +  c +  c + 0.93 t. I personally prefer the Textbook Measurement Method (as defined in the calculator), which yields a conversion of 2 c +  ⅓c + 1 T + 1.196 t. Even with these specific values, it may still be necessary to make minor adjustments to flour and water in the mixer bowl to get the desired final dough condition.

With respect to the 5.56 ounces of water called for in the above dough formulation, it converts to c + 2 T + 1.979 t.

In your case, since you are using a 11" x 15" cookie sheet, you would have to modify the above dough formulation since it is for a single 14" pizza that won't fit on your cookie sheet. You would have to use a thickness factor of 0.104258 in the expanded dough calculating tool (at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html), along with all of the other required entries, to tailor the pizza to the dimensions of your pan, at least until you decide to get a pizza stone. I went through the conversion discussion above, with the precise outputs from the conversion tool, so that you can see how the conversions are done.

Peter

EDIT (3/4/13): Replaced Calculator link with the current link.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 07:43:22 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline BRIAN31462

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Second Attempt at Monicals Recipe
« Reply #59 on: June 08, 2009, 09:22:06 PM »
 :D

Attached You will find pics(I hope) of my second batch of Monicals dough using the ingredients listed by Pete and converted over to measures instead of weight, using my own calculations.  (Didn't have a proper scale or conversion tool available)(I do now).
I used the methods I described above in the making of this trial and I have to admit it is VERY close to the original.  Though there still seems to be something that is missing.  I have taken into consideration that the sausage I am using is not pork sausage but Italian Breakfast sausage made from turkey (though it actually tastes pretty good).  I think the taste problem lies in the sauce, since waht is recommended in this forum was a smashed tomato in puree and there is hardly any flavor to it.  My next attempt will be a puree made with italian tomatoes used to create a sauce.


 

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