Author Topic: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted  (Read 84747 times)

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Offline scj1226

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Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« on: October 19, 2004, 10:38:42 PM »
Hello!  

Thank you for this terrific forum for exchanging pizza talk!  I grew up in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and have enjoyed Papa Dels pizza since Pop first opened his restaurant in CU.  I been fortunate to travel to all corners of the US and think that the best pizza can be found in Champaign-Urbana.  I have read a few reviews of Garcia's Pizza on the boards but I haven't read any mention of Monical's or Jolly Roger's thin crust pizzas.  Does anybody have the recipes for their pizza crusts?  

I have now made the Papa Dels Pizza recipe featured on this site three times in the last 10 days and found it to be very close to the original.  Thanks!  I'm going to try the thin and crispy recipe next - I can't wait.

Thanks again,

Scott


Mark

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2005, 11:04:24 PM »
Did you ever find the recipe for Monicals pizza and if so could you send it to me or even a Garcias recipe.  I am originally from Tuscola and love both styles of pizza.

Scott

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2005, 10:43:44 AM »
Hello,

No, I have not yet had a response yet about the Monical's pizza dough recipe.  I'm holding out hope!!  Have you tried the Thin n' Crispy dough recipe on this site?  It is pretty good, but not equal to Monical's.  I also love the pizza crust at Jolly Roger and Timpone's.  Did you ever try these?  Do you still get to Tuscola?  If so, you should try the restaurant in the big red barn behind the mall.

See ya!

Angie

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2005, 02:26:39 PM »
I grew up in Champaign and found out after I moved away that I took great pizza for granted!  Monical's is my all-time favorite--I wish I knew what they put in either their cheese or sauce to give it that distinctive flavor.  The crust is so good, but it's something to the taste of it.  If anyone has that recipe I hope they'll share it.  Jolly Roger is also awesome.  There was a restaurant in Urbana called Pagilli's I think  that also had to die for pizza.  Papa Dell's and old-style Garcia's...I haven't found any place here that compares with these outstanding pizza restaurants.  Makes me want to go home and visit my parents  ;D

Offline Wildcat979

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2005, 10:17:32 AM »
I have ate at the big red barn.  It is great!

Offline EasilyOdd

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2005, 07:46:28 PM »
Holy Cow! This is probably one of the only places where it's good to admit that I was born in Champaign / Urbana (WTF is up with this Urbana / Champaign crap?) and raised in Rantoul, IL.  No, not an AF brat, but an actual, honest-to-goodness local.  I even had a relative that lived in Monical's home town of Tolono.

I remember Monical's pizza and have ranted and raved to many a friend of its greatness.  I lived there back in the day when Domino's had just scraped a foothold in my neck of East-Central Illinois.  As a kid it was the bitterest sweet torture to have that big round slab of joy heating my lap and filling the car with the scent of heaven. Even though I haven't had one since 1985, I vividly remember that paper bag bending up at the corners and crinckling of the tin foil cover from my little thubms as I got more and more fidgity with anticipation.  Mom snapping at me as I tried to steal those teeny tiny corner pieces.  On a winter day ride home, that pizza still ranks right up there with the best ever warming feeling.   ohhhhmannnn  It was so good that Monical's would be the only thing hard I would eat after getting my braces tightened. Oh, the pain!

Okay, I'll get a hold of myself.

I loved the Garcia's balloon and the convenience of it being across the street of the High School, but prefered the Monical's pizza.

I still use Monical's pizza as the measure of all thin crust pizza.

I'll see if I can track down some very long lost friends and see if they can get some info.  No promises.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2005, 07:48:27 PM by EasilyOdd »

Offline YoMomma

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2005, 08:58:55 PM »
re:  " I'll see if I can track down some very long lost friends and see if they can get some info.  No promises."

any luck tracking down those friends/info?

AF brat/Rantoul


Offline EasilyOdd

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2005, 04:14:21 PM »
re:  " I'll see if I can track down some very long lost friends and see if they can get some info.  No promises."

any luck tracking down those friends/info?

AF brat/Rantoul



Located two friends that still live in Rantoul. (Scary thought) One said 'No Way' and the other will look into it.  I'm guessing from their lack of response that they didn't do it.  I'll keep hitting them up.

My girlfriend says to "call 'em up and see what happens."  That's so low-tech and not very networky tho.

Offline YoMomma

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2005, 12:34:40 PM »
Listen to your girlfriend, please!


Offline Central IL Gal

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2006, 07:35:03 PM »
My Hubby's family owns the Monical's in Tolono.  I wish I knew the secrets too.  I do know they use basil!  Lots and Lots of Basil!  Wish I knew more, I could sure go for a Monicals pizza tonite.   :chef: :pizza:

Offline ralph

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2006, 06:15:43 PM »
WOW, Monical's...I wish I had a buck for every pie I had at the Olney store.  Is there a Garcia whole wheat recipe anywhere??

Offline jackpine

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2006, 06:33:39 PM »
I've searched the world over trying to find the Monical's Pizza recipe also.  There is only one Monicals in Wisconsin and it's in Minoqua.  Since I was introduced to it, I crave no other pizza but their's.  I'm trying my darndest to duplicate it but can't.  I started out last week by bringing one home and weighing it.  A large house special with the cardboard only weighs 1 pound.  I know I'm overloading my pizzas.

Please help out all of us Monical pizza lovers.

Jackpine

Offline Peteg

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2006, 08:20:13 PM »
This is kind of funny that I found this thread now.  I was just in minocqua last week and stopped in for a pizza.  I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was.  I did notice more basil than a typical thin crispy pizza would have.  It actually tasted like fresh basil.  So is this the same Monical's that used to be in Champaign?  How many more are there.  Some one could always try the old "Top Secret Recipes" trick and call them up saying that your kid got sick on there food and you need to know whats in their pizza.  Just an idea.  It was very good pizza.  Pete

Offline Atheen

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2006, 03:39:03 PM »
Some one could always try the old "Top Secret Recipes" trick and call them up saying that your kid got sick on there food and you need to know whats in their pizza

Call me superstitious, but I dont like the idea of calling somebody pretending your kid got sick  :-\



Atheen

Offline jackpine

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2006, 06:54:07 PM »
It's been 3 months now and I still can't find anyone to say they know how Monical's pizza crust and toppings are made.  I ordered 6 large last night for myself and my kids.  They are delighted each time I treat them to this special delight.  It's quite expensive when I know I could make it myself.  Any hints would be appreciated.

Jackpine

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2006, 09:53:18 PM »
jackpine,

Trying to reverse engineer a pizza dough is very difficult to do. You need a lot of information, much of which may not be public information and may be closely guarded. However, Tom Lehmann, the dough/pizza guru at the American Institute of Baking, was once asked for a Monical's style thin crust dough recipe. The one he recommended can be seen at http://www.pmq.com/recipe/view_recipe.php?id=50. Please keep in mind that Tom did not say that the recommended recipe is Monical's dough recipe. It is his best guess.

If you can describe a typical Monical's pizza in detail, maybe I can help you come up with an ingredients list and quantities for making a dough along the lines of the thin crust recipe referenced above. What I am most interested in at this point is the thickness of the crust, in relation to something I might understand, and also a description of the texture and flavor of the crust. I have never had a Monical's pizza, so I know nothing about the pizza beyond what I have seen in photos at the Monical's website. So, anything you tell me will be more than I now know. If you have photos of a real pizza from Monical's, that might help.

I would also be interested in how a Monical's pizza is baked, that is, on a screen or disk, and whether a deck oven is used or possibly a conveyor. At this point, I am guessing that a deck oven is used because Monical's website shows a photo of a pizza on a pizza peel. If you have ever seen the pizzas made, anything you can tell me about the procedures should be a big help--things like whether the dough is put through a sheeter one or more times and cut to size, whether the dough is docked with a docking tool, and whether the dough is pre-baked before saucing, cheesing, and dressing or whether it just goes directly in the oven.

If there is a particular pizza size that you would like to try, please specify that size. If there is a particular form of yeast that you use, please indicate what it is. I assume that you have a stand mixer, such as a KitchenAid, and that you also have a scale.

Don't be afraid to give me lots of detail. Maybe I won't need it all to get to the next step, but it might help or be useful at a later time.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 10:30:55 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline pizzagurl

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2007, 07:55:33 PM »
i used to work at monicals, i never made the crust myself but i know that it's only flour yeast and water. all of the  toppings are frozen toppings, its mozz cheese. the pizza is cooked in a stone oven. they have 3 different types of sauces. they all have salt, oregano, tomato paste, water, pepper. some add garlic salt and sugar. hope some of this helps


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2007, 10:55:04 PM »
pizzagurl,

The absence of salt and oil comes as a surprise. Is it possible that some oil--even a little bit--was added to the bowl at the end of the knead rather than with the water? Do you recall what kind or brand of flour was used? Many places that make cracker-style doughs use sheeters and cut the skins out of a long sheet in advance, keeping them in the cooler for next day use. Is that how Monical's did it? Do you recall what sizes the pizzas were (maybe 8", 12", 14" and 16")? Thanks.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 28, 2007, 11:40:07 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline hotelie

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2008, 01:22:21 PM »
I grew up in Urbana and ate many a Monical's pie.  I still love to go there whenever I get back to Urbana.  Here's what I remember about the pizza:

The crust was a simple dough, rolled super thin on a sheeter.  The dough was placed between two cardboard circles and trimmed; stacks of these were kept in the cooler until needed.  The resulting dough was as thin as the cardboard circle.  The dough was laid out on a wooden paddle or peel which had been sprinkled with corn meal, to help it slide off into the deck oven.  The pizzas were baked directly on the stone hearth of the deck oven, which was pretty hot(450-500°?).  The guy manning the ovens was artful in making sure the pies were rotated to cook evenly, and to pull them out at just the right doneness.  The pies were then cut into approximately 3" squares.

The sauce was simple - canned tomato puree with salt and pepper.  The pie was just barely sauced otherwise all the toppings slide off.

The cheese was mozzarella only, but had been pushed through a grinder to create "pellets."  I watched them sprinkle these pellets on the pizza more evenly than with shredded cheese.

As I recall, Monicals put the meat under the cheese, and all the other toppings on top of the cheese.  The sausage (as well as hamburger) was put on raw in tiny balls, which cooked in the oven and stayed juicy (as well as contributing to the grease factor).

They used fresh green peppers and onions, but their mushrooms were canned.  My favorite was their Italian Special, which as I recall had sausage, onions, mushrooms, green/black olives and pepperoncini peppers.  You can use fresh mushrooms, but it isn't the same.

The final thing I remember is that the pie was sprinkled with herbs prior to baking, after all toppings had been placed.  I think it was sprinkled with basil leaves, and garlic powder.  Just a light dusting!

The real key here is that there isn't much on the pie.  If you overload it the crust becomes soggy and it is difficult to eat without silverware.  I've always found that you have to eat Monical's pizza there - even a short ride in the car can change the moisture of the crust and it quickly becomes like wet cardboard.

I've made my knock off of this for years, baking in the oven on a pizza stone, but it will never be like what you can get at the restaurant.  For one, it is difficult to roll the dough thin enough at home without a sheeter.  You also have to crank the oven up as high as it will go, using a baking stone.  And I always loved their salad with their creamy Italian dressing.  Hard to beat!

When I was in the mood for thick crust I loved Garcia's Pizza in a Pan, but their pizza is now a shadow of its former self.  I believe they make their pizza entirely differently, with different ingredients than the original.  Now I'll take Papa Del's instead.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2008, 03:07:57 PM »
hotelie,

Thank you for helping to fill in some of the blanks. Everything you have said about the dough and its preparation is consistent with what I have learned to date.

If I had to guess, I would say that the hydration of the dough is around 50%. If so, one should be able to roll the dough out thinly using a rolling pin. But if that entails too much physical exertion, I would simply use the "dough warming" method described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49138.html#msg49138 (Reply 16). Using that method, you will have no difficulty rolling out the dough as thinly as you would like. It gets to be somewhat more difficult if you fold the dough one or more times and try to roll it out thinly again using a rolling pin. Do you know offhand if Monical's uses a multiple fold method?

Peter

Offline skyy

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2008, 11:28:19 AM »
It's cute to hear all the speculation on the Monical's recipes.  Any self-respecting former employee - myself included - will NEVER tell the specifics. 

I will say that Pizzagurl is essentially correct about the crust and sauce - there is NO OIL in the thin crust, only the deep dish dough and breadsticks.  The sausage is contract packaged for Monical's and no one else so you will never get your hands on that. All veggies are fresh, not frozen (mushrooms included - they aren't canned) Green Peppers and Onions come pre-diced and bagged.  Olives are pre-sliced and canned.  Cheeze is real Mozz.

Here's the deal.  Many of the key ingredients for the sauce, crusts, and revered "red dressing" are custom packaged and not readily available and are definitely imperitave to the overall "Monical's Pizza Experience".  No matter how hard you may try, you won't ever get exactly the same product.  I'm not saying the sauce for example, comes pre-made and the dough is definitely NOT frozen (I remember making ungodly amounts of the stuff), they are hand made every morning, but the ingredients in it are very specific as well as measurements.  Personally, I've tried and can't come close and I KNOW THE RECIPES BY HEART!  My guess is it has to do with the brand and grade of the ingredients.  Better to try to copy someone elses...  ;)

As far as the comment about saying your kid got sick - you will probably be referred to corporate who will most likely tell you to provide them medical evidence of allergies.  Besides, that's rude, selfish, and very bad Karma to pull some bull s*** like that.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2008, 12:54:51 PM »
skyy,

I realize that I am at a disadvantage in trying to reverse engineer the Monical's dough/pizza since I have never had a Monical's pizza but, on the other hand, if what I come up with tastes great I won't really mind that it might not be identical to a Monical's pizza, and I won't wallow in disappointment with each "failed" effort. I am also aware that for a chain of Monical's size, a large number of the ingredients used in making the pizzas come pre-packaged from a variety of contract vendors. Over time, as vendors come and go and as taste preferences change, I am sure that even Monical's makes changes to its products and suppliers.

Out of curiosity, when you have tried to make the dough for your home Monical's "clones" did you use baker's percents to scale down a typical Monical's dough batch, or did you use your best estimates of the amounts/volumes of ingredients to use?

I have been doing some preliminary experimentation with a possible Monical's clone dough formulation using just flour, water and yeast (ADY or IDY)--no oil or sugar--and hope before long to post some results if the pizzas are good enough to talk about. Absent knowing what kind or brand of flour Monical's uses (e.g. all-purpose, bread, high-gluten, etc.), I plan to use Harvest King (bread) flour, mainly because I found that I like the results using that flour for thin cracker-style crusts, which I assume describes Monical's thin crust pizzas. At this point, I am using my best estimates as to the thickness of the dough skin to use, even though this renders the exercise more difficult when using dough balls rather than sheets of dough from which skins are cut.

Peter




Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2008, 04:42:25 PM »
Even though I don't have all the information on the Monical's dough, I decided to give it the old college try at coming up with a clone pizza. The pizza I made, shown below, is a 14" pizza with sausage, pepperoni, diced green peppers and onions, sliced mushrooms (raw), sliced green olives, and pepperoncini peppers.

For guidance purposes, I used the photo of a Monical's pizza with similar toppings as shown at the flickr.com website at http://www.flickr.com/photos/emosquid/126250302/.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 26, 2008, 04:45:58 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2008, 10:18:14 AM »
This thread has been a very interesting--yet puzzling--one. It is only a couple pages long (as of this writing) but it has almost 7700 page views. Several posters have posed questions about the Monical’s pizza and dough formulation, and others have made periodic contributions, only to then disappear and not be available to answer follow-up questions—mostly mine. So, I have had to rely on what has been given to the forum by our members and that which I have been able to find through my own independent research.

One of the most important pieces of research has been the nutrition data that appears on the Monical’s website, at http://www.monicalspizza.com/navbar/index.shtml (see the link “Nutrition Information”). Since that information conflicted with information I found elsewhere on the Internet, that conflict led to several exchanges of emails with a representative of Monical’s. The results of those emails led me to a possible Monical’s dough clone formulation that seems to offer great promise. It took me many hours of analyzing nutrition data (I am slow on these types of analyses) and trying to piece things together, but in the end I think I came up with a product that is exceptionally good even if it is not exactly the same as a Monical’s pizza. Since I have never had a Monical’s pizza before, I am not quite sure what I came up with. Only that it was very good.

The photos below show my latest effort to make a Monical’s clone pizza. It was based on using all-purpose flour (Pillsbury unbleached, 10.5% protein), but no salt, sugar or oil in the dough—only flour, water, and yeast (IDY). Because the dough was stiff and had to be rolled out by hand using a rolling pin, I used the dough warming method described at Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49138.html#msg49138 to condition the dough so that it would roll out effortlessly, which it did. In this case, I rolled the dough out to 14”, folded the skin in quarters with plastic wrap between all mating surfaces (so that the dough wouldn’t stick to itself), and refrigerated the skin for just about two days, just in time to make a Super Bowl pizza.

After removing the skin from the refrigerator and unfolding it, I let it warm up for about 1 ½ hours at room temperature. I left the skin uncovered so that it would dry out a bit. I then docked the skin on both sides using a dough docker and placed the docked skin on a wooden peel that had been dusted with white cornmeal. The skin was dressed using the Wal-Mart Great Value brand of crushed tomatoes (about 4 ½ oz.) that I had seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices, hand-diced low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese (Best Choice brand, 8 oz..), raw pieces of hot Italian sausage (about a half-link of the Kroger’s house brand), a mixture of diced red and green bell peppers and onions and raw mushroom slices, sliced green olives, pepperoncini peppers, and pepperoni slices (Hormel). I lightly dusted the top of the pizza lightly with dried herbs and garlic powder. I believe that Monical’s refers to this combination as their “Deluxe” (except that I added some red bell pepper).

The pizza was initially baked for about four minutes on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F. The temperature of the oven was then lowered to about 475 degrees F, and the pizza was allowed to bake for about another six to seven minutes.

The finished pizza was exceptional. The crust was crispy on the bottom (a thin veneer of crispness) and both crispy and crunchy at the edges. Yet the center of the crust was chewy and tender. The crispiness persisted even after the pizza had cooled down. The crust was not super thin from a thickness factor standpoint but the crust was not fluffy like, say, a NY style, even using the same thickness factor. Surprisingly, the crust was sweet, which I was not expecting since, as noted above, no sugar was added to the dough. I could detect the absence of salt in the crust, but there was adequate saltiness provided by the sauce and the cheese and the toppings. I see no reason to add any salt to the dough formulation. I will provide additional details on the dough formulation I used and how the dough was prepared once I receive feedback on whether I am reasonably close to a Monical’s pizza based on the description and the photos of my latest clone.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 10:20:05 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline cougarblue

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Re: Monical's Pizza Recipe Wanted
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2008, 10:53:32 AM »
Peetza,

That looks really good.  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. That being said, i really look forward to your posting the recipe.  You need to work on their deep dish.....in my opinion, Monicals deep dish pizza is even better than the thin crust.  On a side note, thank you for your dedication to this forum.  I know you are highly admired.