Author Topic: Greek pizza  (Read 99455 times)

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Offline Steve

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Greek pizza
« on: December 10, 2004, 08:32:38 AM »
Does anyone have a good recipe for Greek pizza? By "Greek" I do not mean a pizza with olives and feta cheese. Let me try and explain what I mean.

There are several Italian/Greek restaurants in my area that make a unique type of pizza. The crust is somewhat oily (not "fried" like a pan pizza), by oily I mean it's similar to a regular crust that has been oiled after is has been baked. And the crust has just a hint of sweetness to it. The crust thickness would not be considered thin, nor would it be considered thick.. maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

The sauce is somewhat thick and tomato-paste like. The cheese appears to be 100% provolone that's added just a few minutes before the pizza comes out of the oven so that it's just barely melted and very stringy. There also appears to be a good dose of olive oil on top of the pizza.

In summary, the pizza has an oily-sweet taste and texture, thick pasty sauce, and just-melted provolone cheese on top. It's a very tasty pie! As a child I remember eating this type of pizza with those little callogen-cased pepperonis that "cup" when cooked. Oh so good!!
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Offline DKM

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Re:Greek pizza
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2004, 12:33:54 PM »
I've seen that type of Pizza make on TV, sounds like a good thing to try out.  I know some High Class Itialian places do add EVO oil on top pizza after it come out of the oven.

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Offline Steve

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2005, 12:04:35 PM »
Actually, I am not sure whether to call the recipe "Greek" or "Italian"

The restaurants that make/made this type of pizza, here in Richmond, Virginia, are Julian's Restaurant located on Broad Street and the Italian Kitchen once located on Laburnum Avenue out by the old State Fairgrounds (they're now located in Mechanicsville off of Lee Davis Road).

The pizza that I refer to is the type served by these two restaurants back in the 1970s, not those served today. In both cases the restaurants are now run by the children of the original owners and the food quality and recipes have suffered greatly. Their pizzas of today are nothing like their pizzas of yesteryear.

Both of these restaurants have a common root in that the owners of both restaurants once worked together, or owned a single restaurant together, way back in the 1960s. I believe that their pizza recipe was created by the mother of the original owners, the Montecalvo family.

So, if anyone has a recipe similar to the original Montecalvo pizza recipe served back in the 1960-70's, I'd be grateful!
« Last Edit: January 15, 2005, 12:07:33 PM by Steve »
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Offline Steve

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2005, 12:12:01 PM »
Here's an old newspaper article about the Montecalvo family printed back in 1998. If you're familiar with Richmond and it's pizza restaurants, you'll enjoy this article!  :)



Copyright 1998 The Richmond Times Dispatch 
Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)
January 21, 1998

FAMILY AFFAIR; MONTECALVO BROTHERS HAVE DEFIED ODDS WHILE FEEDING RICHMONDERS FOR 40 YEARS
By: Steve Clark; Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Preparing Italian cuisine came naturally for the six children of Raphael and Regina Montecalvo. Mama was a great cook. "She was a fantastic cook," said Anthony Montecalvo. "A lot of my recipes I stole from her." "Our mother could cook a chair and make it taste good," said Vincent Montecalvo. The two brothers, better known as Tony and Vinny, have made good use of what they learned from their mother years ago in Providence, R.I. The two Henrico County restaurateurs have been preparing Italian food for Richmond-area diners for more than 40 years. Tony operates Monte Calvo's Italian Cuisine restaurant at Staples Mill Road and Northside Avenue, just two blocks north of the Staples Mill and Dumbarton Avenue intersection. Vinny operates Vinny's Italian Kitchen West restaurant at 8115 W. Broad St. in the Pine Dell Shopping Center. Both restaurants have had long runs, which is quite an accomplishment in the highly competitive restaurant business.

Tony, 62, and Vinny, 66, grew up in Providence, a city with a large Italian community and many excellent Italian restaurants. Their parents were natives of Italy who had come with their families to Providence when they were young. Raphael Montecalvo, a World War I veteran, and his wife, Regina, had six children - three boys and three girls. Raphael, or Ralph as he went by in America, died when the children were still young. Josephine, the oldest, was 14. Marie, the baby, was just a few months old. Tony was 2 when his father died, so he doesn't remember the man. Vinny, who was 6, remembers the last time he saw their father. "I was playing marbles outside when he walked by on the way to the doctor," Vinny said. "He waved at my mother and told her, in Italian, that he would be home soon. That was the last time I saw him. He never came home."

Regina Montecalvo was left with six young children. "How that woman did what she did still amazes me," Tony said. "She worked hard all her life." The children worked to help make ends meet. "We were poor but we didn't know we were poor," said Vinny, who remembers working as a delivery boy on a milk truck when he was about 10. "I'd get up at 4:30 each morning to work on the milk truck, then go to school," Vinny said. "The teachers were always getting on me for falling asleep in class."

For a number of years, their mother ran a restaurant. "We used to help her in the restaurant after school and on weekends," Tony said. "I remember thinking, 'I'll never go into the restaurant business. It's too crazy." The oldest son, Michael Montecalvo, who died nearly five years ago, settled in Richmond in 1951, after he was discharged from the National Guard at Fort Pickett near Blackstone. "Both Mike and I were in the National Guard at Camp Pickett, as it was called in those days," Vinny said. "We used to come into Richmond on furlough, and we always ate at Julian's on Broad Street, the old place, when it was across the street from the train station. "One night I'm talking with Julian Moroni and his partner, Pete Poli, and they asked me if I knew anybody who might be willing to run their new place out in the country. That was the first Italian Kitchen on Meadowbridge Road near the State Fairgrounds, and it was definitely out in the country in those days. "I told them my older brother was getting discharged from the National Guard and was looking for work. They offered Mike the job, he took it, and that's why all three of us ended up in Richmond."

Mike soon bought the restaurant on Meadowbridge. In 1952, Vinny went to work for him. "When I was discharged from the Guard in Germany, I tried to hide from my brother Mike, but he found me and made me come to work for him," Vinny said. Tony came two years later, in 1954. "I was working in the oil business in Providence," Tony said. "One day I was talking with Mike on the phone and I asked could he use some help. He said yes, so I came down." For the next decade the three brothers worked together in the original Italian Kitchen on Meadowbridge Road. The restaurant's advertising slogan in those days was: "Pizza pies our recognized specialty."

Mike usually worked out front. Vinny and Tony worked in the kitchen. They recall fondly that there were nights when they went out back to duke it out. "Vinny and I love each other to death," Tony said. "We're very close brothers. But you know how brothers are. Sometimes they argue and fight. A few nights we'd go out back and take a few punches at each other. Then Mike would yell at us to get back to work. We had an order to fill. We'd go back into the kitchen and work together like nothing had happened." Four decades later, Vinny remembers the reason for one scuffle. "One night," he said, "Tony was fixing an order of veal parmigiana just the opposite of the way you're supposed to. He was putting the cheese on the veal and then the sauce on top of the cheese. I yelled at him, 'Hey, you're supposed to put the sauce on the veal, then the cheese on the sauce!' He yelled back, and the next thing I know, we're outside fighting."

In 1964, the three Montecalvo brothers opened a second restaurant, the Italian Kitchen West in the Pine Dell Shopping Center in what had been a drugstore. Vinny eventually took over Italian Kitchen West, while Mike continued to operate the original Italian Kitchen on Meadowbridge. Mike moved his restaurant to Mechanicsville in 1977. Tony continued to work with Vinny at Italian Kitchen West for several years, then went his own way. He opened Monte Calvo's on Patterson Avenue in Richmond's West End in 1967. "I had my own ideas about how to run a restaurant, so I opened my own place," Tony said.

Why did he name the restaurant Monte Calvo's instead of Montecalvo's? Tony laughed as he explained. "I knew it would be easier for people in Richmond to pronounce the restaurant's name if I split the family name into two words," he said. Monte Calvo's stayed on Patterson Avenue for 20 years, then moved to its location off Staples Mill in 1987.

"I wanted a bigger place," Tony said. "I could seat about 70 people on Patterson. This place seats about 170. Plus, I've got a parking lot that makes it much easier to park near the door."

Opening a restaurant is one thing. Keeping one going is another thing. And keeping one going for several decades is really something. Both Montecalvo brothers realize that what they have done is rare in the restaurant business. Last month, Vinny celebrated his 33rd year in the same location. Tony celebrated Monte Calvo's 30th year last year. How have they survived? "Hard work and long hours," Tony said. "You've got to be there. And you don't count the hours. If you count the hours you put in, you'll go nuts." Vinny agrees. "You've got to bust your tail every day," he said. Both restaurants are open for dinner only. Vinny is open every night. Tony closes on Monday nights.

Most of the dishes served in both restaurants are prepared from scratch. Both restaurants bake their own bread. "We learned bread from Mike, who was a baker by trade," Tony said. Both Tony and Vinny spend a lot of time in the kitchen overseeing the preparation of the food. "You have to make sure the food is done right because that's what keeps your customers coming back," Tony said. Both restaurants have a stable of regular customers. "Some of my customers have been coming in here for 30 years," Vinny said. "And they always order the same thing. I tell 'em, 'Try something different.' But they want the same thing."

To anyone who is thinking about getting into the restaurant business, Tony has plenty of advice. "First of all, you've got to love what you're doing," he said. "You've got to love food. You've got to love cooking. "Also, you've got to love people. I'm the kind of guy who never met a stranger. Everyone who walks through my door is special. That's how you treat them and that's how you survive. "And don't expect to make any money the first five years. You just bust your rump and hope to take in enough to pay your bills." And, of course, you've got a big edge if your mother was a fantastic cook.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2005, 01:57:32 PM by Steve »
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Offline scott r

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2005, 12:09:59 PM »
I just figured I would add that Greek pizza seems to make up over 50 percent of what you will find between Boston and Providence.  They let a dough with a fairly high sugar content rise in oiled pans for a few hours before topping the pizza and baking it.  They use a cooked smooth sauce with lots of oregano in it, and top with a blend of Mozzarella, mild white cheddar, and provolone.  Some places just do cheddar and mozzarella, and a few seem to use just white cheddar.  You might want to try the cheddar thing.  Although it is not for me, people who grew up with this cheese on their pizza go crazy for it.   I just worked with a bunch of guys from the Atlantic City NJ area that were totally nuts about a local place they grew up with called Mac and Mencos pizza.  It is quite popular in the area, having multiple locations.  One of the guys once worked there and revealed the secret.......... Mild white cheddar from Wisconsin under the sauce, along with high quality flour and tomatoes.  Not sure if this is part of the equasion to your special Greek pizza, but maybe? The good news is that most of the better Greek pizza places around here use a 500 degree oven, so this should be easy to duplicate at home.  Another key to duplicating the Greek pizza (around here) is to find some pizza pans with walls on the side.  I guess they would be pan pizza pans ::)  This will keep the oil in, and gives the pizza a nice crisp edge.  If you are really lucky you can convince a pizzeria in your area to sell you a used (and highly seasoned) pan.

Offline varasano

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2005, 12:26:35 PM »
I had these in New Haven during college and they were excellent. Very different than a patsy's or other thin crust, but I'd love to try and make one. Do you think you need a cast iron or blackened pan?

Offline scott r

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2005, 01:26:43 PM »
The places around here with the really black pans do seem to have a better crust flavor, but it could just be other factors involved.  With the black ones there is something almost smoky about the taste, and with a 500 degree oven that is a blessing!  One thing I have done when I am making a pan pie is to lightly salt the oil before I put the crust down.  Also, for this type of pizza my favorite places take the sauce and cheese right to to edge of the pie.  You will get enough crust flavor from the thicker dough, and taking the topping to the edge creates an amazing fried cheese/sauce thing when they touch the hot oiled metal pan. 

Also, I just picked up the new Sorrento brand fresh mozzarella (not in water).  The product just came out last month, and Sorrento seems to be a pretty big company, so maybe you guys can find it in other parts of the U.S.  I compared it to four other brands of this type of mozzarella, and it was the most firm of the bunch.  I think that is a sign that it is going to hold up better for those of you with the really hot ovens.  I will do a taste test next week and compare to the poly-o, as we still have that on the shelves. 

Has anyone actually seen the poly-o cryopak/fresh start to disappear from the stores yet?

Jeff, thanks for the mixer tips.  I do feel a little intimidated by this thing.

Offline Steve

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2005, 01:34:59 PM »
The news article clearly states that the recipe was handed down from mother to sons and that the mother was from Providence (and Italy before that). And your description sounds right... a somewhat sweet and olive-oily crust with a thick cooked sauce and topped provolone. I'll have to try the white mild cheddar that you spoke of!
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Offline varasano

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2005, 02:09:47 PM »
scott, just follow the details on my site and you should be fine. Feel free to post up questions and I'll reply.

Offline shahed

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2005, 08:23:09 PM »
over in the uk if you buy a pizza from a fastfood joint or a local small business this is what you get. Something in between a thin crust and a deep dish. This is recently what im trying to make for a freind whos trying to knock out some pizza's. Personally i dont like them. The crust flavour is all yeast and suger and theyre badly presented as all the cheese is covering all the toppings. If you ever have one of these make sure theres isnt any raw g/peppers on cos they just dont bake. But from my experience theyre pan based pizzas and the bases are left to raise for a  couple of hours in oiled pans then thrown into the oven, mainy electrical conveyor ovens. Sound like what you guys would call emergeny pizza making, but hey the UK sucks for pizza


Offline Steve

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2005, 08:19:42 PM »
I came pretty close to my goal tonight. I used my usual dough recipe but added 1/4 cup "classico" olive oil and 1 tablespoon sugar. I then oiled the pan liberally with olive oil then pressed the dough into the pan. The dough was very oily, top and bottom. I topped with my usual sauce, pepperoni, and 100% provolone cheese. The pie turned out very good and was close to what I am attempting to duplicate.  :D

More experimenting is needed!  ;) :D ;D
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Offline renaveg

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2005, 10:24:45 PM »
Steve,

I used to work at a pizza place in MA about 15 min. north of Providence, RI and we used to make a "Greek" style pizza. It has been about 15 years, but I'll try to tell you as much as I can remember about making the pizza. All I remember about the dough is that it contained flour, yeast, milk and water. I'm sure there was more in it I just don't know for sure. We used to let the dough rise once in the mixer, then we would cut form into balls and put into the cooler for a second rise (I don't remember for how long) then we would stretch and press into the "greased" not oiled pan which had about a 1/2" lip on it. we would then sauce and cover the pan and back into the fridge for use that day. The sauce came from a can and we added sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder or salt (I can't remember), dried oregeno and dried basil. I don't remember cooking the sauce. As for the cheese we used 2/3 motz, 1/3 Vermont Cheddar. I know this is all knd of vague but hopefully it helps.

Offline Steve

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2005, 09:04:31 AM »
Thanks for the tips. I'm pretty sure that the restaurants down here use sugar in their dough recipe. And I'm also pretty sure they use mostly provolone cheese. I'm getting close... my wife and kids have absolutely loved my recent experimental pies!  8)
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Offline Steve

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2005, 04:51:13 PM »
Pizza: From Its Italian Origina To The Modern Table
By Rosario Buonassisi

Page 146-147 ... now that's what I'm talking about!!
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Offline zappcatt

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2005, 09:23:23 PM »
Out here in CA(SF Bay Area) we have a couple of popular Greek pizza restaurants.

The 2 most popular that I know of are Rainbow Pizza(San Mateo) http://www.rainbowpizza.com/  and Zorba's(Millbrae) http://www.zorbaspizza.com/

Maybe one of the knowlegeable locals could scope them out and help.

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2005, 06:44:44 AM »
Well I live in the largest Greek city outside Greece yes! Melbourne, Australia or Melbournias as it is known in Greek
You would probably referring to kefalograviera cheese though there is another one calle kefalotiri a kind of provolone that can be pan fried with herbs something similar Argentineasn do with old Italian provolone.
Got more questions fie up!
 

Offline KJ

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2005, 10:02:23 PM »
You have no idea how happy I am to have found this site!  I grew up outside of Boston where they make what everyone  refers to as "Bar Pizza"   Wicked Good.  About 8" with a thin crust, kinda greasy, awesome cheese --- and cooked in straight sided seasoned pans.  ... and usually found in small bar/restaurants all over Boston, Brockton, Easton --- everywhere.

Life was good.

Then we moved to the western part of the state where we were thankful to find a Papa Gino's -- which was ALWAYS our last resort back home -- but the BEST in the area in our new area. 

When we'd drive back to Easton or Brockton to visit friends and family we'd stop by Christo's or Buddy's Union Villa or Cape Cod Cafe or even Tip Top Cafe and order a dozen or two "Half Baked" to take home with us.  Half Baked meant we could freeze them when we got home and enjoy them over the next several weeks. The three kids thought they were "wicked good" too.

Aside from being the absolute best pizza -- it was pretty darn cheap.  $3-$4 each.

Now we're in Virginia -- and I swear -- they know how to BBQ -- but if anyone knows of a restaurant near Richmond that serves our Bar Pizza I'd be forever thankful.  I haven't found a pizza here yet that I'd ever order again.... and it's been just over a year.

Every time I think of Bar Pizza I get homesick --- was just looking online to find those pans. I'm seriously thinking of just doing it myself.... unless, of course.....


Thanks for posting this~

KJ


Offline scott r

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2005, 01:04:15 AM »
I am writing to you with my wife screaming in the background saying that she feels your pain.  She says south shore pizza is an aquired taste, but if she left the south shore (Massachusetts) she would be feeling the same pain as you and possibly die.  Strong words from a strong woman.  She agrees with everything you have said, even the Papa Gino's comments.

I have spent years perfecting my ultimate pizza.  For  years she has been busting my balls about how my pizza is great, but I could never make a "real" bar pizza.

Well I finally feel like I can help you here.  Unlike my favorite pizza a high temp neo-neapolitan, bar pizza can be made easily at home in a normal home oven at 500 degrees.

OK SCOTTS WIFE KIM TAKING OVER HERE....  TRUST SCOTT HE WILL HELP YOU.  I GREW UP IN BRIDGEWATER EATING LINWOOD, CAPE COD CAFE, THE TOWN SPA, CHRISTOS MY WHOLE LIFE.  HE HAS TOTALLY DUPLICATED THIS STYLE OF PIZZA FOR ME.

She is now yelling at me to help you OK OK OK OK.

KJ  this is going to be easier than you think.  I have already outlined everything you will need to know in various posts here in the forum, but I will go over it again.  You will be amazed at how easy it is to make bar pizza.  There are only a few tricks, but they really add up to a special taste. 

First, you will need to buy the right pans.  They are 10 inch pans, not 8.  Make sure they do not have a non stick coating, as this will burn the bottom of your pizza.  The black anodized aluminum pans with out a coating are stick resistant, and probably my favorite, but the plain steel or aluminum ones are great as well.  Make sure you don't get the new fancy hi temp plastic coated aluminum pans, or the oil will bead up and not evenly distribute on the bottom of the pizza. When you get your pans you will need to season them.  This means coating them with oil (or crisco) and baking them in the oven for a while before their first use for pizza.

There are only really two tricks to making this type of pizza.  The first is not as much the crust recipe, but more what you do with the crust once you shape the pie.  The trick to bar pizza is that the dough is stretched thin, but it is left to raise in an oiled pan before it goes into the oven.  This creates the signature crispy, airy crust.  If you go to most Italian style pizzerias (like papa gino's) you will see the dough being stretched, topped, and put right into the oven.  In a place making bar (a specific style of Greek) pizza you will see piles of pizza pans with just the dough, or sometimes the dough and sauce sitting out in huge piles waiting to be topped and then baked.  The amount of time these pre shaped doughs are left to sit before they are put into the oven depends on the temperature of the pizzeria, the amount of yeast that is used in the dough, the hydration of the dough, and the salt content of the dough.  This is probably too much to worry about right now, so a good place to start would be to let the dough rise in the pan at room temp for at least an hour, and no more than three.  Again, this could change depending upon the above mentioned factors.

Once you have let your dough rise for a while, you can apply the sauce.  To stay true to typical bar pizza, I suggest a really smooth sauce with no chunks, seasoned with salt and oregano, and not much else.  I have found that a good store bought brand available is Hunts tomato sauce.  This is a good quality smooth sauce, but it is really salty right out of the can.  If you buy Hunts sauce, just add oregano, maybe some sugar, and do not cook it.  Straight from the can with oregano will usually be fine.  If it is too thin for your taste, just add in tomato paste until you reach your desired thickness.  Typical bar pizza is not heavy on the sauce, so don't use too much.

Now, the other trick to this pizza is in the cheese.  My friend Mike has lived in Taunton his whole life, and is an amazing chef.  He has worked in restaurants all over the south shore.  One day he told me the secret to the cheese, and on the first bite you will agree that he was right.   White cheddar mixed with mozzarella.  I am convinced that some of the better places might be using a popular (for the area) blend that also includes provolone.  Either way you will be happy.  Try  50% mozzarella, 25% cheddar, 25% provolone, or even just a blend of mozzarella and white cheddar that is not too scientific.  Your best bet is to use the more expensive cheese at your grocery store, and to shred it yourself.  I have had good luck with Sorrento or Poly-O mozzarella, and Cracker Barrel white cheddar.

If you have a grocery store, or pizzeria in your area that will sell you their dough you should be happy.  If you want to get into making your own dough you have come to the right place.  Any simple NY style dough will work great for this pizza.  Try the Lehman, or American style dough recipes to start out.  Gook Luck, and do not hesitate to write back with questions.  I will make sure I answer (or my wife might kill me).

piroshok

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2005, 07:29:28 AM »
Ah that sweet taste is from grated haloumi cheese  ;D
of course if you are in NY or San Diego perfect substitutes would be
Lebanese Aqawi or Georgian Sulugini cheeses found in Middle Eastern or Russian stores 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2005, 07:32:18 AM by piroshok »

Offline KJ

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Re: Greek pizza
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2005, 08:51:37 AM »
Town Spa! Yes!   Scott -- and wife -- geez, you didn't mention her name -- THANK YOU!

You're right --- always piles and piles of black, oily pans sitting out on the counter --- ahhhhh.


Am buying the pans today -- will keep you posted.  For now, am late for work!


KJ