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Author Topic: Cal City Style or Quad City Style  (Read 14560 times)

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Offline Garvey

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Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« on: February 22, 2015, 01:08:51 PM »
There is a style of pizza I always thought of as Calumet City style, named for John's Pizza, an old school joint there that pioneered the form in the South Side / Northwest Indiana area.  This style can be found at specific joints around the Calumet Region, such as Barton's, Langel's, and several others.  It is a totally different type that the usual Southside Chicago Thin or tavern style.  The hallmarks are a softer dough with a slightly bigger, puffy rim and the crumbled sausage.  It also has a fairly simple, sweet sauce (not Aurerelio's sweet, but seems sweeter than just tomato sauce) that isn't very herbally complex.  And it has a ton of cheese.  A ton. 

A well made pie in this style is awesome.  Everything balances out perfectly.  The softer dough, the crapload of crumbled sausage, and the ton of cheese.  It can be party cut or cut into long, rectangular strips.

Is anyone else familiar with this style?  Apparently, it's similar or the same as Quad City style, found in the Quad Cities of Moline, et al.

I have tried to work up a formulation for this style in the past but have failed to achieve the right crust.  The Cooking Channel show, Pizza Masters, went to a joint in Chicago that makes Quad City style pizza.  In the clip, from 7:42-13:06, they show a few things.  Unfortunately, they make a stupid taco pizza, but there is some other intel to be gleaned about this style in general. 

They use malt in the dough.  For those of you who use malt, how much is a good amount to add, percentage-wise?  I've never worked with malt as a baking additive.  Is this diastatic or non-diastatic?

Here is the video (click on the button for "video 2"):
http://www.cokeandpopcorn.info/pizza-masters-season-1-episode-4/

If you're not familiar with this style, the restaurant's website has some great pictures of what a slice looks like:
http://www.rootspizza.com/food/pizza

Another thing they show at 7:54 is what appears to be one dough being pressed into another.  What the heck?  Is this how it's made or is this a double dough of some kind?  Their menu doesn't show anything odd like that.

This place seems to offer a lot of gimmicky "stunt pizzas", like a BLT, kraut pizza, and the aforementioned taco setup.

Anyway, who's got the formulation for Quad City/Cal City pizza?  Any ideas at all?  I did a forum search, and every now and then a new joiner has given a shout-out to the Quad Cities, but I'm not seeing any recipes.  That could also be because I don't know the names of places there that they are trying to replicate--and they don't happen to say the keywords of Quad Cities in the post.

Cheers,
Garvey




Offline Nate

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 04:06:32 PM »
Quad City pizza is generally credited to Frankís in Silvis, IL and Harris Pizza at a number of locations in the Quad Cities. I grew up in the Quad Cities and until looking on the net a bit, I didnít realize it had been replicated by so many places in a number of cities across the country and am not sure but given that Johnís opened in í43, that may be the original.  I have only had the Harris and can say itís a tasty pie with good quality ingredients. Itís sort of a cross between NY and Chicago thin. It has a chewy, leathery crust with a large rim and good browning and crunch.  Itís hand stretched and tossed and I donít think the double crust thing is typical. The sauce is laid on medium heavy and is spicy as opposed to sweet in my experience then lots of cheese on top of the meat.  I have a friend who worked there years ago and he remembers molasses in the dough as well as ice water in the mixing bowl complete with cubes for the water in the dough. I guess they spice the dough as well but no idea as to what.  The owners brought the spice in for the sauce every day already mixed in a bag so theyíre definitely holding on to the secret recipe there. Itís always cut in rectangles.

I couldnít come up with any recipes, but if I were to try, which I might as this has sparked my interest, I might try the following: Make the Lehmann dough with high gluten flour and add molasses or liquid malt, ice water which may or may not make a difference because of the cooler and kitchen temp variance, 24 hour fridge rise, couple hour counter rise, experiment with spices in the dough and maybe add a touch more oil than called for.  Make a paste-based sauce and err on the light side with sugar (Iíve seen yours on the forum, looks good), possibly simmered, with some red pepper flakes and cayenne in addition to other spices. Crumbled sausage thatís heavy on the fennel (all these places say they grind it, simmer and grind again).  That explains why their sausage topped pizza is almost white from no oil while a pepperoni is soaked in extra oil. I personally would top with pepperoni as well. Mozz blend maybe 50/50 or 70/30 whole/skim? I believe sprinkled with oregano at the end. Sorry nothing certain here but I might give this a try to see how it turns out.  The Quad Cities is also credited with inventing taco pizza from Happy Joes, another local chain, hence the reference in the video. I realize that doesnít go over well with a lot of pizza connoisseurs, but itís actually pretty good.

Offline Garvey

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2015, 04:49:57 PM »
Nate:

Thanks for the reply.  I had hoped this thread would at least "draw fire" from those interested or familiar with this style and eventually lead to a fleshed out, reliable recipe.  Your info has definitely helped push that forward.

I actually think the taco pizza looks tasty.  I was annoyed by the show focusing on that, though, because I need to learn how to make the basic pie first, taco later.

I used to wonder about the crumbled sausage but now have a reliable way to do it in the home oven.  I think Kenji at SeriousEats may have suggested my current method to me in a comments section over there.  I make a big, pub-burger sized patty with raw sausage and bake it in the oven while I work on the rest of the pizza.  It takes maybe 5-10 mins to get to the rare side of medium rare.  At that point, it breaks up nicely for the crumbled sausage effect without losing too much fat.  I discerned from the video that Roots (the Quad City style joint in Chicago) makes theirs by pressing the sausage into a hotel pan or the like and bakes it off until it's set, like meatloaf, and then they cut it into strips and run it through a meat grinder.  That seemed kind of labor intensive for a restaurant.  Wonder why the don't use a buffalo or something--or at least a dedicated commercial grinder.  Looked like a home version of a Kitchenaid.

Cheers,
Garvey

====

Crumbled Pizza Sausage

    1. Remove sausage from casings or use bulk sausage
    2. Form into large, thick hamburger patty, 8-12 oz in weight
    3. Place in cutter pan or pie pan, etc.
    4. Bake in hot pizza oven for 5-7 minutes until outside is browned a bit.  Do not overcook: the meat will be just set but still underdone and pinkish throughout the patty--no longer raw but not truly cooked, either.
    5. Let cool for a few minutes until it can be handled or until room temp (your choice)
    6. Use your hands to break it up or crumble it into the pan or directly onto a pizza (I prefer the latter)



 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 08:18:13 AM by Garvey »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2015, 07:23:06 PM »


  Roootspizza is showing Scott Wiener as a co-owner?

The same Scott that is often mentioned around here? Pizza tour, pizza boxes,etc..
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Offline Garvey

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2015, 10:54:00 PM »
Different guy.

Scott Wiener = NY
Scott Weiner = Chi



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Offline Nate

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2015, 12:35:31 PM »
Garvey,

Thanks for the sausage tip. I think I will give this whole thing a try and see how it turns out. Glad you brought it up and it should be a fun project.

Nate

Offline ZekeTheCat

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2015, 10:34:23 PM »
I do remember Calumet region style pizza with the crumbled sausage (my favorite) topping. The Flamingo Restaurant on west 5th avenue in Gary made this style in the 50ís /60ís and was delicious and my childhood favorite .Iíve also had pizza from the original Johns when it was in Calumet City Ill in my HS days. and a couple times in the last few years after it moved across the line into Indiana- at their now closed Whiting location and last year at their current location in Munster Indiana - still good as ever(but expensive).

Serious Eats review of Johnís w/pics:
http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/02/johns-pizzeria-pizza-munster-indiana-review.html

And there were other pizzerias that made that style in the ďregionĒ.

Iíve been trying to replicate that style with only moderate success Ė mostly working on the homemade sweet fennel crumbled sausage topping which is my favorite.

Johnís still make their own homemade fennel sausage and they use imported Italian 00 flour for their crust- canít remember the brand name.

Nice review of Harris Pizza w/pics
 http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/A-food-tour-of-the-QuadCities-IAIL-border-m765403.aspx

ZekeTheCat

Offline Garvey

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2015, 11:06:53 PM »
Thanks for the great info, Zeke!  That's a nice little stretch of road there in Munster and Lansing, too, with Aurelio's, John's, Rico's, and Beggar's all within about a mile.  Man, I miss the Region.

My folks moved out to Valpo and rave about Flamingo's.  I haven't been.  It's a little far from there when I visit, but since they are retired, they have time to pop up to Miller every now and then.  I think they went their way back when, in the 50s (my dad grew up in Miller).

Have you had Langel's?  Same style as John's.  Good stuff.


Offline Nate

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 01:43:49 AM »
Well hereís my first attempt at the Quad City Style pizza and I was amazed that it came out pretty good for a first attempt. I used the idea I posted above give or take a few things. It will need some tweaks here and there but without an actual recipe to start with, I would need to have the real thing in front of me, which I donít, to really get the spice profile and other subtleties. Let me know what you think and Iíll work on it a bit more and post the recipe when itís a little more fine tuned.


Offline Garvey

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 08:33:05 AM »
Wow, man, that looks awesome!   :drool:

Can you post your dough formulation and everything else up to this point, realizing that it is a work in progress?

Cheers,
Garvey

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Offline mudman

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2015, 07:50:07 PM »
Really good looking pie.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2015, 11:00:35 PM »
Nice work on that one Nate....crumbles an all.  :)
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Offline Nate

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2015, 11:53:38 PM »
Thanks guys for the compliments. Hereís the recipe I used.  Itís a modified version of Peter's Lehmann dough with the mixing technique found here:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=576.0

This makes two 13Ē pizzas. I added sugar and molasses and eliminated oil due to my friendís suggestions. It still needs more molasses and/or sugar because the crust I remember has more sweetness to it and more browning. Iím going to try 1.5% on the molasses next time.  Salt is Kosher but they probably used table salt so I might try that next time. I used three ice cubes as part of the water in the bowl. Flour was All Trumps HG. Itís supposed to windowpane but I can never get it to do that so I just take out when itís smooth and doesnít tear too much, about 10 min.

Flour (100%):    493.03 g  |  17.39 oz | 1.09 lbs
Water (63%):    310.61 g  |  10.96 oz | 0.68 lbs
IDY (.44%):       2.17 g | 0.08 oz | 0 lbs | 0.72 tsp | 0.24 tbsp
Salt (1.75%):       8.63 g | 0.3 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.8 tsp | 0.6 tbsp
Molasses (1%):    4.93 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.1 tsp | 0.37 tbsp
Sugar (.5%):       2.47 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.62 tsp | 0.21 tbsp
Total (166.69%):   821.83 g | 28.99 oz | 1.81 lbs | TF = 0.1092
Single Ball:      410.92 g | 14.49 oz | 0.91 lbs

After mixing, separate into dough balls then utilize the NY technique of pinching the dough at the bottom and pulling the skin tight. Place in lightly floured sealed container in the cooler for 24-48 hours. This one was 48. Let rise still sealed on the counter 2-3 hours before baking.

Sausage was cooked to Garveyís method above. The recipe was:

1 lb ground pork
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp fennel

Mix and let chill for at least 8 hours. I probably used about a quarter of this for the pizza. Next time Iím going to eliminate the garlic all together. I used extra hot flakes and this was too much. Next time less flakes or a medium hot flake.

I wasnít really trying to nail the sauce on this one so I didnít measure but I used Stanislaus paste mixed with water to what I believed the right consistency and the spices were black pepper, salt, oregano, fennel, basil, red chili flakes and cayenne. Also a mystery ingredient from my friend was green powder. Let me know if you have any idea on that one.  He also mentioned they used 4/1/1 or 4/2/2 sauce/paste/water which I might try later.

To make the pizza:
Oven preheated to 500 for an hour with stone (the highest mine will go and mine hovers around 475 once the door is opened) 500-550 is probably optimum.

Lightly flour the counter and both sides of the dough.  Stretch the dough by making a bead on the outside first, leaving the center thick. Do not punch down the bead. Now slowly stretch out from the center working out and turning. Pick up the dough and slap side to side 4-5 time then toss 4-5 times. Repeat steps as necessary until the dough is properly stretched nice and thin. You can also hold the dough at the rim and let the weight stretch it.

Dust peel with cornmeal. Place dough on peel. Sauce the dough with a medium amount of sauce. Apply toppings. In my case it was half sausage half pepperoni. Top lightly with finely grated Romano. Then top with Mozz. In my case I used 50/50 whole/skim, but could have used it a bit more stringy gooey, so maybe more whole? Sprinkle with oregano.

Transfer to oven on stone. My bake was about 9-10 minutes and I had to take it off the stone and onto a screen at about 7 min.

As I mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised and think there is a lot of potential here. Iím curious to know, given letís say compared to Chicago thin, how many variations there are and if Johnís is similar to Harris etc. in not only looks but also taste.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2015, 12:31:21 PM »
Nate,

I was once told by a Stanislaus employee that they do have a tomato paste product but as I recall it is not shown in their product line on their website. Did you actually used that product or did you use another product and, if so, which one?

Also, could you tell from the crust that it had molasses?

Peter

Offline Nate

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2015, 05:02:37 PM »
Peter,

Yes it was in fact Stanislaus paste. As far as the crust, from a taste stand point I couldnít really tell that it was there, maybe the slightest hint of sweetness, which is why I will try a bit more next time. From a texture standpoint though the molasses combined with the lack of oil was noticeable. The crust had more of a crunch and a chew to it, which fits my memories of this style of pizza.  The rim was crunchy and the underside was chewy.

Nate
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 05:09:49 PM by Nate »

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2015, 06:11:20 PM »
Nate,

I went back to the Stanislaus website and the tomato paste product is there: http://www.stanislausfoodproducts.com/products/nutrition-facts and http://www.stanislausfoodproducts.com/_pdfs/Full-Red-Tomato-Paste.pdf.

Peter

Offline RockyMtn_Chi_Pie

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2016, 08:42:06 AM »
Finally I found a thread on QC style pizza.  I'm from the Quad Cities area myself and was just back this fall.  I had to get my Harris pizza fix.  Any updates on the dough formulation so far?  I'm also a home brewer, and I'm thinking of going to grab some liquid malt extract to try in this recipe in place of the molasses just for kicks.  Planning on making on Friday, so I'll try to post results.

P.S.  Sorry, I guess I should actually introduce myself as well.  I've been lurking here and gleaning knowledge/recipes for a few years now.  I really am amazed and appreciative of all the time and effort people have put into the recipes here.  I still consider myself a pretty novice pizza maker at this point, but I learn more each time I make a pie.  I grew up in the quad cities area and lived in Chicago for a few years before finally moving out to Colorado.  I miss the pizza back home, and that's what got me started on this pizza making adventure.  Thanks for any help/advice you can give me along the way!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 08:44:27 AM by RockyMtn_Chi_Pie »

Offline Nate

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2016, 12:23:52 AM »
Nice to see some more interest in the QC Pizza. I made a few more attempts and it didnít really get any better than the first, so I never added any updates though itís been awhile since Iíve tried. I would say itís about 85% there and not being able to sample the real things makes it somewhat difficult to fine-tune it. I tried adding more molasses, which didnít help so maybe more sugar, or the malt will help to get that sweet brown crust I remember. Also I think the quality of their toppings is really good as well as a really unique spice combo which I donít quite have down. As you may already know, trying to find the commonly used pizzeria brands of sauce and cheese etc. found in other locations on this forum has really made a big difference for me. By all means, give it a shot and let us know how it turns out.

We have some similarities in that I have been mostly lurking here for over 10 years and figured well I can finally add something of note here with my hometown pizza. Also got on a big pizza making kick when I moved to Los Angeles and missed the Midwest pizza. I did learn though that pizza is good everywhere.  It just varies by region and you have to appreciate the different styles, which I finally did.  Am now in Minneapolis where the pizza, food and beer scene is exploding. Also interested in the home brewing but havenít tried yet. Hope this is a good start for you!

Offline Nate

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2016, 12:43:22 AM »
Just found a few more articles on the QC pizza. Everyone seems to confirm there is a spice mix in the dough and malt. My friend who worked there thought it was molasses, but looks like it may have been malt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quad_City-style_pizza

http://wqad.com/2012/02/28/quad-cities-style-pizza-restaurant-nominated-for-best-new-chicago-pizzeria-5/

http://www.timeout.com/chicago/restaurants/quad-cities-pizza-a-primer

Offline RockyMtn_Chi_Pie

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Re: Cal City Style or Quad City Style
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2016, 10:23:47 AM »
OK, some of this is making sense now.  This article about a place that opened (and is now closed) in AZ references someone who bought the recipe for sluggers pizza from the QC area.  They talk about "malt syrup" being in the dough.  I've also seen other recipes reference "dark brewer's malt" in the dough.  I wonder if the place your friend was at was using dark liquid malt extract for brewing, which looks A LOT like molasses?

http://archive.azcentral.com/thingstodo/dining/articles/2011/05/27/20110527pizza-pit-mesa-offers-famous-quad-city-pies.html

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