Pizza is one of those things I could eat every day, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad piece of pizza. I enjoy trying lots of different crust recipes, and was curious about how they made the cafeteria pizza in the 80s and 90s that I remember from school. The pizza we were served was super smooth on the bottom, and mild in taste. I tracked down instructions and decided to give it a go with my home-milled whole wheat flour to see if it’s one I want to keep in my recipe library.
One of the appealing things about this recipe is how quickly it can be made. After mixing up the dough, it sits in the pan for just 20 minutes, then gets prebaked, then topped and baked until the cheese melts.
Since I used whole wheat flour, it didn’t turn out as smoothly as the pizza I ate in school. However, I really like the way it tastes, and the fact that it’s not anything close to “artisan style” pizza. Sometimes it’s fun to make something not for the high quality of it, but to satisfy nostalgic cravings.
School Cafeteria Pizza with Pourable Crust
Makes one 9 x 13 x 1 pizza (small sheet pan)
- Scant 1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
- 160 grams freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
- 6 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 + 1/3 cup water, warm (130° F)
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal for pan
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried onion
- 1/4 teaspoon dried garlic
- black pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch of dried marjoram
- pinch of dried thyme
- 6 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- toppings as desired
- Preheat oven to 475° F and position a rack in the middle.
- Spray a 13 x 9 x 1 baking sheet with non-stick spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, flour, dry milk, sugar, and salt.
- Add oil to flour mixture and mix on low for 4 minutes.
- Slowly pour the water into the dry ingredients and increase speed to medium Mix for 10 minutes.
- Pour the dough into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Let the dough rest in the pan for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
- After the dough has rested for 20 minutes, bake it without toppings for 10 minutes. After a couple of minutes, it might be necessary to poke some holes in the crust with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up.
- After the crust is prebaked, remove from oven and top with 1/3 of the cheese. Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the cheese and crust, add toppings, and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for around 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Remove and rest the pizza for a minute, then cut into 6 rectangles.