I hear your internal monologue now; what the heck is Kalamazoo Style Pizza? First, a geography lesson; Kalamazoo Michigan is about halfway between both Chicago and Detroit, and the culture here is influenced by both regions. Additionally, Kalamazoo (where I currently live) is an incredible beer town, with big names like Bells nearby. So, in honor of both the region and culture here, I created this pizza to honor the city.
Getting into the recipe, a Kalamazoo Style pizza is part Chicago pub style and part Detroit. First, the dough is akin to the Chicago pub style pizza (thin and crisp), though I spike this recipe with a bit of beer. Next, the sauce is sweeter like a pub style, with the use of the tomato paste. As for the eastern inspiration of this pie, the cheese is a mix similar to brick cheese, which is traditional for a Detroit style pizza. Finally, the ingredients are layered so the sauce is above the cheese, and the crust has a wonderful frico, or burnt cheese crust. In total, this pizza is a perfect homage to Kalamazoo, and one of the tastiest pies I have ever made.
Kalamazoo Style Pizza
- 14″ Pizza or Pie pan with a 1″ lip
- 4 cups AP flour (500 g)
- 1 cup warm water (237 ml)
- 4 tablespoons lager or other neutral beer
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 envelopes rapid rise yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 14 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 10 ounces Monterey Jack cheese cut into 1/2" cubes
- 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1/4 grated Parmesan
- In your stand mixer or large bowl, combine water, beer, sugar, yeast, and one cup of flour. Gently combine and let stand for 3 minutes.
- Following the rest period begin to mix (use the hook attachment on your stand mixer) on low. Gently pour in remaining flour, salt, and oil. Let mix for 5 minutes on medium low speed (scraping the bowl as needed to keep the dough in the bowl). The dough will be very tacky, that's good! Transfer dough to a large bowl (sprayed with non-stick will help) and let rise on the counter for 4 hours, punching down once.
- Once dough is risen, roll out into 14” pies, as thin as you can. Don’t worry about shape too much at this point. Sprinkle on some cornmeal into your pizza pan, lay in the dough, and let sit in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. This “curing” of the dough will make the next steps far easier and crisper.
- Sometime before pizza day, make the sauce; in a saucepot over medium heat, pour in olive oil. Once warm, add in garlic for one minute, stirring the entire time. Add in tomatoes, then remaining sauce ingredients. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, then cool until use.
- Once dough is cured, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grab the pan and spray sides and bottom with non-stick. Transfer dough to the pan and press into the corners. Top pizza with 1/3 of whatever toppings you are using, then cheese cubes (be sure to push them out to the sides), then remaining toppings. Dollop on the sauce in large rows as shown to mostly cover (one big spoon every few inches). Bake pizza for 15-17 minutes or until very brown on all sides (I have found that the middle or just lower rack is best).
- Once pizza is cooked, remove from oven and immediately free pizza from the sides with a butter knife. Garnish with the parmesan at this time. Let cool for 2 minutes, transfer to a cutting board (use 2 spatulas) cut into 2" squares (called a party cut), serve, enjoy.