Kitchn Love Letters

The Crispy, Golden, Cracker-Style Pizza I Make Every Single Week (It’s Faster than Delivery)

updated Sep 9, 2020
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Credit: Patty Catalano

New York- and Chicago-style pizza gets all of the attention, but there’s another all-American pizza style you’ve been missing: St. Louis-style pizza. It’s thin, crispy, and, best of all, quick! You get to avoid the resting and rising of regular pizza doughs and are treated to a freshly baked pie in just 30 minutes.

I fell in love with this style of pizza in a very circuitous way. It started when my Italian in-laws from Florida introduced me to mid-Atlantic chain Ledo. The rectangular pizzas, with their crisp crust, sweet sauce, and golden provolone topping, were unlike any I’d had before. Back home in Atlanta, as I sought to re-create the cracker-like crust, I realized what I was craving was actually St. Louis-style pizza, made popular by another small-scale chain called Imo’s.

A quick Google search led me to a homemade version by King Arthur Flour, whose recipe is inspired by Imo’s. I’ve been baking it weekly ever since. Here’s why I love it.

Credit: Patty Catalano

A No-Yeast, No-Rise Pizza Crust (Yes, Please!)

Traditional homemade pizza dough isn’t hard, but it does need time. Between blooming the yeast, kneading the dough, and allowing it to rise (sometimes for hours or overnight), making pizza can become a multi-day affair. Not this pizza! This crust isn’t about the chew or rise you get from kneading a yeast-risen dough. It’s all about a thin and crispy cracker-style crust that’s perfectly balanced with a swipe of sweet tomato sauce and caramelized cheese. It’s a pizza unlike any other, and the one I rely on every Friday to close out the week.

Instead of yeast, this St. Louis-Style pizza relies on baking powder for lift. The recipe calls for self-rising flour, but if you don’t keep any on hand, a mix of all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder works just as well as the prepackaged stuff.

Mix the self-rising flour (or your homemade version) with olive oil and water until a dough comes together, then divide the dough into two pieces. I like to shape the dough into a rectangle — you’ll see why in a sec! — before setting it to the side while I prepare the sauce and toppings. During this 15-minute rest, the flour will absorb some moisture and feel smooth, but don’t expect it to rise like traditional pizza dough.

Who Says Pizzas Have to Be Round?

One of my favorite parts of this pizza is its rectangular shape. It’s so much easier to shape the dough into a sheet pan rather than try to free-form a circle!

Roll the pizza crusts thin — really thin — until they fit just inside a quarter sheet pan with a slight lip of the crust crawling up the edge. If you don’t have a set of quarter sheet pans, let this pizza be your excuse to buy them. Or, if you have a standard-size rimmed baking sheet, keep the dough in one piece and bake the pizza as a single large pie instead of two smaller ones. I like to par-bake the crust for seven to 10 minutes at 425°F in the lower third of the oven to make sure it browns and crisps before I add the toppings.

Credit: Patty Catalano

For Pizzeria Vibes, Chop — Don’t Shred — the Cheese

While fresh mozzarella is ideal for margherita pies, using a combination of cheeses is the perfect way to make it your own. The King Arthur Flour recipe calls for shredded white cheddar, smoked provolone, and Swiss cheeses, but I prefer the flavors of unsmoked provolone and whole-milk mozzarella instead. Cook’s choice — the cheese is up to you!

What I do encourage you to try is using a food processor to chop cubes of cheese into irregular pieces. The cheeses combine and melt more evenly when chopped together, and this technique gives the pie a more pizzeria-like feel.

Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the par-baked crust (I use this easy no-cook sauce), then sprinkle with chopped cheeses of your choice. Finish with your favorite toppings, making sure to space them evenly so every inch is covered. Slide the pizza back into the oven and bake until the crust is toasted and cracker-like and the cheese melts and browns slightly. Slice into squares, and make sure to save the corners for yourself!

Have you ever tried St. Louis-Style pizza? What’s your go-to pizza style?

Credit: Patty Catalano

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.