Imo's pizza thin crust - recipe?


I am trying to make a thin crust pizza - a crunchy thin crust (almost like a cracker) that is similar to Imo's and other thin crust locations in the mid-west. Any recipes that you can share please?

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Oh, I do but it's from a pizza place that more than likely you didn't hear of. In Winnipeg it's our thin crust go to place.
Gondola Pizza Crust
1 tsp sugar
1 pkg traditional yeast
1/4 cup oil
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
(I usually up the spices to 1 tsp)
Combine first five ingredients in a bowl, add warm water. In separate bowl combine remaining ingredients and add slowly to dough. Knead and let rest for 20 minutes, covered with clean towel.
Roll out very thin on well floured surface (as thin as you can in order to pick it up). Place on floured pan and freeze a minimum of three hours or more.
Have all toppings ready on counter and place on pizza very quickly so as not to allow dough to start to thaw.
Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Check bottom of crust during baking so it doesn't get too brown. Two pizzas.
Hope you like it - one of my faves when I remember to make it!
It is is cracker crust thin. The freezing doesn't allow it to rise. I know what I am making today.

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I have a question about the yeast please? do you use rapid rise or active dry or something else entirely?

Also, do you add the dry yeast, or do you mix with water or water and sugar first.

Thank you!

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If you read the first part of the directions it will tell you:

"Combine first five ingredients in a bowl, add warm water. In separate bowl combine remaining ingredients and add slowly to dough. Knead and let rest for 20 minutes, covered with clean towel."

I would think you could use the instant (rapid rise) yeast in this recipe if that is what you have on hand. When exchanging the yeasts, you use slightly less of the instant yeast than the amount of traditional yeast.

This is my opinion, the poster of the recipe may think differently.


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weed30 St. Louis

I live in St. Louis, and now you have me craving an Imo's pizza, and it's 7am!

Anyway, here is a recipe that might be what you're looking for. I found it on the web -- I've not tried it, since I can just order one for delivery :) Note there is no yeast used. I'm curious about the Provel Cheese substitute - sounds like a lot of smoke flavoring to me, and it won't have the same texture of Provel. But from your post it sounds like you're more interested in the crust.

(St. Louis Style Pizza)

Now you can enjoy authentic St. Louis Style Pizza at home, wherever you live!

Ed Imo makes what is called "Original St. Louis style Pizza" - St. Louisans either love it or hate it, although people from elsewhere, who are used to "New York" or "Chicago" style pizzas, by and large can't stand it.

Imo's pizza isn't simply a crust, or a sauce, or the cheese, it's the perfect balance and blending of the three.

The foundation of the Imo's Pizza is a cracker style crust that doesn't use any yeast, like just about every other pizza crust out there. It's a very thin and crispy crust; it's never soggy... Imo's is the exact opposite of limp and olive oil laden "New York Style" pizza. The crust may be very plain, but is the perfect accompaniment and merely serves as a transport for the sauce, toppings and cheese.

In large mixing bowl combine:
2 cup + 2 TBL AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Dark Corn Syrup
1/2 cup + 2 tbl water
Mix until thoroughly combined - Dough will be very stiff. makes enough for two (2) 12” pizza pies. The dough is ready to use “as-is” No need to rise or kneed. Divide the dough in half, shape into a round ball and roll out paper thin.

In order to move the crusts around a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal works well.
After the crust, it's the sauce that begins the first real steps towards forming the total Imo's pizza experience. Imos uses a tomato sauce mixture that has a sweet taste, but it's not so overly sweet to hide the rich tomato flavor or spices.

16 oz can whole tomatoes (diced into fine pieces)
6 oz can Tomato paste
1-1/2 tbl sugar
1 tsp crushed basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
Combine together and it’s ready to use - do not pre-cook the sauce! This Makes enough sauce for about four (4) 12” pizza pies, so that should give you some idea of how much to use on each pizza.

On top of the sweet sauce Imo's uses Provel Cheese, which is simply a blend of Cheddar, Swiss and Provolone cheeses with some liquid smoke flavoring. If you can't find Provel in your local market, it can be easily created.

1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 tsp liquid hickory smoke flavoring
Toss until cheeses and smoke flavoring are completely incorporated. Typically it’s enough cheese for two (2) 12” pizza pies, but if you like extra-cheese you’ll want to make more.

Authentic Imo's pizza toppings include: Extra-Cheese, Onion, Green Pepper, Sausage, Hamburger, Pepperoni, Anchovy, Bacon, Black Olive, Mushroom, Canadian Bacon, Jalapenos, Pineapple, Banana Peppers, and Tomatoes.

In a professional pizza oven the meat toppings (Hamburger, Sausage, Bacon, etc.) can usually be put on raw, but at home you'll want to fully precook the meat before assembling the pizza.

Now you have the correct style crust, sweet sauce, smoky cheese, generous toppings, it's now ready to be lightly sprinkled with some Italian seasonings.

Italian Seasoning:
2 TSP Oregano
2 TSP basil
1 TSP thyme
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend well.

While in the restaurant the pizza is baked in a pizza pan, at home you'll have the best results using a pizza stone and an oven temperature around 450 degrees. If you don’t have a pizza stone, use the thinnest baking sheet you have and the lowest over rack position. The pizza is done when the underside of the crust is a dark golden brown, and the cheese is has a slight golden tint to it. Underbaking the crust will result in a limp crust, overbaking will result in a hard, tough, burnt-tasting crust, getting the right baking time to produce a crisp crust will require a bit of experimentation. The amount and type of toppings you use will also affect the total baking time. A rule-of-thumb is to check the pizza after about 10-12 minutes and adjust baking time from there accordingly.

And, as a final touch to truly replicate Imo's Pizza at home, is to cut the pizza into tile-like squares instead of the traditional triangle slices.

There you have it! It may not be EXACTLY like Imo’s, but it’s close and should hold you over until your next visit to St. Louis!

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It's the basic yeast. You also should use the sauce sparingly. Me, I am a sauce girl but follow the rules on this one and like the results. If I use veggies I always precook them to get the water out. Even though there is yeast, it doesn't rise due to the freezing of the crust.

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Thank you for all the replies. I will try both recipes.

I am very new to this and not sure what "basic yeast" is? What does it look like at the store? They have a number of different ones. And do I add it dry to the mix pls?

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Just your plain old traditional yeast. I use the jarred traditional Fleischman's (sp?). I pulled up this thread for the recipe as I am just about to start my dough. I will probably try the other version too - why not!

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vettin, I don't think cookie saw your second question.

The yeast is added dry to the sugar, oil , flour and salt. Then you add the water.

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This Imo's pizza thing has led to some interesting surfing and conversations. Really seems to be a love it or hate it kind of thing. I'm IM-ing a colleague in St Louis who says, "You're either from St Louis and think that 'thin is in' or you're from out of town and think it's an excuse for cheese, meat and sauce on paper." As a source for Provel cheese, he turned me on to Viviano's ( who will overnight 5 pound blocks.

I'm almost curious enough to buy it and try the recipe that Weed posted. If I like it, then I'll decide if the substitution works as well.

I loved the opening line of the linked article which ends up praising Emo's:

"Gefilte fish. Chitterlings. Thousand-year-old-eggs. Provel cheese. What do these four foods have in common? To the extent that it's possible to have objective evaluations of whether a food is good, all four of those foods are, to put it mildly, not good."

Here is a link that might be useful: Serious Eats on Imo's

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chase_gw go first and report back !

I keep going back to Weed's recipe and thinking I'd like to give it a try but I'm worried it will be may be too thin. The idea of "smokey" cheese has an appeal for me as well.

Wendy, we should have stayed in St Louis (notice I didn't say Looie!) an extra day. You sure did show us the best darn BBQ but I would have loved to taste this St Louis style pizza too!

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Well... I found that exact quote on, and a subsequent response says...

Despite the fact that the St. Louis style crust appears to be a simple, bland cracker, I have yet to find a recipe for it that comes anywhere close to being accurate. The recipe posted above has been bouncing around the internet for years and I've tried it many times. In my opinion, it isn't anywhere close to the real thing. It should be a pretty easy crust to duplicate; however my efforts thus far have been moderately successful at best.

Here's the closest I've come up with:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/8 cup water
1/8 tsp instant dry yeast (this is just enough to make the crust light & crispy without it rising)
1 tbsp corn oil (I've also used other types of oil; it doesn't make any difference)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix water and yeast, then add approx. half the flour and salt, add the oil, then add the remaining flour. Mix by hand. There is no need to let the dough rest; rising will only hurt the dough. Spread dough by hand to 12 inch diameter on sheet of lightly greased aluminum foil and add toppings. While still on foil, transfer to pizza stone and bake at 450 degrees.

I typically make enough dough for 8 pizzas and keep each one in the freezer in a ziplock sandwich bag. I thaw them in the refrigerator and do not bother bringing the dough back to room temp. before using.

Like I said, this recipe isn't perfect, so if anyone has any improvements to suggest, I've love to hear them.

Might still try it though. Hey, as long as it tastes good I won't know any better, right? Imo's does mail order pizzas - but you'd have to buy two 12 inchers at $43 apiece to meet their $75 minimum.

[The price goes down the more you buy. I just looked up flights and called for local prices and figured out that if I was buying at least 11 one-topping pizzas it would be cheaper to fly to STL and bring them back! (Can you tell I really don't feel like working today?)]

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sowngrow (8a)

Okay-I've got writer's cramp from writing these tasty looking recipes down. I love making homemade pizza on the stone in my oven. Have yet to conquer the thin crust so I'll give these a try soon...Thank you.

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I like thin sometimes, pan sometimes, regular somtimes. Depends on the mood. I can totally see liking a really thin crust if its good. I can totally get into the not waiting to rise thing or freezing for 3 hours or chilling etc. Simpler and faster the better. I don't "plan" on pizza. I have read threads, asked questions but never dived into trying a pizza crust. A couple of these I just might.
Oh, and there's a place in Dayton called Marion's that also has a thin almost cracker like crust tho it doesn't sound as thin as the St. Louis one.

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Apparently the Feb/Mar edition of Cook's Country has a st.louis style crust recipe. Has anyone seen it?

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Nope, I'll have to take a look. But for anyone interested, I got an email back from Viviano's and they claim that Provel freezes fine and recommended splitting into five 1-pound blocks before freezing.

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Hey guys I am currently a pizza maker at an imos and I just wanted to say that the spice we use is simply oregano mixed with romano cheese. Hope that helps!

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