Homemade Imo’s Pizza

Are you prepared to meet the thinnest crust ever?! If you are not a thin crust person, this pizza is not for you. Go on and just close the browser right now, I won’t be offended but I will scoff at you because I think this pizza could convert you. So on second thought please stay!

By a show of hands, how many of you have ever had Imo’s pizza? Okay, how many more of you have at least heard of Imo’s pizza? Anyone who did not raise their hand will not understand the craze that this pizza creates, but should still dive in and create this pizza at home. Especially if you don’t have the time to drive to St. Louis. Because today I give to you, homemade Imo’s Pizza.

So what makes this pizza so special, other than it’s geographical exclusivity? Well for starters it has a supremely thin crust, that is crispy yet a little floppy all at the same time. This crust is covered by a moderately thin layer of freshly made pizza sauce, then topped off by Imo’s very own brand of shredded cheese known as Provel – a mixture of white cheddar, Swiss and provolone, with a hint of hickory smoke flavor.

One benefit to living 4.5 hours from St. Louis, is that the grocery stores here happen to carry this fantastical cheese blend. But luckily for everyone else it is easy to fix up a homemade version of it. Granted it won’t be processed all together, but the flavors are all there and that’s what counts. So no matter where you are in the world, you too can experience Imo’s pizza!

For me, the cheese is the selling point. It gets so bubbly and the white cheddar brings such great flavor to otherwise traditional pizza toppings. And it just so happens to be one of my favorite kinds of cheese, and am amazed that I have not topped off any of my pizzas with it before (prepare yourself for more of it to come). Of course, don’t forget to slice it up into Imo-style small square slices, and prepare to fight over your favorite pieces. Are you a middle-crust or an edge-crust person?

One year ago: Avocado Fries

HOMEMADE IMO’S PIZZA

Makes 2-12″ pizzas

Ingredients:

CHEESE

2 cups Imo’s Provel cheese

OR

1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded

1 tsp liquid hickory liquid smoke

SAUCE

16 oz. whole tomatoes (diced into fine pieces)

6 oz. tomato paste

1-1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp crushed dried basil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dried thyme

CRUST

2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp dark corn syrup

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water

TOPPINGS

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried thyme

Favorite pizza toppings

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with pizza stone* located on the bottom third of the oven.
  2. For the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. For the cheese: If you can’t find Provel in your local market, it can be easily created. Toss cheeses in a large bowl with the liquid smoke until cheeses and smoke flavoring are completely incorporated.
  4. For the crust: In a large bowl, sift together the flour salt and baking powder. Add the olive oil, dark corn syrup and water and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough will be stiff. Divide the dough in half, shape into two round balls and roll out thin into two 12″ crusts. Move the crusts to a pizza peel lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.
  5. Top both crusts with half of the pizza sauce (save the rest for another time), and then divide the cheese between the two. Add your favorite toppings, and sprinkle the seasonings on top.
  6. Transfer one pizza onto the preheated pizza stone* and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the underside of the crust is golden brown, and the cheese is golden. You want the crust to be crispy but not too overdone or else it will start to become chewy. Repeat with the second pizza. Allow to settle before slicing into squares, as traditionally done at Imo’s Pizza.

*If you do not own a pizza stone, cook pizza on a thin baking sheet placed on the bottom rack of the oven.

Source: Adapted slightly from Food.com

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