Prep 2 hrs
Cook 40 mins
This originally came from the Pleasure Bar and Restaurant in Pittsburgh, PA, perhaps as early as the 1960's but definately during the 1970's. Located in the heart of the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh, this Italian restaurant and bar was known (at least to me) as a local hangout for the Pittsburgh Penguins. But in the years I frequented it as a student at Pitt as well as hockey fan, I never saw any of the players there but did see a lot of photos of guys like former Penguin goalie and current GM of the Carolina Hurricanes Jimmy Rutherford, Bob "Battleship" Kelly, former goalie Greg Millen, Pierre Larouche ("Lucky" Pierre was traded to Montreal where he played for the Stanley Cup winning Canadiens), Dave Schultz (ended his career as a Penguin), Coach Red Kelly, Jean Pronovost, Syl Apps, Rick Kehoe, and so on. Years later this very same pizza bread was marketed nationwide by Stouffers, but never close to the same as the original. At any rate, I thought I'd clear the air a bit and give credit where it's due. You can make this either by purchasing an Italian loaf of bread or make your own bread (recipe below).
- 2 1⁄4 cups warm water
- 1 pinch granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 14 g kosher salt
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (~120 gm per cup)
- 3 cups unbleached flour (~124 gm per cup)
- extra flour
- extra olive oil
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese (fresh is best)
- 2 -3 tablespoons fresh oregano or 2 -3 tablespoons fresh basil
- 2 -4 cups marinara sauce (Golden Grains is the best of the store brands)
- Proof yeast in 1/4 cup warm water with a pinch of sugar about 10 minutes.
- Add to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (which I prefer over a dough hook).
- Add 2 cups of warm water and mix at lowest speed.
- Alternate AP flour with bread flour, one cup at a time and mix.
- Increase mixer speed as needed.
- After adding 4 cups total flour (AP+bread), add the salt.
- Add the rest of the flour and mix.
- Dough should be pretty sticky.
- Stop the mixer and pull up paddle.
- If dough develops a nice"window" over the paddle, then it's ready.
- If not, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and mix.
- Stop mixer and pull paddle attachment, checking again for the"window".
- Once you get a window, stop mixing.
- If you overmix, let dough rest a bit.
- Onto a floured board, dump this sticky dough and shape into a ball.
- Place dough ball into a well-oiled large pan.
- You can use a small amount of oil on the top of the loaf and place into a cold oven.
- I place a small loafpan of boiling water into the cold oven, near the loaf.
- This creates a humid atmosphere for the bread- a steam box.
- Keep the door closed until the ball doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- After doubling, remove dough from pan and cut into 2 balls.
- Place each on a good sized baking pan and shape each ball into an Italian loaf.
- Heat oven to 425 F, keeping the water-filled loafpan in the oven.
- Allow shaped loaves to rest about 30-45 minutes.
- Bake about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven.
- Spread (not dump) your favorite miranara sauce over each half-loaf of bread.
- Cover with splotches of mozzarella cheese slices.
- Add fresh oregano and/or basil and bake until cheese begins to brown.
- This is a super snack for picky kids.