July 12: Lunchbreak - Popeye Pizza
Taste of River North
July 15-17
Ward Park
630 N. Kingsbury

Pie Guys Pizza Oven
405 N. Wabash Avenue

20" Popeye Pizza
Makes 6 giant slices

1 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons semolina flour
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon yeast
Handful of corn meal
2 1/2 cups of your favorite pizza sauce

1/2 cup chopped garlic
2 cups torn spinach
1 1/2 cups diced feta
1 1/2 cups chopped or sliced tomato
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella/provolone cheese blend

Pizza Dough
Combine water, olive oil, salt, and semolina until just blended. At Pie Guys we use a 60 quart mixer with a dough hook and mix for 3 minutes. At home you might choose to use a stand mixer for just a few seconds. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and yeast in large mixing bowl. Slowly blend these dry ingredients into mixture above. At Pie Guys we mix this for about 15 minutes. At home, you can mix for a minute or two.
Let dough stand in bowl for 15 minutes. In the restaurant, we now form about 40 balls of dough from a single batch. At home, you can turn the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a ball.
Refrigerate dough ball for 30 minutes.
Remove dough from refrigerator and flatten the dough ball into an 8 inch saucer. Flattening the dough takes some effort because the dough is cold. Flattening the dough is important to achieve a thin, crisp pizza crust.
For the best tasting crust, seal the dough ball in a bag and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to prepare your pizza, preheat oven AND pizza stone or baking sheet to desired temperature. You get the best results when you bake your pizza on a hot, thick solid surface. Our oven has a 3/4" solid steel surface, which is great for evenly cooking a 20 inch pie.
The oven at Pie Guys is always at 550 degrees. The oven has three rotating ½ inch thick surfaces, so we can prepare 20+ of these 20" inches pizzas at once.
Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into a thin circle. At Pie Guys, the dough gets two passes through a dough roller to achieve the thinnest crust we can get. We then stretch the dough a bit to get a 20" inch pie. At home, you might place dough on a sheet of parchment paper to help you get the dough rolled out. We want the thinnest crust we can get, so we definitely use a roller or a rolling pin.
To get the thinnest crust, we want to get all of the air out of the dough. Our last step to get a really thin crust is to roll the crust with a dough docker.
Transfer dough to pizza peel by inverting your parchment paper. You are now ready to dress your pizza.
Sauce pizza to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Ladle sauce in the middle and spread in a circle toward the edge. Leaving a ½ inch free around edge helps prevent any sauce dripping into the oven, and also leaves a nice crisp crust.
Sprinkle chopped garlic evenly across sauce. Follow with spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Sprinkle shredded cheese over sauce, being careful to avoid the edge. Any cheese over the edge of the crust will burn quickly.
Slide pizza onto baking stone and bake for 10-12 minutes.
When the pizza is ready, remove from the oven and let it stand a couple minutes. This helps the cheese stay on the pizza instead of clinging to your cutter.
We cut our 20" pizza into 6 large slices. We offer The Popeye slice everyday and will feature it at The Taste of River North this weekend.


Use cool water to mix the dough. This slows yeast activation, and helps keep crust thing.

Use semolina flour as a portion of the dry ingredients. It makes dough less sticky and easier to work with.

Preheat pizza stone or other thick solid surface to get a nice crisp crust.

Roll the dough with a dough docker to get as much air out of the crust as possible.

Minimize the dough's exposure to air between the refrigerator and the oven to prevent the dough from rising.