For a moment, forget everything known about pizza. Forget about the usual mozzarella-driven cheese blend on top, forget about the taste you expect from a pie, lastly, forget about the aroma you’ve come to expect from your favorite feel-good meal.
Alright, now we are working with a clean slate, I will share some opinions and facts about the Saint Louis-style pie and why it’s a regional fan favorite. Let’s start with the cheese.
What kind of cheese is on this pizza?
St. Louis-style pie is made with Provel, a processed blend which is said to be a mix of cheddar, provolone, as well as a swiss cheese. This cheese melts better than any other cheese since its what its designed to do. By increasing the amount of fat and doing the same for the posture during production the Provel will acquires a gooey appeal Like the one that cheese sauce has. The kind which makes people want to swipe up all the drops from the pan with your finger as you eat it. It may look unfamiliar to at first glance. Do not let this keep you from experiencing the meltiest cheese out there! There are some which may disagree on the flavor profile of Provel, but we will mention this once again since this is an objective fact, It is the meltiest cheese out there.
What is even more amazing as well as magical about this cheese is what happens to it the next day! Ready for it? Practically nothing. The cheese is nearly as gooey and fresh eaten out of the box in the car or at room temperature the second day. As if it were coming fresh out of the oven.
That, my friends, is the magic of Provel. In reality, it is a processed cheese with a bit more nutty funk than normal. When melted, you can feel the smoothness. Just as if you were getting cheese from one of those self pump. Its origins are in the late 40’s, specifically invented for the soul purpose of it melting on pizzas while avoiding shirt -staining strands which mozzarella has a tendency to make.
What else makes Saint Louis-style pie so unique?
The ultra thin pie. It’s made with unleavened, yeast-free dough. Giving the texture of akin to a cracker than the traditional. The dough is capable of supporting plenty of toppings. Good thing since they like to pile all sorts of goodies right in The Gateway City. These are mad from yeast to help it rise. Saint Louis-style pie has an ultra-thin, crackery-dare we say it? Tortilla chip-like feeling. Also helping with its shelf life being longer.
Types of Pizzas
Like a good plate of nachos, a Louis-style pie designed for sharing. Instead of wedges, sliced into squares. Party or tavern cut, for those of who are in on the lingo, each one about an inch along each side. Meaning Saint Louis-style pie is easily shared between two people or between ten or twelve. Unlike a regular pizza, committing yourself to more than you really want is not necessary. Take what you want and you can get right back to enjoying the game.
We have our Imo’s pizza with the works, which in St. Louis means sausage, bacon, bell peppers, and onions. The bell peppers, onions, and sausage are fresh and tasty as you can expect from any self-respecting pizza joint (the sausage is thankfully applied the right way: in chunks, not slices), however, it is the bacon That really stands out. I’m not sure exactly how they cooked it, but It ends up as a distinct, crisp layer That tops the pie almost like a lattice pie crust. Ultra-thin and crisp strips That tumble and weave over the topping, flavoring everything underneath them and adding a top layer of crispness That reflects the crisp bottom crust.
However, of the myriad style of pizza we have in this country, It has to be the most maligned. It’s thin, unleavened cracker crust bears no resemblance to the real dough That a great pizza is built on. It gets loaded high with toppings That span all the way from edge to edge. It is so unbalanced That It has to be cut into squares Just to be able to support . And yet, ever since tasting It for the first time I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I am sure I have finally figured out why I love It so much. St. Louis pizza is not a pizza. It’s a big pizza flavored nacho.
The ultimate day-after slice
Now we will jump into talking about what we all love! Next day Pizza. You know how a day old pizza can get a little leathery in the crust? Not so with Imo’s! That cracker is still a cracker the next day And even the third, whether You deign to refrigerate or not. As we previously mentioned, the dough is a little more dense and resilient than the standard pizza dough, giving It an abnormally long shelf life. Do You know how a one day old pizza can get a little leathery in the crust? Well, this is not the case with Imo’s! Lopez-Alt set of a leftover pie from a famed St. Louis chain. That cracker is still a cracker the next day And even the third, whether You decide to refrigerate Or not. That my friends, is the magic of Provel.
You know what else is as fantastic on the second day as on the first? The toppings!
St. Louis-style pies can be topped with the standards, like pepperoni, mushroom, bacon, which may rank as most popular add-on to this non-traditional pizza spinoff. And yes, It jibes Just fine with the rest of the pie. With Its pork bits, crunchy crust, sandwiching meaty Provel cheese, and bacon topping, St. Louis pizza is a textural sensation That should not be missed.
It’s far different from the traditional pizza of Naples, Italy, but St. Louis-style pizza has found a massive following of Its own for a good reason. Now That You know the basics we encourage You to order up a pie That an be enjoyed over the course of multiple meals.
We could sit here all day And discuss the merits of every style of pizza. We seriously are able to. And to prove it, I will let You know That discussing these merits is how the staff of The Sauce spends most of Its waking hours. But, we are not here to tell you That one style of pizza is superior to another. We can confidently say That St. Louis pizza holds up nicely as a day after treat thanks to Its unorthodox cheese And superbly thin crust.
Noted chef And Serious Eats author, J. Kanji Lopez-Alt reached a similar conclusion as he wheeled out of STL on a road trip through the Midwest.
The point I am trying to get across is that, St. Louis there something very unique as well as special there. While not having an “artisanal” on it, does not mean its not a delicious award winning pie and own its own right. It should proudly take place. Sometimes returning customers are more of a reward than anything else!
I invite everyone to try a pizza. You are guaranteed to love it!
IMO’S , I salute you.