I did it!: Windsor Pizza

Listeners to the podcast will know that I have been on a journey of Pizza Discovery over that last few years, with a recent realization as to the true meaning of this search. Well, friends, I have to say that I think that I have finally achieved what I believe to be the pizza that I was searching for all these years. Below is an edited and expanded Facebook post from the other night celebrating that fact by sharing my recipe for my pizza sauce, pizza dough and the special topping off sauce inspired by the Riverside Tavern in the Riverside area of Windsor, Ontario.

I am happy to share my photos and my recipes. Feel free to try them out and ask questions if you have them. I love talking pizza, especially Windsor Pizza!

Toppings of choice for me: Galati Uniondale Mozzarella Cheese; Shredded Pepperoni; canned mushrooms; green olives. With tavern style sauce drizzled on top.

Washed down with beer.


Doug’s Pizza Dough

based on Tom Lehmann’s recipe

Baker’s Percentages:

  • Flour 100%
  • Water 60%
  • Yeast 0.5%
  • Salt 2%
  • Oil 1.25%

For 3 dough balls at 320g each. This makes 3 nice 10–12” pizza with a puffy cornicione just like I remember from my youth. The crust itself is a decent thickness. Thick enough to handle sauce, cheese and toppings.

Ingredients:

  • 587 g bread flour
  • 352 g water
  • 3 g yeast
  • 11 g salt
  • 11 g sugar (optional)
  • 7 g oil

Method:

  • Add water, salt, sugar in mixer.
  • Give a quick stir to dissolve.
  • Add flour and yeast on low speed a bit at a time to the point of hydration of all the flour.
  • Turn off mixer and allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Turn machine on again this time at a higher speed. Allow to mix for about 4 minutes.
  • Turn back down to low.
  • Add oil slowly a bit at a time until it is all worked in.
  • Turn back up to 3 or 4 let knead for 8–10 minutes.
  • Remove dough from bowl.
  • Cut into 320 g parts.
  • Shape into a ball, pat with oil and store in container(s) for 24 hours or so.
  • Remove from fridge and allow to sit at room temp for 2–3 hours before you want to make pizza
  • shape and top as you like. Cook at max temp on a stone 10 –12 minutes.

*** Update: after a brief text conversation with the master of Windsor Pizza, himself, Prof. Zaa (Dean Litster) of Armando’s Pizza in Amherstburg, he suggests trying a dough ball weighing 368 g. So the new weights for the above dough recipe would be as follows for 3 balls:

  • Flour 675.5 g
  • Water 405.3 g
  • Salt 13.5 g
  • Yeast 3.4 g
  • Oil 8.4 g
  • Single Ball 368.7g

Doug’s Pizza Sauce

Enough for 6 x 10” to 12” pizzas. This is a simple, no cooksauce. Herb and spice measurements are approximate. Let’s just say that each of the teaspoons that I used were “generous”. Make this your own, but this is a good place to start, I feel.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (398ml) cans San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tsp franks red hot

Method:

  • Take tomatoes out of the cans leaving majority of the juice in the can. Put in blender, food processor or bowl.
  • Add rest of ingredients and pulse or mash/ stick blend to a smooth-ish sauce.
  • Let stand for however long you can to let the flavours meld. 1 hour minimum.
  • I use 3 to 4 soup spoons worth of sauce per 10” – 12”pizza.

Riverside Tavern Style sauce

from Brian Friedrich

The Riverside Tavern is a Bar/Restaurant in the Riverside area of Windsor, Ontario. It is located at the corner of Wyandotte and Lauzon Rd. I used to go there often as a teen and in my early 20s for pizza and beer. The best part of a visit here was the special “BBQ” sauce that was ever present on the table. It is a brown sauce, very similar in texture to Ketchup (and for good reason) always in what was clearly an old glass ketchup bottle. A drizzle of this magical sauce on your pepperoni (shredded, of course), mushroom and green pepper pizza was going to take it to the next level! And this was in the days before dipping sauces were available from the big chain pizza parlours. Years ago, an old high school friend of mine, Brian Friedrich, and I were texting back and forth on Facebook about Windsor pizza and I mentioned how I loved the Tavern Sauce and wished that I had it. He had happened to worked on a recipe of it with his friends and was kind enough to share it with me. It is perfect. I don’t know if it is an EXACT copy. I have not tried a side by side comparison yet. I need to get a bottle of the original sometime, if indeed the Tavern is still open, and do a blind taste test. Regardless, this sauce does what I need it to do now and that is elevate the flavours of an already delicious pizza with a vinegary sweet, sightly tangy and slightly spicy boost. Yeah baby! Thanks, Brian!!!!!

Makes 3 3/4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Cup – Ketchup
  • ¾ Cup – Mustard
  • 1 Cup – White Vinegar
  • ½ Cup – White Sugar
  • 1 tsp – Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp – Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp – Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ tsp – Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp – Garlic Powder

Method:

  • Mix together and Seal in a jar or squeeze bottles. For best results let it rest for a couple of days to blend.